With $25,000 in seed funding apiece donated to the accelerator by the Abell Foundation, the startups will work to finish out the three-month program with a product ready for public release. (Some of them, such as SpeakerBlast, already have an app that’s available for use.) In addition, startups receive access to office space, services and professional mentors through the ETC.
ETC president Deb Tillett said this year’s pool of applicants came from across the U.S. and included one submission from Hungary. But this year’s class stayed local, as four of the six startups are from Baltimore city. Mentorea is from Washington, D.C., and Ntesnify is from Northern Virginia.
“I think the quality of our applications this year was really good,” Tillett said.
The 2014 AccelerateBaltimore class (from the press release):
- Gracular: website for data mining and patent search
- Graphtrack: mobile app for nutrition tracking
- Mentorea: online platform linking underserved, high-achieving college students with corporate mentors
- Ntensify: mobile app with branded in-app merchandise store
- Heyy: mobile dating app
- SpeakerBlast: web and mobile app enabling mobile devices to become a stereo system
Worth some mention is the number of applications to the AccelerateBaltimore program this year compared to last year, when more than 120 startups were said to have applied. The submission deadline for the 2014 class was extended by 10 days in December, and just 54 startups applied, a change Tillett attributes to the growing “noise” around accelerator programs in the city and state.
“I think last year we were a sole provider. There was no one else talking about accelerators in this geography,” she said. “This year during the same time period, we had all the press around DreamIt [Health Baltimore], and then we had InvestMaryland [Challenge] coming on strong for the second year in a row, and the timing for applications was exactly the same.”