SocialToaster and Woofound are startups two and three to receive investments from the $4.3 million Propel Baltimore fund, set up in spring 2012 to make angel investments in startups located inside — or willing to relocate to — Baltimore city. Both startups are taking $200,000 in funding.
- SocialToaster is a web startup and software platform that tries to convert businesses and professional sports teams’ social media followers into “brand ambassadors” as a means to drive website traffic. Based in Woodberry, SocialToaster was approved for a separate $200,000 investment from the state-run InvestMaryland fund late last month.
- Woofound develops Compass and Explore, two image-based personality tests for mobile and the web that gauge people’s interests and sensibilities by having them rate photos as “Me” or “Not Me.” Its career-matching personality test for students, Compass Lite, launched in February. The $200,000 from Propel Baltimore was part of a $2 million round of funding Woofound just closed.
Woofound is based in Middle River in Baltimore County, just outside the city, but will be relocating to within the Baltimore city limits, according to the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), which manages the Propel Baltimore fund. (The startup said it is “working with a real estate professional and has identified a few realistic possibilities.”)
The Abell Foundation and the France-Merrick Foundation were the initial investors into the fund itself. Investments made via the Propel Baltimore fund are anywhere between $100,000 and $250,000, and TEDCO screens for startups and early-stage companies that can provide returns to the initial investors within five to seven years.
In addition to being located inside Baltimore city or being willing to relocate inside Baltimore city, startups receiving Propel Baltimore funding must also have matching funds from other investors prior to receiving Propel Baltimore money.
The first startup to receive Propel Baltimore funding was BandHappy, a startup that facilitates music lessons online between professional musicians and students worldwide. BandHappy finalized a $100,000 investment in April, as Technically Baltimore reported.