Maryland has lured yet another technology start-up away from a neighbor — this time poaching from the nation’s capital.
Salsa Labs, a marketing software company currently based in the District, has secured the largest ever investment —$1 million — from the state-run, publicly funded Maryland Venture Fund and will move its operations and all 50 employees to Bethesda. The investment was part of a $5 million round led by New Jersey-based Edison Ventures.
Started in 2004, Salsa Labs provides digital marketing, fundraising and communications tools to more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations, social campaigns and political groups. The company’s client roster includes the American Cancer Society and Families USA.
“We have built a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution focused on enhancing how the nonprofit organization connects with its donors and activists,” Scott Stouffer, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “With this funding, we will continue to invest in supporter-centric product innovation that furthers our clients’ missions.”
Under the venture fund program, Maryland invests a third of the money, taking stake in each portfolio company, and allows private venture capital firms to invest the rest.
This isn’t Stouffer’s first experience with the program. His previous company, Visual Networks, was backed by the Maryland Venture Fund before eventually going public and later being sold.
This isn’t the state’s first start-up steal of late, either.
A month ago, the state lured cybersecurity start-up Luminal away from West Virginia with a $600,000 investment as part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s InvestMaryland initiative. Last week, the state injected another $100,000 into the company.
Days later, Montgomery County officials made an acquisition of their own, poaching Mobile System 7, another small cybersecurity venture, from northern Virginia with a $100,000 investment. It was the first capital awarded by the county under a new initiative intended to position Montgomery as the region’s future cybersecurity hub.
Heck, the state is even nabbing nearby economic development officials, too.