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Biotechnology / Environment / Funding / Municipal government

Baltimore Money Moves: Over $4 billion in business activity as region sees growth

Plus, Towson University’s StarTUp College cup winner and more investments for biotech.

Mark Anthony Thomas of the Greater Baltimore Committee. (Courtesy GBC)
Money Moves is a column where we chart the raises, mergers and other funding news of tech companies across the region on the third Wednesday of the month. Have a tip? Email us at baltimore@technical.ly.

Clean energy initiatives, AI, entrepreneurship programs, government budget allocations and more investments make up the recent economic highlights in this installation of our Money Moves column.

Private sector

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) unveiled its inaugural Baltimore Region Investment Scorecard at a meeting earlier this month. The report card for Baltimore’s economic growth highlighted such figures as over $4 billion in business activity for 2023 and 347 deals totaling $4.2 billion. Those deals consisted of 140 development and 207 investment initiatives, according to the organization, and Baltimore City secured $2.6 billion of that investment.

The report also noted 86 life sciences transactions and 62 out-of-state investments, including five foreign projects.

See the scorecard in its entirety

GBC will also release its 10-Year Regional Economic Plan, aimed at progress toward a prosperous Baltimore region, during its 69th Annual Meeting on May 23 at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point.

Register for the GBC Annual Meeting

Another major economic booster agency, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB), released its 2023 annual report in tandem with its State of Downtown breakfast last  Wednesday. According to the report, DPOB gave over $2 million in grants and operational support to small business owners in 2023.

Read DPOB’s 2023 annual report

Next Wednesday, DPOB and well-known Harborplace developer MCB Real Estate will unveil the recipients of its BOOST Harborplace Local Tenancy Program. This cohort of BOOST participants includes Cuples Tea, Yele Stitches and Motion Athletics. Each BOOST business will operate under two-year license agreements in both the Light and Pratt Street Pavilions within Harborplace. The last cohort of business owners is still picking up its keys.

Climate

The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) launched the Climate Catalytic Fund (C3 Fund), allocating $15 million over three fiscal years to aid the state’s clean energy projects. Chaired by Comptroller Brooke Lierman, the C3 Fund aims to implement clean energy measures, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change impacts. (If you haven’t already, see Comptroller Lierman’s 2023 State of The Economy Report.)

MCEC will prioritize supporting low-income households and communities, dedicating a minimum of 40% of funds to such projects. The deadline for the first round of applications was on April 15. Another call for proposals will go out in mid-June.

University accelerators

Towson University recently wrapped up its 2024 StarTUp College Cup, a competition spotlighting student entrepreneurship. Seven finalists from the university showcased a diverse range of projects, including both early-stage concepts and established ventures. The event awarded a record-breaking $18,500 in prize money, with top honors going to Abigail Kuehl, who received $10,000 to support her plant-powered hair care line Antidote.

Loyola University Maryland’s Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship also recently granted $25,000 to four ventures involved in its latest Baltipreneurs Accelerator cohort.

State and city government

On April 1, Mayor Scott released a preliminary FY25 budget for the City of Baltimore. That draft budget includes new license-plate reader technology for the Parking Authority, CitiWatch maintenance, rapid forensic technology for the Baltimore Police Department, continued street light technology updates, building-to-grid systems for the Department of General Services and funding for the Minority & Women’s Business Opportunity Office and more.

Read the preliminary FY25 budget

Life sciences

She’s Independent, a member-led angel investing group, announced an

undisclosed investment in 2022 RealLIST Startup Astek Diagnostics’ pre-Series A round. The company, led by CEO Mustafa Al-Adhami, additionally received a $250,000 investment from TEDCO. In a release, Al-Adhami expressed gratitude for TEDCO’s initial support, noting the company’s growth:

“From the early days in my basement during the pandemic, TEDCO saw potential in our idea and supported us with our very first check,” said Al-Adhami.

From the basement to a partnership with MedStar Health, that’s huge.

In addition, a few Baltimore-area life sciences companies also logged raises through Form D filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including:

AI

Northern Virginia-based, AI-generated insights company AI Squared has secured $13.8 million in a Series A led by New York City-based VC firm Ansa Capital, with participation from Baltimore’s own Latimer Ventures. This investment will support the expansion of AI Squared’s analytics platform for data science and machine learning teams.

Small business

Harp Vision now offers a fundraising option, Harp Vision Fund reminiscent of the traditional Joe Corbi’s or World’s Finest Chocolate fundraisers. Founders April and Tyron Harpers propose to host fundraisers for various organizations, including local schools, national sororities, fraternities and small businesses.

The duo, whose wellness products can be found inside Lexington Market, is currently in discussions with a local bank to partner on this fundraising project. Unlike typical fundraisers, which often involve selling unhealthy items, this initiative aims to support students who may lack funds for activities such as field trips. The pair envisions the funds being deposited directly into an account for the child or family in need. The same approach applies to their other target customers.

For more information, contact info@harp-vision.com or visit their fundraising landing page as this project develops.

Digital equity

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the federal Department of Commerce, has announced the opening of applications for the first phase of the Digital Equity Capacity Grants, totaling $1.44 billion. States, territories and Native entities can apply to receive funding to implement programs aimed at teaching people how to effectively use internet services and available technology. The initial wave of funding amounts to $811 million, with proposals due in two months.

Other money moves


Disclosure: TEDCO is a Technical.ly client. That relationship has no impact on this article.

Companies: Downtown Partnership of Baltimore / Greater Baltimore Committee / Loyola University Maryland / Towson University / City of Baltimore / TEDCO / State of Maryland
Series: Money Moves

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