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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. 

Online grocer Relay Foods gets $8M to expand in Baltimore and D.C.

Online grocer Relay Foods has gotten a fresh round of capital, which Forbes says it is planning to use to expand further in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The Charlottesville, Va., company has raised another $8.25 million, from Battery Ventures, TomorrowVentures and many smaller shops, Forbes says.

“'It’s huge for the company in that this more than doubles our funding and allows us to expand aggressively into the D.C. and Baltimore markets,'" Relay CEO Zach Buckner tells Forbes. 

In addition to offering traditional grocery items, Relay delivers dairy, produce and other products made locally. It also sells eco-friendly products like Seventh Generation cleaning supplies. It is one of a handful of companies that are taking the buy-local food movement online.


Legg Mason Fund Noted for Top Returns

Legg Mason's William Miller is known for his legendary investment streak. He beat the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years with the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust — a streak that ended in 2005. 

Now Miller is back in the investment spotlight for another fund he manages, the Legg Mason Capital Management Opportunity Trust. It's one of three stock mutual funds highlighted in the New York times for its performance during the fourth quarter of 2012. The fund had a 12 percent return for the quarter and invested heavily in financial and housing stocks. 

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. 

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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

Local Startup 410Labs Generates National Buzz With Shortmail

Local startup 410Labs made big news last week by announcing a round of funding for Shortmail, a new too designed to alleviate the burden of overwhelming email conversations.

From the source:

But it's not just Twitter for email. There are other interesting elements of the service too. For example, you can set any Shortmail conversation to be private or public. The latter feature I tested out yesterday with 410 Labs (the company behind Shortmail) co-founder Dave Troy. Below, find my Q&A back and forth with him. (They don't currently have embeds, so I took screen shots of it to include in this post. But you can find the thread live on the web here.)

As Troy notes below, 410 Labs has secured a $750,000 Series A round of funding. True Ventures, 500 Startups, Fortify Ventures, and The Maryland Venture Fund drove the round. Individuals including Tim O'Shaughnessy (co-founder of LivingSocial), Jeff Ganek (founder of Neustar), Abdur Chowdhury (chief scientist at Twitter), among others, participated as well.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.
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