AccelerateBaltimore / Acquisitions / Startups

Arbit cofounders join New York-based Ceros in acqui-hire

Local investors will still get a return after the shutdown, said Arbit cofounder Alex Bullington. Here's why the move made good business sense for the Maryland natives.

Alex Bullington pitches Arbit to investors. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)
For startup founders seeking to build a business, the road is filled with decision points. Last year, the cofounders of Baltimore-founded startup Arbit faced one of those times.

Cofounder Alex Bullington said he and co-CEO Greg DiNardo presented it this way: “We have a very good opportunity to possibly continue to flush out Arbit, or stop and say, ‘Look, this is a good opportunity for investors to get their money back.'”

In the end, Bullington and DiNardo ended up employees of New York-based Ceros in an acqui-hire, and Arbit was shut down.

By November, they were leading a product for the content creation platform company called MarkUp that enables real-time feedback on a website. And investors such as the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation, which invested $25,000 via Arbit’s participation in Accelerate Baltimore, have just under the initial investment back; it will receive the rest, plus an additional 20% when the deal finalizes next November, according to Bullington. The company’s board agreed it was the right path, Bullington said.

For the local cofounders — Bullington is from Baltimore and DiNardo is from Salisbury — it meant moving away from a city where they have family ties, and built ties in the entrepreneurial community.

“It was quite difficult but we knew the upside presented itself in a very compelling way to go through with this move to New York, and we’ve been growing and learning quite a bit,” he said.

It wasn’t the first time Arbit made a change. After meeting while playing soccer together at Loyola University Maryland, Bullington and DiNardo founded the startup in 2016 as a social polling startup. They later moved into a B2B model using polling in the market research space, and then to competitive intelligence.

Looking back, Bullington sees time building in Baltimore through the lens of “stepping stones.”

“We’re not a home run success, but to be able to look back and say, without Accelerate Baltimore, there’s no way we would’ve gotten to TEDCO,” Bullington said. TEDCO leaders saw Bullington pitch at Accelerate’s demo day, which led to a meeting and eventual investment. It was TEDCO’s support that led to the B2B move, Bullington said.

Along the way they met Ceros, as the companies explored whether integrating Arbit’s surveys into the content marketing platform might make sense. Now, the cofounders are on a six-person team within the 230-person startup that also includes former employees of ChartBlocks, a U.K.-based company that also joined Ceros via acquisition.

“Alex and Greg are two people that we have grown to know over the last year and a half as we explored a possible Arbit integration in Ceros,” Ceros CEO Simon Berg said via email. “While we ultimately didn’t go down that path, our team always appreciated the tenacity and passion for building products that these two embodied. We believed those traits would help us on our quest to change the world of creativity. And having them oversee our new product, MarkUp, strategically aligned with that mission.”

Companies: Ceros / Arbit, Inc. / TEDCO

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Major state funding boost means more Maryland college students can get tech internships

Cal Ripken Jr. essay: The MLB legend explains his drive to build STEM centers in schools across the nation

The end of software as technology

From quantum to biotech, meet this year’s Maryland Tech Council ICON nominees

Technically Media