Brian Razzaque “loves Baltimore” and is “committed” to the city, he told the audience at the inaugural Baltimore Startup Grind at Loyola University Maryland on Tuesday night.
The founder of SocialToaster, the social media startup that recruits fans of businesses, publications and services as “ambassadors” for sharing content online in order to increase website traffic, Razzaque was interviewed by Raymond Thek, the new partner in the Baltimore office of Wasabi Ventures, which sponsors the new Startup Grind events. The event was part of Baltimore Innovation Week.
Although he loves the city, Razzaque also said entrepreneurs are “dealing with an immature ecosystem” in Baltimore, and while he has reasons for being in Baltimore, Razzaque said he has no incentives from city government for staying.
SocialToaster CEO Brian Razzaque on Baltimore’s “immature ecosystem”:
Each month, different startup founders or entrepreneurs from the Baltimore area will sit down for an hour-long, fireside chat-style interview followed by an open question-and-answer session from the audience. Attendees at the first Startup Grind was steady, though there was a crush of no shows — of the 98 people Wasabi general partner Tom Kuegler said registered for the event, about 50 were in the audience, a result he attributed to the rainy weather Tuesday night.
But Razzaque was more than willing to share details about creating SocialToaster, located right across from Woodberry Kitchen near Hampden. He said he “could probably buy two houses or so with what I’ve put in [to SocialToaster],” and offered advice to startup founders in the seats, telling them not to employ friends unless they’re willing to lose that friendship later on.
Razzaque on hiring friends to work in your startup: