AccelerateBaltimore Graduates First Class of Startups

AccelerateBaltimore, a Baltimore, MD based startup accelerator program that awarded $25k in convertible debt notes to a small group of startups recently, showcased program graduates on July 25th.  I had planned on making it out to the event but despite my scheduling jujitsu capabilities making it to the event was just not in the cards.  I wish now that I had because according to Social Matchbox regular, Adetola Adewodu, who has been singing the praises of several of the startups in the program gave me the play by play later and it sounded like a great event.

According to a press release by Baltimore’s Emerging Technology Center (ETC), the following companies were part of the launch:
- Unbound Concepts: A proprietary machine learning algorithm designed to read text and “level” books by reading level
- Hooopla: A mobile app that facilitates the process of organizing social activities among friends (think groupon meets evite) and allowing merchants to offer group discounts.
- NoBadGift.com: A crowd sourced web application for both personal and charitable gifts
- Flying Pig Digital: A website and mobile app for exploring/sharing news by providing a game-like experience with real rewards.

The program requires participating companies to remain in Baltimore for at least five years, but when I asked Chris Moyer about this back in December he told me that there are ways around this – the program wants these companies to be successful, not to limit their potential completely.  When he and I caught about about the program he also told me that AccelerateBaltimore was targeting top universities up and down the east coast.  I decided not to do a write-up about the program at the time he and I spoke because their term sheet was not finalized.  They ultimately posted the AccelerateBaltimore term sheet here in case you want to check it out.

Overall, the concepts being pursued by these startups and others that we have encountered coming out of Baltimore have been a level or two more interesting than many of the startups seem to be emanating from DC and Northern Virginia.  While this is not always the case, it is definitely notable that startups coming from Baltimore tend to be slightly more brainy and more technologically sophisticated.  This could bode well for the Baltimore startup scene as it continues to reach for the stars.

We look forward to seeing more startups from the Baltimore-Washington tech corridor as they hit the scene.  Several recent Social Matchbox startups from this community included Replyz, SortIQ, and Tap Metrics (acquired by Millennial Media).