| Follow Us:




Innovation + Job News

749 Articles | Page: | Show All

Wasabi accelerator company releases two e-books

Peku Publications recently published its first two electronic books, and plans to publish four more by the end of this year. The online publishing company, affiliated with a Baltimore accelerator, is also kicking off a marketing analysis this summer to grow readership of its 23 free online magazines. 
 
The two e-books are “Entertaining with PKP,” recipes for cocktails and appetizers; and “Beyond Cats & Dogs: A Guide to Unique Pets.”
 
Both topics were chosen because of their popularity in the online magazines, says CEO and Editor Michele Pesula Kuegler, who is married to Tom "TK" Kuegler, co-founder and general partner of Wasabi Ventures LLC. The books are sold for Nook and Kindle on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com at $4.99 each.
 
Kuegler took over Peku Publications in 2008, which was launched that year under the name of Wasabi Media Group. It was renamed Peku last year.
 
Based in Manchester, N.H., Peku Publications is a portfolio company of Wasabi Ventures, a venture capital firm that partnered with Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore last year to create the Wasabi Ventures Accelerator.
 
Peku Publications received engineering and design support from Wasabi Ventures, and uses Wasabi Ventures interns on as-needed basis for business and marketing anaylsis. It has also used interns from Loyola’s English department for editing and writing.
 
Kuegler has grown the publication from five freelance writers and 20 articles per week to 20 freelancers, two editors and 100 articles per week in 23 online publications for a national audience.
 
“We have new, original content every weekday from experts in their fields,” she says of the publications on health and fitness, home and garden, entertaining and other lifestyle topics.
 
Peku Publications claims 1.7 million readers per month. The privately owned company has a revenue-based advertising model. Kuegler says that from 2009 to 2010, ad revenue grew by 639 percent; from 2010 to 2011, by 220 percent; and from 2012 to 2013, an expected 125 percent.
 
This summer’s marketing analysis will examine the current publications, what’s popular and look for ways to provide more in-depth content within the context of the current model.
 
Source: Michele Pesula Kuegler, Peku Publications
Writer: Barbara Pash

Cybersecurity conference highlights trends, opportunities

The setting was an auditorium at Howard Community College, in Columbia. The organizer was the Maryland/Israel Development Center. And the topic was cybersecurity, with a panel of experts from federal government, private industry and defense contractors who last month highlighted trends and opportunities in the field.
 
Cybersecurity is reportedly a $55 billion industry in the U.S., although the state economic department does not have a specific breakdown for Maryland. There is also no separate ranking for the cybersecurity industry among the state’s industries.
 
However, by 2016, the federal government’s cybersecurity budget alone is expected to reach $14 billion. Last month, the National Security Agency at Fort Meade broke ground for a reportedly $3.2 billion cyber command center.
 
The agency is one of a half-dozen federal defense and intelligence agencies near Baltimore. Also located here are large financial institutions like T. Rowe Price and Legg Mason, and healthcare facilities like Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the University of Maryland Medical System – all of which have their own cybersecurity teams.
 
Ed Jaehne, chief strategy officer of  Hanover, Md., defense contractor KEYW Corp., sees opportunities, particularly for small and medium sized companies that can respond to market needs.
 
“A lot of innovation occurs in them,” says Jaehne, for, in the industry term, agility, meaning programs that identify a cyber attack is happening and implement a course of action.
 
More than two-thirds of companies aren’t aware of having been the target of a cyber attack until months later, he says, and then only because a third party like a security company notices unusual activity.
 
“You cannot respond to cyber threats without agility,” says Jaehne. “The absence of cyber awareness is both a management issue and a technical issue.”
 
Panelist Matthew Speare, chief technology officer of M&T Bank, says the bank’s cybersecurity focus is to prevent attacks on its corporate and commercial customers.
 
Speare wants protection that is built into the business process. “It should occur automatically without human intervention,” he says.
 
Panelist Frederick Ferrer of National Security-Cyber Consulting, in Baltimore, says programs must better predict the type of attack and how to prevent it.
 
“There is great concern at the national level,” says Ferrer, a member of the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence, a quasi-independent agency, and, at the time of the conference, director of cyberspace for Booz Allen Hamilton Engineering Services.
 
“Terrorists are becoming better at cyber attacks, and within a year they may have the capability to cripple the U.S. economy by any number of attacks. They don’t want to steal things or be a nuisance. They want to destroy things like the national electric grid or Wall Street.”
 
Ferrer gives another example of cyber attack. An American steel company has spent millions of dollars and two years to develop a special chemical formula, proprietary information a competitor — business or nation-state — would love to have.
 
“It doesn’t have to be a Stealth Fighter or a U.S. Department of Defense project” that needs protection, he says.
 
Sources: Ed Jaehne, KEYW Corporation; Matthew Speare, M&T Bank; Frederick Ferrer, National Security-Cyber Consulting
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 

New app helps you find the cleanest local beaches

If you're looking for the safest and cleanest beaches this summer, there's an app for that.

Assateague Coastkeeper, a clean water advocacy nonprofit in Berlin, has launched a free app that tells if beaches and waterways in Worcester County are safe and open to the public, based on official monitoring of bacteria count.
 
The Swim Guide App can be downloaded from the Coastkeeper’s website or from iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper, calls the Swim Guide app a one-stop shop for swimming, fishing and water sports in Ocean City, Assateague and surrounding areas. 

Swim Guide information comes from Worcester County, which monitors the bacteria level at Ocean City beaches; the U.S. National Park Service, for Assateague Island’s beaches; and Assateague Coastkeepers, for Coastal Bay waterways like Horn Island, St. Martin’s River and Herring and Turville creeks where jet skiing, kayaking, standup paddling and other sports are popular.
 
Phillips updates the Swim Guide weekly, usually on Thursday night or Friday morning. It will remain operable through Labor Day Weekend.
 
Phillips expects the guide to be an annual summer program. She says the Assateague Coastkeepers is looking for funding to expand it next summer. “We’d like to put in the popular kayaking launch sites,” she says.

Assateague Coastal Trust runs Assateague Coastkeeper. The trust is a partner of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international movement of 200 clean water advocacy groups, whose Lake Ontario group inaugurated the app program in 2007.
 
“There was an issue of pollution. The Lake Ontario group thought it would be a public service to have a single place people could go to find out if a beach was open or not, and also to raise awareness of Waterkeepers,” says Phillips.
 
The idea quickly spread to other groups around the Great Lakes, then to California and the Pacific Northwest. Phillips estimates that about 50 Waterkeepers-affiliated groups now have apps for their local waters.
 
The app has proven so popular that Assateague Coastal Trust, which is funded by private donations, decided to inaugurate one for Worcester County, its jurisdiction.
 
Source: Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 

Canton's 410 Labs raising up to $5M in latest funding round

Canton startup 410 Labs hopes to raise up to $5 million in its third round of funding this year. Founded by Dave Troy and Matt Koll, the company will use the money to refine its email management program, Mailstrom, and to double its current staff of six with design and marketing positions.
 
CEO Dave Troy says the second round of financing will be open to angel investors and venture capitalists, although he did not give a timeframe for closing the round. He also did not give a precise figure but said it would be "under $5 million." 
 
“We are focused on furthering the product,” Troy says of Mailstrom. 410 Labs introduced it last year, an outgrowth of an earlier product called Shortmail, to manage email and text messages. Since its founding in 2011, 410 Labs has raised a total of $1 million. Its first round of financing, it raised $750,000 privately and from angel investors. Another $300,000 was subsequently raised privately. 
 
In January, 410 Labs offered a free beta version of Mailstrom. The financing will be used to refine the web application for large-scale email users, or people who receive 50 and more email messages per day.
 
Since its launch as a free beta program, 44,000 people have processed 550 million emails via Mailstrom. “That gives you a sense of how much email is floating around,” says Troy.
 
Troy credits a technology blogger, Adam Dachis of Lifehacker, with the number of beta users. “When it first came out, there wasn’t a lot of notice. Then an online blogger wrote about it in February and we went from a few thousand [beta users] to 30,000 users in a couple of weeks,” he says. A mention in a story on email in The New York Times Personal Tech section didn't hurt, either.

Mailstrom is available on a free trial basis for the foreseeable future although at some point, 410 Labs will set a fee for versions with different options, says Troy.

Email was introduced in 1971. It hasn’t changed much since then, says Troy, but the mushrooming number of email has created a problem that Mailstrom is intended to solve.
 
Mailstrom works with any standard email system. It uses headers and subject lines to organize emails by a number of categories, including sender, mailing list, social network and shopping network. It can delete a large number of messages from a single sender or company, and can skim by content or time period.
 
Following the industry’s best practices for emails, the program does not open and read the message body, nor does it store the emails.
 
“It takes an initially overwhelming number and makes it actionable,” says Troy.
 
He has found that personality determines how people deal with emails. “Some delete every day, some don’t delete at all. We built an email product that works for a lot of different personalities.”
 
The company is located in the Emerging Technology Center at Canton incubator. Troy has not decided whether to accompany the incubator this fall to its new site in Highlandtown. 


Source: David Troy, 410 Labs
Writer: Barbara Pash

 
 
 

New film to feature Taharka Bros. Ice Cream food truck launch

Baltimore’s Taharka Bros. Ice Cream is launching a Kickstarter campaign June 12 to raise $35,000 for their new “Vehicle for Change” food truck. And a new movie by Oscar-nominated directors will document their effort in a new, yet-to-be named movie that highlights businesses that support social change.
 
“We don’t have a retail shop and a lot of people ask us to have a retail shop or ask how to get our ice cream,” Taharka CEO De'Von Brown says. “So this is a way for us to reach our audience, to have something that’s out in the community.”
 
Taharka Bros. serve up more than just the typical cookies and cream ice cream flavors. They serve what they call “food for thought,” flavors based on social movements. Their goal is to spread the message of inspiring movements and people in history through ice cream, such as a flavor named after Langston Hughes’ poem, “A Dream Deferred.”
 
Taharka has had a presence at festivals such as the Baltimore Book Festival and Artscape. They have also held events at their factory in Hampden, Baltimore and their products are available at over 65 restaurants in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. But a food truck will allow it to make appearances at more festivals, corporate events and colleges.
 
“Hopefully the food truck will be a way to reach people in terms of a physical one-to-one type of outreach. It’s a community outreach vehicle,” Taharka Creative Director Darius Wilmore says.
 
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, who directed “Detropia” and “The Boys of Baraka,” have just wrapped up filming of a yet-to-be named movie on Taharka’s Kickstarter campaign. The movie will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival next spring. The movie will also document Taharka’s collaboration with actress and comedienne Rain Pryor to craft a flavor named after her late father Richard Pryor, whose comedy often addressed class and race. The flavor is tentatively being titled “A Richard Pryor Moment.”

Writer: Daryl Hale
Sources: De'Von Brown and Darius Wilmore, Taharka Bros. 

Hunt Valley software developer launches first product in big data marketplace

Hunt Valley software developer Revelytix this month is selling its first product to process and manage massive amounts of data, known in the field as big data. Since last year, Revelytix has been transitioning into the big data space, and the release of Loom Dataset Management for Hadoop is the culmination of that process.
 
Founder and CEO Michael Lang calls Hadoop a “data lake,” into which clients’ data is dumped. Created by Yahoo engineers in 2005, it is a free, open-source software platform that supports systems with thousands of nodes, in the jargon, of data. Yahoo, Facebook, eBay and IBM, among others, use Hadoop for data storage.
 
Loom Dataset, the new product, is intended to keep track of and manage a company’s data in Hadoop. Loom was launched as a beta product last February before putting it on the market.
 
“Whenever you have open-source software, there are always capabilities and feature gaps that many businesses want. We built software that runs with Hadoop and adds value,” says Lang. 
 
Lang founded Revelytix in 2007.  So far, its primary customer has been the U.S. Department of Defense. With the launch of Loom, however, the company is aiming for the commercial market although it will continue working for the federal defense department.
 
Loom is priced by size of the enterprise system. A “starter kit” for small enterprises using 20 Hadoop nodes costs $35,000 to $40,000; for larger enterprises using 1,000 nodes,  $500,000 to $1 million, according to Lang. Revelytix has partners that service Loom, including Spry, Knowledgent, Hortonworks, Global IDs Inc and HP Squared LLC.

“The ability to process big data is life or death for large enterprises,” says Lang.
 
Revelytix is a private company with a staff of 19. Lang expects to hire more staffers in the future depending on sales of Loom.
 
Source: Michael Lang, Revelytix
Writer: Barbara Pash











Charm City Fringe Festival seeking artists for expanded event

The Charm City Fringe Festival will encompass more venues and showcase more  performances when it returns in November.

This year, the festival will expand from a weekend festival to a five-day event mainly in the Station North Arts and Entertainment neighborhood. The festival will hold its main productions at the Theatre Project in Mount Vernon and at Single Carrot Theatre, says Co-founder Zachary Michel. He says he expects to attract between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees to the paid performances, and additional guests for the opening and closing parties.
 
The Fringe Festival’s goal is to highlight performance art in a range of genres, from plays to dance and burlesque. The Fringe Festival is different from other Maryland festivals because of its unique purpose to promote the “fringe,” or works that are not mainstream or well known. Michel says the festival was able to expand this year because it added three volunteers who are in charge of production and marketing.
 
Also new this year is the system that Michel and co-founder Michael Brush are using to find acts. Instead of booking performances, artists can now apply online at charmcityfringe.com by June 15.
 
Participants in Charm City Fringe Festival will have access to a performance space as well as promotion and marketing via the festival for just an application and production fee.
 
The festival aims to foster a community of theater performers, from up-and-coming companies to smaller groups, looking for the opportunity to reach a broader audience. Michel says that he hopes by bringing a diverse audience of established performance artists as well as young artists, the festival will allow new performers to network and establish valuable connections.
 
“We’re expanding our reach, we’re expanding the amount of artists that we’re taking in, we’re trying to bring more people in and overall just build up the scope,” Michel says.
 
Those interested in attending the festival can purchase tickets online as well as at the box office.

“I think that [attendees] are going to find that there’s just a lot that they didn’t know was going on and really discovering a new side of Baltimore so to speak,” Michel says. “To new art, to new people, to new rumblings that are going on that are going to be emerging in the next couple years.”

Writer: Daryl Hale
Source: Zachary Michel, Charm City Fringe Festival 

O say can you see Fort McHenry's new boat tour?

As the summer tourist season gets underway, Fort McHenry last week added another attraction. For the first time, visitors to the national landmark located in South Baltimore will get the same view of the fort —from the water —  that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem during the War of 1812’s Battle of Baltimore.
 
The Fort McHenry Boat Tour: A Star-Spangled Experience runs every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, through Sept. 15 and is expected to return next summer. Seven tours depart daily, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours leave from the Fort McHenry Pier at 2400 East Fort Ave.
 
The 45-minute narrated tour recounts Key’s experience during September 1814. There are “special audio effects. We’ve got all the bells and whistles, bombs and music,” says Lisa Lynn Hansen, director of Friends of Fort McHenry, a nonprofit that works with the National Park Service to provide educational programs and living history activities.
 
The Friends of Fort McHenry, Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, Living Classrooms Foundation and Baltimore Water Taxi partnered to create the tour, which is expected to be an annual summertime offering.

A $33,000 grant from the the state's Maryland War of 1812 Commission funded the effort. Students from the Baltimore School for the Arts narrate the tour while El-J Productions produced the script and sound effects. Baltimore Water Taxi is providing the 49-passenger boats under a charter arrangement with Friends of Fort McHenry.
 
Fort McHenry drew 850,000 visitors last year. Hansen says the main challenge in arranging the boat tour was setting the length of the tour.  “We didn’t want to take them out on the water too long. They’ve come to tour the fort and this is an add-on,” she says.
 
Friends also wanted to make the boat tour affordable. Visitors can walk around the grounds of the fort for free. A tour of the fort costs $7 per adult, children under age 16 are free. The boat tour costs $10 per adult (age 11 and up) and $5 per child (ages 3 to 10). Tickets are sold at dockside on a first-come, first-serve basis.
 
Source: Lisa Lynn Hansen, Friends of Fort McHenry
Writer: Barbara Pash







Canton e-commerce company SalesWarp seeks $10M in funding

SalesWarp recently closed its second round of financing and is planning a third round before the end of the year. The Canton e-commerce company is also adding five employees in engineering and product management to its current full-time staff of 16.
 
Private investors funded the first and second rounds, CEO David Potts says. He declined to give specific numbers but says that to date, SaleWarp has raised under $5 million.
 
He says that the third round of financing will be “more traditional,” intended for venture capital investors and with a goal of $5 million to $10 million.
 
SalesWarp’s Storefront Management System is an enterprise software product for retail environments from online stores to warehouse systems. It manages data from product to market, and processes orders.
 
“Our software filled a gap we found in the market,” says Potts.
 
SalesWarp originally worked with service providers to integrate its software with clients’ systems. However, about a year ago, SalesWarp decided to service its clients directly, “to make sure all the systems work. It gives us a higher quality product at the end of the day," says Potts. 
 
SalesWarp retains partnerships with service providers for some aspects of e-commerce like front-end merchandising and branding and marketing, if the client chooses.
 
“It allows us to offer an array of services beyond SalesWarp,” says Potts. The third financing round will be used to continue building services for clients.
 
According to Potts, sales have been growing quarter to quarter 50 to 100 percent for the past six quarters.
 
Within a year of launching its system in 2009, the company had acquired the top 10 retailers in the country as clients, he says. This summer, additional clients in the high-end fashion and shoe industries will be announced. He declined to specify brands but says their names will “resonate in those spaces.”
 
6th Street Commerce developed and is the corporate entity for SalesWarp. The privately financed SalesWarp is located in the incubator Emerging Technology Center at Canton. Potts hasn’t decided if  the company will move with the ETC to it new location in Highlandtown in October.
 
Whatever the decision, he says SalesWarp will need an office for at least 20 people. Last year, the company doubled the number of full-time employees from eight to 16. 
 
Source: David Potts, SalesWarp
Writer: Barbara Pash

Canton startup pitches emergency management software to federal agencies

Adashi Systems LLC, a Canton emergency management software developer, is expanding its market to include the  federal government and is coming out with the latest version of its software platform for first responders within the next few months.
 
Brian Pollack, business development manager, says the company’s traditional customer has been local government. This year, the company is changing its sale focus to federal agencies, starting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
 
Pollack says Adashi has 1,500 customers at city and county levels in nearly every state in the country. In Maryland, they include Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Queen Anne’s County.
 
The majority of customers are fire departments or hazardous material teams within fire departments. It also has customers among police departments and US Marine bases that have their own fire departments.
 
Adashi offers four software products. Dispatch, the basic offering, provides navigation, routing and planning data. First Response offers navigation, planning data, hazard modeling and incident guidance. Command Post, the most comprehensive, combines the Dispatch and First Response products and provides a response management system linking commanders.
 
The fourth product, Navigation and Routing Option, has a GPS tracking system. It is included in Dispatch and optional with First Response and Command Post.
 
Pollack says the technology was developed at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Edgewood and a company called OptiMetrics had a license to develop the software.
 
The privately funded Adashi is located in the incubator, Emerging Technology Center at Canton. Pollack does not know if it moving to the ETC’s new Highlandtown location in October.
 
Adashi is a finalist in the state’s 2013 incubator company of the year award, the winners to be announced next month. The company has a staff of 12, and has immediate openings for four positions for engineers and developers.
 
Source: Brian Pollock, Adashi Systems LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash

New York nonprofit promoting Preakness with entertainment and lifestyle website

America’s Best Racing promoted the 138th Preakness Stakes held May 18 at Pimlico Race Course on its new website featuring fashion, food, celebrities, gambling and insiders' tips. The site focuses on the horseracing lifestyle and competition.

New York nonprofit Jockey Club launched America’s Best Racing last year and is funding it with $10 million over the next five years.
 
The website is part of a multimedia platform designed to build awareness of thoroughbred horse racing and to pique public interest in the sport, especially among young adults, according to Jason Wilson, vice president of business development of The Jockey Club.
 
“The sport historically has not been promoted on a national basis in a coordinated way. America’s Best Racing is a recognition that help was needed and how we could fill the void,” Wilson says.

To promote specific races, a tour bus with America’s Best “ambassadors” arrives in cities to give interviews and generate excitement for upcoming events. A tour bus arrived in Baltimore earlier this week with staffers and video crews, and will be on the track for Saturday's race.
 
“We want to get the flavor of what’s going on at the Preakness,” he says.
 
Besides the website, America’s Best has hired a communications director to generate stories about the sport and specific races on TV, radio and social media outlets. The platform produces TV programming and distributes videos through the internet taken at race events.
 
America’s Best is also looking into making an application and games. “We have a game in development and we are looking for people who have existing games about horse racing,” says Wilson.
 
Founded in 1894 as a nonprofit, the Jockey Club oversees registration of thoroughbreds nationwide and supports thoroughbred racing on a national level. The club’s vice chairman is Stuart Janney III, who is active in Maryland racing and co-owns the Kentucky Derby winner, Orb. Kevin Plank, founder of the Baltimore firm Under Armour Inc, is a member of the club.
 
The Jockey Club has no connection to the Maryland Jockey Club, which is affiliated with the Stronach Group and runs Pimlico and other racing properties, Wilson says.
 
The Jockey Club launched America’s Best in response to a study it commissioned. The study showed a declining interest in thoroughbred horse racing, and the impression that it was a sport for the elite.
 
“We decided to get the word out about racing, that it’s for a mainstream audience,” Wilson says. “We are focused on having the next generation get into the sport.”
 
Source: Jason Wilson, The Jockey Club
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SmartLogic Solutions scouting Fells, Canton and Federal Hill for new home

SmartLogic Solutions LLC is looking for a new home to accommodate its growing staff as the web and mobile application developer expects to double revenue by next year.

Currently located in the Emerging Technology Center at Canton, the eight-year-old web and mobile application developer intends to leave the incubator within the next six months for another location in the city. The ETC is moving to Highlandtown in the fall
 
President Yair Flicker has been scouting commercial buildings in Canton, Federal Hill and Fells Point for a 2,000-square-foot office.  “We need to find something quickly,” he says.
 
SmartLogic develops software for web and mobile products like iPhone and Android applications and brings in about $1.5 million in annual revenue. In one year, from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, revenue grew 34 percent, according to Flicker.

“If we’re not at $3 to $4 million in revenue by the end of 2014, I’d be disappointed.”
 
To that end, he has instituted several changes. SmartLogic recently hired a marketing director and a development director. The company is also hiring four more employees this year, primarily developers and programmers, to add to its staff of 11.
 
A new website is in the works, with a focus on attracting  small- and medium-sized businesses. Clients include Woofound and McDonogh School. During the course of a year, the company works on 12 to 15 projects.
 
Founded in 2005, the privately financed company moved into the incubator, Emerging Technology Center at Johns Hopkins Eastern in 2006. In 2011, it relocated to the Emerging Technology Center at Canton.
 
Source: Yair Flicker, SmartLogic Solutions LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spotkick expands market with cybersecurity program

Startup Spotkick this week is introducing its first product, cybersecurity software. Located at an incubator on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus, the cybersecurity service provider is releasing three versions of the software it uses for its own clients. All the software, so far unnamed, is found on Spotkick's website and one of the versions is free.
 
CEO and founder Eric Fiterman says the free version is staying on the website for the foreseeable future. There is a fee for the other two versions, standard and premium. 
 
“Not all businesses can afford services like ours and other providers,” he says. “We want to make it accessible to them.”
 
All three versions are designed to take inventory of a company’s computer system and provide a report of vulnerabilities, although at different levels of complexities. The software is web-based, with users filling out a profile online. Reports are delivered online as well.
 
“Different companies have different levels of exposure based on factors like the age of their computer system,” Fiterman says.  “We run inventories of different capabilities depending on what clients want. We look for things that are hidden or hard to find.”
 
Fiterman calls the free version a “walk-through” that gives users an idea of their exposure to cyber risks like getting hacked or having their data compromised.  
 
The standard version, a flat fee whose price is likely to be under $49, has detailed information about where the user’s system is most vulnerable and to what kinds of cyber-risks. The premium version, likely under $79, not only identifies the risks but provides options on how to protect the system and even counter-attack.
 
Fiterman, a former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent whose specialty was cyber crimes, founded Spotkick in 2011. It was the first startup accepted into the then-newly formed incubator known as the Northrop Grumman Cync Program. The program is the result of a partnership between UMBC and Northrop Grumman Corp.
 
Fiterman says Spotkick will continue to market its cybersecurity services to clients, among them the U.S. Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman and other Baltimore area startups.
 
“We have service contracts and are generating revenue,” he says, although he declined to give a figure. 
 
The privately financed startup has a staff of five. Fiterman will hire at least two more developers this year.
 
Source: Eric Fiterman, Spotkick
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 

Ripken Gourmet Burgers hit a home run in sales

Baltimore County's Roseda Beef expects to hit $5 million in sales this year thanks to the expanded distribution of Ripken Gourmet Burgers.

Named after baseball’s Hall of Fame and former Baltimore Orioles baseball star Cal Ripken Jr., the burgers will help bring in an extra $2 million in sales, says Mike Brannon, vice president of Roseda Beef. The number of outlets for the burgers nearly doubled in one year, from 173 stores last year, when the product was originally introduced, to more than 400 stores last month.

Located at Roseda Black Angus Farm in northern Baltimore County's Monkton, Roseda Beef makes and markets the frozen and boxed burgers. Roseda Beef is part of Roseda Black Angus Farm and Old Line Custom Meat Co., a meat processor located in a 17,000-square-foot plant at 1600 South Monroe St. in Southwest Baltimore. 
 
Brannon says the Ripken burgers, priced at $10 per box for four six-ounce patties, is a first for the company. “It’s a big undertaking, our first pre-packed, co-branded product,” he says.
 
Roseda Beef sells fresh meat under its own name to restaurants and grocery stores like Graul’s Market, a local chain. “We raise cattle and sell strip and tenderloin. But selling the ground beef is a challenge. The Ripken burgers enable us to sell more of the middle meat,” says Brannon.
 
Roseda Beef and Ripken signed the deal in 2012. A portion of sales goes to Ripken himself and to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. Ahold USA’s Giant Food grocery chain  is the exclusive outlet for the product because, says Brannon, “Ripken had a relationship with Giant through his community baseball projects.”
 
Ripken burgers were originally sold in 173 Giant stores in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Sales were so strong that this spring the product was introduced into more than 200 stores in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia as well. In the latter two states, the stores operate under the name Martin’s Food Market. Brannon says there is a possibility of expanding to even more Ahold USA stores in the future.
 
Roseda hired the Florida-based Studio Spear to organize and conduct a social media and public relations campaign. The campaign kicks off this month, officially designated as National Hamburger Month and the start of the “grilling season,”  Brannon says.
 
Ripken is scheduled to promote the product through appearances at a Little League baseball clinic at his Aberdeen Stadium and an end-of-summer picnic to be held at the Roseda Black Angus Farm.
 
A contest for tickets to attend the picnic will be held this summer via Giant and promoted on the Ripken baseball website that becomes operational the end of this month.
 
Source: Mike Brannon, Roseda Beef
Writer: Barbara Pash

VisiSonics seeks $750K in angel funding for new product

VisiSonics Corporation is seeking $750,000 in its first round of funding from angel investors so the College Park startup can launch its first software product, RealSpace, by the fall. 
 
VisiSonics produces software and hardware to improve the sound spatialization, or three-dimensional perception, over headphones and on smart phones and tablet devices.

Last year, the company changed its business direction to focus on developing and marketing its software, which CEO Ramani Duraiswami says is a bigger market compared with hardware.
 
The software, for mobile and consumer electronics, is currently in a testing stage. The goal is to make it easy-to-use and more efficient for consumers and potential industry clients like the gaming industry.
 
“Customers want better audio and music on their portable devices. Our software can be programmed into any device to make it full and rich,” says Duraiswami.
 
Founded in 2009, VisiSonics is a spinoff from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is located on the College Park campus’ incubator, the Technology Advancement Program.
 
The company originally focused on special hardware, called an “audio camera,” to capture sound, with accompanying software to analyze the sound for a variety of uses. The hardware captured sound in already-existing spaces like classrooms, concert halls, stadiums and work environments.
 
Duraiswami says the company had over $500,000 in sales of hardware, from customers like the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Stanford University and the US Naval Research Laboratory.
 
“If they were designing a concert hall, for example, the hardware would determine if and where the sound was appropriate,” says Duraiswami. “It helped customers to characterize the sound environment.”
 
Last month, the Baltimore-based University of Maryland Ventures chose VisiSonics as the first winner of a newly created Start-Up Prize to help startups commercialize their products.
 
UM Ventures is the first joint partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park. The UM Ventures prize is intended to bring innovative technologies to the market.
 
James Hughes, director of UM Ventures and president of Research Park Corp. says the criteria for the Start-Up Prize is a combination of the potential impact of the startup’s technology and how far the startup has come since founding, especially in the last year. VisiSonics was a semi-finalist in this year’s Investment Maryland Challenge.
 
Hughes says the prize will be awarded annually and with a dollar amount at least equal to the $5,000 VisiSonics received. VisiSonics also received a $75,000 loan from the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) for commercialization.
 
VisiSonics has six full- and part-time employees. It is looking to hire up to four staffers, in software and business development, this year.
 
Sources: Ramani Duraiswami, VisiSonics; James Hughes, University of Maryland Ventures
Writer: Barbara Pash
749 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts