(Photo via Twitter)
Different groups and people have made the case that Baltimore city should be the capital for edtech companies and startups. Others — most notably, Governor Martin O’Malley — have said Maryland (and, as part and parcel, Baltimore city) ought to be the cybersecurity “epicenter” of the U.S.
Now from Tige Savage: “Baltimore deserves the title adtech epicenter.”
Savage is perhaps best known for his work at the Washington, D.C.-based Revolution LLC, which he cofounded with AOL founder Steve Case in 2005, where he serves as managing director overseeing all Revolution’s venture capital investments, as well as managing partner of Revolution Ventures, the first early-stage investment fund from Revolution backed with $200 million.
Savage was at Betamore on Jan. 16 listening to pitches from local startups before giving an hour-long interview about his work at Revolution and where Baltimore city stands to gain in tech entrepreneurship.
Interestingly, Savage said Revolution doesn’t focus on specific industries so much as it does promising business opportunities. (Whatever that might mean for the fund. Historically, Revolution has invested in companies that are making a slight change to an already existing service. Such was the case with Revolution’s investing in Zipcar: renting vehicles by the hour instead of the by the day.)
Savage also said, “You can’t invent a specialty for a region.” But if Baltimore were to seize on one sector of the tech industry, he added, advertising technology would be it, for two big reasons: Advertising.com and Millennial Media.
Both are online advertising giants. Perhaps more important are the secondary effects of their being situated in Baltimore city.
- Millennial Media recently renewed its lease at its Canton headquarters for another 10 years and it hoping to hire more employees.
- Advertising.com’s founders were able to sell their company, create a spinoff adtech company, Videology, and remain in Baltimore. (Of course, the company that acquired Ad.com was AOL. Wink, nudge, cough.)
Still, this is generally how a city or region grows as a hub for tech: a big company has a big exit, and the founders stick around to found spinoff companies, hire new people (ideally from that city or region), and then invest more money and time (again, ideally in that city or region).