Mike Rosenbaum explains how he maxed out his credit cards to start his first business in Baltimore.
More than 20 years later, Rosenbaum founded Catalyte and Arena, software firms which help assess, process and create thousands of jobs nationwide.
He wants to use his business acumen and join several other candidates to seek the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor. He made a formal announcement Tuesday, May 11 through a video at https://mikerosenbaum.com/launch to seek his first public office.
“I spent over 20 years building companies that are designed to challenge systems and question assumptions underlying systems,” Rosenbaum, 49, said in an interview. “All of my work has been based on a premise that is evenly distributed, but opportunity isn’t. Because of it, we have a whole bunch of disparities in our system that don’t work.”
His first company, Catalyte originally called Catalyst IT Services in 2001, uses artificial intelligence to identify potential applicants who have an aptitude to become software developers. Headquartered in Baltimore, the company has five other offices throughout the country.
Catalyte became featured in 2018 on 60 Minutes which highlighted Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, who encourages venture capitalists as part of a $150 million investment into overlooked communities.
Arena, established in 2016 as Pegged Software, uses data and analytics not only to find qualified candidates in the health care industry, but also to reduce bias.
“The fact that resumes become the foundation of how the labor market works and because of how folks interpret resumes, we end up with bias based on race, gender [and] class,” Rosenbaum said. “It takes someone who has the courage and vision to see where we need to go and challenge those systems and has done it successfully and can apply it at a larger scale.”
Entering a Crowded Field in Race for Governor
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Rosenbaum worked in the public sector under former President Bill Clinton’s administration as an economist and on trade issues in the State Department.
The Harvard educated businessman who resides in Baltimore will face several Democratic challengers in the 2022 primary to replace Gov. Larry Hogan, whose term expires in January 2023.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot became the first person to declare his candidacy last year.
Two former President Barack Obama officials, Ashwani Jain and John King Jr., and both of Montgomery County, will seek the state’s top leadership position.
Other possible contenders include former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, former state Attorney General Douglas Gansler and former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
Baltimore County Executive John “Johnny O” Olszewski decided to seek a second term to remain in the county.
Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, who resides in Frederick County, became the first candidate April 14 to announce her intentions to seek the Republican nomination.
Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele could become a potential candidate in the Republican primary.
Although Maryland remains a heavily Democratic state, Republicans have won the governor’s seat in three of the past five gubernatorial races.
Todd Eberly, political science professor at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s County, Md., said the race may not be as crowded because first-time county executives such as Olszewksi and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks can seek second terms without losing their seats.
Eberly said certain people such as Baker make solid candidates with his government experience and coming from a major county, but Franchot has the edge right now.
“He has used the comptroller’s office brilliantly to position himself for this run,” Eberly said. “People are already used to him voting on the ballot…He has visited every square inch of the state. Visiting people and building up constituencies. In a primary, that is worth thousands of dollars in advertising and campaigning that he already has ready to go.”