As promised, I wanted to take a few minutes and do a recap of all of the exciting things that have been happening in Baltimore since I wrote my post “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” back in November. In short, LOTS has happened.
First, I would like to briefly follow up on some of the things that I’ve been actively involved with in the ecosystem, and give updates on each. I mentioned three areas where I was helping to contribute, GBTC, Baltimore Angels, and an accelerator. There have been significant updates with each:
Greater Baltimore Technology Council (now the gb.tc):
I am not sure where to begin here because there has been SO much velocity with the gb.tc since December it feels like a completely different organization, because it is. In December, we had new leadership come on board, Jason Hardebeck, who took the reigns and starting blowing things up almost immediately. The gb.tc gave up its office, has embarked on the #nomorebox tour and is co-working out of its members offices in an effort to stay connected to its members and core constituencies.
The gb.tc also was the first tech council to give up its membership dues and become an open platform. The group is now supported by investors, which also include sponsorships and event revenue. Speaking of events, in 4 short months the organization has put on InSquared and BmoreFail, and supported many other activities and initiatives in the region. I mentioned to a group recently, that the gb.tc is now curating our community’s stories, and is a facilitator of support for all movements in the Baltimore technology, entrepreneur and innovation community. The gb.tc really is becoming the connective tissue in this region, and thats exactly what Hardebeck wants it to be.
I look forward to continuing to serve on the board and help to advance this organization.
The Baltimore Angels:
As mentioned in my last post, I starting running point for the Baltimore Angels at the end of November last year. I am very proud to report back that we have made incredible strides in rebooting this group into a very active and vibrant organization. First, we are now a membership based organization with 42 active and engaged members. We have successfully implemented a pre-screening process for our deals, are meeting on a monthly basis, have active sponsorships, and a partnership with TEDCO to help with due diligence and closing services. Most importantly we are funding startups! Since December the group has funded Parking Panda, Dinner Time, and is at the time of this post, finalizing its second investment of 2012, another local Baltimore startup.
In short, I am excited to see the commitment to this group. The flow of activity and the monthly meetings are getting better and better, and our group is growing every month. I am glad to have been able to help reboot this important function in our region. I also appreciate the help of Ed Chalfin, Sean Lane, Dave Troy, Jason Hardebeck, Lisa Dubaj and many others for helping me get things organized.
In addition to the Baltimore Angels, the new “Propel Baltimore” fund (mentioned below), is also active and ready to fund startups in Baltimore City. The combination of the angel group being active, and this fund coming online greatly shift the landscape for early stage capital in Baltimore. This is a very good thing for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Startup Accelerator = Betamore
I mentioned in my earlier post that I was working on developing an accelerator in Baltimore. This was also picked up in the press as well. Since the publishing of my post and the Sun article, the concept has changed greatly, and without going into a lot of details yet, I am proud to announce that Sean Lane, Mike Brenner and myself have teamed up to bring you, Betamore. Betamore is an urban campus for entrepreneurship and technology. Think education, incubation & community. Thats all I will say for now, but you should drop your email to stay in touch, and look out for an opening sometime this summer.
In addition to this brief update on the efforts I have been involved with, my friend, partner and overall Baltimore rockstar Mike Brenner recently announced some exciting news about his site Startup Baltimore partnering with Technically Media out of Philadelphia. This is another important step in creating a vibrant ecosystem here, a media organization truly dedicated to covering all of the great things happening in our city. We need more than just Gus and citybizlist out there They can’t do it all!
If I was going to wrap up some of the other happenings of the past few months, I would just be regurgitating what Mike outlines in his post below:
Other Baltimore Regional Updates from the Startup Baltimore site:
AccelerateBaltimore has Announced its Inaugural Class of Startups
The four startups that have been picked are: Flying Pig Digital, Hooopla, NoBadGift.com, and Unbound Concepts. The accelerator is being run by the ETC in Canton, made possible through a grant from the Abell Foundation.
More info: http://bmo.re/GZBRBw
Startup Maryland Launched on March 30th
Startup Maryland launched its effort to ignite entrepreneurship at a kick-off event March 30th at the UMD Entrepreneurship Invitational.
More info: http://bmo.re/GZHPCl
Loyola has Partnered with Wasabi Ventures to Launch Accelerator
Loyola University Maryland announced the initiative which will create a forum for the University to collaborate with local entrepreneurs interested in creating and building new businesses. The accelerator will be located in the Govans community in North Baltimore, just east of Loyola’s North Charles Street campus.
More info: http://bmo.re/HmGa9y
Blackboard has Acquired Moodlerooms
Moodlerooms, one of the world’s largest open-source education service providers and graduate of the ETC in Canton, has successfully exited out of “startup” status through this acquisition. Now located in Federal Hill, Moodlerooms intends to keep their name, continue to operate independently, and most importantly stay in Baltimore!
More info: http://bmo.re/HkkO8z
Gov O’Malley Announces InvestMaryland, an $84 Million Fund For Maryland Startups
Maryland is the first state in the nation to use an online auction to raise funds for the venture capital program, InvestMaryland, which will deploy the first round of funds to seed early stage companies this summer.
More info: http://bmo.re/H4dCRy
ETC has Hired Deb Tillett as New President & CEO
Ann Lansinger, who has run the ETC since its creation in 1999, is retiring this year and will be replaced by the veteran video game industry executive.
More info: http://bmo.re/Hu5gzY
Digital Harbor Foundation has Created the EdTech Link
The Digital Harbor Foundation has announced the EdTech Link, a program and fellowship opportunity linking teacher professional development to student after school programming in the areas of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The program will begin in June 2012.
More info: http://bmo.re/Hu6F9q
Abell Foundation and TEDCO have created the “Propel Baltimore” Fund
The fund, which has now reached $4.3 million, will pump needed capital into Baltimore city startups. TEDCO will start accepting applications on April 2nd.
More info at: http://bmo.re/GZRx5i
Not a bad little spurt of activity here in the Baltimore region eh? I think more has happened in the last 6 months than in the last 6 years Its great to see a community of DOER’s out there making things happen. This is only the beginning and I am SURE I didn’t cover everything. I wanted to fulfill my promise of following up and keeping folks in the loop with the development, and evolution of the ecosystem here in Baltimore. I am working on a more specific second version draft of “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” in general and will be publishing that soon.
Thanks again for reading and of course, please feel free to comment and add your take on things, and add anything of note that I may of missed.