Events / Investing / Startups

AccelerateBaltimore: 2nd Demo Day of ETC startup accelerator

"The demographic makeup of our six companies defies the odds of startups," said ETC president Deb Tillett.

The crowd assembled to hear pitches from the six startups.

After three months of preparation and $25,000 in seed funding apiece, the six startups making up the second cohort of AccelerateBaltimore companies presented their tech products at Wednesday evening’s Demo Day.
The festivities (there was dessert and beer) happened on the ground floor of 101 North Haven Street, site of the old King Cork and Seal Building, into which the Emerging Technology Center is moving its Canton offices to the building’s third floor come fall.
Deb Tillett, president of the ETC, which runs the AccelerateBaltimore program, said that the six startups were chosen from among an applicant pool of more than 120, including one from South Africa.
“The demographic makeup of our six companies defies the odds of startups,” she said, before ticking off the relevant statistics: in Silicon Valley, one percent of venture-backed startups have black founders, while eight percent of venture-backed startups are founded by women.
And now, to the startups.

  • An EdTech venture out to “solve resource allocation in education,” said cofounder Jess Gartner.
  • Its School Effectiveness Review Tool allows school districts to view its observational data for assessing a district’s effectiveness in real-time, while providing a platform for visual data analysis
  • Its School Financial Management Tool is for principals and school administrators, who are gradually being given more control of school budgets, Gartner, a former Teach for America fellow, said. The tool will let them budget funds, track expenses and compare their spending to other schools nationwide with records of student success. (In an effort to, you know, not misspend federal stimulus money.)
  • Gartner said they hope to pilot the management tool in 100 charter schools in the next year.


  • It’s a mobile client management tool for freelancers, like personal trainers and hair stylists.
  • “We’re doing for client management what QuickBooks has done for accounting,” said cofounder Justin Shelby.
  • For $29 per month, users can schedule appointments, track clients’ attendance and payments, set up automated notifications for clients and create sales reports, all from their iOS or Android device.
  • It’s self-funded to the tune of $200,000 to date. Shelby and cofounder Kevin O’Connor will launch the beta product in June.


  • A social networks for graduate students, developed by two Johns Hopkins University graduate students. (Read the Technically Baltimore profile.)
  • More than 2,500 students at Hopkins use BusyGrad, which saved the university $60,000 last year through the network’s reagent sharing feature.
  • Cofounder Jon Robinson, who recently completed his Ph.D. in human genetics, said they’re trying to raise $80,000 right now, and are in talks with UMBC and Loyola University Maryland about rolling out BusyGrad at those campuses.

PrintLess Plans

  • With its wireless electronic paper display system, the product puts every blueprint a construction professional might have to carry around on a work site into one device.
  • And it’s not a tablet solution. It’s a large, auxiliary display that you can, quite literally, drop on the ground, as the cofounders demonstrated Wednesday night.
  • And the thing has an 80-hour battery life.
  • Right now the startup has a letter of support from Whiting-Turner construction firm, and hopes to raise $750,000 and sell units by Q4.


  • It’s a “tele-medicine software system,” said cofounder Sophie Kang, that uses motion-controlled video games for physical rehabilitation.
  • Think of what you can do with a Nintendo Wii. Now take that over to a smartphone, and make the motions less strenuous so that stroke survivors, for instance, can slowly improve their physical mobility.
  • Through the product, therapists can track a patient’s recovery and view a patient’s progress 24/7.
  • It’s a business-to-business product for which users pay a licensing fee. Both the University of Maryland and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom will be beta testing Rehabtics in June.


  • Local angel investor Ed Chalfin said it’s the “first company I actually chased around trying to invest in.”
  • It’s a tablet, mobile and web site-survey platform for architects and engineers that digitizes the site surveys they must create — complete with photos, videos, measurements, sundry notes — prior to beginning a construction project.
  • The beta product is in use by 10 companies right now at a cost of $30 per month per user.
  • Cofounder Ryan Sears, owner of a real estate firm the last seven years, said SurveySnap is raising a $500,000 angel round this summer and is “in early talks with a strategic partner” regarding an exit strategy.
Companies: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) / Allovue / Artichoke Client Management Solutions / BusyGrad / Emerging Technology Centers (ETC Baltimore) / Loyola University Maryland / PrintLess Plans / Rehabtics / SurveySnap / University of Maryland / Bio-Rad Laboratories
People: Ed Chalfin / Justin Shelby / Deb Tillett / Jess Gartner / Jon Robinson / Lawrence Gray
Projects: AccelerateBaltimore

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