(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Next to ETC’s Haven campus, a new tech hub is taking shape.
Performance Horizon, a digital marketing company that also has offices in San Francisco, London and Tokyo, recently opened an office in a former train depot at 31. N. Haven St. in Highlandtown.
The team didn’t have to move far. It’s been in the city since 2009, working out of ETC’s previous location at the Can Company in Canton and then in Highlandtown.
The company’s new 7,000 sq. ft. location, developed by Metro Development and designed by Wurkspace, arrives as the company has growth plans in Baltimore. Now with 30 employees, the company needed more space to expand outside the incubator. The company plans to grow to 40 people here in the next 18 months.
According to Chief Marketing Officer Jim Nichols, the company offers a Partner Marketing Platform, which enables brands to manage their partnerships with other companies and track results. Nichols said Performance Horizon works with 300 companies primarily in travel, personal finance and retail.
In Baltimore, many team members are focused on developing technology. Others handle customer success, which involves ensuring clients get value out of the platform.
“We are able to get everything we need here, from technology folks to account managers to a government that wants to help support us,” Vice President of Operations Charlie Calabrese said at a Tuesday afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony, adding that the company works with other local outfits.
He was joined by Mayor Catherine Pugh, who checked out the office’s VR and refrigerator amenities before donning the scissors. She spoke about how the company’s presence can help the city.
“Your international footprint says a lot for us. You’re spreading the word of Baltimore,” Pugh said.
As the move just next door illustrates in close-quarters fashion, the company’s move also reflects economic development inside the city. Though Performance Horizon isn’t the largest company that the ETC’s overseers at the Baltimore Development Corporation work with, the growth on the neighborhood level is part of what it’s trying to spur.
“By [the company] being at ETC first and then expanding, not only have we been able to create jobs but we’ve also been able to create more office space and more redevelopment along Haven Street,” said ETC President Deb Tillett. A similar pattern followed in 2012, when ETC moved out of the Can Company only to see former incubator member Millennial Media take its place.
Since locating a tech incubator on an industrial strip on the outskirts of Highlandtown, some growth has come. It started within, as the Crown Cork and Seal building where ETC is located now houses additional tech companies. Next to Performance Horizon’s building, Monument City Brewing also set up a new operation. Another door down, Urban Axes is bringing hatchet throwing and beer next year, Baltimore Magazine reported. Further down the road, Barcoding Inc. is redeveloping a former garment factory for its new home. As Tillett pointed out, there’s involvement from ETC grads in that company now, as well, as Barcoding’s growth was in part through acquisition of an ETC-grad now called Power Up.
Incubators are industry-specific and not all startups they house are guaranteed to succeed, but ETC’s role in Highlandtown shows why they matter to the city as a whole. After cutting the ribbon and offering a reminder that city-backed ETC was Baltimore’s first tech incubator when founded by the city government in 1999, Mayor Pugh walked over to the space to meet entrepreneurs who are looking to grow. They happened to be in the midst of a Thanksgiving potluck, but founders made time for demos. Among them was Jeremy Bedine of energy management startup GridLion, who offered some ideas about how the company might work with the city.
— GridLion (@Grid_Lion) November 21, 2017
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