Civic News
Baltimore / Economics

After 10 years in Charm City, here’s what’s next for

In the summer of 2012, we started reporting on the technologists and entrepreneurs shaping Baltimore’s economy. Here’s a look at what we’ve learned over a decade of change.

A Charm City Circulator bus, like the ones Christopher Wink rode while learning about Baltimore's innovation ecosystem, makes a stop downtown. (Photo by Flickr user BeyondDC, used via a Creative Commons license)
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that TechBreakfast began in 2013, instead of its actual 2011 start date. The error has been corrected. (9/7/22, 2:05 p.m.)
I first got to know Baltimore’s emerging tech economy on the bus.

A decade ago, we at set our news organization’s first vision statement as “Better cities through technology.” Back then, technology was a very suburban phenomenon. Silicon Valley was still more Sand Hill Road than San Francisco. The computer revolution was raised in suburban business parks, not urban coffee shops. took an unusually city-first approach — one that argued greater urban density of tech business would not only benefit existing innovators by increasing their intellectual collisions, but also make tech careers more accessible to more people. Many of the first Baltimore tech boosters I met were city champions — people like Deb Tillett, McKeever Conwell, Mike Subelsky, Shervonne Cherry, Jess Gartner, Gabe Pendelton, Jane Shaab, Yair Flicker, Christine Johnson and Jason Hardebeck. Our first reporter, Andrew Zaleski, was among the first members of Betamore, which Mike Brenner, Sean Lane and Greg Cangialosi founded as an early coworking complement to Federal Hill’s live-work-play vibe.

So although Brenner drove me around in his car for my first informal Baltimore tech tour, I spent a lot of my time in 2011 and 2012 crisscrossing the city by bus — including both those familiar Maryland Transit Administration chariots and the much-maligned but well-air-conditioned Charm City Circulator. It was tricky to visit TechBreakfast, a beloved startup presentation event that Ron Schmelzer started and ran from 2011 to 2018 — not just in Baltimore, but across and beyond Maryland. Other big tech community events in the early 2010s were suburban, but there was a very real effort to bring the orbit into Baltimore city.’s goal was simple: narrate, challenge and help connect the growing efforts to modernize Baltimore’s economy — and do it with a journalistic approach. This month, we’re celebrating 10 years of publishing daily on Baltimore’s economic change. We’ll celebrate with other looks at our own progress over the years before partying at October’s Baltimore Innovation Week, which we helped launch and is now a true community effort that Tillet’s influential ETC Baltimore leads.

A gathering during an earlier Baltimore Innovation Week. (Courtesy photo)

Throughout this time, we’ve approached our journalism with a community-first lens. Consider a brief review of the track record:

It has been a true honor for to not just report on, but be a part of, Baltimore’s economic evolution. In many ways, the transition is far from complete. It’s also clear that progress has been made by extraordinary efforts. Here’s to more.

Companies: Emerging Technology Centers (ETC Baltimore) / City of Baltimore / Betamore /

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