TechBUZZ Spring 2018 2018-03-06T15:58:58+00:00
TechBUZZ Spring 2018

The Mid-Atlantic Venture Association Presents: TechBUZZ Spring 2018

The Member Selected Stage for East Coast Seed Stage Companies and Early Market Entrants

Wednesday, February 28th

FHI 360 Conference Center
1825 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC

MAVA is proud to once again shine the spotlight on the hottest up-and-coming early stage technology companies from up and down the East Coast. A diverse and experienced cross-section of Early Stage Investors, VCs, and experienced CEOs will provide valuable feedback in response to the TechBUZZ presentations. Whether on stage or in the audience, the insight of our investor panels is always informative and thought-provoking.


The East Coast’s Top Seed/Early Stage Launch Event for Companies with Customer Validation

Launch. Pitch. Learn. Connect.

What’s Instore

  • Great Companies – From Seed to Series A to Growth
  • All Under One Roof Successful Founders
  • Sharing Lessons Learned and Best Practices
  • Access to Capital and Active Investors from Angels to Institutional…….for Now and for Later

Who You’ll Meet

  • Company Founders and Team Members
  • Corporate Investors
  • Innovators and Tech Savvy Talent
  • Key Business Advisors and Collaborators
  • Investors – from Angel to Family Office to Institutional and Corporate

TechBUZZ sponsorships provide valuable branding in front the complete ecosystem of startups, innovators and investors throughout the East Coast. Contact MAVA today to learn more!


Download the official MAVA app, available to registered attendees shortly before the program begins. Apple  & Android.

Keynote Speakers

Growing a Nationwide Flower Company

The Wonderful Journey of Creating Happiness On-Demand

Ajay Kori

CEO & Co-Founder

UrbanStems began with a phone call in late 2013. Ajay Kori called his college friend and dorm mate, Jeff Sheely, out of frustration that, once again, an attempt to send flowers to his long-distance girlfriend was met with poor customer service and unreliable delivery, despite a hefty price tag. There had to be a way to revolutionize the flower delivery business and make sending flowers a happy, seamless experience. In time for Valentine’s Day 2014, Jeff and Ajay launched UrbanStems in Washington, DC. Since then, UrbanStems has expanded to New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Austin.

Ajay Kori was born in Cleveland and grew up in Durham, North Carolina. An early entrepreneur, he created a content site that sold for over a million dollars while still in high school. Ajay earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and graduated from Harvard Business School in 2011. While at Harvard, Ajay won the HBS 2010 Business Plan Contest and was featured in a case study before graduating. Before creating UrbanStems, Ajay was at Quidsi (which sold to Amazon for $540 million) and helped launch Amazon’s first pharmacy.

Urban Stems Tear Sheet

Founded | 2014

HQ | Washington, DC

Funding | $14.3M

Recent Investments  |  $6.8M Series A (May 2016) and $6M Series A Extension (June 2017)

Featured In | The Wall Street Journal,,, Fortune, Smart CEO, Fast Company, Time CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg Radio

Then and Now:

What Still Works, and What’s Still Important

Phillip Merrick

CEO, Sparkpost
KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year, EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Washingtonian Magazine “Titan of Technology

SparkPost Tear Sheet

Founded | 2008

Offices | Columbia, MD; San Francisco, CA; London, England

Funding | $93.5M

Clients Include |  Comcast, LinkedIn, PayPal, Twitter, Kayak, PayPal, Oracle, New York Times

Phillip Merrick is the CEO of SparkPost, a leading email delivery vendor sending over 25% of the world’s legitimate email for companies like Capital One, Zillow, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Prior to joining SparkPost, Phillip held the role of chairman at VisualCV (acquired by TalentTech), EnterpriseDB (acquired by Peak Equity) and Rollstream (acquired by GXS). Previously, Phillip was Chairman and CEO of webMethods, Inc., a leading vendor of business integration software, which he co-founded in 1996 with his wife, Caren DeWitt Merrick. Under his leadership, the company pioneered web services and web-based software integration technologies, demonstrated the strongest revenue growth of any US software company in the period 1998 through 2002, and achieved the most successful software IPO to date. Awards Phillip has received include KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Washington, DC “Titan of Business”, and most recently Tech Council of Maryland “Technology CEO of the Year”. Phillip enjoys sailing and scuba diving with his wife and two sons whenever he can.


9zestHealthIT/ HealthTech

9zest, Inc. offers a mobile health solution for patients suffering from debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s, Stroke, and Chronic Pain. Using a holistic health regimen, 9zest has designed a suite of app-based rehabilitation solutions that harness principles of Neuroplasticity to provide holistic ‘at home’ therapy.

AudioStaqProgrammatic Advertising/On-Demand Audio

AudioStaq is a publishing and monetization platform that allows on-demand audio publishers to host, distribute, and monetize content. By using audio advertisement insertion technology, AudioStaq empowers podcast creators and advertisers to dynamically update advertisements in their pre-existing content giving them the ability to deliver household-specific advertising.

CameralPolitical Technology

Cameral is your Campaign in a Box – a platform for political candidates to start, manage, track, and win their campaign. Cameral’s unique, data driven political software incorporates more than half a billion records to optimize everything from direct mail to social media to election commission filing, for every size candidate.

ChromaWayBlockchain Technology

ChromaWay is a blockchain enterprise software company that provides deep integration to SQL-type databases for banking, real estate, and supply chain industries, in addition to the federal market. Chromaway is the world’s first consortium database using blockchain protocols to synchronize data among enterprises.

ClearForce Cybersecurity

ClearForce helps organizations eliminate insider risk and ensure a culture of trust within their workforce. ClearForce’s solution delivers event-based alerts of employee misconduct and high-risk behavior that occurs outside the workplace to identify employees under financial and personal stress who can become vulnerable to exploitation, susceptible to commit bad acts, or distracted in the performance of their job and operates as a consumer reporting agency with 100% employee consent.

HireCoder, Inc
HireCoder, IncOn-Demand Software Marketplace

HireCoder, Inc connects you to the top 1% of global remote coders in real time. HireCoder’s on demand software marketplace is the best place for clients and freelancers to connect, collaborate and get work done. Our platform offers live video chat with recommended coders that you can hire the same day and the Scrum and project are managed by our team of experts. We specialize in providing immediate access to experienced coders across a wide range of sectors and technical areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrency.

Hungry Harvest
Hungry HarvestE-Commerce Grocery

Hungry Harvest is a produce delivery service on a mission to fight food waste and hunger. The organization purchases fresh produce from farms that would otherwise not have been sold – think apples that are odd sized, or oranges with green on the skin – assembles the produce into balanced variety boxes, and delivers the boxes to subscriber’s doorsteps weekly, for 20% less than retail.

iyotee Social Media

iyotee, the creators of Go2s, a trusted private social network is designed for purposeful interactions between real-life friends, relatives, and neighbors. The platform facilitates the exchange of information, recommendations, and services on the local-level, helping to build thriving community networks powered by the strength of word-of-mouth advertising.

Little Arms Studios LLC,
Little Arms Studios LLC,SaaS Training Simulations

Little Arms Studios LLC, creates and distributes custom-built learning management systems and training simulations for drones/UAS and First Responder industries. These simulations provide the tools necessary to get the repetitions and practice needed to grow skills sets and progress towards certification.

NepColGeospatial Intelligence

NepCol is integrating GeoSpatial technology and big data with its SpatialEdge application, providing situational and location awareness data to enterprises about their assets in real-time. The solution integrates local intelligence, business intelligence, and content management systems at the core-programming level.

PeopliseTalent Attraction/ Identification

Peoplise powers-up existing recruiting systems of large organizations, allowing businesses to accelerate by attracting new candidates from social media, screening candidates through smart questioning and identifying fit talent through proctored assessments with a full company-branded mobile journey.


PhotoSquared is an e-commerce application that allows users to select photos from their phone and then prints them on to 8”x8”, lightweight photo boards that are quickly shipped directly to the customer. The lightweight squares require no nails and are easily movable from wall-to-wall and room-to-room.

PingThingsEnergy/ Data Analytics

PingThings brings predictive intelligence solutions to the smart grid through its PredictiveGrid™ platform to help utilities make sense of sensor data using analytics and artificial intelligence. PredictiveGrid is designed to ingest, store, visualize, analyze, and learn from hundreds of thousands of sensor data streams in real-time with nanosecond time resolution to enable numerous use cases including predictive asset maintenance, fault detection, and global situational awareness.

remodelmateReal Estate Technology

remodelmate is a tech-enabled general contracting company helping customers complete a stress-free renovation. Remodelmate connects homeowners to contractors for major renovations through a web application.

ScholarVets Education

ScholarVets is an application for Military-connected college students on a mission to support Veterans and Military families before, during, and after college. ScholarVets serves the higher education and human resources market, allowing users to rate and review their college experience, connect with other veterans and Military members on campus, and network with top veteran hiring employers across the country.

SilverStayHealthIT/ HealthTech

SilverStay is a marketplace that enables families and healthcare professionals seeking short-term senior living options for their loved ones and patients looking to find and book assisted living rooms. SilverStay provides real-time availability, pricing, reviews, and the ability to book instantly at no cost to the user.

SmartBridge Health
SmartBridge HealthHealthIT/ HealthTech

SmartBridge Health challenges the notion that high-quality, accessible cancer care is either unachievable or prohibitively expensive. SmartBridge’s Expert Opinion process gives patients timely access to expertise and clinical guidance, helping save time and money while contributing to better health outcomes and happier lives.

SpiraFood Technology

Spira creates a consumer IoT device for health-conscious urbanites that grows a protein supplement using spirulina algae. Spira uses machine-learning to maximize production and is working to produce a delicious and sustainable protein as an ingredient for food companies at scale.

Featured Investor Panelists

Bill Boyle

Angel Investor and Member, The Dingman Center Board of Advisors

Bill Boyle founded and was president of FiberGate, Inc., a Washington D.C. metro area provider of Dark Fiber services. FiberGate developed local fiber optic backbones along strategic routes in Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Frederick Counties in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and the City of Alexandria, Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties in Northern Virginia.  Bill ran the company for 17 years and successfully exited in the fall of 2012. Currently, he invests and work with startup companies, many of which come through the Dingman Center Angels investor network. Some of Bill’s investments include Card Isle, Divvy Cloud, Cobrain, Vitus Vet, DescribeIt, ZeroFox, and Astrapi. Bill serves on the Dingman Center Board of Advisors.​

Dan Dall’asta

Partner, Route 66 Ventures

Dan Dall’asta is a Partner at Route 66 Ventures, where his focus is on venture capital investment opportunities in financial & insurance technology. He currently holds Board positions with 8 Securities, Bunker, DriveWealth, Hydrogen, Quantemplate, Sonia, and Tandem.
Prior to joining Route 66 in 2013, Dan worked in capital markets, investment banking, and various operational roles. Most recently, he worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, specializing in M&A and equity and debt offerings. In addition to his time in banking and capital markets, Dan worked with City Year, an Americorps organization focused on improving graduation rates for at-risk youth.
Dan has an MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and dog.

Ulhas Jagdale

Associate, NEA

Ulhas Jagdale joined NEA in 2016 as an Associate and focuses on enterprise software and fintech investments. He involved with the NEA’s investments in Drop Loyalty, Evident ID, ThreatQ, Tulip Interfaces, and Upskill and supports NEA portfolio companies across the East Coast.
Prior to joining NEA, Ulhas was a member of Morgan Stanley’s Global Technology Investment Banking group in Menlo Park, California. While at Morgan Stanley, Ulhas worked on a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions as well as corporate advisory engagements for companies across the consumer internet, enterprise software, hardware, and clean technology sectors such as Airbnb, Dell, Facebook, and Uber, among others. Ulhas’s previous work experiences also span roles in quantitative finance and software development.
Ulhas graduated with honors from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science from Penn Engineering.

Justin Label

Principal Investor, Inner Loop Capital

Justin Label is Inner Loop’s principal investor. Justin has eighteen years’ experience working with private companies as a venture capital investor and advisor. He spent ten years at Bessemer Venture Partners in Silicon Valley, where he was involved with most of BVP’s Cyber Security investments between 2001 and 2011.

At Bessemer, Justin served on the board of Tripwire, Inc., a $100m-revenue Cyber Security company originally based on the successful Tripwire open source code. He sourced Bessemer’s investments in Postini, the leading service-based email security company (acquired by Google); Cyota, the innovative financial security and anti-phishing service (acquired by RSA/EMC); and Elemental Security, the unsuccessful but brilliant and ambitious vision of Cyber Security guru Dan Farmer (COPS, SATAN). Justin also served as a board observer or diligence lead for Cyber Security companies Finjan, Counterpane, Qualys, Sarvega, Nominum, LifeLock and Site Advisor.

Justin moved to Baltimore in 2014, and began making personal seed-stage investments. Justin is an investor in five D.C.-area cybersecurity companies: Terbium Labs, Virgil Security, Cybrary, NS8, and Protego. Four of those five have raised institutional Series A rounds subsequent to Inner Loop Capital’s investments. Justin is also a seed-stage investor in two California-based companies in cyber-security and other fields.

Thomas H. Scholl

Serial Entrepreneur & Investor
CEO, shoalscrollschool&skull

Thomas H. Scholl is a successful entrepreneur, technology innovator and investor. He has been directly involved in over 50 start-ups in differing roles including founder, chairman, CEO, board member and investor. Experienced in both hardware and software products ¬–¬¬ especially those created from deep intellectual property ¬– Tom currently serves on the board of a variety of companies.
As a venture capitalist for over ten years at Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Tom played a pivotal role identifying, investing in and mentoring portfolio companies from seed stage investment through successful exit. He sat on the boards of Paratek (acquired by RIM/Blackberry,) Command Information (acquired by Salient Federal Solutions,) Woodwind Communications (acquired by Vina,) Vubiquity and Princeton Optronics (acquired by ams.) In 2011, Tom was recognized as the venture capitalist “Friend of the Entrepreneur” by the Washington Business Journal.
Prior to joining Novak Biddle, Tom co-founded and was chairman of Cognio, a pioneering developer of software radio, cognitive spectrum management and MIMO antenna technology for wireless applications. Cognio was acquired by CISCO in October 2007. Tom was also an angel investor in Broadsoft (IPO) and served as a Director of Torrent Networking (acquired by Ericsson,) Integrated Telecom (acquired by PMC Sierra,) NEC’s eLuminant and Siemen’s Optisphere.
In 1990, Tom founded Telogy Networks, a leader in providing reference designs and embedded software products for world-class customers including Cisco, Samsung, Motorola, NEC, Nortel, Alcatel, Siemens, and many others. In 1998, Motorola acquired Telogy’s digital mobile handset design business, and in 1999 Texas Instruments acquired Telogy as the world leader in embedded VOIP (“Voice-Over-Internet Protocol”) software – licensing over one billion VOIP “sockets.” As Telogy’s CEO, Tom was honored as the 1995 Joseph A. Sciulli “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Maryland High Tech Council.
Prior to Telogy, Tom was Senior Vice President of Engineering at Hughes Network Systems (now a subsidiary of EchoStar and originally a combination of Digital Communications Corporation and Linkabit.) He began his professional career as a systems programmer at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Tom is a graduate of Purdue University in Philosophy and Literature, and serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Liberal Arts. He received Purdue’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009 and Doctor of Letters degree honoris causa in 2014. Tom is also a Trustee at Stevens Institute of Technology and serves as the Chairman of the Research Enterprise and Technology Commercialization Committee. He received Stevens’ “Friend of Stevens Award” in 2015. In addition, Tom is a member of the Board of Visitors at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, receiving the Clark School’s inaugural Glenn L. Martin Medal in 2014. He was previously a Trustee at Capitol Technology University.
Tom has six patents relating to software, the Internet and digital telephone systems, and he is the author of “ Packet Switching” in McGraw Hill’s Electronic Communications Handbook. He’s a Life member of IEEE and ACM, and he attended the Executive Management (non-degree) program at MIT Sloan School.
Growing up, Tom was an avid Ham radio operator and an Eagle Scout. He is married to Susan Hitz Scholl and has two sons, William and Tommy. He has been writing poetry since he was sixteen.

Tom Weithman

Managing Director & Vice President, CIT GAP Funds

Beginning in 2004, Tom Weithman has established and grown CIT GAP Funds, a family of seed-stage venture funds focused on making equity investments in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most promising tech and life science companies. In forming GAP Fund I, Weithman brought together initial investment capital, developed and implemented all deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio management processes, and recruited all members of the investment team and GAP Fund board. Building on the success of GAP Fund I, Weithman launched the GAP BioLife Fund and the GAP Tech Fund in 2007. Through CIT GAP Funds, Weithman’s team has placed more than 30 seed-stage equity investments, attracted more than $30M of private equity investment into CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies, driven 9 portfolio companies to Series-A investment, and propelled several companies to exit. Weithman maintains leadership for all day-to-day fund operations, investment strategy, and portfolio management activity for CIT GAP Funds. CIT GAP Funds has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top 100 venture fund in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Weithman brings to CIT GAP Funds a strong prior executive experience in sales, business development, and operations with both IBM and a Hughes Electronics-backed software and IT services start-up and has raised over $75M in funding for numerous early stage technology companies. In addition to advisory roles with a number of CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies, Weithman’s serves on the board of the Virginia Tech Intellectual Property Foundation and enjoys affiliations with Irish Angels and Catholic Charities of Northern Virginia. Weithman is active in numerous angel investment, venture capital, and entrepreneurial support organizations, speaking frequently on the subjects of seed stage investing, federal R&D funding, and technology transfer and has been recognized as among the “25 Most Influential People in the Southeast Technology Community” by TechJournal South. Weithman holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MBA from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

TechBUZZ Partners

Baltimore Angels is an angel investor group based in Baltimore, MD. Founded in 2009, its mission is to invest profitably in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and advance early stage innovators to the next stage of capital formation. Its vision is to be the most trusted resource for angel capital investment and entrepreneurial mentorship in the Greater Baltimore region.

Betamore is an award-winning campus for technology and entrepreneurship with a two-fold mission. First, we aim to stimulate the establishment and growth of technology-based startup companies through business collaboration and incubation. Second, and arguably most important, we offer a career-focused education led by current industry experts to a growing public community of learners.


Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been the leading seed stage capital provider for Southeastern Pennsylvania’s technology sectors, investing over $175 million in more than 1,750 regional technology companies, many of which have gone on to become industry leaders, for over 30 years. Ben Franklin has also launched university/industry partnerships that accelerate scientific discoveries to commercialization, and has seeded regional initiatives that strengthen our entrepreneurial community.

Bethesda Green brings business, government and community together through programs and services to promote a sustainable society and has a business incubator that is developing the next generation of energy and environmental products and services.


The Dingman Center Angels is a Maryland based angel investment group that provides funding to early-stage companies located within the Mid-Atlantic region. Our members are entrepreneurs, CXO’s, venture capitalists and business leaders who have founded, funded and built world-class companies. Our investors come from a wide array of industry expertise and in association with the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship, create an extensive entrepreneurial community.


ETC is a community of entrepreneurs and startups growing together in the City of Baltimore. The ETC offers three unique programs: ETC’s Incubation Program– offering business support services to tech startups, AccelerateBaltimore– a startup accelerator launching soon, & Beehive Baltimore– Baltimore’s coworking community.

Energetics Technology Center (ETC) provides research and engineering services, and policy development capabilities to government, academia, and private industry clients. ETC incorporated in 2006 as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, with a charter to promote the development of science and engineering activities in Southern Maryland. ETC’s focus is to engage in technology activities which support the country’s future national security posture and the public interest.

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. The award-winning FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, Munich, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv.


Fishbowl Labs is a vibrant community of startups working out of the AOL campus in Dulles, Virginia. Our community provides free office space and support for talented entrepreneurs to help overcome the challenges inherent in starting a company. We also collaborate with some amazing folks across AOL.

humble aligns startups, innovative organizations, and investors who share the collective human, financial, and technical resources to accelerate improving lives & economic impact.


Loudoun County Department of Economic Development is here to help build your business. Dedicated to recruiting new business, growing our existing industries and improving our county’s business climate, we’re ready and waiting to provide a wide range of services for your company, whether you’re a start-up or well-established player.


Maryland Business Incubation Association was founded in 2002 to advance business incubation in Maryland. Representing 22 incubators, MBIA supports nearly 550 companies across the state in both urban and rural areas.

New Dominion Angels is an investor group formed to capitalize early-stage companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. We are not a managed fund. We are a group of like-minded members who make individual decisions whether to invest in companies that present to the group.

Potential Energy DC is building a unique ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors and policy experts in the Washington, DC metro area to solve energy challenges.


Refraction is a 23,000 square foot non-profit coworking space run by Canvas for technology startups, non-profit organizations, and artists located in Reston, VA.


Startup Grind BaltimoreStartup Grind Columbia, MD and Startup Grind DC are events series and websites designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month each local chapter welcomes an amazing speaker who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do differently next time. , It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the startup community, and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.

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