Local Incubator Betamore Not Only Doubles in Size, but Expands its Beta City Entrepreneurial Showcase into a Two-Day Event
It has already been a big year for Betamore, and the Baltimore-based business incubator is just getting warmed up.
In May, the hub for tech startups and entrepreneurs opened a second location in Port Covington’s City Garage, doubling its portfolio with an additional 8,000-square foot space.
The fast-growing incubator also announced the expansion of 2017’s Beta City startup showcase, calling it Build Baltimore. In partnership with Sagamore Ventures, the venture capital arm of Plank Industries, Betamore will this year expand Build Baltimore from a one-day event to two days. It will offer an additional day of tech-focused showcases called Garage Fest.
“This year has marked exceptional growth for Betamore and we are thrilled to be partnering with Sagamore Ventures, which has been a huge supporter of Baltimore entrepreneurs,” says Betamore’s Chief Executive Officer Jen Meyer. “The momentum around entrepreneurship is picking up, and as a result we decided to expand Build Baltimore to a two-day event.”
Nearing capacity at its original Federal Hill space at 1111 Light Street, Betamore made the jump to its second location at City Garage. The new campus on 101 Dickman St., accommodates up to 95 new tenants and offers a variety of co-working space, incubation desks, private offices and conference rooms. With almost 30 companies at the Federal Hill campus, Meyer hopes the new space will house even more local startups.
“Our companies’ needs are the top priority,” Meyer says. “We were a little limited with one space and the expansion will help us meet the needs of the entrepreneurial community that continues to grow.”
City Garage, a former bus depot, was reopened by Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank and his real estate firm, Sagamore Development in 2015. The massive building houses companies that Plank has invested in, including The Foundery, a tech and makerspace and the Lighthouse, which is a center for design and manufacturing innovation.
“Because of our strategic partnership with Sagamore Ventures and Betamore’s push into City Garage, we are able to offer more and do more,” Meyer says. “We’re bringing the education and the workforce piece to this opportunity, and that’s going to help drive the people who are going to work in these companies.”
According to Meyer, the new City Garage location fosters an environment that allows Betamore’s companies to thrive. With neighbors like The Foundery, which offers workshops on cutting-edge technology and expert advice from Sagamore Ventures executives, startups are supported through all their growth phases.
Meyer and anyone interested in Baltimore’s startup scene will get a first-hand look at some of these companies this September.
Hosted at Betamore’s new home in City Garage, the two-day “Build Baltimore” initiative will include Beta City on Sept. 28 and Garage Fest on Sept. 30 to showcase the leaders, makers and innovators in Baltimore who are making waves in the tech and entrepreneurial industries.
In its third year, Beta City will kick off Build Baltimore by recognizing and applauding leaders, makers and innovators in the region with a full day of pitches, startup demos and a celebration of the entrepreneurship community.
The Foundery will host Garage Fest on the second day of Build Baltimore. Garage Fest is a family-friendly day focused on the Baltimore maker community and their passion projects. Attendees will navigate through an interactive experience in “making,” including robots, music, drones, art, health and wellness and more.
“Garage Fest is not just for people who already consider themselves Makers,” says Jason Hardebeck, CEO of the Foundery. “It will appeal to anyone who’s ever been curious about how something is made or wants to learn how to build something.”
“We see Build Baltimore as an extension of this region’s commitment to working together,” Meyer says. “The initiative brings people together, establishes connections, and ultimately drives growth within our local businesses and community. We are thrilled to return this year with even more to offer.”
Since its inaugural event in 2015, Beta City, has experienced enormous growth, attracting over 1,100 guests to last year’s day-long celebration. Meyer says that despite changes to the event this year, the mission remains the same – to get people excited about Baltimore and help business grow by making the right connections.
Several local startups can attest to the importance of making the “right connections.” In 2015 Citelighter was crowned one of the winners of the first annual Beta City pitch competition. Citelighter, an education-technology startup, relocated to Baltimore from New York City in 2013 and grew quickly in Baltimore’s tech industry. The Betamore alum was recently acquired by the Sylvan Learning Center, an international tutoring and education program.
Other success stories include Beta City 2015 pitch winner, Yet Analytics, a Baltimore-based data analysis startup, which recently raised $1 million in funding to support the growing firm this year. Last year, local startups TopBox, which develops software to help companies understand, through trackable data, the issues that most affect their customers, and Tissue Analytics, a mobile app measuring and analyzing medical recovery company, earned bragging rights and $25,000 in cash and $50,000 in prizes. Meyer is eager to watch both firms excel in Baltimore.
“While we have success stories, the shift taking place in Baltimore is just starting to build momentum,” Meyer says. “We are witnessing great growth, but the mission is to transform our city and the region into a destination for entrepreneurs who will lead the way developing businesses of the future.”
Meyer recognizes the potential of the city and is committed to it. She sees Baltimore as a place with fertile ground for business and entrepreneurship, with resources ranging from state government, health care incubators, universities and local financiers who are eager to engage with startups. I95