Jonathan Koves ('05) creates Iraqinews.com
By Katie O'Dowd ('07)
How many recent college graduates can say they have established a new Internet site for Iraq? Or run a Web site development and design firm that they launched from their dorm room freshman year? Or that they've worked with Fortune 500 companies and clients from all around the world?
Jonathan Koves ('05) creator of Iraqinews.com
You would be hard-pressed to find a 20-something who has accomplished just one of these endeavors. But entrepreneur Jonathan Koves ('05) has already done it all. He is even a member of American Mensa, which means he scored in the top 2 percent of the population on an IQ test.
As a freshman at JMU, Koves worked from his room in Blue Ridge Hall. While most college students look for a job in retail or on campus, Koves decided to start his own Web site development firm to pay the bills.
"It seemed to be a time when it was a fairly sought-after service," says Koves, who balanced school and work by becoming an "insomniac and a super-senior." He also became a part-time student some semesters so he could devote more time to his company -- his start-up eventually became Koves Technologies LLC.
Koves has also created Iraqinews.com, a Web site that provides streaming news about major developments in the region. Koves has hired Iraqi journalists to provide news coverage from the war-torn country. "We'll provide a way to look at this situation through Iraqi eyes," he explains.
The site operates independently, without financing from other groups, since Koves wants to keep the site "intellectually diverse" and expand the contacts and journalists in Iraq. Koves notes, "The Web site receives a tremendous amount of both hostile and favorable feedback. I want it to be the best news outlet for Iraq."
Carrie Belt ('04), assistant director for Creative Change Center, a pioneering nonprofit creative center in Richmond known as C3, says, "Jonathan is working on developing Iraqinews.com so that it can be the cnn.com of Iraq -- using Iraqi reporters."
One of the top Web design companies
Belt, who says that C3's vision is to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of Richmond through creative collaboration, has worked extensively with Koves Technologies. "Jonathan has one of the top Web design companies in the world," she says, "He created, designed and donated the C3 Web site to our center because we were a start-up nonprofit and didn't have ample funds for a really nice Web site. Koves and his colleagues have experience working with big companies and really get their hands around [a client's] goal. They consulted with us to help us really figure out what we needed."
Koves Technologies specializes in the design and development of innovative Web sites with Macromedia's Flash software. Flash technology allows for higher-quality images and more creativity in Web design.
"Jonathan has revolutionized Web design through his use of Flash," Belt says. "In fact, his Web design frequently gets stolen, and he has to go to great lengths to get it back."
With Marriot International Inc. and General Electric Co. among the company's clientele, Koves Technologies serves an array of businesses and individual patrons. Koves also assists Muslim parties in obtaining Web sites when they cannot do so on their own. Muslims cannot use credit cards to buy Web sites, Belt says.
A reputation for customer service
"One of the hardest things is really trying to manage the workflow from kickoff to delivery for clients," Koves explains. "[The company] tries to make it as seamless as possible and make sure that clients get what they want when they want it. It's always a challenge we try to strive [meet]."
Koves Technologies emphasizes the importance of customer service in a field that has a reputation for not being customer-friendly. His company offers 24-hour customer support. "Customers should always be able to get in touch with a person," Koves says.
One of the main ways the company obtains business is through referrals. "Dealing with people is my favorite part," Koves says. "We form a lot of long-term relationships. It extends far beyond business; it's more than just a customer service relationship."
The company is headquartered in Richmond and has locations in India and Romania. Koves Technologies is currently setting up an additional location in Tempe, Ariz., and is looking into possibly opening up in Europe in the future, ac