(Photo courtesy ETC/Hunter Willis Photography)
ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) announced the five companies that will participate in this year’s AccelerateBaltimore program.
Through the accelerator program, the startups will receive $50K in seed funding via the Abell Foundation, as well as access to programming and mentorship over 13 weeks. AccelerateBaltimore this year is putting a focus on helping companies that are solving pressing issues in the city, and the entrepreneurs who got accepted had to demonstrate a clear pathway for getting their product to market.
Here’s a look at the companies, with some description info provided from ETC:
- Made @ Dent: The makerspace-oriented social enterprise created by Baltimore youth and nonprofit Dent Education to make PPE, which started with face shields. The program has a base at 1100 Wicomico in Pigtown.
- Fight Blight Bmore: A reporting application from the venture founded by Nneka Nnamdi for informing residents and reporting to city officials about blight and remediation efforts in Baltimore
- FullBlast STEAM: An edtech company founded by Muhammad Najee-Ullah and Robert Moore that seeks to bridge the digital divide by engaging youth in robotics, drones, 3D printing, AR/VR
- Supir: A platform for transit companies to fill short-term personnel gaps by deploying ‘contract’ drivers and route guidance.
- The Black Brain Trust (TBBT): A Justice/Equity/Diversity/Inclusion (JEDI) scoring system created as a standard for companies to measure how equity is centered in their business practices
The five startups were chosen after ETC received 88 applications, then narrowed that group down to 10 finalists who submitted video pitches and were interviewed by a selection committee. During the application process, ETC also partnered with local civic hacker group HACK Baltimore, which worked with six of the startups that applied. Ultimately, three of those teams were chosen as part of the cohort.
This year’s AccelerateBaltimore program also has a new program director. John W. Davis will lead the cohort, bringing past experience as a federal prosecutor, professor at Howard University, George Mason University and Towson University, and startup founder with Notice & Comment.
“Now is the time to make intentional collaborations within the innovation community to create solutions for Baltimore that can scale to work in other cities across the nation,” Davis said in a statement. “This year’s AB program is driven by the belief that Baltimore and other cities are currently critically challenged in ways entrepreneurs are poised to address.”
Going forward, the weekly sessions for the startups will be a combination of panel discussions, workshops and mentorship sessions. This will include the I-Corps customer discovery process, sessions using the Baltimore-developed online course PitchCreator. There will be a focus on work with the public sector as well as familiar startup topics like product/market fit, financial projections and funding. Companies that didn’t get selected are being invited to attend the programming sessions.
ETC, which is a program of the Baltimore Development Corporation, initially launched AccelerateBaltimore in 2012. Since then, the program has assisted 47 companies, about two-thirds of which remain in business and two-thirds of which are run by women and people color.
“Baltimore has a vibrant and creative startup community and entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a positive impact on their city and its residents,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation. “The AB program has been successful in providing access to capital, mentoring and other assistance businesses need to bring their ideas to fruition and we are excited to see the impact these companies will have in addressing the challenges many cities are facing today.”
ETC is kicking off the cohort with a public-facing opening ceremony to meet the companies on Sept. 15 from 5-8 p.m. Register here.-30-
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