Pie tech: Local start-uppers meet... and eat
Used to be, having your head in the clouds wasn't such a good trait if you wanted to start a business. Not anymore. In fact, sitting around a conference room table in Lewis and Clark Square on a recent December afternoon, eating pie with folks from various local tech companies as part of a new tech meet-up group known as the Charlottesville Ninjas, it becomes clear that if your head isn't in "The Cloud," you're behind the times.
Of course, "The Cloud" refers to the outsourcing of hardware and software to third parties, and it's the basis for a variety of tech-based local companies including the soon-to-launch Vivid Cortex, a "software-as-a-service" firm that's the brainchild of computer programmer Baron Schwartz, who serves as the company's CEO, and Kyle Redinger, co-founder of the Crossfit Charlottesville gym, a full-time Darden School student and Vivid Cortex's Chief Marketing Officer.
"Using a cloud allows you to price computing as a utility," Schwartz explains. "You only pay for as much as you use."
Having raised $573,000 in its first fundraising round, Vivid Cortex, headquartered in the Lewis and Clark building, already has five employees including two in Uruguay, and aims, Redinger says, "to help companies make the 'easy button' for database administration." The launch is targeted for March, Redinger says.
"Database administration is hard, it's complicated, you spend the majority of your time dealing with problems and putting out fires," he explains. "We're building a suite of tools to empower database administrators and development teams to manage their databases."
Other techies in attendance at the first meeting of the Ninjas are software engineer Greg Herrington of DealStage Software, a company that creates software to streamline communication between attorneys, and Jeff Uphoff, of the California-based software 'hybrid cloud' firm Eucalyptus Systems.
The Ninjas modeled their first meeting on the "Pie Down," a semi-regular event that's been held at various locations since 2009 and has been attended by City Councilor Dave Norris and former Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello. Also in attendance at this event was tech-savvy communications guru Marijean Jaggers, well known for her pie-baking, Twitter, and kayak-finding (don't ask) prowess. Redinger says future meetings– open to anyone who works in the tech field or who's just interested in tech talk– could include mid-day visits to area breweries and will be announced on Twitter at #CharlottesvilleNinjas.