Tag Archives: entrepreneur

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Incubate Spotlight: Innovative Charitable

I spoke with Dale Kelley, the CEO and President of one of ETC’s newest members, Innovative Corporate Charitable Solutions. Innovative Corporate Charitable Solutions, who joined ETC’s IncubateBaltimore 2 months ago, is a company whose software is designed for corporations that want a new, advanced way of making charitable donations.The company started when Bob Wieder saw an application for a new system of charity donations in the corporate world. Wielder then came to Kelley, a fellow baseball coach for their sons’ team, and the two got a development team together. But Innovative isn’t just your typical charity donation company.


Bob Wieder, founder of Innovative Charitable, and Jim Clifton, VP Sales, 
and Marketing strategize messaging with the video production team.

“We have a really big vision,” said Kelley during our talk. “We want to link corporations to the community and bridge that gap.” Innovative believes that the key to achieving this goal lies in the corporation’s own employees. Who better to connect to the community than those who are the community? What makes Innovative truly unique is its bottom-up approach. Instead of the company making one large donation to a single charity, companies using Innovative give the decision to the employees.


How? With Innovative, the corporation designates so much money for  charity and then allots the money to a certain number of employees. Each employee then picks a charity to donate that money to. These smaller donations are seen as more genuine because the charities they go to are selected personally by each employee. Innovative is a very personal software. At the end of the donation process, the employee can then choose to share the news of this donation on social media (Facebook or Twitter). Innovative even has the president of the company film a short video that is presented to the employee during the process.


Why choose to do small donations though rather than a couple of large ones? Well, smaller donations help to expand the company’s footprint, Kelley explained. This method spreads the donations to smaller, local charities that may not typically receive many donations. When an employee starts the donation process, they may pick a charity they already have in mind or they may scroll through a list provided by Innovative. They can also narrow-down the list by type of charity and where the charity is located. Unless the employee designates a different state, the default area is determined by their IP address. This encourages those donating to give-back to the local community.


So what is Innovative’s future plans? “We are in the angel stage right now,” said Kelley, “but we hope to obtain our first several customers this year.” As for long term goals, Innovative aims to be a national company. ETC’s IncubateBaltimore helps Innovative Charitable to grow as a startup. Kelley says that ETC’s Haven campus provides the perfect place for brainstorming in its coworking space. The mentoring and opportunity to meet others are also great benefits that Innovative has gained since joining IncubateBaltimore. And ETC is excited to welcome Innovative.

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The Life of a Dad-trepreneur

The life of an entrepreneur isn’t an easy one, and neither is the life of a father. This week, ETC would like to highlight some of the founders who have a second job: being a dad.


Meet some of our Dad Entrepreneurs (Dad-trepreneurs) and their Startups:



David Larson – founder of Early Light Media

Early Light Media consists of a dedicated, driven team of individuals who create videos “that shift perceptions and aspire to change the world.” ELM is located at ETC’s Eastern Campus.


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Bill King – founder of Roadmap

Roadmap is “intelligent product management, scheduling, time tracking, and resource planning.” Their software helps you organize and manage projects. Roadmap can be found at ETC’s Eastern Campus.


Dan Dawes – founder of Response Labs

Response Labs is a product development company that helps both customers and consumers to share their brands and experiences. They “aim to bridge technologies, integrate platforms, provide deeper user experiences and enhance relevant insights.” Response Labs is located at the ETC Haven Campus.

To get a closer look into the lives of the elusive dad-entrepreneurs, we asked them a few questions about what it’s like to lead a double life.


Firstly, we asked, “What is the most challenging part of being both a father and an entrepreneur?”

Larson: The most challenging part of being a father and an entrepreneur is balancing the time between working and being at home. Owning a business is like having another child.

King: Most challenging? Balancing time and focus between kids and startup. On the one hand, I’m not much of a father if I’m always working. On the other, I’m not much of a provider if I don’t make the startup successful. A related challenge is not bringing the stress of a startup into the home.

Dawes: The work-life balance is an ongoing challenge. As someone who likes to work, I have to be proactive and take the time to be with the family, too.


“Is it easier being a father or an entrepreneur? Why?”

Larson: I don’t know if either is easier than the other. Being a father is awesome and fulfilling in ways that being an entrepreneur can’t be. And visa versa.

King: Easier to be an entrepreneur. My company may not survive or become as successful as I’d like, but there are always other opportunities. With kids, you only get to be a dad once, especially at certain ages or periods in their lives.

Dawes: Both are easy to get into – but if we add the qualifier of “successful” that changes things a bit. I’d say being a successful father is more difficult. Success being that you raise a smart, driven young man or woman with a solid moral compass that positively contributes to society. The advancement of technology has been really disruptive in areas that are instrumental in their formative years. We now have resources like the internet, iPads for students, Khan Academy and distance learning. Kids can now create, edit and distribute their own music and films with just a laptop and a mobile device. And social media. All of these things come with pros and cons and keeping-up with it enough to help kids understand what to embrace, and what to stay clear of is a real challenge.


“What is your favorite part of being a father and what do you like to do with your kids?”

Larson: I love taking my kids on hikes and exploring interesting areas in Baltimore and in the county. I also love taking them to concerts in Patterson Park during the summer.

King: Favorite part of being a dad is having fun and (trying) to be a good role model.

Dawes: Watching the boys move from infants to little guys has been a blast. And now that they’re a little older, they’re my pals – we fish, play sports, all that good stuff. In fact, they helped launch Dundalk Dan’s beef jerky, so we’ve got them in the entrepreneur space already!


“What helps you balance your life?”

Larson: Coffee….and my wife. But mainly coffee.

King: Balance requires prioritization, compartmentalization, and learning that sometime “good enough” is good enough (just don’t make a habit of it).

Dawes: My wife Stacey is a Super Mom and is instrumental in giving me the time I need to get what’s necessary done at work. She shuttles the boys to school, many sports, etc. allowing me to focus on the company.


“Lastly, any advice for future fathers that have a startup?”

Larson: Find the right balance between work and home and don’t stress the small stuff.

King: Take your risks early in your career. Only making enough money to eat Ramen noodles and cover the basics is a lot easier to pull off than when you have a spouse, kids, etc.

Dawes: Having children is a big responsibility, as is starting and successfully running a company. You have to put in the time and hard work to succeed at both. There’s a lot less time for screwing around. It’s absolutely doable though — so go get after it!


ETC would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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What’s the Buzz About TechBUZZ?


Whether you’re an investor or a startup, TechBUZZ has something for you. This event by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), which is hosted in various locations in the DMV, three times a year, brings together investors and top startups in one space. This is the first year they are hosting this event in Baltimore City. This is the perfect opportunity for both networking and for startups to present a thorough 4 minute pitch to investors actively seeking early-stage entrepreneurs. A wide range of startups present at each event, from software and education technology to business and food technology.

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Over the past 3 years, multiple ETC startups have taken the stage at TechBUZZ.

SurveySnap – (Spring 2013) An app that helps  collect and organize information about job sites, such as floor plans, maps, aerial images, and more. On their site, you can find a free trial. SurveySnap is also an Accelerate Baltimore graduate.

SameGrain – (Fall 2013) A social app that lets you connect with other people who have the same interests, values, backgrounds, and more. They emphasize privacy and anonymity on their social platform.

Rehabtics (Fall 2013) An at home system utilizing Microsoft Connect for rehabilitation

Roadmap – (Summer 2014) “Intelligent product management, scheduling, time tracking, and resource planning.” Their software helps you organize and manage projects. A free trial can be found on their website.

PeerAspect – (Fall 2015) Data management software. Their flagship software called Sheets has been praised for its flexibility and ease.

NewsUp – (Fall 2015) Integrates relevant news with engaging quizzes. They call themselves “the current events trivia game where you play the news!” In July 2015, the company closed a $500,000 equity round, led by the McLane Group.

Sickweather – (Spring 2015) An app that tells you the illness forecast. See how many sicknesses are about on your phone or Apple Watch. Sickweather has been featured on Time, NPR, Fox, CBS, BBC News, and more.

Point3 Security – (Spring 2016) A security company that offers a “human-driven service.” Their security mechanism, Odile™, detects advanced cyber threats on your computer or network.

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For the Summer 2016 TechBUZZ, ETC’s own Fusiform will be presenting their pitch. Fusiform was founded by Param Shah and Alex Matthews to change the world of orthopedics. Their FusiformCAST technology streamlines the process for clinicians’ of administering orthopedic devices. Not only does FusiformCAST’s scanning technology save valuable time by cutting down the time needed for each appointment, but it also greatly reduces possible errors in the ordering process.

Benefits for clinicians include order collaboration, scanner compatibility, patient tracking, and messaging. The order collaboration feature allows a clinician to look at the 3D scan of the patient along with their central fabricators, which makes communication and collaboration easy.

Vendors, too, benefit from using FusiformCAST. With CAST, vendors can easily track orders, communicate with their clients, and customize CAST to fit their business by uploading their catalogs and order forms.

Fusiform is a 2016 program graduate of the Accelerate Baltimore program.


All are welcome to attend the Summer 2016 TechBUZZ on Thursday, June 16th from 1pm-7:30pm.  The event is located at the Columbus Center in the Inner Harbor on 701 E. Pratt Street. If you want to attend, use the following code for $10 off: MAVATBETC.