Baltimore Tech Startup Guide

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Hi, my name is Lolita Taub and I’m an enterprise tech professional and investor, am new to Baltimore, and excited to dive into the local tech startup community with you in this post! This is the fourth city startup guide I put out (Madrid, New York, San Diego). I hope you find it as resourceful as the global community has found the others — especially because it was put together with the help of the Baltimore tech ecosystem!

There’s something special about Baltimore. It’s so American — the good and the bad of it. This is where our country’s anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, was born. This is where the American Industrial Revolution was born. Baltimore was also an example of where segregation, the separation between white people and people of color, took a stronghold. The remnants of the city’s redlining are still here in the form of the “black butterfly;” there are wing-shaped areas in the city that are occupied by a majority black population and an “L”- shaped area (in between the butterfly wings) that’s home to a white majority. The silver lining is three-fold: there’s a lot of talent in Baltimore; there is a community that’s betting on the city, and tech presents an opportunity to make a lot of wrongs right.

Join our Baltimore Tech slack here.

Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:

  • Why Is Baltimore #5 in the Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups in the US?
  • Baltimore VC Activity
  • Baltimore VCs
  • Baltimore Angel Groups
  • Baltimore Startups to Watch
  • Baltimore EcoMap
  • Baltimore Incubators and Accelerators
  • Baltimore Coworking Spaces
  • Baltimore Communities
  • Baltimore Labs
  • Baltimore Events and Conferences
  • Baltimore Tech Media and Podcasts
  • Baltimore Startup Jobs
  • Baltimore City Resources
  • Baltimore companies on the 2019 Inc. 5000: The Most Successful Companies in America list

Feel free to jump around and if you see that I missed something, please leave a comment and I’ll update the post periodically.

Why Is Baltimore #5 in the Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups in the Us?

Forbes ranked Baltimore as fifth on the list of emerging startups cities last year. Thirty cities were compared using data from PitchBook, Moody’s Analytics and the Kauffman Foundation. The rankings were related to costs (business and living), education levels, college presence, entrepreneurship rates, working age population growth and venture capital investments (density, total number, value and percent changes).

It’s also awesome that Baltimore enjoys the company of John Hopkins, University System of Maryland, proximity to DC, and Steve Case, a prominent venture capitalist, rooting for us. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures serves as the commercial arm of the school’s researchers and investors. JHTV had 164 patents last year, seventh-most among schools. Between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Johns Hopkins, the city has two preeminent academic institutions championing and supporting Baltimore’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as trying to commercialize academic research. And the proximity to Washington, D.C. helps Baltimore’s startup community.

Baltimore VC Activity

Overall

Funding for Baltimore startups is on the rise. Cumulatively, in the last decade, startups have gone from raising less than $100M to over $500M in Q3’19. https://www.crunchbase.com/hub/baltimore-startups#section-events

At over 450 deals, the majority of deals are seed and early stage.

Top 5 investors include TEDCO, Abell Foundation, Dreamit Ventures, Baltimore Angels, and TCP Venture Capital.

2019 Deals

According to PwC’s 2019 US MoneyTree Report, 18 Maryland startups raised $79 million in the first quarter; top deals included Allovue, Terbium Labs, BurnAlong and Vixiar Medical. In the second quarter, Baltimore, as part of the DMV, ranked in the top 3 metros for the number of deals done. And let’s not forget Protenus’ recent $17m raise.

Exits

Baltimore brought in one of the nation’s top exits with unicorn Paragon Bioservices; they were bought by Catalent for $1.2 billion cash.

Acquisitions

A Baltimore trend that is emerging is Baltimore startups acquiring other companies.

Also, TrackOffs bought Avast earlier in March 2019.

Baltimore VCs

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Here is a list of 171 venture capital investors who have made investments in Baltimore.

Here is a list of venture capital funds in Baltimore

  • QuestMark Partners — QuestMark Partners is an expansion-stage venture capital firm, providing growth capital to exceptional management teams across the U.S.
  • ABS Capital Partners — ABS Capital Partners invest on business & education services, information & communications technology, & health care.
  • Rock Springs Capital — Rock Springs Capital is an investment company located in Baltimore, Maryland. Its advisory activities include management services to
  • NextGen Venture Partners — NextGen Venture Partners invests $1–2M in seed stage companies with the participation of 1,000+ Venture Partners.
  • Anthem Capital M — Anthem Capital Management is an early stage venture firm that invests in companies in the mid-Atlantic states.
  • Abell Foundation — The Foundation is among the largest private foundations in Maryland with assets of more than $314 million.
  • A-Level Capital — A-Level Capital provides seed funding for startups founded by JHU students and young alumni.
  • Red Abbey Venture Partners — Red Abbey Venture Partners is a life sciences investment firm that was founded in 2004.
  • Sagamore Ventures — Sagamore Ventures is a Maryland-based early-stage investment firm.
  • Inner Loop Capital — Inner Loop Capital is dedicated to making Seed-stage investments in Cyber Security companies.
  • BrownSavano Direct — BrownSavano is a late stage venture fund investing in technology-driven businesses. We focus on investment opportunities in high-growth
  • Weekapaug Partners — Weekapaug Partners is an early stage venture capital company based in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Early Light Ventures — Early Light Ventures is a Seed-Stage investor providing funding for early stage SaaS companies generally headquartered in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Bluefield Innovations — A partnership between Deerfield and Johns Hopkins provides funding for early-stage therapeutic research at JHU.
  • Maryland Technology Development Corporation — State organization that is the largest early-stage tech investor in the state by volume
  • Greenspring Associates — a later stage investor located in Baltimore County
  • Camden Partners — A multi-stage VC and PE firm
  • Early Charm Ventures, LLC — A Startup Studio founded in 2012 in Baltimore that converts science to business
  • Squadra VC — an early-stage Baltimore-based venture capital fund that invests from Pre-Seed to Series A
  • Old Line Capital — We guide and partner with technology startups through a process of training, advising, early seed capital, market validation, mentoring, promotion and syndication.

Baltimore Angel Groups

  • Angel Venture Forum — The Angel Venture Forum is an ad hoc group of more than 30 active, experienced angel investors from more than 24 angel investor groups located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Baltimore Angels — Early stage technology investment. A new generation of angel investing lives in Baltimore.
  • TEDCO — A state agency that provides resources and connections that early stage technology and life sciences companies need to thrive in Maryland. The have a variety of funding opportunities, including the Maryland Investment Initiative, which assists university technology.

Top Individuals/Angels

Here are Baltimore’s top angels by number of investments.

  • Frank A. Bonsal, Jr. — Mr. Bonsal has been an active advisor to Outcome Capital since its inception in 1998. Mr. Bonsal is a Co-Founder and General Partner at New Enterprise Associates, one of the country’s largest venture capital firms. NEA invests in early-stage companies and works with management to nurture and build companies of real and lasting value. His investment activities focus on a broad range of technical and service-oriented companies.
  • Jason Palmer — Jason Palmer is a General Partner at New Markets Venture Partners with twenty years of experience as an education technology entrepreneur, executive and investor. At New Markets, Jason focuses on fund strategy, supporting portfolio companies and leveraging deep connections with industry leaders. He is currently a Board Director for Motimatic and Decision Desk, and previously served as a Board Director for Moodlerooms and StraighterLine.
  • Ron Gula — Ron Gula is one of the leading cybersecurity thinkers in the industry. Ron Gula is one of the leading cybersecurity thinkers in the industry. Ron started his career in information security at the National Security Agency conducting penetration tests of government networks and performing advanced vulnerability research.
  • Patrick Nagle — Patrick Nagle is a leading expert on digital strategy. Nagle was the first investor and CEO of RateMyProfessors.com, a review site for college students. RateMyProfessors.com was acquired by Viacom’s MTV Networks on January 17, 2007 for an undisclosed sum. In addition to RateMyProfessors.com, Nagle purchased RateMyTeachers.com from California-based Mister Message, LLC on April 2, 2008.
  • Paul Palmieri — Paul Palmieri plays a dual role of investor and advisor to seed and venture stage companies. He serves as both a General Partner of Grit Capital, a NY and Maryland based early-stage fund, and as Venture Partner at BlueRun Ventures in Menlo Park, California. He focuses on data and AI based businesses in the areas of consumer software, marketing technology, media, and commerce. Some of his current investments include Niche, Jackpocket, Zeel, Pulse8, Scorestream, Immersv, Yet Analytics and Moonlighting.

Read more on Baltimore’s Funders.

Baltimore Startups to Watch

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

There are close to 200 startups in Baltimore. The top 5 in Baltimore, by CB Ranking, are:

  • ZeroFOX — ZeroFOX, The Social Media Security Company, enables organizations to identify, manage and mitigate social media based cyber threats
  • emocha Mobile Health — emocha empowers every patient to take every dose with video technology and scalable human engagement.
  • Catalyte — Catalyte uses AI to identify, upskill and assemble high-performing software development teams.
  • Protenus — Protenus audits every access to patient data, providing healthcare leaders full insight into how health data is used.
  • Osmosis — Personalized learning meets healthcare! We’re helping hundreds of thousands of future clinicians learn efficiently & excel on classes, boards, & in the clinic

Baltimore’s top 10 most promising startups in the realLIST 2019 include:

  1. Facet Wealth — Facet Wealth is a financial services industry.
  2. Konduit.me — Konduit.me helps publishers, networks and exchanges start more video ads and start them faster
  3. Cerebro Capital — Cerebro Capital is an online platform to source and manage corporate credit facilities.
  4. NextStep Robotics — NextStep Robotics is developing the first effective treatment option for foot drop to help stroke survivors.
  5. BurnAlong — Personalized wellbeing classes and social motivation to help employees at companies (and people globally!)
  6. ClearMask — ClearMask™ is a company manufactures the first full-face, transparent surgical mask.
  7. Pinkaloo — On a mission to modernize charitable giving for donors through our Modern Giving account.
  8. Femly — The Femly Box is a monthly natural feminine subscription box that features 100% cotton tampons, pads, body care freebies, organic snacks and more!
  9. Protego Labs — Recognizing the inadequacy of traditional application security paradigms, Protego Labs designed the first comprehensive solution built with the unique constraints and opportunities of serverless in mind.
  10. ReGelTec — ​ReGelTec is a medical device company that is developing the next generation of minimally invasive spinal implants for lower back pain and degenerative disc disease.

Two other startups worth keeping an eye on

  1. Thrive which got $110M in Series A funding in May
  2. Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx), which has 300 employees, making it the largest employer of any Johns Hopkins spinout.

Greater Baltimore-Maryland Area

If we broaden our range, in the Greater Baltimore-Maryland Area, we count 220 startups. The top 15 startups in the Greater Baltimore-Maryland Area, by CB Ranking, include:

  1. Dragos — Dragos is an industrial cybersecurity company that exists to safeguard civilization.
  2. MyFitnessPal — MyFitnessPal offers a mobile app and website for people to track, learn, communicate and improve their health and wellness.
  3. Catalyte — Catalyte uses AI to identify, upskill and assemble high-performing software development teams.
  4. Protenus — Protenus audits every access to patient data, providing healthcare leaders full insight into how health data is used.
  5. Welldoc — WellDoc is developing the next generation of technology solutions to support chronic disease management.
  6. Prevailion — Prevailion has built the world’s first nation-state level solution for empirical proof of active, confirmed compromises.
  7. Osmosis — Personalized learning meets healthcare! We’re helping hundreds of thousands of future clinicians learn efficiently & excel on classes, boards, & in the clinic.
  8. Facet Wealth — Facet Wealth is a financial services industry.
  9. Terbium Labs — Terbium Labs offers Matchlight, a product that alerts their clients the instant their stolen data appears on the web.
  10. Hungry Harvest — Hungry Harvest is a produce delivery service that delivers surplus fruits and vegetables to subscribers’ homes every week.
  11. Solvent — Solvent is revolutionizing banking and payments by empowering financial institutions to be the ‘Authority on Identity.’
  12. Tissue Analytics — Securely stream patient photographs and wound analysis directly to your desktop!
  13. Racktop Systems — RackTop develops innovative software products that are revolutionizing the data storage industry by combining high-performance network attached storage with advanced security to solve the most difficult compliance and cyber security challenges facing the modern enterprise. RackTop’s products are unified under a single platform, offering reduced complexity, improved security, and significant cost savings over traditional solutions.
  14. Whitebox Technologies INC — Whitebox helps its clients grow through supporting and automating all aspects of ecommerce, including fulfillment, automatic inventory ordering, automatic repricing, profit analysis, and critical business analytics.
  15. Arena — Arena uses big data and predictive analytics to help transform health care organizations.

Top AI + Big Data startups in Greater Baltimore-Maryland Area, by CB Ranking

  • Catalyte — Catalyte uses AI to identify, upskill and assemble high-performing software development teams.
  • Prevailion — Prevailion has built the world’s first nation-state level solution for empirical proof of active, confirmed compromises.
  • BlueRidge.AI — Their solution combines decades of industrial motor expertise, employing simple to install industrial sensors that detect problems before they occur, allowing plant managers to focus on what matters most: improving operations efficiency while reducing costs.
  • Impact Analytics — Impact Analytics builds 360-degree data science solutions to empower enterprises to turn their data into dollars.
  • MindStand Technologies — Fostering a healthy online community, one post at a time!
  • Protenus — Protenus audits every access to patient data, providing healthcare leaders full insight into how health data is used.
  • Yet Analytics, Inc. — Tools and solutions used to improve learning and talent development.
  • Symcat — Symcat uses medical data to allow users to check their symptoms against potential diagnoses and plan medical care if necessary.
  • eMerges.com — eMerges.com is a web-based platform that compiles, updates, and publishes registered voter records to permitted and non-restricted users.

Top Enterprise startups in Greater Baltimore-Maryland Area, by CB Ranking

  • Catalyte — Catalyte uses AI to identify, upskill and assemble high-performing software development teams.
  • Workspace Software, Inc. — Workspace Software provides a Project Intelligence Platform for technology teams.
  • ClearEdge3D — ClearEdge3D provides software for three-dimensional modeling of plants and buildings.
  • MindStand Technologies — Fostering a healthy online community, one post at a time!
  • Roomtag — Roomtag is web-based space management software that enables facility and office managers to track people, space, and assets.
  • Netcordia — Netcordia provides network automation software for enterprise networks.

Baltimore Incubators and Accelerators

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash
  • Conscious Venture Lab — Conscious Venture Lab is an immersive 4-month, curriculum and mentor driven accelerator, We build companies focused on the power of purpose.
  • ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) — Emerging Technology Center helps startups grow and prosper, with focus on early-stage companies in the City of Baltimore, Maryland.
  • AccelerateBaltimore — AccelerateBaltimore is an initiative of the Emerging Technology Centers, Baltimore’s award winning incubator, and Abell Foundation.
  • PioneerBaltimore — The PioneerBaltimore program is an initiative of the Emerging Technology Centers, designed to take your early-stage business idea to the next step.
  • Urban Public Finance — Urban Public Finance is a firm in the crowdfunding space with a focus on startups, while hoping to create retail investor products around government backed debt issues to help lower capital risk associated with the startup ecosystem.
  • TU Incubator — TU Incubator is a mission-driven business incubator focused on edtech and business innovation + support of the same.
  • FastForward — A coordinated suite of resources designed to efficiently move Johns Hopkins technologies from startup to marketplace that currently supports more than 100 startups.
  • The Social Innovation Lab at JHU — Open to Baltimore-area changemakers and Johns Hopkins faculty, students and staff, SIL provides social entrepreneurs the funding, mentorship, office space and workshops they need to develop into thriving, sustainable ventures that make a measurable impact.
  • Elevation Awards by Baltimore Corps — provide planning grants of $10,000 and personalized support to people of color who are Baltimore City residents piloting novel approaches to strengthen Baltimore communities.
  • Warnock Foundation Social Innovation Fellowship
  • Create U Network — We provide training, resources, and ongoing access to networks of like-minded individuals and business professionals to bring your dreams of owning and growing a small business to life.
  • Moms As Entrepreneurs Academy — Through entrepreneurial training, financial education, and the support of a mom entrepreneur community we help moms start sustainable businesses.
  • Future Baltimore Incubator Without Walls — includes an intensive and accelerating series of coursework, one-on-one coaching and financing options to help local entrepreneurs in West Baltimore achieve greater financial potential and business.
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses — Baltimore
  • LaunchPort — Medical device accelerator

Read more on Baltimore’s accelerators and incubators.

Baltimore Coworking Spaces

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Technical.ly’s Stephen Babcock put together a great guide to 25 of Baltimore’s coworking spaces here. I list 10 below.

Read more on Baltimore’s Coworking spaces.

Baltimore Communities

  • Baltimore Tech on Slack
  • Baltimore Tech on Facebook
  • Baltimore Women in Tech on Facebook
  • Digital Harbor Tech Center — Digital Harbor Foundation is dedicated to fostering learning, creativity, productivity, and community through education. In 2013 we transformed a closed-down rec center in Baltimore City into a vibrant Tech Center for youth. In 2014 we launched the Center of Excellence to train others how to incorporate making into their own learning environments.
  • Code for Baltimore — the local brigade of Code for America, who meets twice a month to work on citizen proposed civic technology projects.
  • Techies for Good — a monthly meetup that connects volunteer technologists with nonprofits who have an identified need.

Baltimore Labs

  • Sapio Sciences — Sapio Sciences is a leading provider of LaboratoryManagement, Electronic Lab Notebook, and Knowledge Management Solutions.

Baltimore Events and Conferences

Baltimore Innovation Week
  • Baltimore TechBreakfast — TechBreakfast is a fun, a monthly demo-style event where entrepreneurs and tech folks see showcases on cool new technology in a demo format.
    Startup Breakfast — Bimonthly breakfast club and startup workshop located in the ETC.
  • Ignite Baltimore — Lightning talks from about 16 local artists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers.
  • Refresh Bmore — Community of web-developers and designers who meet once a month to share ideas related to their industry.
  • TEDx Mid-Atlantic — A conference of empowering ideas.
  • Waterfront Tech Series (various locations) — quarterly events, usually held at Brown Advisory or Johns Hopkins
  • Baltimore Innovation Week (City) — Early October
  • Beta City (Port Covington) — Late September/Early October
  • Hack Baltimore (various locations) — pop up events/design jams throughout the year
  • Minority Innovation Weekend — (Mid October) A weekend summit dedicated to aiding minority innovators in launching tech-focused startups, exploring technology and innovation, and showcasing tech startups that have a minority founder or co-founder.
  • innov8MD — October, biggest celebration of student entrepreneurship in Maryland
  • Light City Baltimore
  • Anchor Ventures — Speaker series that is a collaboration between between Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, UM Ventures and the University System of Maryland.

Baltimore Tech Media and Podcasts

Technical.ly Baltimore

Baltimore Startup Jobs

You can find startup jobs in Baltimore on Angel List.

Baltimore Techies

A starter list of connected individuals in and from the Baltimore tech community

  • David Troy, CEO at 410Labs
  • Jess Gartner, CEO & Founder at Allovue
  • Aaron Brooks, CEO at Mastermind
  • Deb Tillett, President/Executive Director at Emerging Technology Centers
  • Mac Conwell, Pre-seed Fund at Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) | BBJ Tech 10 | Investor | Founder | Disruptor
  • Chike Aguh, Principal, Director of Strategy at McChrystal Group | Partner at Inncuvate
  • Tracey Halvorsen, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Fastspot — A Digital Marketing Agency. Entrepreneur, Artist, Writer, Explorer.
  • Adam Bouhmad, Security Engineer at T. Rowe Price
  • Yair Flicker, President, SmartLogic — a Ruby on Rails, iOS and Android Development Firm
  • Lolita Taub, Chief of Staff at Catalyte, Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners and LP at Portfolia Enterprise Fund
  • Julie Lenzer, Chief Innovation Officer, catalyst for growth through innovation
  • Delali Dzirasa, Founder and CEO of Fearless
  • Jan Baum, Director at Center for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Towson University
  • Darius McCoy, Tech Center Director at Digital Harbor Foundation
  • Shervonne Cherry, Director of Community & Partnerships at Spark Baltimore
  • Todd Marks, CEO @Mindgrub
  • Jason Hardebeck, Project Manager at ROW6 Inc.
  • Terry Kilby, Director of Aerial Operations at Direct Dimensions
  • Vince Talbert, Investor and Co-founder of Thrive Software
  • Will Holman, Executive Director at Open Works
  • Greg Cangialosi, Managing Member at Baltimore Angels
  • Mario Armstrong, Host of Wake Up and Level Up podcast at Never Settle Productions, LLC
  • Justin Eames, Director of Technology at The City Neighbors Foundation
  • Ed Mullin, CIO and Vice President at Think
  • Ethan Griffin, CEO and Founder at Groove Commerce
  • Hiro Amano, Owner, Open Range Video, LLC
  • Mike Fried, CIO at Baltimore City Health Department

Baltimore City Resources

Baltimore companies on the 2019 Inc. 5000: The Most Successful Companies in America list

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Big thanks to contributors and supporters who made the Baltimore Tech Startup Guide happen Alex Riehm, Pava LaPere, Mckeever (Mac) Conwell, II, Josh Taub, Andrew Coy, Danny Jacobs, Jess Gartner, Stephen Babcock, Christy Wyskiel, Liz Burger, Shervonne Cherry, and many more!

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About Lolita Taub
Lolita Taub is the Co-Founder and General Partner at The Community Fund and acting interim Head of Sales at Catalyte. She is a first-generation Latinx operator and investor pushing for diversity in tech. With 15 years working within the Silicon Valley ecosystem, she has accomplished +$50 million in sales and made 38 investments as an angel investor and VC at Backstage Capital. Lolita is also a Co-Founder of the Startup-Investor Matching Tool, a scout at Indie.vc, Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, and an LP at Operators Collective. Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur have featured her as a women in tech promoting diversity. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. Most importantly, she is a dog mom to the cutest Dachshund mix, Choco.

About investing in community-driven cos + supporting our underestimated founder/investor fam. GP @thecommunityvc Scout @lightspeedvp Frmly @backstage

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