by September 17, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,204 1 Comment


Adam Bonnifield of Spinnakr. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

You may not know a spinnaker from a Spinnakr, but what’s a sail spelled one way (spinnaker) is a DC startup spelled another.

Spinnakr’s product helps organizations make their websites more engaging. The idea is you plop a piece of code into your site, Spinnakr analyzes your sites’ traffic and recommends to you changes to make to your site.

In other words, as a spinnaker captures wind to propel a sailboat forward, Spinnakr captures data to propel your website forward.

Spinnakr is the brainchild of Adam Bonnifield and Michael Mayernick.

“Spinnakr is how we see the next-generation of analytics,” Bonnifield said. “Instead of spitting out reports, it automatically makes recommendations that change your website for the different visitors who arrive.”

Mayernick and Bonnifield became acquainted as debate rivals in college, and are now leading a company of four employees and two interns. And they’re still growing.

Spinnakr’s headquarters is near Dupont, in the same building as another hot startup, the personal car service Uber.

“Our office…takes up the top floor of a converted row-house,” Bonnifield said. “It’s got a giant chandelier in the middle of a big open space, with a 20 foot whiteboard covering the walls – very startup chic.”

Along with their DC office, Spinnakr maintains a presence in Silicon Valley, where they spent six months early in the company’s life. For all the strides DC’s startup scene has made the past couple of years, Bonnifield says it’s still not able to fill all the needs of a young tech company like Spinnakr.

“DC still has a long way to go before it can match the opportunities out in Cali in access to mentorship, resources, and capital,” Bonnifield said. “It’ll get there, but in the meantime it’s really important for any young software business to be connected to the West Coast as well.”

There are some advantages, though, for being in an up-and-coming environment like DC.

“DC’s startup community is… filled with some of the most passionate people I’ve met in the space. For these people, building a company isn’t the thing you do because all your friends do it, because they don’t,” Bonnifield said. “It’s something you do because you can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Spoken like a true startup sailor.

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