Technical.ly Baltimore

Jul. 24, 2012 9:30 am

NoBadGift.com will keep Baltimore as its home even after SF accelerator [Q&A]

NoBadGift.com co-founder and self-proclaimed hustler McKeever Conwell heads to San Francisco in August to begin his 12-week tenure at the NewME Accelerator. Conwell and his two partners, Sam Henry and Michael Washington, have had a whirlwind last six months, as Technically Baltimore reported this morning. But will NoBadGift.com heading westward be a story of loss […]

NoBadGift.com co-founder and self-proclaimed hustler McKeever Conwell heads to San Francisco in August to begin his 12-week tenure at the NewME Accelerator. Conwell and his two partners, Sam Henry and Michael Washington, have had a whirlwind last six months, as Technically Baltimore reported this morning.

But will NoBadGift.com heading westward be a story of loss for Baltmore’s startup community?

Recently, Technically Baltimore sat down with Conwell to talk about what excites he and his co-founders about this new accelerator, popping up in TechCrunch and what’s keeping them tied to Charm City.

TB: So, NewME, out in Silicon Valley. Big deal, right?

MC: It means new opportunities, networking. We’re probably not going to do another accelerator after this [laughing]. It’s an opportunity to go out to California. And we were on TechCrunch—one thing to take off my bucket list.

TB: Are you guys anxious at all about having your name in Silicon Valley?

MC: We’ll be more open to the public eye. It’s also scary—companies there get great press, but their competitors are all ramping up [after reading about them].

TB: Is this just a temporary stay, so to speak? Does NoBadGift.com have any intention of leaving Baltimore?

MC: We have to be stationed in Baltimore—at least, our headquarters—for five years [as a condition of Accelerate Baltimore’s terms]. But I’m from Baltimore, I love Baltimore. I haven’t left yet.

TB: What makes Baltimore’s tech community unique? In Baltimore, it seems, people are able to make a big splash. Seems Silicon Valley isn’t quite like that.

MC: Baltimore’s tech community is a small and very tight-knit group. This community really helps each other. These people are accessible to me, and we all want to help Baltimore. You can be a rock star in the tech community and not get pummeled. I don’t know if I can do that in Silicon Valley. I don’t know if everyone wants to help in San Francisco.

TB: You had a six-figure job at age 22, making more money than, say, your friendly neighborhood technology journalist might make. Why leave that?

MC: If you’re a developer, you have the skill set to rule the world. A lot of schools sell you on getting a skill set and getting a job in an industry. No one ever gives [students] this [startup] mindset. What do you want out of life? Are you fulfilled, happy, enjoying it? The rewards from [running a startup] are so different. I can effect so much more change—effect real change, doing what I’m doing.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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