(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
In December, Betamore CEO Jen Meyer and Demian Costa of Sagamore Ventures stood in the Main Street section of City Garage and said that a second location of Betamore would be coming to the Kevin Plank-backed space for startups in Port Covington. About six months later, 8,000 square feet of coworking, offices and education almost completely fills the long corridor.
The Made in America sign is still there and offices for companies still round the outside. In the middle, it now has the carpeting, hanging light fixtures and furniture that signals startup space.
On a tour this week, Meyer pointed out how it was designed for flexibility, with walls that retract between offices and an option to open up the classroom and conference space to face a projected screen instead of a board.
They also built up to a second floor mezzanine on top of the offices and incubator, where there are more desks. Meyer said the 99 spaces are filling up, but openings are still available.
The expansion doubles the footprint of Betamore, which is maintaining its initial location at 1111 Light St. in Federal Hill. As a result, the nonprofit hired a new manager for the Federal Hill space.
The expansion adds an incubator for new companies to Sagamore’s bus garage–turned–innovation hub.
“This is a true partnership. Everything that happened here would not have happened without them,” she said.
Companies like BaltiVirtual, Workbench and Ready Robotics have been taking space there since the Main Street section opened in 2015. The companies who were already located at City Garage will be community members of Betamore, and Meyer said companies in the incubator will benefit from the close proximity.
Elsewhere in the massive building, the Foundery makerspace and Under Armour Lighthouse for manufacturing innovation opened in 2016. Meyer said the proximity to the Foundery can also help early-stage startups by providing space for hardware.
With the partnership, Betamore and Sagamore Ventures also want to teach the skills that the companies use, whether they are on a laptop or in the shop.
“We’re bringing the education and the workforce piece to this, and that’s going to help drive the people who are going to work in these companies,” said Meyer.
As Betamore looks to expand education offerings, Meyer said they are seeking to add more courses in areas like design and entrepreneurship, as well as helping with the job-seeking process.
They are also looking to put more courses online, and hire another employee to help with the push. Betamore is also one of the 20 initial incubators to have a presence on 1776’s Union Platform. That also helps companies connect and learn from each other across the country.