Press Releases

January 2015

Fund Supporting Baltimore City Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups Invests in Three Tech Companies

Citelighter, Three Ring and OpiaTalk received funding from the Propel Baltimore Fund 

COLUMBIA, Md. (Jan. 27, 2015) – The Propel Baltimore Fund is proud to invest in education startups Citelighter and Three Ring, and e-commerce technology provider OpiaTalk. Propel Baltimore is a $5.2 million seed investment fund for entrepreneurs and start-up companies located in or moving into Baltimore City managed by TEDCO and supported by six of the most prominent foundations in the city.

“Baltimore City is home to many talented technology-focused companies and resources, and the Propel Baltimore Fund enhances their growth, creating jobs that drive the state’s innovation economy,” said Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “The Propel Baltimore Fund is an excellent resource for increasing entrepreneurship in the city and we encourage innovative start-ups that are located or willing to relocate to Baltimore to apply for funding.”

Citelighter, a research and writing platform that helps students think critically, closed a $2 million financing led by Propel Baltimore. The company’s proprietary technology provides teachers with a summary of actions a student takes during the research and writing processes. This product allows teachers to provide more effective feedback to students and better understand how each individual learns.

Three Ring, which closed a $2 million financing supported by Propel Baltimore, allows teachers and students to digitize student work by snapping pictures or videos with their mobile or tablet devices. The work can then be shared with administrators, parents, teachers and students through a permissions system the company developed.

Propel Baltimore also participated in a $500,000 financing in OpiaTalk, an e-commerce widget that allows web sites to generate new business sales by combating shopping cart abandonment. The company’s hyper-conversion widget presents shoppers with time-sensitive deals, leveraging consumers’ fear of missing out to increase rates of purchase. The OpiaTalk widget is currently being used by a number of prominent clients, such as Microsoft, Skype and Rosetta Stone.

“The Propel Baltimore Fund invests in promising Baltimore City start-up companies that are developing cutting-edge services and products that are changing the commercial marketplace, and Citelighter, Three Ring and OpiaTalk exemplify our mission,” said Wally Pinkard, president of the France-Merrick Foundation. “The fund positions Baltimore as a destination for growing businesses. We’d like to congratulate these companies on receiving support through the fund and we look forward to their future success.”

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 up 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 Stuart Sutley, Managing Director at TEDCO, by phone at 410-715-4180 or by email at ssutley@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 France-Merrick Foundation

The France-Merrick Foundation, one of Maryland’s largest private foundations, is committed to making a difference in the Greater Baltimore region through its grant making. The Foundation’s funding is aimed at increasing the capacity of organizations to have a positive impact on lives and communities. The Foundation has six main areas of focus, including Civic and Culture, Community Development, Conservation, Education, Health and Human Services and Historic Preservation. For more information on the France-Merrick Foundation, visit www.france-merrickfdn.org.