Startup Maryland Announces 8 “Pitch Across Maryland” Finalists

Startup Maryland, StartupMD, Baltimore startup,Pitch Across Maryland,startup,startups, startup newsWe’ve been covering the Startup Maryland “Pitch Across Maryland” bus trip since it started in September. Why, because we’re originally from Maryland,( not because Mike Binko has thanked, us mentioned us or even retweeted us) regardless though it’s one of the best entrepreneur and startup activities we’ve seen. The “Pitch Across Maryland” bus tour was created by Mike Binko along with Julie Lenzer Kirk. The bus made stops all across Maryland from as far east as Ocean City/Salisbury and as far west as the mountains.

Along the way, they scooped up over 160 startup pitches. In an earlier article we reported that Binko was expecting around 50 pitches. What ended up happening is nothing short of spectacular. Not only did over 160 startups pitch, other startups came out to the bus stops to party and participate in the festivities and even Governor Martin O’Malley came out. When O’Malley came out though, he was also required to pitch.

Now Startup Maryland has announced the 8 finalists. These 8 finalists were chosen by a panel of entrepreneur and investor experts and they will now pitch at the 2012 Entrepreneur Expo on Tuesday,

Here they are:

Imagine IPD (Innovative Product Designs)

Founder and Executive Design Manager Raymond Cooper, has come up with a new wind turbine that he says is going to “solve so many more problems and issues with energy, it’s far  beyond what many people initially thought it would be”. Cooper has patented his turbine.

Cooper says the turbine is bird friendly, and can produce 2 to 3x the amount of energy current turbines can produce.  According to Cooper the turbine can be scaled from large side to micro size.


Unbound Concepts

Unbound Concepts is the creator of “Book Leveler” an iOS app that allows the user to capture the ISBN number from a book. The app will then return the reading level of the book to the user. Now you don’t have to worry if the books you’re getting for your kid are too easy or too hard. With Book Leveler, if you’re on the fence about your kid reading a certain book you can quickly get the information you need to know, without reading the book.

Founder Katie Palencsar says that her startup is critical with the new “Common Core State Standards” which in a nutshell says that classroom material for all students needs to be matched according to reading level.


WooFound is a personalization tool that knows what you like and helps you find those things. We’ve actually covered WooFound here at nibletz before. WooFound is like hot or not for things. In his pitch video, founder Dan Sines says you can take things as wide ranging as beer and anthropology and say whether they are “me” or not “me”

Check out this other nibletz coverage of WooFound

Same Grain

Same Grain CEO Eric Eller is no stranger to pitching. Their company that counts executives from Apple, AOL, and Millennial Median in it’s pedigree, has already won pitch contests from the Washington Post and  the Start Right Business Plan Competition.

Same Grain is a social discovery tool available on the web, mobile or as a Facebook app which according to Eller lets you find and connect with people privately, that are just like you.

Same Grain is like for friends.


Koolspan is a digital security company. They manufacture a chip called the “Trust Chip” that is deployed in cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and computers. The chip has a suite of security and encryption apps on it that make securing data, voice and text easy and incredibly safe.

According to Greg Smith the company has already sold to Telefonica, Vodaphoen, T-Mobile Europe and they have their trust chip private labeled for AT&T. The company employs 25 people in their Bethesda Maryland headquarters.

Autonomy Engine (Debra Cancro)

This Carroll County startup is the creator of a mobile app called Hone Your Tone. It’s one of the most interesting pitches we’ve seen from the batch of Startup Maryland pitches. Hone Your Tone works in conjunction with a headset or lapel microphone and instantly gives feedback on the way you’re coming across.

This would be excellent when you’re in meetings or conference calls where you want to project a certain mood or tone in the call or meeting. You could also use it to practice speaking so that you don’t come off too arrogant or perhaps inexperienced.

For some Hone Your Tone could be the key to more sales, more closed deals, and better relationships.

SynAm Vaccine

This startup, founded by Carolyn Chen, is working on finding a vaccine for pneumonia.  According to Chen, pneumonia as we know it has 91 different strains. The current vaccines on the market only address a fraction of those strains. Chen’s new vaccine will cover all of them.

Pneumonia is the largest killer of children in the world with over 2 million. There are over 1 million senior hospitalizations a year in the US and over half of people with HIV/AIDS succumb to pneumonia.

SynAm believes they’ve created the first universal vaccine for pneumonia.

CoFounders Lab

CoFounders Lab may be a little late to the party. Shahab Kaviani’s startup is exactly what FounderSync in Cleveland is doing and to a degree what Founder Dating in the valley does. It’s the for founders. It’s the LinkedIn for entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a CoFounder, CoFounders Lab may be the place for you.

Their success is going to come in product design, and how quickly they can scale.

Congratulations to these 8 startups. They’ll be pitching on Tuesday at the Entrepreneur Expo.

What do you think, tell us in the comments below via Facebook.

Here are my picks.

I am intrigued by Raymond Cooper’s pitch but for me to go all the way with that startup I would have to see the turbine and understand how it’s patentable and so scalable. If it’s even a fraction of as good as Cooper says it is he may do very very well.

I like Dan Sines from WooFound they’ve already raised money, have great advisors and are set to go.

What I’m most excited about though is the Hone Your Tone app. Communication is key and essential. I would love to use the app and practice speaking so the next time I am 1:1 with someone I can have the upper hand or when I’m speaking to a group of people.

Good luck to all the teams on Tuesday!


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