Baltimore Startup: ParkingPanda Taps Local Firm, MindGrub For Mobile App

One of my favorite things about traveling in Washington DC and Baltimore (aside being from there) is Parking Panda. Parking Panda is a revolutionary new app that allows peer to peer renting of driveways and other under utilized parking spaces. What you’ll find after using the service is, better directions to a parking spot, not having to constantly plug meters with quarters, and the ability to save both time and money by using somebody else’s spot.

ParkingPanda also backfills peer to peer spots with under-utilized spots in municipal lots as well.

The service is currently only available in Washington DC and Baltimore however they plan on being in Philadelphia,Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco in the not so distant future.

ParkingPanda functions a lot like People with the space in their driveway or wherever else you can park a car, post pictures, a description, some nearby attractions and the requirements for parking there. End users who need to park their car go to the site, decide where they need to park and select a nearby option. The end user puts in their car data and their credit card and goes to the spot to park. It’s that simpe.

Of course like the entire platform could increase it’s usability ten fold with a mobile app and that’s just whatParkingPanda has commissioned the team at MindGrub to do.

The Catonsville based design house has been around since 2004 when teacher turned entrepreneur technologist Todd Marks went a little bit ahead of the curve designing websites, and then mobile apps for Baltimore’s top shelf clientele.

Now, rather than having to plan hours or days ahead, people can utilize ParkingPanda on the fly, even as their driving aimlessly down the streets of DC or Baltimore looking for a spot.


ParkingPanda is here

Mindgrub is here

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Maryland Startups Getting On The Bus: Pitch Across Maryland

Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk organizers of Pitch Across MD photo: Pitch Across Maryland

Apparently we’re not the only ones who truly believe to cover and spread the word about entrepreneurship you need to take it in the trenches and to the streets. That’s the exact idea behind Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk’s, Pitch Across Maryland initiative.

The two have organized the Pitch Across Maryland bus that will start September 11th and end on September 28th. Like our sneaker-strapped, nationwide startup road trip, Pitch Across Maryland will get in the trenches and make stops at accelerators, incubators, and anywhere with a startup pulse in Maryland.

The Pitch Across Maryland bus will stop by Baltimore Innovation Week on September 21s and round out their tour at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia Maryland to introduce startups and entrepreneurs.  Our friends at Technically Baltimore are also reporting that the bus will make it’s first Baltimore area stop on September 20th at UMBC’s campus.

If Kirk’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because she’s the executive director at the Maryland Center for Entrepeneurship. She is also one of the organizers of the Startup Maryland chapter of the Startup America partnership. Binko is the CEO of Annapolis based Kloudtrack.

The Pitch Across Maryland Bus has been outfitted with a video studio so that entrepreneurs along the route can record their video pitches. The Pitch Across Maryland Bus crew will give the entrepreneurs a copy of their video and also submit them to a statewide pitch contest. After all the videos have been submitted via bus, the contest will open up online and then 16 finalists will be chosen. Those 16 finalists will receive extensive coaching before presenting in front of judges and competing for prizes at an upcoming entrepreneurial conference.

“Once the voting is done in late October, we’ll announce the top vote-getters at an entrepreneur expo,” Binko told



Source: Technically Baltimore

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Tired Of Giving Crappy Gifts? Check Out Baltimore Startup: NoBadGift INTERVIEW

NoBadGift,Baltimore startups,startup,startups,startup interview,founder interview, nibletzNobody likes a bad gift. Receiving bad gifts can be a very uncomfortable experience. As you’re looking at that sweater that went out of style in 1990 you’ve got to smile and say thank you. Then you’re tasked with having to decide whether to hold onto that sweater for the next time your auntie comes over, return it, regift it or throw it away.

The other problem with gifting is that even though you know darn well what you want for your gifts most people just say they don’t. No one wants to feel like they’re asking for anything.

Enter NoBadGift. As the name suggests, this Baltimore startup insures you give a great gift. Why, because the recipient crowdfunds the gift that they really want from friends and family members. The Mike Washington, one of the co-founders of NoBadGift, came up with the idea for the startup when his father wanted an iPad for Christmas one year. After pooling the money for the iPad from his siblings he had an epiphany “why not do this online”.

We got a chance to talk with the team from NoBadGift in the interview below. They tell us about their gift funding system an Baltimore’s explosive startup scene. Of course being from Baltimore we love reporting about Baltimore startups.

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Baltimore Startup: BeerGivr Lets You Send A Beer To Friends Through Your Phone


Back in March we reported that Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley was holding a new breed of startup pitch contest. O’Malley held his contest on Pinterest.. BeerGivr, a Baltimore based startup, was the first place winner in the bootstrapped category.

UMBC graduate, Sean Kennedy, is the founder of this innovative, social gift giving startup. As you can probably see from the name, BeerGivr is all about spreading the love via phone in the form of a beer.

BeerGivr isn’t a about virtual beers, drinking emoticons or meme’s featuring that guy from Dolseces, no its about giving your friends or family members ice cole beer, or other libations if they so choose.

So how does it work?

Well if you can’t make it t the afterwork social or your college buddy’s 30th birthday party you can go to BeerGivr’s website, enter your friend phone number, and pay via PayPal for an actual beer. If your friend is drinking at a participating bar or restart ant that establishment then receives the payment. If they’re not drinking at a participating restaurant your friend can redeem that value via PayPal themselves.

Our good friend Molly at reports that Kennedy is the sole founder and the company’s only full time employee. He has enlisted the help of two friends but right now the brunt of the work falls on Kennedy.

The idea for BeerGivr came after Kennedy graduated from UMBC. He immediately took a job that required him to travel a lot and network with business people he may not likely see again, at least for a while. The traveling was two fold, Kennedy would miss social gatherings back home, and he met some cool people he wanted to stay friends with.

He decided that buying someone a beer from afar was a good idea and got to working on a prototype. Now he’s recruiting participating bars and restaurants and watching his Maryland based users accumulate. Of course after Maryland adopts to the new technology BeerGivr will expand.

Baltimore is turning into a tech hub especially in the mobile space with cool ideas like BeerGivr and ParkingPanda. ParkingPanda allows you to book parking spaces in Baltimore and Washington DC in advance in a similar way to


For more on BeerGivr click here

Check out this cool video on BeerGivr at the source link

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Baltimore Startup: SocialToaster Grabs $1.975M In Series A Round

SocialToaster,Social Media,Baltimore startup,Maryland startup,startup,startups,funding,series ABaltimore startup Social Toaster seems to be on the cutting edge of monetizing social media distribution. There are a lot of companies in the same space as Social Toaster but none some to be executing with the same results.

The concept is pretty simple. If you have are a digital publisher or major brand Social Toaster helps you register ambassadors and  super fans. These people are charged with helping to get your message out to the world, and because their fans, they do just that.  Ambassadors and Super Fans are the type of social media folks who carry a lot of weight. How much?

Well according to Social Toaster’s CEO and Founder Brian Razzaque, “One of our clients told us that with 60,000 ambassadors, we were more effective than their Facebook page of 2 million.” he told the Baltimore Sun

In fact, one of Social Toasters clients is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens use Social Toaster for monthly media sharing contests which help their content go viral.

This isn’t a fly by night operation or a flash in the pan. Social Toaster has been perfecting their craft. Last year their sales were $300,000 this year they are projecting $2 to $3 million in sales. That’s why Razzaque was able to announce last week that the firm had completed a $1.975 million dollar series A round.

The round follows a seed round in 2011 from Neuberger Ventures and other individual investors.

Blu Venture Investors led Social Toaster’s latest round, Baltimore Angels, Wasabi Ventures, and Piedmont Investment Advisors also participated.

Razzaque plans to double the headcount from 22-50 and also plans moving the company to larger offices to Clipper Mill with about three times the office space they are currently operating out of.

William Militello, Founder of Piedmont Investment Advisors, LLC commented, “I am always excited to fund great entrepreneurs. I believe that true innovation occurs when skilled labor, intellectual capital, and entrepreneurs with great ideas are combined with the financial capital Piedmont can provide.”

Paul Silber of Blu Venture Investors, said, “our team was really attracted to SocialToaster’s novel “message amplification” solution, to the company’s leadership, and to the fact that they were rapidly gaining traction with recognizable name-brand customers. We liked the fact that their software solution offered a cost-effective and simple way for organizations of all kinds to effectively use social media to get their message out to a wider audience.”


For more info on Social Toaster visit them here at

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Source: Baltimore Sun

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Baltimore Startup: NJorku Is A Job Board In Africa INTERVIEW

There’s a startup in Baltimore called Njorku and what they are doing is actually very exciting. Co-founder Chika Uwazie and her team are connecting people in Africa with jobs in Africa.

We’ve heard time and time again that more and more people in Africa are taking to mobile phones and smartphones because they can’t afford computers and internet access in the home. When we ran this story we actually found out that hundreds of millions of people live off the grid and walk miles to charge their phones. So in continents like Africa mobile is a lifeline.

That’s why Uwazie and her team have developed a job site and aggregator that delivers the information to African people via their mobile device. Employers get access to NJorku’s database where they can upload jobs and then correspond with candidates via SMS/Text messages on their phones.

The service is available in Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt and Ghana.

Job seekers can also do everything most typical full job websites allow you to do, via mobile whether they are on a smart phone or feature phone. NJorku has made it easy for job seekers to upload their resumes and show interest in available jobs with text messaging.

With such an awesome idea we had to take a few moments and talk with Uwazie.  The interview is after the break

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Baltimore Startup: BetaPunch A Great Beta Testing Solution For Startups INTERVIEW

Last month we brought you this story about BetaPunch, a startup in Baltimore Maryland that is a beta testing platform for other startups. They pride themselves on how easy it is for new startups to set up and recruit beta testers.

Typically a startup goes to friends and family for beta testing. This can be ineffective for several reasons. One of the reasons friends and family make bad beta testers is because they aren’t going to give you real honest feedback. Even if you have the dumbest idea in the world they’re going to tell you it’s great. That’s not good for testing your product.

The other problem with friends and family testing is that you’re going to run out of testers. Now there are some services out there that offer hundreds and hundreds of testers, but it may cost you hundreds and hundreds of dollars. That’s a lot of Ramen noodles you’re going to give up to get your Beta Test done.

LaunchRock is great for startups to start a mailing list, but most of the startups using LaunchRock never say when their beta test is going to happen, and when it does, the people who signed up have moved on to other things. I can’t tell you how many times I get an email back from a Launch Rock I signed up for months ago.

With BetaPunch though, it’s as easy as signing up. Installing their cool new widget and letting it rip.

We got a chance to talk with BetaPunch founder Ross Nochumowitz about BetaPunch, Baltimore’s startup scene, other startups he’s done, and being a bail bondsman during the day. The interview is below the break

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Baltimore Startup: Kithly Take Hold Of Your Contacts & Do Something INTERVIEW

You probably have a rolodex… ok scratch that, no one has a rolodex anymore. You probably have a contact list with hundreds if not thousands of names on it. It can probably become a pain to organize, I know that mine is.

Well Baltimore startup Kithly sets out to help you manage those contacts. Then, they take things a step further and recommend things to do with those contacts so that you never lose touch with them again.

Co-Founder and CEO Devin Partlow tells us that Kilthy offers a Pandora type interface and intense algorithms in the background that offer up suggestions and recommendations of things to do with your contacts. If you don’t like the suggestion your an just ask for another.

This is definitely a new approach to a contact management app. We got a chance to interview Partlow. Check out that interview, after the break.

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Baltimore Startup: Woofound Launches Gamified Recommendation App For iOS

Woofound is a Baltimore based startup in the recommendation space. Since we hail from Baltimore and Philly, this is exciting news for our area, and of course “everywhere else”.

Woofound matches your personality to things you want to do. Woofound was actually built in conjunction with psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Dr. Noreen Honeycutt from Baltimore Maryland. This is actually the second startup in just as many days that we’ve reported on that dives much deeper than the surface to serve up recommendations or discoveries. The first was London based ColourDNA which uses the psychology of colours in it’s discovery platform.

Our friend Sarah Pereze over at TechCrunch reports that Woofound co-founders Dan Sines and Josh Spears founded the company last year after Spears was set up on a blind date. The two friends thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to match up interests based on personality traits?

Like Parking Panda, (another Baltimore startup) Woofound’s launch centers around Baltimore and DC, however today’s launch brings online the 70 top metro markets. Perez pointed out that most of the recommendations in her hometown of Tampa were things she was already familiar with. I had much better luck in Atlanta this early morning.

There’s not much mention of how deep the personality integration goes however they are going to develop a version of Woofound for the Univesity of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) that will help students with career path goals.

The interface is nice and it has this simple feel to it. The user simply rates things “Me or Not Me” reminiscent of the hot or not days.

The iOS version launched today with Android in the coming months.


Check out Woofound here

Source: TechCrunch

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Baltimore Black Owned Startup: Point Click Switch Presents At TechBUZZ DC

capitcalconnection,techBUZZ,dc startup,nibletz, phil croskey

Point Click Switch CEO & Co-Founder Phil Croskey Speaks At TechBUZZ DC (photo: Nibletz inc)

Phil Croskey,, CEO and Co-Founder of Black Owned Baltimore Startup, Point Click Switch took the stage today for four minutes to talk about his business which has a solid foundation to stand on because “everyone needs electricity”.

Point Click Switch is a web based application that helps people who live in de-regulated states discover, compare and sign up for utilities. The deregulated states are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,Montana,Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

Point Click Switch is like an Expedia or for your energy choices. The site aggregates 7-10 of the most competitive offers and allows the user to compare rates and offers side by side from the comfort of their computer.

When the user is done making their selection, Point Click Switch allows them to initiate service through their site. They will still be billed by the utility itself and they will also still call the utility directly with outages and problems.

Croskey told us that he thinks the rest of the country will eventually adopt the deregulation of energy and electricity which will add an even larger base for Point Click Switch.

Here’s the video:


Check out Point Click Switch here

Check out more coverage from this event here

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Baltimore Startup: Need Beta Testers? Beta Punch Has You Covered

Ross Nochumowitz, is a bail bondsman by day and a startup founder by night. His startup called Beta Punch seeks to make the beta testing process more productive for startup founders and software launchers.

Beta Punch is a community of beta testers, almost a social network of beta testers if you will. There are other companies out there that promise and deliver beta testers for startups but with Nochumowitz’ Beta Punch, the beta testers themselves are ranked by startups and have their own competitive network within the community.

The other day I heard someone say if you  show your startup off to everyone and they love it you’re doing something wrong. Nochumowitz echoes that philosophy telling

“The biggest mistake that startups make while beta testing is asking the wrong people for feedback for their startup. Often times startup founders want to show their family or friends their next big idea, and no matter what it is ,they are going to tell you they like it.”

The other popular course for the beta test is LaunchRock. If you’re a startup or into the startup scene then you’ve probably seen one too many Launch Rock pages. While it’s a great concept and does work for some, many startups wait months and months to accumulate email addresses and then when it’s time for the beta people have forgotten about the startup or even worse, they’ve already tested a competing product.

Beta Punch has over 500 testers and has already worked with over 150 startups.

One thing about Beta Punch though is that the testers will give real feedback. I overheard someone at a startup event in New Orleans talking about “I don’t want to get bad feedback” whoa those guys need to go back to the workforce. Beta Punch is definitely worth checking out if you’ve got a startup product ready to be tested.


TechCocktail the source for this story is holding an awesome event in DC learn about it here

Here’s that source piece from TechCocktail

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Baltimore Startup: Parking Panda Expanding To Philly & San Francisco

The genius parking startup out of Baltimore Maryland, Parking Panda, has announced that now that they’ve rolled out service in the nation’s capital, the next cities on the list are Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Parking Panda CEO and Co-Founder, Nick Miller, has reported that they’ve closed one $250,000 round of funding and have another one in the works.

The service works similarly to the way that works. Users logon to their website at and they can browse the available parking spots in the city they are looking at. The spots are a variety of vacant spots in parking garages and also individual driveways and business lots.

The user can pay for the current day, a future date or a range of dates. They prepay using their credit card and are guaranteed a parking spot in the facility  they selected. Parking spots range anywhere from $5.00 on up.

Parkingpanda goes one step further and lets users know what the parking spot they are looking at is near. In Washington DC Parkingpanda tells the user the nearby attractions like museums and metro routes.  In Baltimore, Miller reports that a lot of people are renting their driveways on Ravens and Orioles game days.

There’s been no date announced for the expansion but it looks like it will be sooner rather than later. Miller told BmoreMedia that they are working on finding the parking spaces in both Philly and San Francisco.


Check out ParkingPanda here

Source: BmoreMedia

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Baltimore: Betamore Plans To Launch Charm City’s 3rd Tech Focused Co-Working Space

Co-working spaces are hot. With the rise in startups and entrepreneurship cities everywhere are finding themselves home to these new centers. We’ve visited a bunch of co-working sites up and down the east coast as part of our sneaker strapped start up road show.

Three Baltimore entrepreneurs, Greg Cangialosi, Mike Brenner and Sean Lane have teamed up to bring Baltimore’s third tech focused, incubator, accelerator co-working space to life. The space is called “Betamore” a rather clever name don’t you think. Betamore joins the Emerging Technology Center and a forthcoming space which is a partnership between Loyola and Wasabi partners, now that’s hot (you see what I did there).

Betamore is part Hybrid Accelerator, Incubator and co-working space says the website Citybizlist Baltimore.

The space is 8,000 square feet and will feature two large classrooms, dedicated office space, conference room space and a co-working space. If you’re not familiar with co-working spaces, think the lunch table at your high school, just much longer with plugs and internet. Oh and of course toss out the gossipy drama because one thing is proven about co-working spaces and that is that people love to talk about startups and people actually help each other.

More after the break
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Baltimore Startup Parking Panda Launches Service In Washington DC

(photo: Baltimore Sun)

One of the things Cameron and I noticed when we were in Washington DC as part of our nationwide startup road trip, was that their parking meters were equipped for internet payment. That meant we could refill our parking meters while we were meeting with some great startups all over town, and not have to run back to the meter. Convenience had it’s price but we needed to do what we needed to do.

If you don’t want to mess with the high tech innovative meters in DC, or the hassle of finding a space, Baltimore Startup Parking Panda has you covered. Parking Panda works with owners of un-utilized parking spaces. These could be in the form of small lots of the side of buildings, or parking company owned lots that have spaces that aren’t used on a regular basis.

Parking Panda Users can rent spaces using the service and basically pay in advance for a guaranteed spot. This really comes in handy, especially in a city like Washington DC where street parking, even at the meter, can be scarce.

“A city resident myself, I know that finding available parking can be maddening, expensive, and sometimes almost impossible,” said Nick Miller, CEO of Parking Panda. “Parking Panda takes the hassle and expense out of searching for a parking spot. Parking in D.C. will no longer be such a time-consuming, daunting task because people can reserve spots ahead of time and for less money.”

More after the break
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