Startups: Check out funding, incubator opportunities from Baltimore companies - Technical.ly Baltimore

Growth

Sep. 9, 2020 3:19 pm

Startups: Check out funding, incubator opportunities from Baltimore companies

Programs from Fearless and DataTribe are working at the nexus of innovation inside government and building new commercial businesses. They're seeking entrepreneurs from Baltimore, and beyond.
Fearless looks to stay community-minded with its work.

Fearless looks to stay community-minded with its work.

(Photo via Twitter)

With Labor Day behind us, we’re hearing reports that fall has arrived.

That means some new opportunities are popping up for entrepreneurs to avail themselves of Baltimore resources. But these programs aren’t just looking to help startups in the area: They’re also casting a net beyond the region to build talent.

Here’s a couple opportunities we’ve seen this week.

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Hutch opened applications for a new civic tech cohort this month.

The 24-month incubator was launched by Fearless specializing in creating more companies like the downtown digital services firm that specializes in civic tech and fulfilling government IT projects that have a lasting impact on the community they serve.

“In our country, 97% of large-scale government IT projects fail. They’re not working,” Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa said in a video that includes thoughts from the past cohort members. “The projects that come out should not be the laughing stock of the industry. They should be top notch and world class. Hutch is building up the workforce and building up companies to fill this void.”

The program, which is focused on supporting women and minority entrepreneurs working in digital services, includes monthly meetings that feature talks from subject matter experts on the different facets of building a business. The program’s facilitators seek to provide individualized guidance for companies seeking to work in the public sector.

Apps are open through Sept. 30.

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Fulton-based DataTribe has a potential $2 million investment up for grabs for a cyber startup that wins over a panel of founders and cyber execs from nationally prominent companies.

Applications open Wednesday through Oct. 30 for the DataTribe Challenge, which seeks to identify early-stage companies working in data science and cybersecurity. Part of DataTribe’s work to locate ahead-of-the-times technology and build companies with a community alongside founders, the challenge carries prizes of $20,000 for the three finalists. Then, at a Dec. 10 pitch event, the winner will get an investment up to $2 million.

Founded in 2016, DataTribe set up a base in Maryland to be close to the intelligence community hives like Fort Meade and government-facing research centers like Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab where technologists are developing “over the horizon” technology that has commercial potential. With the challenge, it is seeking pre-Series A companies from anywhere that are working on such tech.

“One of the things we look for with the challenge is to cast a wide net and invite as many people to participate so it can surface and act as a discovery mechanism for things that no one is really thinking about, including ourselves,” said DataTribe Chief Product Officer John Funge.

Along with the eye-catching check size, there’s also an emphasis on introducing companies to not just DataTribe, but also the startup community, with an emphasis on Maryland. This year’s finale event will be virtual instead of at City Garage in Baltimore’s Port Covington due to the pandemic, but Funge said the state will continue to be at the center of DataTribe’s own pitch. When it comes to getting exposure to a national group, that’s also a programmed feature with a judging panel includes cofounders of companies like Shopify, CrowdStrike and Carbon Black. And as those judges deliberate, a panel discussion of experts gathered by news service The CyberWire will talk trends.

Funge said the goal is for people to leave the event saying, “that was an incredibly good use of our time and I now feel both connected to the community and way more knowledgeable and aware of what’s important and topical in cyber right now.”

This will be the third year of the competition, following last year’s win by Code Dx. Once finalists are announced on Nov. 13, they have three weeks to refine their pitch before the final event.

Companies: Fearless
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