Betamore just announced 5 big changes - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 24, 2015 10:46 am

Betamore just announced 5 big changes

The Federal Hill tech anchor finalized its new nonprofit status, and is focusing on building community through a handful of new initiatives.

Betamore CEO Jen Meyer talks about Betamore's new approach, April 2015.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Nearly five months after announcing a shake-up that saw a merger with the former gb.tc and the hiring of a new CEO, Betamore has emerged as a nonprofit organization.

It has a mission: To make Baltimore a hub for entrepreneurship in the region.

At the organization’s Federal Hill campus on Thursday night, CEO Jen Meyer and the rest of the Betamore team announced a series of steps for how they plan to make that happen. Most of the new elements involve building on what already existed at Betamore. They all come back to the same idea: providing ways to connect entrepreneurs to the the larger community that will help them grow. In turn, the idea is that all parties will help grow Baltimore.

As a result, the principals made plain that its success will depend on buy-in from the community.

Here’s a look at some of the features of the revamped Betamore:

1. Nonprofit status

As mentioned above, the formerly for-profit incubator is now a nonprofit. The organization took on gb.tc’s nonprofit status, and went through a formal reorganization led by the law firm Miles & Stockbridge and accounting firm Ellin & Tucker. Financially, they also have foundation support.

The principals say the nonprofit status gives the organization the reach to connect many different parts of the community, from startup founders and investors to universities and policymakers. It also makes it easier for the organization to accept grant money.

As cofounder Greg Cangialosi put it, “We…donated Betamore to gb.tc so this could carry on and realize its full potential.”

2. New membership system

The basis for the new-look Betamore is to provide points of connection for companies at multiple levels. That starts with the paid membership system.

The new structure has three levels: individuals, for-profit businesses and government/education/nonprofit organizations.

Each of those membership levels come with benefits such as access to education, events and discounts from partnering organizations that emphasize “work-life blend.” One such organization is Baltimore Sports and Social Club. Along with the benefits, the idea is to get each of the people at those different levels connecting.

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3. Year-round educational offerings

Betamore’s classes are now designed to get people coming back more than once, and to stretch across disciplines.

Meyer said the class offerings will touch “not only technical education, but education that covers the entire population that’s here.” She’s also used the term “industry-agnostic.”

So far this year, we’ve seen classes in tech, design and marketing at Betamore. Meyer indicated more new offerings will be forthcoming.

And the classes are designed to get both teachers and students coming back more than once. The idea is that regular classes provide the most value when there’s more learning opportunity, and a deeper connection that fosters true community.

4. New website

Former Betamore CEO Mike Brenner was at the Thursday night event to announce the launch of a new website, BaltimoreTech.org.

Brenner was contracted by Betamore to build the site, and said Friends of the Web helped with early design. He said he wanted to create a place to keep “connecting the dots for this community.” Much of Technical.ly’s news coverage is featured on the site.

Drawing on his experience building BaltimoreTech.net, the site features short profiles of people and companies in the Baltimore tech community, and listings about events and jobs.

5. New advisory board

Betamore also introduced a new advisory board that’s designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to advice, mentorship and resources from across the different community spheres. Investor John Cammack, who will chair the board, described it as a group of 44 “volunteers who have said, ‘I believe in our city and our region and I want to lend expertise to our community to make our ecosystem better.'”

The group includes startup founders, investors, university representatives and even a state senator.

There has been much talk of Betamore’s mission extending outside the walls of the Federal Hill campus, and the advisory board is seen as one of the main ways to make that happen.

Here’s the full list, which Cammack said could soon grow:

  • John Cammack, Investor
  • Greg Cangialosi, MissionTix, Betamore
  • Tim Hodge, Miles & Stockbridge
  • Rob Rosenbaum, TEDCO
  • Ursula Powidzki, DBED
  • Damian Rintelmann, Delucchi Plus
  • George Roche, Investor
  • Mike Baader, Greenspring Associates
  • Judy Harris, Connections, LLC + Investor
  • Mark Wagner, Bay-tek
  • Rick Kohr, Evergreen Advisors
  • Paul Palmieri, Investor + Entrepreneur
  • Vince Talbert, Investor + Entrepreneur
  • Saad Alam, Citelighter
  • David Gillece, DTZ
  • Deric Emry, Greenspring Associates
  • Jan Baum, 3DMD
  • Chuck Cullen, Grotech Ventures
  • Ed Brake, Ellin & Tucker
  • Yair Flicker, SmartLogic
  • Katrina Stevens, National Education Fellow
  • Jeff Cohen, Sylvan
  • Tom Sadowski, EAGB
  • Fagan Harris, BaltimoreCorp
  • Anouk Dey, T. Rowe Price
  • Christy Wyskiel, Hopkins
  • Ethan Giffin, Groove
  • Hugh Evans, 3D Systems + Investor
  • Kent Malwitz, UMBC Training Centers
  • Nancy Roberts, Duane Morris
  • Brian Dettmann, Brown Advisory
  • Ken Ulman, University of Maryland, Innovation
  • Dawn Audia, Carefirst
  • Joe Mechlinski, Entrequest
  • Demian Costa, Plank Industries
  • James Foster, ZeroFOX
  • Paul Wolman, Feats
  • Guy Filippelli, RedOwl Analytics
  • Chris Davis, Miles & Stockbridge
  • Kelly Keenan-Trumpbour, See Jane Invest
  • Bill Ferguson, State Senator
  • Jane Brown, Deutsch Foundation
  • Newt Fowler, WCSR
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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following a stint in New Orleans, where he served as managing editor of online news and culture publication NOLA Defender. While there, he also wrote for NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune. He was previously a reporter for the Rio Grande Sun of Northern New Mexico.

  • James

    Hopefully this is a change for the better. Previous, Betamore wasn’t the most welcoming place unless you fit a certain mold. It felt high schoolish and clickish, unfortunately something that pervades through this community and other tech communities.

    Tech communities can try to say they are welcoming but I’m not sure when everyone is fighting to be top dog or be someone can it ever be very welcoming.

    • Colin

      Ive never thought betamore wasn’t welcoming. The first time I visited betamore was during one of their free happy hours. Met a handful of friendly people there and decided to enroll in one of their education courses which included free membership while I was a student. I think it’s always good to see some change but I actually hope it remains as welcoming as it was for me.

  • Communication APPtitude

    We are looking forward to education opportunities at Betamore. Thanks! Beth Lawrence, Communication APPtitude

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