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.


Kyle was also the founder of CVillain right? I miss Belmont-Yo!

"to help companies make the 'easy button' for database administration."

As a DBA, this phrase just made me cringe. If managing a database is too complex for your database administrator, you need a new database administrator. And if you're spending the majority of your time putting out fires and managing problems, you're managing your database wrong. Get a DBA who knows what they're doing and your database will scale with your application and you won't spend all your time putting out fires. Do it right the first time.

To ? - you should move back to Belmont-yo, it's still an overated dump!

@casual reader - totally agree with you, but there might be better solutions for companies that don't have the budget, know-how or ability to find a really good DBA. Even larger companies with highly paid DBAs and lots of resources still spend a lot of time (and money) trying to optimize, manage and maintain systems.

Our goals is to make all DBAs much more efficient at their job, allowing them to scale with the size and complexity of their systems. Making them more efficient means helping them automate recurring tasks, providing actionable insight and delivering other related services.

Our goal isn't to replace a mediocre DBA, but rather to help all DBAs better manage their systems. Go sign up for our beta program at vividcortex.com and you'll get to see the features when we launch. :)

Shouldn't the Paraguayan employees be counted as 3/5ths of an employee?

"Charlottesville Ninjas"? Really?? That name *might* have been cool in 2009. The ninja term has been so overplayed...what..are they going to start having their meetings in a martini/cigar bar and shout out the phrase "you're so money!". I would have considered trying one of these meetings, I simply can't do it if they insist on using such a played out name,,,,,being that out of touch worries me for their business concept as well....