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Early Stage East, Where Entrepreneurs and Investors Mingle, Comes to Baltimore

Daymond John

By Brian Wolak

BALTIMORE -- Entrepreneurs and investors descended on Pier 5 Hotel on Wednesday to attend Early Stage East Club Pitch Baltimore, a day-long event that attracted companies from as far away as Oregon and as close as West Baltimore St.

Featuring Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and co-star of "Shark Tank," as well as keynote speaker Steven Rosenbaum, CEO of and author of the book Curation Nation, Early Stage East saw more than 20 companies pitch their businesses to a panel of investors who served up feedback in candid terms.

Ari Winkleman came down from New York to pitch his startup Involvio (raising$500,000), which has built a system of social calendars that allow college students to post upcoming events to space accessible by browser and phone. (He cited Baltimore-based Localist as a competitor.)

Ken Malone travelled from Mississippi to assert that his company Ablitech, raising $10 million, was working on a mechanism that would deliver the "silver bullets" that would cure cancer.

Jonathan Cohen, raising a $1.5 million round, made the trip from Rockville, Md. to discuss the technologies that 20/20 GeneSystems is working on that detect early stage cancer and personalize cancer therapies.

Comments from the panel touched on the delivery of the pitches to the long- and short-term prospects of the business plans with varying levels of interest and skepticism.

Whether any deals were lit remains to be seen.

The event also featured education panels on raising capital and social media strategies, along with a keynote speech from Rosenbaum, who made the case that human aggregation and curation will take the place of - or has already started to replace - searches on the web given the massive load of data and information generated on a daily basis.

After a closing cocktail reception, Early Stage East concluded with an exclusive VIP dinner with John and investors.

Local companies that attended include:

  • 20/20 GeneSystems, Rockville
  • GreenSpacers, Columbia
  • PathSensors, Baltimore
  • Plasmonix, Baltimore
  • Micro Technology International, Gaithersburg