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Germantown Firm Named Finalist in Maryland ICOY Awards Despite Co-Founder Suffering Gunshot Wound

In December, Iris Sherman, the co-founder of Germantown-based Kitchology was the victim of a random shooting in Rockville, and four months later, the company she co-founded is one of the finalists for the prestigious 2016 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards.

Since 2001, the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards or ICOY Awards have honored over 100 new and early-stage companies for their achievements. Award Recipients have been selected from the biotechnology, computer technology, and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to the founders, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Maryland Business Incubation Association are strong supporters of the event.

Kitchology is a start-up company, and part of the Germantown Incubation Center on Goldenrod Lane. Kitchology has built a patent-pending cooking platform for people dealing with food allergies and special diets. Kitchology puts cooks in the center of its design. At its core, Kitchology is a profiling engine that analyzes consumer activities, and a substitution engine that makes product substitutions and recommendations when consumers plan meals and shopping. It includes a database with over 480,000 substitution rules and 80,000 culinary rules. Together, this allows for advanced matching of ingredients pertaining to the user's preferences, enabling planning, cooking, and sharing.

The company has managed to gain this honor while one of its founders has been struggling with deal with the effects of being shot back in December.

According to the company’s website, Sherman was driving in Rockville to pick up her son at the Metro station when her car rocked, and she thought she had been in an accident. A few moments later, the pain hit her, and she realized that she had been shot. The bullet pierced the car and lodged in her leg just half an inch from the femoral artery and femoral nerve.

“Emotionally, I don’t think I could have gone through this whole ordeal without my family, my friends, my co-founder and the Kitchology team by my side,” wrote Sherman. “Nothing beats a home cooked meal being brought home by your true friends. Fellow entrepreneurs, partners we let in on the ‘secret/situation/that thing’ have been wonderful. There is something about having to bootstrap, to persevere that transcends experience. At work, with every milestone we achieved since, customer traction and discussion with brands, I found myself slowly getting stronger, more in control.”

The 2016 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year publicly recognize achievements by current and graduates of Maryland incubators and provides a forum for the nominees to increase their visibility in the business, technology, and investment communities.

Kitchology is the first company to create an integrated cooking platform for people dealing with food allergies and special diets. It allows consumers to overcome the limitations imposed by food restrictions. Kitchology applies machine learning to nutrition science, profiling and social curation to help the home cook match and modify recipes to satisfy the challenges of food allergies, intolerances, and special diets. Kitchology enables meal planning based on ingredients previously used and explored, personalized, ingredient substitutions, purchasing with intelligent shopping lists, step-by-step cooking, and fosters influencer relationships.

Recognizing the economic challenges facing new companies, business incubators are facilities that provide reasonable market rents, shared services, and technical assistance to start-ups, and early-stage companies, including manufacturing, biotech, service and technology firms. Sponsored by Saul Ewing LLP, Emergent, M&T Bank, The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), RSM US LLP and the Maryland Business Incubator Association, the ICOY awards are chosen in several categories by a selection committee of regional industry leaders and early-stage investors. Winners will be announced Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

Caption: Kitchology co-founder Iris Sherman. The Germantown-based start-up is one of the finalists for the 2016 ICOY Awards.

Photo courtesy Kitchology.