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Two Baltimore firms make Business Insider's 'Best Startups' list

Business Insider has featured a list of the 15 Best Startups to Work For in America and two Baltimore companies made the list: Parking Panda and Groove Commerce

Creative digital agency Groove offers 100 percent benefits and free Friday lunches, Business Insider writes. The company also recently moved into a 10,000-square-foot office in the Fallsway Spring building near Little Italy. 

Parking Panda hosts retreats at the beach and outings in restaurants. 

Office design company Turnstone partnered with University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Professor Peter Cappelli to come up with the list. Turnstone asked for nominations and then judges selected the 15 best based on four criteria: Business goals and impact, leadership, the culture and office space, and success potential, a measure of the business's ability to grow and how that growth could contribute positively to the community.

See the whole list here

New Maryland call center provides info on health care reform

Maryland has opened a call center that answers residents' questions on health care reform, writes the AP in a story that ran in the Washington Post.

From now until Sept. 30, the call center will help prepare individuals and small businesses for open enrollment. It will employ 125 on Oct. 1 when consumers can begin selecting a health insurance through the state-run online health exchange, the Post writes.

You can read the entire story here

Blog says Baltimore is an EdTech hub

GettingSmart.com, a blog that highlights innovations in learning, recently featured Baltimore's Digital Harbor Foundation.

The foundation is located in Federal Hill site, at the site of a former recreation center that has become a technology hub where Balitmore City school students can learn about web design, mobile app development and digital media production.

"Less than a year old, the Foundation already had one spinout company, An Estuary, a professional development company," GettingSmart.com writes.  

Read the entire story here

Entrepreneur magazine says Maryland is the best state for starting a business

Maryland, Colorado and Virginia support innovation and their high-tech workforce, according to the fourth annual Enterprising States report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Entrepreneur magazine features the list of states, which also included Utah and Massachusetts in the top five. The U.S. Chamber took a look at the number of high-tech businesses, STEM job concentration and programs that support entrepreneurs. The report credited the Free State for its Activate program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List. 

Read the entire story here

Forbes chats with company about designing Baltimore company's mobile app

Forbes recently interviewed the owner of a company that redesigned WellDoc's mobile app. Based in Baltimore, WellDoc has created the first FDA-approved app to manage diabetes.

In an article titled "6 Things You Should Do When Designing for Mobile," Forbes chats with Moment Design Inc. Principal John Payne about redesigning the WellDoc app so it can be commercialized.

Holding a design charette, or a collaborative approach to design, and gathering insights about the user experience, were among Payne's recommendations. Read the entire story here

Fast Company says Maryland is the third most innovative state

Maryland is home to a thriving startup community, says Fast Company. The magazine ranks the Free State No. 3 on its list of the most innovative states.

Florida, Texas, Arizona and Alaska rounded out the top five. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia were at the bottom three of the list, which ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

Maryland also ranked No. 4 on Fast Company's breakdown of the number of startups per million residents.

The magazine culled data from a variety of sources to come up with the ranking: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity and others. 

Want to avoid Baltimore parking tickets? There's an app for that.

Ever wish you could know how likely it is that you'll get a ticket if you skip paying the meter while you grab a cup of coffee?

Now you can, thanks to a Baltimore developer. Hampden resident Shea Frederick has developed an app called SpotAgent that can assess the likelihood of getting a parking ticket at certain times and locations, writes Atlantic Cities.

"The city’s data includes the date, time and a rough address (as well as license plate info) for every parking ticket handed out in the city in the past year," writes Atlantic Cities. "And new tickets typically appear in the database within just a few hours of landing on a windshield.
SpotAgent is available for the iPhone and Android devices. 

Forbes reviews Baltimore's Digital Harbor Tech Center

The South Baltimore Recreation Center has officially reopened as a neigborhood technology center, thanks to the efforts of the Riverside community and Digital Harbor High School supporters.

Forbes takes a look at the new venue, where Balitmore City school students can learn about web design, mobile app development and digital media production. 

"The center’s grand opening was a packed house, where excited participants got to show equally excited visitors the fruits of some of their early work, providing a taste of what’s to come from the space," the magazine writes. "Shelly Blake-Plock, the executive co-director of the Digital Harbor Foundation, delivered such an impassioned welcome speech that you could almost see where all this excitement was coming from."

You can read the rest of the story here

Forbes Says Baltimore is a Tech Hot Spot

America's new hotbeds of technology innovation are not in the major cities like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, but smaller ones, according to Forbes. And ranking No. 4 on Forbes' list is the Greater Baltimore region, where jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grew nearly 18 percent between 2001 and 2012.

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area got the top spot, followed by Riverside-San Bernadino, Calif., and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas. 

New York, L.A. and Chicago, in contrast, all lost tech jobs in the past decade, according to the data crunched by Praxis Strategy Group

"As the social media industry matures and consolidates, employment is likely to continue shifting to less expensive, business-friendly areas," Forbes writes.

You can read the rest of the story here

IdeaMensch to Help Marylanders Turn Ideas Into Reality

IdeaMensch is a community that shows people how to bring their ideas to life and it is helping the fine folks in the Free State. 

"Whether your idea is an app, a nonprofit, a book, a website or an invention – what matters is how you bring it to life. Who matter are the people who bring those ideas to life," the IdeaMensch site says. The Los Angeles-based organization is going on a four-month road trip and is hitting every state. 

It makes its stop in Maryland Sept. 25 at the Loyola Columbia Graduate Campus, starting at 6 p.m. Speakers include Social Toaster CEO Brian Razzaque and PointClickSwitch CEO Phil Crowskey. Read more about the Baltimore event here

Fast Company Recognizes Baltimore's Tech Scene

Forget Silicon Valley. There are loads of other cities throughout the U.S. that have a promising tech scene. 

That's according to Fast Company, which says Baltimore is of "15 Tech Scenes in Places You'd Never Think to Look."

Phoenix, Charleston, S.C., Salt Lake City and Cleveland are some of the other towns on its list. 

"Baltimore has a startup market pumped full of youthful energy," Fast Company writes. "These burgeoning entrepreneurs can tap into a slew of resources, such as Accelerate Baltimore, a business accelerator, and Innovate Maryland, which forges partnerships between schools and tech companies."

You can read more about Baltimore's tech scene here

The photo includes a picture of Baltimore Sun Tech Reporter Gus Sentementes, who was featured last month in Fast Company for creating a home renovation app. 

Forbes Says Baltimore One of the Best Cities for Tech Jobs

Forbes says Baltimore is the nation's 5th best city for tech jobs, citing growth in federal spending and STEM.

The magazine didn't even lump the city in with Washington/Maryland/Virginia, which was ranked No. 2 for job growth. No. 1 was Seattle and No. 3 was San Diego.

Forbes took a look at employment growth across a variety of sectors associated with the high-tech economy, including software, Internet publishing, engineering and math-related fields.

You can see the complete list here.

Baltimore Tech Journalist Creates Home Renovation App

Baltimore Sun tech reporter Gus Sentementes is used to writing profiles of emerging tech companies. 

But this time, Sentementes is the subject of a profile himself in Fast Company after creating an iPhone app called NestPix. The app allows homeowners to track how much money they are spending on renovations. 

"'People are looking for ways to protect the value of their home,'" Sentementes tells Fast Company. "'This can give them some kind of comfort.'"

You can read the rest of the story here

Parking Panda Gets a Nod in Wall Street Journal

Baltimore startup Parking Panda is shifting into high gear. 

The company, which rents out parking spaces in private garages and driveways and was highlighted in a Bmore Media feature in November, got some good ink in the Wall Street Journal.

"While some high-tech companies got their start in garages, a new crop of business founders, including Nick Miller of Baltimore, is giving fresh meaning to the term 'garage entrepreneur,'" the Wall Street Journal writes. Parking Panda is expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia after having closed $250,000 in funding from angel investors. 

You can read the rest of the story here

Facebook IPO Roadshow Stops in Baltimore

Facebook took its investor pitch on the road and made a pit stop in Baltimore, according to the New York Times. 

It also hit Boston, San Francisco and Chicago prior to its prepares to go public May 17 or 18. It's on track to raise nearly $11 billion with a market valuation of $86 billion, the Times writes. 

You can read the rest of the story here

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