(Photo by Stephen Babcock, file)
The six startups that make up the new class of DreamIt Health Baltimore got to work Friday, Jan. 30. Along with offering the first chance for founders to get to know each other through icebreaker games, the orientation marked the first work session at a new coworking space in Power Plant Live.
The space, located on the third floor of a building adjacent to Rams Head Live, is being developed by the Cordish Company. The space used by DreamIt Health Baltimore on Friday made up about 5,000 square feet of the 16,000-square-foot floor. The remainder of the floor has yet to be fully renovated.
The newness of the space was evident in the smell of paint.
Company members, investors and a few alums of last year’s program spread out in groups of tables. DreamIt Heath Baltimore Managing Director Jason Hardebeck pointed to windows that provided a bright, open feel. Exposed overhead vents only open the room further.
In introductory remarks to the new class, Hardebeck pointed out that the space was unique among local coworking spaces for its downtown location. It’s also a step forward for the accelerator. Last year, DreamIt Health ran its first Baltimore class out of rented space from Johns Hopkins in Fells Point.
“We have never had a space to call our own,” Hardebeck said. After the 16-week program is over, DreamIt Health Baltimore plans to maintain a presence in the facility, with hopes that some grads may want to stay. Along with the support and exposure offered by the accelerator, Hardebeck believes the more permanent home can play a role in his goal of building a bigger healthtech sector in Baltimore.
This year’s class offers a unique opportunity in that regard, given that five of the six companies chosen from the 200 applications submitted to the program are from outside Baltimore. During his introduction, Hardebeck pointed out that the “startup activity has not caught up to the potential.”
“From a talent perspective, there’s a lot of opportunity to perhaps add to your team,” he said.
After that, the presentation turned to business, with talk of hustling, weekly risk measurements and checking egos at the door.
“It’s gonna be a full sprint for 16 weeks,” Hardebeck said.