Raul Fernandez (entrepreneur)
Raul J. Fernandez (born c. 1967 in Washington, D.C.) is an American entrepreneur. He is currently Chairman and CEO of ObjectVideo, and co-owner of the NHL Washington Capitals, the NBA Washington Wizards, and the WNBA Washington Mystics.
He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland with his family. He is also the son of a Cuban father and an Ecuadorian mother. While in high school, he attended a Capitol Hill fundraiser for Hispanic Republicans with his father. One of his father's friends introduced him to Congressman Jack Kemp's chief of staff leading Fernandez to a part-time intern position translating Spanish documents. During this time he was given his first laptop computer and was his high school yearbook caption read, "Most remembered for being the first to have a computer."
While attending the University of Maryland, he continued to work for Kemp. On Capitol Hill he worked on tax legislation and issues involving Central America using spreadsheets and programs he developed to simulate the impact of various tax plans on different income groups.
In 1991, Fernandez left his job at Digicon and founded Proxicom with $40,000. Under his leadership, the company became a top global provider of e-business services for Fortune 500 companies. Proxicom's ultimate success was sealed with the signing of two big clients in the mid90s MCI and AOL. Fernandez met AOL's Ted Leonsis on an airplane on his way back from launching one of the first e-commerce Web sites for MCI. The subsequent deals from AOL led to growth, venture investments and the Proxicom's eventual $58.5 million IPO in 1999. In 2000, Proxicom generated more than $200 million in revenue.
Ties to the philanthropic sector
Fernandez and his wife, Jean-Marie, founded the Fernandez Foundation. The organization supports programs to help improve the lives of needy Washington D.C., area kids by providing education, health care and other related needs. In another philanthropic endeavor, Raul joined 28 Washington, D.C. businesspeople to create Venture Philanthropy Partners, a $31 million non-profit fund to make investments in Washington-area organizations.
Ties to government
In 2001, Fernandez was appointed to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also led the Information Technology Analysis Team for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness.