Tissue Analytics, a Baltimore mobile health company, took home top honors — and $50,000 — Thursday at Beta City's startup pitch competition.
Tissue Analytics, which developed a mobile application for tracking wound healing, was among eight startups that presented their business plans to a panel of judges during the Venture Capital Pitch Day at Sagamore Ventures' City Garage in Port Covington.
The pitch competition was part of Beta City, a daylong startup showcase put on by Sagamore Ventures, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's private venture investing arm, and the technology incubator Betamore. Now in its second year, Beta City aims to cast Baltimore as an emerging hub for entrepreneurship and technology by highlighting promising young companies and entrepreneurs.
"The reality is we're not proud enough of the amazing things happening here," said Jen Meyer, CEO of Betamore.
During the pitch competition, entrepreneurs made brief presentations of their business plans, then fielded questions from a panel of judges. The judges evaluated the pitches based on market potential, financial strength and the leadership team, as well as the presenter's overall pitch.
Tissue Analytics stood out because its technology addresses a major problem — millions of dollars spent on treatment of chronic wounds, said John Wasilisin, president and COO of TEDCO, a state agency that invests in promising companies.
Tissue Analytics' mobile application is designed to help doctors and nurses track wound healing. Through the app, health care providers can photograph a wound, take notes about progress and share the information with others on their team.
Chronic wounds such as bedsores and diabetic ulcers, cost millions of dollars a year to treat, in part because the process for tracking recovery is frequently inexact. Medical staff often rely on rulers to measure the size of a wound and their own visual judgment of whether a wound is healing.
"It's a very disruptive technology," Wasilisin said. "We like to try to give those companies a shot."
The $50,000 from TEDCO is an equity investment, meaning TEDCO will become an investor in Tissue Analytics and will continue to work with the company.
Tissue Analytics was founded by Kevin Keenahan and Josh Budman, two biomedical engineering graduates of the Johns Hopkins University.
Keenahan, the firm's CEO, said the investment will help get the company to its next hurdle, a Series A equity round he and Budman hope to complete next year.
The company has already raised $2.8 million in seed funding.
"It's going to catapult us into that next series of funding," Keenahan said.
Tissue Analytics wasn't the night's only winner. TopBox, an analytics tool for call centers, won a $25,000 cash prize from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the University System of Maryland, Evergreen Advisors, Greenspring Associates, Baltimore Angels, SunTrust and SC&H Group.
Founded by former Xerox executives, TopBox analyzes calls to customer service centers to help their operators improve customer relations and cut down on calls. By better understanding why customers are calling and why they're upset, companies may be able to better address problems and reduce the volume of complaints.
TopBox has offices in Potomac as well as Denver, Kansas City and Portland, Ore.
Another 17 companies were selected to present their products at booths set up at City Garage.
In addition to being an opportunity to show off some of the area's promising companies, Beta City was a place for the city's growing entrepreneurship and technology community to eat, drink and mingle. The event drew 700 attendees.
"This is a great moment for Baltimore," said Christy Wyskiel, who leads Hopkins' technology commercialization efforts as a senior adviser to President Ronald J. Daniels. "This is one big community now, and that's what can differentiate Baltimore from others — we're all cheering for each other."