Six founders told a crowd at the Mount Washington Dye House about how they’ve worked to grow over the last four months in ETC’s Accelerate Baltimore program.
In the end, Chord received $100,000 in additional funding from the Abell Foundation.
— Margaret Roth Falzon (@margaret_h_r) April 20, 2017
Sporting green pants and a belt with a picture of a bone on the buckle, founder Jared Marmen talked about the company’s smart collar and corresponding app, which looks to train pets through positive reinforcement with invisible leashes and fences. The technology can help people as much as the pets themselves, he said.
“Human psychology is really our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity,” said Marmen, who also picked up recognition at Pitch Across Maryland’s finale and FounderTrac’s demo day in Annapolis.
The funding will help the company move out of testing phases with the product, Marmen said.
ETC President Deb Tillett said the judges — which also included Ben Carson Jr., Demian Costa of Sagamore Ventures, Jason Tagler of Camden Partners, Calvin Young of Harbor Bank CDC and Eileen O’Rourke of the Abell Foundation — faced a tough choice in picking the winner. In that spirit, let’s look at all of the companies who pitched, each of whom got $25,000 when they were accepted into the program:
- Alex Bullington started off the night with a passionate pitch. The social polling app he founded with Greg DiNardo that lets users vote on side-by-side photos grew to 75,000 users in the four months of the program. It helps that the startup partnered up with NBA players Caron Butler, Anthony Tolliver and Steve Blake.
- This startup is gamifying financial literacy. Angel Rich talked about Credit Stacker, a mobile game that reverse-engineered a credit scoring and reporting system to help people understand the process.
- Trading bail for illegal guns. That’s the idea behind Gunbail, which allows people in jail to trade in a gun for their freedom. Trevor Brooks is working on partnering with a city that can introduce the program.
- Charlene Brown is looking to launch the platform that connects home-care agencies with caregivers — and caregivers to jobs — this summer. “We have a platform rooted in crossing the digital divide,” she said. The team was easy to spot, showing up in white lab coats.
- Judging by the knowing audience reaction, Eric Niu is onto something in looking to make it easier for men to dress well. The platform helps men find clothes at consignment shops, meaning they will also save money.