by Borderstan.com April 15, 2013 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

"DC'

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

One of the many byproducts of DC’s burgeoning tech startup scene is the explosion in blogs run by these startups.

And not just the kind of blogs you expect a company to have, though there are plenty of those, posting an update here and there when the company has news to share.

There are blogs that have something more to say than the latest product or new hire update. Some are about marketing, some about dating and some about teleworking.

Below is a list of as many of these blogs I could fit into one blog post.

Along with having to be a DC-area tech startup, the other rule in making this list is that you have to be publishing content that isn’t just about your company and what you sell.

While an attempt was made to list as many blogs as possible that fit the above guidelines, this list is surely not all-inclusive. Feel free to post in the comments below a link to a blog you think should have been listed.

DC Tech Blogs

Here are, in no particular order:

  • Fed Log, the blog for government contracting job site Exfederal.com. Covers getting a government-contracting gig, hiring a government contractor, and things you should know when doing business with the federal government.
  • Spinnakr Blog, a blog for the website targeting company Spinnakr. This blog’s topics are a little marketing, a little DC Tech scene and a little general business management.
  • TouchdownSpace’s blog, from the on-demand office space company. This blog posts about teleworking, focusing on mobile workers and the trend toward working remotely.
  • SocialTables the Blog, brought to you by the event planning software company. This blog churns out content for event and meeting planners, covering everything from weddings to business conferences.
  • Maven’s Marketing Intelligence Blog, from TrackMaven, a company that wants to make competitive intelligence easier. Similar in some ways to Spinnakr’s blog in that it focuses on marketing, but different in that it covers a wide range of marketing related topics from social media to branding.
  • The RidePost Blog, provided by the company that wants to make going places, like road trips, more fun and affordable. This blog is about traveling with a focus on American locations, and trips taken primarily by people under 30.
  • The Contactually Blog, by the contact management company. Focused mostly on the power of networking and on how to manage relationships.
  • Hinge, a blog from company of the same name that’s using Facebook to help you find a date. While not updated as frequently as some of the other blogs on this list, their posts often share interesting info from data compiled from their users. For example, a recent post ranked DC’s workplaces by the hotness of their employees.

That’s what I have making the cut so far, but who did I miss? Post a link in the comments.

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by Borderstan.com February 25, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

"SurpriseRide"

Donna Khalife from SurpriseRide.com. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If you’ve tried to entertain kids, you know learning to perform heart surgery in the dark with a hand tied behind your back may be easier.

Now there’s a DC-based startup, SurpriseRide, that wants to help adults keep kids entertained while teaching the little tikes.

“SurpriseRide sends 7- to 12-year-old kids fun activities in the mail every month,” said Donna Khalife, who founded the company with her sister, Rosy. “Activities are theme-based and cover a wide variety of subjects, from art and history to science and technology.”

Each package, or “Ride” comes with an activity, a challenge and some extras. The activity tends to be instruction based, like building a birdhouse, and the challenge more flexible, like “build a replacement to the rubber ducky bath toy,” according to SurpriseRide’s website.

Rides come in the mail with all the supplies kids need to complete the activity and challenge. And the company is seeing growth not just from parents. “Right now, we have a mix of parents, aunts, uncles, and older cousins,” Khalife said. “Buying the right gift for kids in this age group can be difficult and we’re finding that people take solace in gifting a SurpriseRide subscription.”

The inspiration for SurpriseRide came from the Khalife’s childhood experience of having no video games or expensive toys, and an artist father with a studio filled with supplies for them to use to create and experiment. Another spark that ignited the SurpriseRide fire was the Khalife’s experiences as aunts.

“We realized that our two nephews, like many other kids, have two full-time working parents,” Khalife said. “We wanted to help kids evolve through play, much like we did, and bring these educational and fun activities to the houses of busy parents everywhere.”

Early indications are that the Khalife’s are filling a need. Within an hour of taking their site live just to test and make sure it worked correctly, they received their first order.

“It was a real person that none of us knew,” Khalife said. “We hadn’t notified any friends or family yet, so I stared at the email for a good few minutes, wondering what kind of glitch was going on in the system. I did some digging and then realized it was actually our first order.”

Right now SurpriseRide is participating in a three-month accelerator in Providence called Betaspring, but Khalife plans on keeping the company based in DC.

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