Strong venture capital forecast for 2015 [Startup Roundup]

Plus: Mindgrub names a CTO, and NewsUp launches a podcast.

The event is happening July 17 on the interwebs. (Video by Free High Quality Video Production Footage Clips, used under a Creative Commons License)

startupWho’s Getting Funded

Citelighter, an edtech startup based at Betamore in Federal Hill, is poised for growth. The company, which relocated to Baltimore from Brooklyn in 2013, recently closed a $2 million round of seed funding. The software company will be looking to add up to 20 employees and expand its software tools for teachers, as Baltimore reported.
Nationally, 2014 was an “exciting year” for venture capital, Mark McCaffery, global software leader and technology partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, noted in a year-end report that was released last week. Investments in software were up 77 percent over 2013, and internet-specific companies had a 68 percent increase in dollars invested. The strong numbers have analysts predicting a “strong level of investing” to continue in 2015.
Among the notable local deals for early-stage companies for the fourth quarter of 2014, as reported by PwC:

  • Opiatalk raised $500,000 from the Maryland Technology Development Corp.
  • Biotech startup AgeneBio raised $4.1 million from undisclosed investors.
  • Straighterline, an edtech startup that we recently profiled for receiving some national validation for its model, raised $4.22 million.
  • Pixelligent raised $5.5 million from an undisclosed firm.
  • Biotech startup Avitus Orthopaedics raised $300,000.
  • Sustainable living-focused ccommerce company Bambeco raised about $2.4 million from multiple investors, including New Atlantic Ventures and the Maryland DBED.


Who’s Making Moves

Mindgrub promoted Sa’ad Raouf from Vice President of Engineering to Chief Technology Officer, according to CityBizList. Raouf joined the company in 2012, and will now focus on the company’s R&D department, Mindgrub Labs. He’s also a skilled ping pong player.
Staq announced the hiring of software developer Henk Reder, cofounder Mike Subelsky emails: “Henk is a recent graduate of Betamore and just completed an internship at Yet Analytics. We’re very lucky to have him! He will be working on Staq’s platform team, responsible for keeping our data warehouse full of accurate client data.”
NewsUp, the online current events quiz game that’s headquartered at ETC’s Highlandtown campus, launched a new podcast, hosted by Sam Gallant. For the first edition, the guest is 2nd District City Councilman Brandon Scott, who provides an update on happenings around Baltimore. Of course, he also takes a quiz.
HDScores’ app is now available in the Google Play store to go along with the previously released iOS version. The app, which Baltimore profiled in the fall, allows restaurant-goers to search health reports. CEO Matthew Eierman emails: “Our Web app’s development is coming along nicely, along with the HDScores RESTful API. Both offerings should becoming available by the end of the first quarter of 2015.” 
Canton-based Personal Genome Diagnostics will work with a company created by a “genomics legend.” J. Craig Venter’s Human Longevity, Inc., is partnering with PGDx to expand its investment in cancer genomes, according to a press release.
The Chesapeake Regional Tech Council named five new board members. The new members are: Greg Boucher, Bengur Bryan; Swadesh Guchhait, Alliance InfoSystems; Joan Majoros, Parrot Labs/KEYW; Chuck Mosser, IntelliGenesis; and Geri Sullivan, Comcast.

Who’s Getting Buzz

Sickweather, the illness-tracking app that’s based in ETC Highlandtown, was featured on CBS’s “The Doctors.”
Elevated Element, the local drone-powered aerial imagery firm, was featured in the February edition of Entrepreneur Magazine. While you have to buy the magazine to see it, the headline wins the day: “Game of Drones.”

Bonus Points for Creativity

Baltimore’s famed street art is coming inside at the ETC Highlandtown campus.

Companies: Mindgrub / OpiaTalk / Pixelligent / Citelighter / Elevated Element / Staq / Chesapeake Regional Tech Council / HDScores / NewsUp / StraighterLine / Sickweather

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