Baltimore tech startup
plans to launch its first round of financing, for $500,000, this year.
Founder Anne Balduzzi calls SameGrain a “social discovery” platform, a new form of social media that connects people to each other for business and social purposes.
The Internet platform is private and anonymous, unless clients choose to reveal their names. “You can go online and find people like yourself or who attended the same schools – people with the same interests, same educational background, same health issues, and much more,” she says. The company is signing up early people willing to be beta testers on its website.
“We match people to other people, whether in the same city or elsewhere, for careers, business networking, shopping and similar life experiences,” says Balduzzi, whose background includes stints at Quantum Computer Services, the precursor to AOL and as the first product manager for Apple’s first online service.
Founded in 2011, SameGrain is located in the Emerging Technology Center at Canton. In 2012, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, known as TEDCO, gave the company $75,000 in seed money. SameGrain is applying for other state agency grants and soliciting financing from angel investors.
Balduzzi says the beta testing, a standard step for startups, will serve as market research and help it build a user base. Once the beta testing and funding are wrapped up, SameGrain will make an official marketing push, hopefully this year.
SameGrain has already won several awards. It won first place in last summer’s Washington Post’s Capital Business “pick your pitch” competition, receiving more than 6,600 online votes. It won the StartRight Business Plan competition last summer. And, last fall, it was one of eight finalists in StartUp Maryland "Pitch Across Maryland,” chosen by a panel of entrepreneurs and investor experts.
The company has a staff of three full-time and four part-time. It is interviewing people with programming and design experience for possible future employment.
Source: Anne Balduzzi, SameGrain Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash