Business Notes: Sandy Spring Bank Acquires WashingtonFirst Bank; Spotluck Receives Nearly $5 Million Investment

Plus: Discovery invests in sports app


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Spotluck celebrated its first anniversary in 2015 on Bethesda Lane. The company was founded in June 2014.

Andrew Metcalf

Sandy Spring Bancorp acquires WashingtonFirst Bankshares

Olney-based Sandy Spring Bancorp announced Tuesday it reached an agreement to acquire WashingtonFirst Bankshares, creating a regional bank that manages about $7.5 billion in assets. WashingtonFirst shareholders will receive 0.8713 shares of Sandy Spring under the terms of the approximately $489 million agreement. The deal creates the largest, locally headquartered community bank in the region, according to Sandy Spring.

“This expansion and the combination of two strong local banks will create a premier bank that will better serve clients across the Greater Washington, D.C., region and preserve the tradition of true community banking,” Sandy Spring President and CEO Daniel J. Schrider said in a statement.

The companies said clients of either bank should not notice any immediate changes after the merger, although WashingtonFirst Bank will be rebranded as Sandy Spring Bank at a later date.

Spotluck gets $4.8 million investment

The Bethesda-based dining app that offers discounts to restaurants based on the spin of a digital prize wheel closed a $4.8 million funding round earlier this month. The funding will be used to further expand the app into its current markets in Greater Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, according to The Washington Business Journal.

The funding is the third round for the business helmed by Bethesda resident Cherian Thomas. The Spotluck app offers discounts up to 35 percent at certain restaurants that are based on factors that affect crowds such as the weather or time of day. Restaurants pay between $150 and $300 to join the platform and then pay the company $1 for each diner who uses the app at their restaurant. The app offers users a choice of about 1,200 restaurants, but Thomas would not reveal to the Business Journal how many users it has or the company’s revenue. He did say the company is not yet profitable and revenues are being reinvested in the business.

Discovery teams up with Ted Leonsis, Graham Holdings to fund sports prediction app

Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, which owns the Eurosport broadcasting network in Europe, is teaming up with two Washington, D.C., power brokers to invest in an app that allows sports viewers to win prizes while watching sports. Discovery and Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis and former Washington Post owner Graham Holdings are contributing to a $12 million investment in WinView, the Silicon Valley startup that created the app, according to The Washington Post.

The app allows sports viewers to compete against other users to make predictions, such as whether a basketball player will shoot a 3-pointer on the next play, during live broadcasts of sporting events. The goal is to add another incentive to keep viewers interested in such events. The app currently makes money through advertising, but the company’s executive chairman, Tom Rogers, told the paper that he wants users eventually to be able to bet on their predictions on the app in states where it’s legal to do so.

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