Startup Maryland Announces Winners for 2016 STRT1UP Roadshow and Pitch Across Maryland Competition

Startup Maryland Announces Winners for

2016 STRT1UP Roadshow and 

Pitch Across Maryland Competition

Quidient, GunBail, Chord and Real Flexi Recognized as 
Diversity of Maryland Innovation Shines at the 

Startup Maryland  

STRT1UP Showcase
December 16, 2016 – EVERYWHERE, MD – On Tuesday, December 13, Startup Maryland announced the Winners for the Great Eight and Rural Innovations Challenge from the 2016 STRT1UP Road Show and Pitch Across Maryland —  the annual statewide celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship
Nearly 150 video pitches from Maryland entrepreneurs were assembled during the 2016 STRT1UP Roadshow with each becoming candidates for various Pitch Across Marylandcompetitions.  This year the Pitch Across Maryland added a Rural Innovation Challenge, CyberSecurity Challenge and the Champions’ Choice categories to the existing Fan Favorites and Overall Great 8.  
Startup Maryland is proud to announce Quidient and Gunbail as winner / runner-up for the Great 8 competition with Chord and Real Flexi being honored as winner / runner-up for the Rural Innovation Challenge.  They join Efflux Systems and SecuLore as winner / runner-up of the Cyber Security Challenge; 5PopPicklehead-TipTough and ION Massage as Fan Favorites; as well as Dhremo TherapyAsli and Elderbird Restoration as Champions’ Choices — who were all announced previously.
Pitch Across Maryland candidates, finalists and winners were distilled by two separate review panels of serial entrepreneurs, investors and economic development officers over three months and two rounds of judging.  Finalists presented their ventures and opportunities during MDCyberDay on October 5, the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo on November 14 and the STRT1UP Showcase on December 13th. 
Judges for the CyberSecurity Challenge were Ken Mcreedy, (MD Dept. of Commerce), Jack Biddle (Novak-Biddle Venture Partners), Ron Kaese (TEDCO), Ron Gula (Tenable), and Dr. Shue-Jane Thomas (IBM  Global Services).  Judges for the Rural Innovation Challenge were Charlotte Davis (Rural Maryland Council), Lee Kirwin (TECCO) and Ronnie Gist (Maryland MIPS – UMD).  Judges for the Great 8 were Gianna J. Arnold (Saul Ewing), MacKeever “Mac” Conwell (TEDCO) and Bruce McIndoe (iJET).
A special thank you to Andre Robinson and Richard May who graciously hosted the STRT1UP Showcase at the new Innovation Village headquarters @ Symphony Center in Baltimore’s Mt. Royal neighborhood.

“The first round judges voiced considerable angst trying to winnow the Pitch Across Marylandfield and the quality of the pitches at the STRT1UP Showcase revealed exactly why that task was so difficult.  The diversity of industries and innovations is quite a testament to why Maryland and the broader Mid-Atlantic region constitute an early-stage venture powerhouse,” stated Michael Binko, Founder of Startup Maryland.  “As we reflect back on five years of celebrating entrepreneurs and innovation, we are humbled by the fact that we have engaged with more than 1,500 high-growth tech ventures and proud that our startup density places Maryland #2 for U.S. regions launched as part of Startup America.”

Winners and runner-ups are now fast-tracked into various funding opportunities with TEDCO and other ecosystem partners given the fact that they have already been thoroughly vetted after the grueling three months of scrutiny during the STRT1UP Roadshow and Pitch Across Maryland competitions.  Winners also receive one-on-one venture Coaching with Jason Tagler, a Baltimore based Startup Maryland Champion, founder of CEO Pitch Coach and Partner at Camden Partners — a leading tech venture capital firm.  Saul Ewing has also offered Finalists a chance to meet with firm partners/staff, participation in CEO Roundtables and consideration for the firm’s RAMP program.
Active equity investors and members of the media are invited to view all Pitch Across Marylandvideos at the Startup Maryland YouTube Channel — click on Playlists — or to contact the Startup Maryland team directly to learn more about the innovations and entrepreneurs building great companies across the broader Mid-Atlantic region.
In the coming months, Startup Maryland will be kicking off its annual Raise Your GameBootcamp for Entrepreneurs — the primary program under the Startup Maryland Coaching initiative.  All Pitch Across Maryland finalists are awarded a free scholarship to participate in the full Bootcamp.  Under this program, early stage company founders learn directly from successful entrepreneur peers on six topics that every startup founder needs to understand in order to inflect their venture.  Watch for more details and timing for this year’s Bootcamp.
Building off of the overwhelming success of the past five years and the quality of the resulting “deal-flow,” one of the newer programs under Startup Maryland’s Capital initiative is Angel Academy.  Angel Academy is an in-depth training rubric for Sideline Angels to discover proven approaches to angel investing while introducing these angels to the Startup Maryland ecosystem and fund-able ventures. Qualified Pitch Across Maryland winners and finalists who are raising seed rounds of funding and being Curated by Startup Maryland are invited to participate in Angel Academy programs in order to continue to hone their pitches, network and engage with up-and-coming and active angel investors.


Startup Maryland Unveils STRT1UP Roadshow Videos for Pitch Across Maryland 2016

100+ Ventures Now Compete in Several Pitch Across Maryland Categories; Finalists to be Announced at the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo November 14

EVERYWHERE, MARYLAND; October 25, 2016 — 
Startup Maryland today unveils video pitches from the participants in the 2016 STRT1UP Roadshow. Entrants are now in the running for the Pitch Across Maryland competition. Categories this year for the Pitch Across Maryland include:
  • Fan Favorite
  • Overall Winner
  • Champions’ Choice
  • Industry Innovators (CyberSecurity and Rural Innovations)

The STRT1UP Roadshow, which is the month-long tour around the state of Maryland, celebrates the vibrant ecosystem around innovation and entrepreneurship. During the roadshow, entrepreneurs climb on the Startup Maryland video bus to deliver a 2-4 minute video pitch summarizing their venture and opportunity.

c 2016: William Petruzzo, Petruzzo Photography LLC 
“Lights, Camera … STRT1UP!!”

Each presenter receives a link to a professionally-edited version of their video for free and then all the videos are posted on the Startup Maryland YouTube channel as part of the Pitch Across Maryland competition. The following link takes you to where participant videos can be found in Playlists based on the location/tour stop at which 2016 companies pitched:

“As Startup Maryland celebrates five years of nurturing an inclusive ecosystem, this year’s STRT1UP Roadshow gave us a chance to reflect on where we have been while still shining the beacon to attract Maryland’s best undiscovered ventures,” stated Michael Binko, founder | CEO of Startup Maryland. “While we are amazed that we have now engaged with more than 1,000+ innovative ventures since Startup Maryland began, what is not surprising is the will and determination personified in our entrepreneur-founders and the ambitions they embody.”


STRT1UP Roadshow entrepreneurs meet with ecosystem partner/sponsors, investors and Startup MD Champions as they await their opportunity to GET ON THE BUS!!


In 2015, Startup Maryland expanded on the STRT1UP Roadshow tour by hosting Steve Case and the Rise of the Rest in Baltimore and also produced a documentary film about the tour STRT1UP: Venturing through the Land of Pleasant Living. This year, the tour took time to revisit with past-participants asking, “Where Are They Now?!” and paused to host 80+ U.S. ecosystem-builder peers from the Startup Champions Network in Baltimore for a 3 day national summit on Inclusive Entrepreneurship. Startup Maryland also extended its “creative-in-residence” initiative with Laura Willoughby joining as STRT1UP Roadshow Poet-Laureate.

“We look forward to sharing our perspectives as well as a few discoveries from this year’s tour during two upcoming events: TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo(Baltimore Hilton, Nov. 14) and the STRT1UP Showcase (venue and date in December to be announced). In the meantime, we now begin the competitions that transform the STRT1UP Road Show into the Pitch Across Maryland,” state Michael Venezia, Startup Maryland Ecosystem Manager. “The first two categories of the competition are something fun we refer to as the Fan Favorite and Champions’ Choice. Additionally, we reveal our Great 8 Finalists and Winners in two new categories that identify Industry Innovators in sectors critical to Maryland – Cyber and Rural,” added Venezia.
To be crowned Fan Favorites, participant companies (and their supporters) need to get the word out about their video and let family, friends and fans know that their video is now available for viewing. The viewing/voting will continue until 12:00pm (noon) ET on Friday, November 11, 2016. At that time, the Pitch Across Maryland companies with the most tallied views will be declared the Fan Favorites for 2016 while a cadre of Startup Maryland Champions choose the Champions’ Choice.


EYECon: @ Morgan State Engaging Youth Entrepreneurs


During the same period (today until November 11) a panel of investors (angel/VC) and entrepreneurs will select eight (8) companies as the Great 8 Finalists for 2016. At the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo, Winners and Finalists of all Pitch Across Maryland categories will be announced, celebrated and given an opportunity for continued promotion. Building on the 2-4 minute STRT1UP Roadshowvideos, Expo and Showcase activities including a mini Angel Academy will afford the Pitch Across Maryland companies a chance to share more detail about their venture/opportunity with ecosystem supporters including investors, incubators/accelerators and economic development officers.

Additionally, members of the media are being directed to all Video Playlists to learn more about the innovations and entrepreneurs building great companies in Maryland and across the broader Mid-Atlantic region.

Laura Jane Willoughby Joins as Poet Laureate and Creative in Residence

Startup Maryland™ Announces First Creative in Residence & Poet Laureate for the 2016 STRT1UP Road Show

Combining prose, creativity and entrepreneurism, Poet Laureate Laura Jane Willoughby will provide the voice of the tour September 10 thru October 8

September 16, 2016: All Points, Maryland – Today Startup Maryland announced the addition of an official Poet Laureate for the STRT1UP Road Show, the fifth annual state-wide tour and celebration of entrepreneurship and high-growth innovation-centric startup companies.  Providing real-time updates, tweets, and snippets in prose and images from tour moments as they happen, the role will provide a creative take on the state-wide bus tour unfolding September 10 through October 8.  

This year, STRT1UP Road Show is pleased to welcome Laura Jane Willoughby aboard the bus as it travels to more than 30 stops across the state, where entrepreneurs pitch their start-up business ideas for a chance to receive coaching, guidance, support and even funding from leaders across academia, incubators/accelerators, economic development agencies, service providers as well as active angel/VC investors.  

Willoughby is a Maryland-based creative writer, and previously spent more than 10 years involved in Maryland’s technology ecosystem in roles with several organizations. During the tour’s stops, Willoughby will share images, prose and insights via StartUp Maryland’s social media platforms on Twitter (@StartUpMd), Instagram (@startupMaryland), LinkedIn and Facebook as well as on her own platforms.

“Entrepreneurism is, by definition, creative, so it made sense to bring in a Poet Laureate as our first Creative in Residence who can capture the pulse of the tour as it happens, while also providing insights start-ups can use,” said Michael Binko, Founder|CEO of Startup Maryland. “Maryland is rich in workforce talent, entrepreneur hustle and the assembly of resources needed to support high-growth ventures – we call this ecosystem. We feel bridging relationships between artists and entrepreneurs is a dynamic way to increase growth within the ecosystem because it is essential to approach challenges as an entrepreneur with a creative mindset.”

At each STRT1UP Road Show tour stop, Tour Partners/Sponsors host rallies sharing information about their entrepreneurial ecosystems across the state.  As the tour unfolds, entrepreneurs climb onto the Startup Maryland bus and pitch their idea/business in the mobile “UpStart Show™ video studio.  Videos are uploaded to the Startup Maryland YouTube® Channel and then open to public viewing/voting.  This aspect of the STRT1UP Road Show embodies the Pitch Across Maryland competition allowing the entrepreneurs, sponsors, investors and tour hosts to activate social networks for even broader awareness and celebration.

“Prose can capture the beauty and the heartache of what it means to be invested in an idea so completely that it often seems like the most important thing in the world,” Willoughby said.  “By highlighting the hopes and dreams of pitch contestants, the success stories and the ebb and flow of life aboard the bus tour, we hope to provide a unique take on how creativity is the integral element to a successful business climate. My experience in Maryland’s technology market, as well as time I spent as an entrepreneur myself, means I feel intricately connected to the story of start-ups and business in this state.”

For more information see scheduled STRT1UP Road Show tour dates and evolving route locations below or visit for regular updates.

About Startup Maryland:

Startup Maryland is an ecosystem and venture development initiative driven from within the community of innovation-centric entrepreneurs.  Forged with Maryland Pride By Entrepreneurs … For Entrepreneurs, Startup Maryland strives to remain nimble and inclusive.  Startup Maryland works to connect innovation communities and rallies entrepreneurs, supporters and other innovation stakeholders around four main initiatives: Celebration, Coaching, Curation and Capital while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater social as well as economic outcomes.

About Laura Jane Willoughby

Laura Jane Willoughby is a creative writer with a portfolio that spans a 20-year-career as a journalist, non-profit executive and writer. Her writing has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Post & Courier (Charleston), The (Annapolis) Capital, Houseboating Magazine and several other regional and trade industry publications. She has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association for Newspaper Series (2nd place) and Special Sections (1st place for Anne Arundel Business Insert). Before re-launching her writing career, Willoughby was most recently Executive Director of the Chesapeake Innovation Center. She also served as Washington DC Regional Director for Business Executives for National Security, was Executive Director of the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council and worked for Annapolis-based iJET (before it was acquired). In her 20s, she ran a boutique public relations firm.

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CONTACT: For more information check out or contact Mike Venezia at or contact Startup Maryland via phone @ 240-499-3830.

Shahab Kaviani to Kick Off 2015 “Raise Your Game” Bootcamp

Strong CEO Leadership and Team-Building Best Practices to be the Focus as Kaviani Serves as First Guest-Mentor Instructor for Raise Your Game



The new twist for this bootcamp is that the sessions will be proctored/taught by experienced (often serial) entrepreneurs who are very well-recognized and respected.


“Entrepreneurs learning from other entrepreneurs is a key component to building and maintaining strong startup ecosystems,” stated Shahab Kaviani, Startup Maryland Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR).  “I am honored to be kick of the 2015 Startup Maryland Raise Your Game bootcamp program by sharing some of my experiences as a serial entrepreneur.”

Kaviani is currently co-founder of Breezio and previously served as Co-Founder of Onevest after merging CoFoundersLab with Rock the Post.  Prior to founding Co-FoundersLab, Kaviani was a founding management team leader of HyperOffice.

Development of the Raise Your Game program and curriculum was led by Startup Maryland Entrepreneur Champions Sam Polakoff, (president of TBB Global Logistics), Gregg Smith (CEO of Koolspan) and Startup Maryland Founder | CEO Michael Binko (CEO of kloudtrack®).


Beginning in July of 2015, Raise Your Game will consist of a 4 month educational “bootcamp” program emphasizing the critical components of building successful companies.  These topics include:


  • CEO 101 – How to be a strong startup CxO leader and the best team-building strategies
  • Pitch Perfect – Best practices when pitching your company | avoiding pitfalls
  • Virtualizing Your Company – Lean Startup approach | outsourcing non-core functions
  • Raising Capital and Exit Roadmapping – Lifecycle stages, financing options, exits

To attend, point your browser to:


Mark Anstey and Jerry Hartung Join Startup Maryland as Guest-Mentors

Sixth and Final 2014 Session Focuses on
“Financing Strategies and Exit Roadmapping” for Entrepreneurs


Everywhere, Md. – Startup Maryland ( announced that Mark Anstey, President | CEO of CVD Power and recently exited founder, President | CEO of DataStream will join Jerry Hartung as the guest-mentor instructors for the final 2014 Raise Your Game™ bootcamp session.

This sixth-of-six session also marks graduation for the bootcamp candidates who earned graduation distinction by participating in the requisite 4 out of 6 sessions. Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about Startup Maryland and Raise Your Game are invited to attend with credit for this single session being carried-over into 2015.

Raise Your Game is Startup Maryland’s bootcamp initiative developed to provide the entrepreneurial community with a structured educational program and to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities. The new twist for this bootcamp is that the sessions will be proctored/taught by experienced (often serial) entrepreneurs who are very well-recognized and respected.

Mr. Hartung is a recognized thought-leader on venture development and has spoken extensively on the topic of exit roadmapping via his role as executive leader/mentor for Vistage International.

Mr. Anstey is one of the more recognized serial entrepreneurs in Maryland and the broader Mid-Atlantic with several successful exits from startup ventures. An engineer by education and experience, Mark has leveraged his expertise in systems, data and business-building into a series of successful high-growth startup companies and ventures.

An active angel investor, Mark’s most recent successful exit came when DataStream Content Solutions LLC, a leading provider of federal legislative and regulatory data and advanced content management systems to information businesses, publishers and governments, was acquired by the Dolan Company (NYSE:DM), a leading provider of services and business information to professionals in law, finance and real estate.

DataStream’s proprietary processes and technology transformed highly complex and unstructured data into valuable products and services for its business and government clients. The company specialized in applying XML markup language to convert complex and unstructured data into “smarter” forms, allowing flexible queries and dynamic database updates. Target markets included government, legislative and regulatory sectors.

“Perhaps the most-asked-question we receive of Startup Maryland entrepreneurs is, ‘How should I navigate to the right exit for me and my startup venture?’,” stated Michael Binko, president | CEO of kloudtrack and founder | CEO of Startup Maryland. “Mark and Jerry are glowing examples of how to navigate challenging waters to a meaningful exit. Their experiences, successes and lessons-learned serve as great case studies for our Bootcamp CEOs.”

Startup Maryland™ Selects Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as Promotional Charity

Cycle for Life Event Takes Center Stage for Promotion and Awareness

During Statewide Celebration of Entrepreneurs and Innovation


Startup Maryland (, an initiative driven By Entrepreneurs … For Entrepreneurs, today announced a teaming relationship with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to promote the CF Cycle for Life charity bike ride event during Startup Maryland’s 2013 Pitch Across Maryland Tour and Celebration of Entrepreneurship.

2013 09 01 CF Cycle for Life 2Beyond promoting the charity ride, Startup Maryland has formed Team Startup Maryland and challenges its 600+ startup members to join the team or donate here.  Additionally, Startup Maryland challenges other corporate teams to “Raise their Game” and donations in order to find a cure.

The 3rd annual CF Cycle for Life bicycle tour will be held October 20, 2013 at the picturesque Herrington Harbour Marina in Deale, MD.

“Three stellar routes (20, 40, or 60 miles) will traverse through some of the most beautiful and scenic landscape in Maryland, with many breathtaking views along the western shore of Maryland’s treasured Chesapeake Bay, stated Michael Binko, CEO of ​kloudtrack® and founder | co-chair of Startup MD.  “With plenty of well-stocked rest-stops, mechanical/vehicle/medical support along the way, the CF Cycle for Life bike ride has a “grand tour” feel and has quickly become one of the region’s best and most memorable charity gatherings and we are delighted to offer our support,” added Binko.

Over 200 cyclists will ride with over 39 Corporate, CF Family and other teams.  Individual riders are also encouraged to participate in ride.  The CF Cycle for Life culminates with a “Rolling Thunder” after-party along the water at Herrington Harbour Marina with fun BBQ prepared by Herrington on the Bay, complete with music, beer, and lots of unforgettable good times and memories.

CF Cycle for Life, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s premier cycling event, is taking place in over 40 cities to generate critical funds to fight cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease,” said Marc Kantrowitz, Director of Development, for Maryland CF Cycle for Life.  “Support from organizations like Startup Maryland contribute greatly to awareness and research related to cure efforts.  The 2013 goal of CF Cycle for Life is to raise nearly $4 million nationwide for CF research, education and CF patient care.”


The 2013 edition of the Pitch Across Maryland is the second annual state-wide tour and celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation communities.  Referred to by FOX News affiliate WBOC-TV 16 as Opportunity on Wheels, the inaugural Pitch Across Maryland tour was an overwhelming success last year and this year’s offering is has already caused a splash with the Sept. 9 first stop on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, MD.  Check out a nice TV-news segment from WMDT ABC-47 here.  The bus will traverse the state (and the broader region) all in the name of celebrating entrepreneurship.

This year’s Pitch Across Maryland culminates with the Last Step … Innovation Celebration which will be held on September 27 on The Promenade at UNDER ARMOUR worldwide headquarters in South Baltimore.  Watch for more details related to the event which will be announced soon – tickets information can be found here.

The Pitch Across Maryland is intended to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs, innovations and resources that exist just under the radar but have the potential to ignite the next high-growth companies.  Details on the tour stops and schedule can be found here: Pitch Across Maryland Schedule

At each stop, Startup Maryland and Tour Sponsors/Partners co-host rallies sharing information about the incredible entrepreneurial resources across the state.  Additionally, entrepreneurs are provided coaching, guidance and support from mentors and other leaders from TEDCO, DBED as well as active angel/VC investors.

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease. For more information, go to Cystic fibrosis affects about 30,000 adults and children in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide.  It causes debilitating lung infections that lead to premature death.   More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carries of a defective CF gene.

About Startup Maryland

Startup Maryland ( is a regions initiative launched out of UpGlobal – an entity fostered jointly by the Case Foundation and The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship.  Startup Maryland is an initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring entrepreneurial resources together, improve awareness/celebration and increase access to capital / deal flow and mentorship, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.

Priceline Founding CTO Scott Case to Join Startup Maryland Raise Your Game as Guest-Mentor Instructor


Third Session of 2014 Focuses on Planning for Financial Success as an

Entrepreneur Starting a New Venture


Everywhere, Md.  – Startup Maryland (, an initiative developed BY ENTREPRENEURS … FOR ENTREPRENEURS, today announced that T. “Scott” Case, CEO of Startup America and founding CTO of Priceline will participate as the third instructor-mentor for the 2014 Raise Your Game™ entrepreneur bootcamp


Raise Your Game is Startup Maryland’s bootcamp initiative developed to provide the entrepreneurial community with a structured educational program and to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups.  The new twist for this bootcamp is that the sessions are proctored/taught by experienced (often serial) entrepreneurs who are very well-recognized and respected.


Timothy “Scott” Case is a technologist, entrepreneur and inventor and was founding CTO of Priceline, the “Name Your Own Price” company that was one of only a handful of startups in U.S. history to reach a billion dollars in annual sales in less than 24 months.  As Chief Technology Officer, Scott was responsible for building the technology that enabled Priceline’s hyper-growth.  More recently, Scott was named CEO and board member of the Startup America Partnership where he invested his energy to drive American entrepreneurship to create jobs and sustain our nation’s global leadership.


“Scott is a true entrepreneur’s … entrepreneur,” stated Michael Binko, CEO of kloudtrack® and Founder | CEO of Startup Maryland.  “Having experienced the wild ride of startup stardom first-hand Scott has since tirelessly given his time, perspective and expertise as a mentor and leader of entrepreneur-centric initiatives.”


Prior to joining Startup America, Scott served as CEO of Malaria No More, where he worked to inspire individuals and institutions in the private sector to end malaria deaths.  Scott is a named inventor on dozens of U.S. patents including the underlying portfolio for Priceline. He is also on the Advisory Board of By Kids for Kids, Tickets-for-Charity and ThreeJars and can be followed on Twitter: @tscottcase


Serial Entrepreneur Lily Bengfort to Join Startup Maryland Raise Your Game Bootcamp as Guest-Mentor Instructor


Second Session of 2014 Focuses on Starting Up – How to Avoid Pitfalls as an Entrepreneur Starting a New Venture


Everywhere, Md. — Startup Maryland ( announced that Lily Bengfort will participate as the second instructor-mentor for Raise Your Game


Raise Your Game is Startup Maryland’s bootcamp initiative developed to provide the entrepreneurial community with a structured educational program and to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities.  The new twist for this bootcamp is that the sessions will be proctored/taught by experienced (often serial) entrepreneurs who are very well-recognized and respected.


Ms. Bengfort is an award winning entrepreneur who has co-founded and built two successful firms, both of which were acquired by larger companies: Preferred Pest Control acquired by American Pest and CenGen Inc. a leader in the field of highly mobile tactical wireless networks acquired (2011) by DRS Technologies, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica Group (FNC.MI), a multi-billion dollar defense contractor which ranks among the top 10 global players in aerospace, defense and security.


Other ventures for Ms. Bengfort have included leading edge hardware and software solutions for networking and communications, including secure highly mobile ad hoc networks using voice, video and data sharing applications in disruptive bandwidth constrained environments as well as service areas.


“Lily is one of the most recognizable leading-women in Maryland entrepreneurship and with her track-record of results she is an ideal mentor for young startup entrepreneurs,” stated Michael Binko, Founder | CE), Startup Maryland.  “With a cross-section of industries in her background Lily knows first-hand some of the common pitfalls to avoid when considering such daunting challenges as selling to the Federal government or deciding when and how to sell your company.”


With government clients in the military and national security areas, Ms. Bengfort built CenGen into a multi-million-dollar concern, winning several national awards for exceptional service and achievement including the U.S. Small Business Administration Maryland Business person of the year in 2010 and DARPA Director’s Award for helping the agency fulfill its mission to conceive, explore and demonstrate advanced and breakthrough technologies in 2005.  She was named Influential Marylander for Technology in 2011 by The Daily Record and Maryland Technology Company of the year in 2006.


Guyana, South American-born, Ms. Bengfort is no stranger to accolades and recognition. In 2009, she received the FIRN American Success Award and was selected to be a Fellow of the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law and the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Programs in 2012.


Currently, Ms. Bengfort is president of MINC-IT where she actively advises and invests in early-stage education and digital technology ventures.


Startup MD "Rocks-Out" @ PRS Guitars

Startup Maryland wraps its Pitch Across Maryland eastern shore swing with a special treat.  Tour Leaders/Sponsors and Entrepreneur VIPs were able to see one of the world’s most progressive music companies — PRS Guitars.

Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko (CEO of kloudtrack®) interviews PRS Guitars president Jack Higginbotham.

Higginbotham welcomed the Startup Maryland Tour to the company headquarters in Stevensville, MD as part of the Eastern Shore Swing during week number one of the Tour celebrating unique and disruptive MD innovations, companies and — most importantly — entrepreneurs

DBED and Startup Maryland Jointly Host Webinar on InvestMaryland as a National Best Practice

BALTIMORE, MD (January 15, 2013) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and Startup Maryland today hosted a webinar on the State’s InvestMaryland initiative as a national best practice for other states to model.

The webinar provided information on the creation and implementation of the $84 million program that is fueling Maryland’s Innovation Economy by investing in start-up companies. Outgoing DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson joined Michael Binko, CEO of kloudtrack and Startup Maryland Co-Chair for the webinar discussion for entrepreneurs and startup communities nationwide. To access a replay of the webinar, click the following link:

“Fostering entrepreneurship is critical to the success of every state in this increasingly competitive and global innovation economy,” said Secretary Johansson. “InvestMaryland is providing essential early stage capital for Maryland’s best and brightest young companies and is part of the State’s runway to success that supports startups as they mature through innovation to commercialization to company formation to job creation.”

“Stakeholder mobilization is one of the more subtle yet critical factors in building awareness and buy-in for public-private venture fund programs like InvestMaryland and the Venture Fund,” Binko said. “Governor O’Malley and DBED worked closely with the full spectrum of innovation communities to inform and engage them in the initiative.”

The webinar was held as part of the national Startup America Partnership’s effort to spread successful entrepreneurial support policies and programs across the country.  The largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history, InvestMaryland was tapped by Startup America for the organization’s “Ideas Center,” a collection of economic development best practices from around the United States.

“Startup America created the Ideas Center as a place where our Region Champions can share the most promising practices being employed to build strong and sustainable startup communities around the United States,” said Donna Harris, Managing Director for the Startup America Partnership. “The recent InvestMaryland/Maryland Venture Fund initiative has become widely recognized as one of the most successful and creative public-private venture capital programs in recent years. We are delighted to have Startup Maryland and Maryland DBED discuss in detail just how the effort was accomplished.”

“Access to capital is a concern many states and communities are tackling,” Harris added. “Broad awareness of these types of trailblazing ideas will benefit other Startup America Regions looking to increase capital flow and rally entrepreneur resources in their own communities.”

Created by Governor Martin O’Malley and passed by the General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is now being administered through the Maryland Venture Fund Authority and DBED. In March, the State raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies.

Two-thirds of the InvestMaryland funds will be managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds with a commitment to return, if successful, 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. The remaining third will be invested by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

Since signing its first deal in September, InvestMaryland has invested more than $1.8 million directly in Maryland companies and allocated another $12 million to Grotech Ventures to invest on behalf of the state.

About the Startup America Partnership

The Startup America Partnership is a growing national movement of thousands of founders, experts and resources providing startups access to the corporations, investors, and services they need to grow. Launched in early 2011, the Partnership brings together startups and local champions from around the country focused on creating successful networks for young, high-growth companies to thrive. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are its founding partners. American Airlines, American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., Microsoft and NYSE Euronext are corporate sponsors. For more information on the Partnership, visit and follow us at and

About Startup Maryland

Startup Maryland ( is a regional initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership ( It is a state-wide initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring resources together, increase access to capital / deal flow and boost awareness / celebration, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.

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Maryland DBED

Karen Glenn Hood
Startup Maryland Michael Binko/Julie Lenzer Kirk