Tag Archives: Kevin Lenane

Community of Entrepreneurs Share Their Experiences at Dingman Jumpstart

It’s been an exciting week so far at Dingman Jumpstart. We’re seeing some of the areas brightest entrepreneurs with some game-changing ideas. The participants have attended several workshops and panels but there are two that stand out: one with seasoned entrepreneurs and one with entrepreneurs fresh in the game. Take a look at who we lined up to inspire our group of Jumpstart participants.

Learning From the Mistakes of Successful Entrepreneurs
On Wednesday, we featured two of our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Jason Shrensky and Ed Barrientos. The entrepreneurs shared their experiences starting successful businesses as well as the mistakes they made along the way.

Untitled-2Jason Shrensky (@shrensky), Co-Founder, Uber Offices
Jason Shrensky is a local entrepreneur and angel investor who joined the Dingman Center team as an Angel in Residence in 2011. In addition to actively investing in early-stage companies, he splits his time between two startups that he recently co-founded: ÜberOffices and ComplexInterests. ÜberOffices provides co-working office space in the DC Metro area predominantly for early-stage technology and media companies. At ComplexInterests, Jason is working on developing a unique enterprise software package targeted at accounting, law, and financial services firms.

Elena Fine's Entrepreneur Roundtable with Ed and Jason, photographed for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at Van Munching Hall in College Park MD, 26 April 2013.

Ed Barrientos (@SnowCrash65), CEO, Brazen Careerist
Ed Barrientos is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Brazen Careerist, a career focused social networking site targeting Gen Y. He is also Managing Partner of Zeitgeist Holdings, L.L.C., an angel investment firm focused on investing in early stage technology companies. From 1996 to 2005, he was President and CEO of Arc Second Inc., a high growth market leader in the field of laser based, high-precision GPS. Barrientos led Arc Second to a successful exit (acquired by Metris NV of Belgium) at the end of 2005. He sat on the Board of Directors of Metris NV, and worked as an active Board member through the Company’s IPO (2006) and its acquisition by Nikon (Japan) in 2009.

Learning From Young Entrepreneurs
To close out the week on Friday, we will be joined by a group of young entrepreneurs still fresh in the game. Their startups have experienced success, but they are still knee-deep in the daily operations of running their companies. 

Justin Baer, Founder, Check In Easy (@checkineasy)
Justin Baer, New York University graduate and entrepreneur, has launched the guest list and event check in app Check In Easy. The idea was born from social business venture, CharityHappenings.org and CharityHappenings Ticketing clients who were fed up with the inefficiency of paper check-in. Prior to founding Check In Easy, Justin launched CharityHappenings.org LLC, a social business venture providing the non-profit sector with a web-based master calendar, ticketing service and supplier directory.

Aaron Epstein (@aaron_epstein), Co-Founder and CPO, Creative Market
Aaron Epstein co-founded Creative Market, a platform for hand crafted, mousemade  and easily accessible design content from independent creatives around the world. A designer, developer, jack of all trades and Robert H. Smith School of Business alumnus, Aaron claims to be fueled by avocados and cheerios. 

Rami Essaid (@ramiessaid), Co-Founder, Distil Networks
Rami began his career as the founder and CEO of Chit Chat Communications. After a successful exit, he consulted in mobile development. With over 11 years in communications, network security, and infrastructure management, Rami advised enterprise companies to help improve scalability and reliability while maintaining a high level of security. Rami attended North Carolina State University where he majored in computer engineering.

Kevin Lenane (@kevinlenane), Founder & CEO, Veenome
Kevin Lenane is an experienced project manager with a keen sense of how location, platform, and portability play in to the mobile experience for businesses and consumers. Kevin has worked with clients at PointAbout including OnStar, the Huffington Post, FEMA, and the ESRB. Prior to PointAbout, Kevin was part of the product management team behind the location management platform NAVTEQ.

Elise Whang (@elisewhang), Founder, SNOBSWAP
SNOBSWAP was first inspired by Elise’s hunt for a pre-loved Chanel handbag, when she found herself dreaming about a website where members could swap or sell their designer clothes and accessories. Elise, hailing from a highly successful law background, decided to join forces with her sister Emily, an MBA with a deep luxury retail background and passion for all things designer. Uniting complementary strengths, expertise, and vision made for a perfectly tailored business venture. 


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Startup Success: Veenome

Startup Success, a new feature of the Dingman Center Blog, includes interviews with regional entrepreneurs who received funding from the Dingman Center Angels investor network.  In 2011, members invested in eight companies, making it the network’s most active year since its founding in 2004. Investments included Brazen Careerist, CirrusWorks, Nexercise, SevaCall, Spinnakr, Spotflux, Veenome, and YouEye. Click HERE to view all Dingman Center Angels portoflio companies.

Veenome is a video indexing platform — translating the “stuff” in video into machine-readable data for superior organization, publishing, searching and monetization.
Utilizing video recognition technology, Veenome discovers products, objects, and brands in popular online videos. These objects are auto-tagged, indexed and relayed as clickable objects for  display in video. So if you like the shoes in the Lady GaGa video, just click on them to buy. The data can also be delivered en masse via API for enterprise search and ad targeting. 

Veenome received funding through the Dingman Center Angels in 2011. This interview features Kevin Lenane, Founder and CEO.

As a startup, what are some of the greatest challenges you face?
One of the biggest challenges is that you’re a really small organization. In a startup there is a never ending list of duties and you have to know how to succeed no matter what it is that you’re doing. You don’t have specialist to do everything and you have to be able to manage the stress that comes with that. You also have to be able to figure out what you’re good at and delegate what you’re not. The hardest thing is trying to manage multiple roles.

What is your #1 source of funding?
It was self funded for the first few months; it is investor funded now. There wasn’t a traditional friends and family round.

How did you get the idea for your business?
I had been working on a lot of mobile apps with image recognition as a form of alternate entry. I found that there’s a lot for room for error there; for example flash could obscure the text. User error rate was high, so I wanted to see if there were ways to get more information, which was to take more photos. I wanted to find a way to do this with video so I did some tests on my own and found a place in the market to start a company because there is a need for this. It is really powerful if you can do it right. I’ve had a lot of ideas like this, but the difference with Veenome is that this was tested a lot. I got a lot of data to prove that it would work and the data helped take me from an idea to a business that could be started. It validated that there was a market and it could be achieved

What is your best networking tool?
If you want to talk to someone, first check to see if you know someone connected to them. You’ll be surprised what your second and third tier network contains. In my case, I’ll take a video related to what that person does and I’ll tag it, put it on our webpage, and send it to them in an email to show them what I can do. The video is made custom to the person I want to connect with. If you can demonstrate that you put in effort before the conversation happens, people will be more willing to talk to you.

What advice would you give student entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Working for a startup first is critical. The worst that could happen is you raise money and realize that all you want to do is work for a big company. Startups aren’t for everyone and you won’t know that until you work for a startup. Interning at a startup is less pressure, a lot of fun, and will give you an idea of what it is like to start a business.

Why a startup?
I like the idea of improving progress especially in technology. Technology is one of our leading industries, so being able to contribute in a way that increases the general progress of technology and be a part of the technology movement is important to me. I like the idea of being able to build something that I can work at and use and know that it helped progress the industry.

What was the DCA review process like? Were you able to handle the criticism? Did you find the feedback beneficial?
Elana [Fine] was really helpful early on with our deck. Getting feedback on your deck alone is beneficial. I had some really helpful questions and concerns from the students and the Angels-in-Residence. One of the angels was asking very hard ball questions but later ended up investing. I took the feedback and reworked my deck quite a bit, then went back a few weeks later and did the formal pitch to the angels. It was a great way of consolidating some active DC angels. A big problem is finding angels that are really investing and Dingman is a great place to look. They’ve done a great job of getting into really good startups in DC.

Kevin Lenane is co-founder and CEO of Veenome. He is an experienced project manager with a keen sense of how location, platform, and portability play in to the mobile experience for businesses and consumers. Kevin has worked with clients at PointAbout including OnStar, the Huffington Post, FEMA, and the ESRB. Prior to PointAbout, Kevin was part of the product management team behind the location management platform NAVTEQ Locations, which gives businesses total control over their location presence.

Connect with Veenome

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