News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reston's Vibrant Economy: There's an App for That

GuruX_121609W_rgb.jpgWhat's hot in business these days? That "Internet" thing all the kids are talking about. So let's fire up our fancy AOL Web browser and see what a couple of Reston companies are doing!

First up, a Reston alternative healer has made one of those fancy "apps" for the cellular iPhone telephone device. Usually when you hear "deep breathing" and "phone" in the same sentence, it's a reason to call the cops, but in this case it has to do with holistic medicine.

A Reston alternative healer has teamed up with a Herndon software developer to create an iPhone software application that helps people practice holistic deep breathing techniques -- and it is selling all over the world.

Darshan Khalsa, 61, and his wife Carol O'Donnell Khalsa are Reston-based alternative medicine providers whose Khalsa Integrative Medicine practice centers on holistic care, including Oriental medicine, acupuncture, herbal and enzyme therapy, nutrition, yogic breathing, detoxification, sound therapy and fertility medicine.

Jeanne Churchwell is a patient of Darshan Khalsa. She is also half-owner of Herndon software company Tech 2000 Inc. Tech 2000, which employs about 15 people, has been in business since 1984 but only began developing iPhone applications this year.

The Khalsas and the Churchwells collaborated and came up with the Long Deep Breathing application that launched last month. "The Khalsas really hit a niche market," Churchwell said. "We were amazed. It began selling in Great Britain and Australia the day it came out."

The application, which sells for 99 cents, has both an informational component that lists the benefits and history of the deep breathing technique, and a feature that allows you to set the pace and duration of your breathing exercise regimen. An optional verbal prompt can assist users as they perform their breathing.

Although the application is currently selling at a rate of about 20 a day and their costs are expected to be recouped in about six months, the Khalsas insist that they did not create the application for the money.
Then there's the hottest "dot-com" we've seen since the boom of the late '90s, and instead of being located in some latte-intensive corner of the Silicon Valley, it's headquartered right here in Reston!
Reston-based allows parents to create a digital archive of their children's artwork and share the images with family and friends via e-mail, social networking Web sites and within the RefrigeratorArtist site.

"It was really just a random idea that came to us," said Jennifer LaFollette, who launched RefrigeratorArtist in October with her husband, Jason, and their friend, Lenny Pham. "I'm 31 years old and my mom still has artwork that I did when I was a kid, but there was probably a lot more that wasn't saved."

Parents upload photos of their child's work to a gallery on the site. Friends and relatives, whether they want to create their own art galleries or not, can connect with each other on the site by labeling each other as "friends," allowing that person to view a particular child's gallery. Within the gallery, there are options to share the image on Facebook or e-mail it to people.

"That's basically where we live these days -- is online -- especially younger parents," LaFollette said.
Social media! That's where it's at! Expect to see a parking lot full of Boxters once this gets an IPO. Or maybe not:
Once the site is profitable, a portion of profits will be donated to arts programs for children, LaFollette said.
A much nicer aspiration than, say, this filthy "web log."

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