BISNOW ON BUSINES/Mark Bisnow – Techies party away


Leave it to entrepreneur Tien Wong to push the envelope even on old-fashioned social networking. 200 came to Mei-Wah restaurant Wednesday night for his 4th annual Chinese New Year partyno dragon dances or fireworks, but check out those themed garments!
Tien’s dad and maternal grandparents were from Guangdong, but his latest connection is that his Opus 8 investment company has established an office in Shanghai, he’s gone six to eight times a year to China recently, and is raising a fund to invest in outsourcing companies there. His real excitement is that he just got back from the Super Bowl, where this former New Jerseyan fulfilled his lifelong dream of seeing the Giants win!  Also on hand:  Margaret Shannon, formerly of Shannon & Luchs and now with Sotheby’s, tells us her high-end residential markets are still hot; her husband Bob Keefe, a principal with Meridian Strategies (and former executive director of the DNC); and Laurie Freeman, who was third largest shareholder in Tien’s CyberRep call centers and now his partner at Opus 8.  Not that we’re counting, but she’s been with Tien 17 years; that’s a lot of great Chinese food!

Also ringing in the new year:  MAVA executive director Julia Spicer; everyone’s friendly angel investor John May, U of Maryland’s Robert Smith School of Business entrepreneur program head Asher Epstein; and NFTE executive director Julie Kantor.  (Friends, if you don’t know that MAVA stands for Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, or NFTE for National Federation for the Teaching of Entrepreneurship, you either shouldn’t be reading this tech pubor you should be reading it a lot more!)

JD Murphy, president of Bethesda’s Computech and past chair of the Maryland Tech Council, spent a rare evening among Tsingtao drinkers; ordinarily this wine aficionado (4000 bottles) is likelier to be inspecting cellars in Burgundy.  And congrats on providing the FCC software for its recent 700 MHz spectrum auctions. With him, Citi Capital Strategies M&A guru Matt De La O, DeParis Redinger’s Francesco DeParis, and Citi Smith Barney’s Peggy Ledvina.  Congrats to Francesco for being named one of Business Week’s 2007 top 25 entrepreneurs under 25, having started a boutique investment bank focused on social media and enterprise software. He grew up in Potomac and came back here to set up shop with a partner he’d worked with doing acquisitions for Microsoft in Redmond, and found Tien through Linked-In.

Ken Ray Partners’ Ray Rice with Parature CEO Duke Chung and Chairman Ching-Ho Fung.  Ching-Ho was not only the first angel into Parature (now 100 employees doing $10M in ’07 for CRM “software as a service”) but also the first into Blackboard. Ken’s an investor himself in Parature, but most of us know him for his recruiting firm focused on CFOs and all things that report to them (eg, HR, IT, legal, admin).  Ray just came back from Puerto Rico with 22 friends and children celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary.

Sheppard Mullin managing partner Ed Schiff tells us they’ve got some great government contract cases these days; and HarVest Bank of Maryland CEO Jack Hollerbach, who was recognized last night by Corridor Inc. Magazine (that would be the Baltimore-Washington corridor) as a finalist for Businessman of the Year.