The Propel Baltimore Fund Invests in Social Toaster and Woofound

Rob Rosenbaum

The Propel Baltimore Fund is banking on tech-driven businesses with its latest investments in two of the most talked about start-ups in Baltimore, Social Toaster and WoofoundThe Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), in collaboration with The Abell Foundation and the France-Merrick Foundation, manages Propel Baltimore, a $4.3 million angel investment fund for entrepreneurs and start-up companies located in Baltimore City. Through the fund, companies can receive investments of up to $250,000. Social Toaster and Woofound are the second and third investments the fund has made as it celebrates its first full year of operation.

“Propel Baltimore seeks to support Baltimore City’s most promising start-up companies, and there’s no doubt that Social Toaster and Woofound both possess compelling investments with strong growth potential,” said Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry, Jr. “Baltimore is an excellent place to do business, and we look forward to continuing to develop the incredible talent right here in the city through Propel Baltimore. We congratulate both of these companies on their success to date, and wish them the best as they continue to take the marketplace by storm.”

Social Toaster helps brands effectively communicate with their fans on social media, engaging the most interested fans as ambassadors who help amplify brand messages. The Propel Baltimore Fund invested $200,000 in Social Toaster’s latest round of financing.  In addition, the company recently won $200,000 through the InvestMaryland program, a project of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Based in Baltimore, Social Toaster helps clients including the Baltimore Ravens organization to identify their social media “super fans” and streamlines the process of getting those fans to broadcast clients’ content to their social networks.

Woofound, which received a $200,000 investment from Propel Baltimore, is the creator of two applications: Compass and Explore. Both apps use a quick “visual personality assessment,” in which users view a series of images and decide whether the images describe them or not, to provide tailored personality profiles. Compass analyzes a users’ personality traits and recommends career paths, while Explore uses personality clues to suggest nearby social activities to users that can be filtered by price, category and time. The Propel Baltimore investment is part of a $2 million dollar funding round that Woofound just closed.

“We are extremely pleased to fund two companies that have created very unique and well-received products,” said Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “With these investments, we hope to help Social Toaster and Woofound achieve the next level of success.  Propel Baltimore still has plenty of capital to invest, so we encourage tech-focused companies located in Baltimore or willing to relocate to the city to apply for funding and reap the benefits of being a member of the TEDCO family.”

The Propel Baltimore Fund is available to companies with new technology ideas or innovation-focused business plans that are currently based in or are willing to relocate to Baltimore City. The fund will lead investments into these companies and will require matching funds from other investors to go along with the Propel Baltimore Fund capital. The initial investment into each company will be $100,000 to $250,000. The Propel Baltimore Fund is seeking start-ups and early-stage companies that can provide returns to investors in five to seven years.

General guidelines and an application for the Propel Baltimore Fund can be found on the TEDCO website. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the fund may contact Randy Domolky, Managing Director at TEDCO, by phone at 410-715-4180 or by email at rdomolky@tedco.md.  
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) is the go-to source for entrepreneurial support and guidance for start-ups and early-stage companies engaged in bringing innovative ideas to market. For more than a decade, the organization has provided funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to support Maryland’s innovation ecosystem. While founded by the Maryland General Assembly, TEDCO is an independent entity that makes seed/early-stage investments and manages private capital for angel and venture capital funds. It is frequently ranked as one of the most active seed/early-stage investors in the nation. The organization plays a key role in bringing research created in Maryland’s educational institutions and federal laboratories into the commercial marketplace. For more information on TEDCO and its programs and resources, visit www.TEDCO.md.

The Abell Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Baltimore and Maryland. It also allocates a portion of its investment portfolio to direct investments in innovative technologies and early-stage companies that have exceptional social, environmental and economic return potential, including energy efficiency and alternate energy. For more information, visit http://www.abell.org/.

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