October is my favorite month of the year. I love the crisp, cooling air of the Northern states, the color of fall leaves, and I love playoff baseball. This year will be the first that the sport will have two wild card elimination games to start the action, like a tech demo day offering a promising few one shot to make or break fortunes. And like a lot of people, I’m excited to see the unfamiliar face of Baltimore involved in the pennant chase. Maybe it’s the city’s time for startup glory as well.
Baltimore? That’s right. The Orioles couldn’t quite chase down the Yankees for the division title, but they’re not done yet. A few startups hope to challenge the New York mystique as well. One that I’m excited to see step to the plat is HobbyBuddy. This platform hopes to help people connect with others in their hometown or on the road to enjoy favorite pastimes together. If you’re an Oriole fan deep in Texas, this would be a great way to find some one else to cheer on the club with you when they take on the Rangers.
I love a good game of Euchre, a trick-taking card game for four people if you’re not familiar, but it’s often tough to find a group looking to play unless you have a regular meeting put together. HobbyBuddy would help the trump-starved addict like myself find existing local action or try to organize something from scratch. The site tries to facilitate activities in four categories: individual, couples, groups, and events. The company’s catchphrase is “Don’t just watch life. Participate!” Well, I’m sure they wouldn’t be adverse this time to watching a ballgame qualifying as participation. Cold beer, here?
Co-founders Ericka Jackson and Marquett Burton lead HobbyBuddy on the field. In addition to his startup, Burton works as the Site Director at Incentive Mentoring Program, a nonprofit organization that supports Baltimore teenagers in danger of being expelled from school.
As I get older nothing reconnects me to boyish wonder quite like baseball. I feel free to dream in the ballpark, and want nothing more than to see my favorite players cross home plate safely. I’m sure Baltimore fans can identify with my wish, because they’re home to a startup with childhood safety batting clean-up. Wutsgood is a web browser geared to protect online youth from cyber bullying and sexual predators, gang recruiters, inappropriate content, and other dangerous web elements.
Wutsgood establishes a secure social networking community that allows teenage users and younger to browse online hassle free, and makes it easy for them to report any suspicious activity or unauthorized attempts at contact. This empowers kids to protect themselves who otherwise might be reluctant to tell parents about awkward encounters.
C. Ray Spires III coaches in the Wutsgood dugout. He, along with the HobbyBuddy team and other promising Baltimore companies, are scheduled to participate in a Tech Cocktail startup showcase on October 18th (register here). I can’t promise peanuts and nachos, or home runs, but there’s bound to be some fall magic in the air.