By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews
Startup Maryland has posted online the 168 business pitches the group collected during its nearly three-week tour across the state in September.
The entrepreneurial support and advocacy organization is looking for the “fan favorite” of businesses that took part in the Pitch Across Maryland Tour. The popularity contest — the videos are posted on Youtube, so views count as votes — will expire at the end of the year, with the winner receiving what organizers call a “token prize.”
“These videos are a testament to the strength, dedication and diversity of Maryland’s entrepreneurial community,” said Mike Binko, co-chair of Startup Maryland. “When we launched the Pitch Across Maryland tour we thought we might have 40-50 entrepreneurs join us on the tour bus and pitch, so 168 is phenomenal. Including all the rallies and events we held more than 200 startups actually participate in the tour.”
Co-chair Julie Lenzer Kirk said the tour “rightly placed the spotlight on the vitality in Maryland’s innovation economy.”
As the public voting gets underway, so too will the official judging. Investors, experienced entrepreneurs, incubator heads, economic development officials and others on the judging panel will pare the video pitches down to the eight they believe represent the “strongest potential for high growth.” Those that make the final eight will receive support from Startup Maryland and its partners.
The finalists will be announced Nov. 7. The winner and runner-up will be crowned at the Entrepreneur Expo on Nov. 13.
The pitch videos are located here, sorted by the tour stops at which they were collected.
Gov. Martin O’Malley and Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson took the hot seat during the bus tour to talk about the state’s innovation economy and the new InvestMaryland program that raised $84 million in venture capital dollars that will be invested in Maryland companies. (O’Malley and Johansson aren’t part of the fan favorite contest, so posting their videos below won’t skew voting.)
Here’s the governor on the state’s innovation economy:
And here’s Johansson on InvestMaryland: