8 Baltimore-based tech company acquisitions you should know about - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jun. 11, 2013 12:30 pm

8 Baltimore-based tech company acquisitions you should know about

What are some of the biggest startup exits in the Baltimore region? Here are some of the best known.

Blue skies over Baltimore.

(Photo by Flickr user Eric Fidler, used under a Creative Commons license)

Update: Added mentions of Bill Me Later cofounders Gary Marino, Mark Lavelle and Tom Keithley. (6/19/13, 4:40 p.m.)
Popular perception would have us believe that Baltimore, fair city of Natty Boh drinkers and Ravens fans, is known only for its ability to serve as a mean backdrop for a former HBO series and a current Netflix show.

And in the startup world, certainly, Baltimore is not yet on the same playing field as New York City, Boston, Austin or Palo Alto. But there is success to be found here.

In what will be a recurring series of posts, Technically Baltimore presents a partial list of exits — by startups and companies based within Baltimore city or the Baltimore region — you ought to know.

To be clear, the focus here is on Baltimore technology firms that were purchased by larger companies, not other forms of exits, like Millennial Media going public and spinoffs like Videology, noted below. But what other exits should be included?

1. Bill Me Later
2. Advertising.com
  • Anyone who attended this past weekend’s Hack for Change hackathon (and many other tech events) is familiar with the online marketing startup that was acquired by AOL in in 2004 for $435 million in cash.
  • John and Scott Ferber, cofounders of Advertising.com in the late 1990s, made about $70 million before taxes from the deal.
  • Advertising.com is still based from Baltimore’s Tide Point.
  • Since, the brothers Ferber have founded Videology, an online advertising platform, which changed its name from Tidal TV at the beginning of 2012.
3. Sylvan Learning Systems
4. Connections Education Inc.
5. Blue Sky Factory
6. Moodlerooms
7. ToadNet
  • What would become a dial-up and broadband ISP (in the earliest days of ISPs) began as Toad Computers in 1986 when Dave Troy and his cofounder were still in high school.
  • Based from Severna Park, ToadNet was acquired by Continental VisiNet Broadband in 2004 for more than $2.6 million in an all-cash deal, according to reporting in 2005. But Troy, in an email Tuesday, said ToadNet was acquired for more than $4 million, including earn-out provisions.
  • ToadNet, under new ownership, then formed a subsidiary, DataPoint data center (which has since renamed itself Expedient), and relocated to Tide Point (where Expedient still is today) from Severna Park.
8. WhoGlue
  • The software company was founded in 2001 by the present executive director of gb.tc, Jason Hardebeck.
  • Its product, WhoWare, was a relationship management networking tool. WhoGlue was acquired by Facebook in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.
  • That was two years after it sued Facebook for violating “a patent awarded to WhoGlue in 2007 for an ‘information management system’ to control personal information,” reported the Baltimore Business Journal at the time.
  • According to the BBJ, Hardebeck “purchased back enough trademarks and WhoGlue’s software, WhoWare, to be able to service his current client base independent of Facebook,” and he also formed a new company, WhoGlue LLC.

For those wondering about Baltimore city neighborhoods mentioned: Technically Baltimore uses the Baltimore CityView map to identify addresses and neighborhoods.

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Have suggestions for exits we should include in future posts? Comment below or email info@technical.ly.

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