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Baltimore Innovation Week / Communities / Events / Gaming / Media

Here’s what happened on the first day of Baltimore Innovation Week 2015

An Innovation Crawl through downtown, and a Kickoff Festival with virtual reality, real food and entrepreneurs looking to connect.

Just some of the VR technology on display at the Baltimore Innovation Week 2015 kickoff event. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

MissionTix CEO Greg Cangialosi says he sees more people he knows around Power Plant Live! these days.
At the same time, some of the folks waiting in line to see G. Love and the Special Sauce play an outdoor show Friday night hadn’t before seen what Baltimore’s tech companies were up to.
As tech companies move downtown, those two realities are going to frequently co-exist: There are more tech companies in the city’s central business district, but it might take some time before they find their place amid the suits and tourists that already populate the area.
Nevertheless, tech folk were on full display at the opening events for Baltimore Innovation Week 2015, which started with an Innovation Crawl through downtown offices before culminating in a Kickoff Festival with food trucks wrangled by The Gathering and interactive virtual reality, video game and drone demos at downtown’s entertainment complex.
It was fun.
Starting at Betamore in Federal Hill before heading through Inner Harbor (hi, Baltimore Book Festival!) to the city’s central hive of activity, the crawl gained numbers as it went, picking up folks who were interested in what the city’s technology community had to offer.
R2integrated’s 11th floor offices overlooking Inner Harbor were a highlight for many, with the lounge area, game machines and relaxed work environment signifying what many expect from a tech office. More than 200 employees work at the office, and a pair of recent acquisitions means the marketing agency now has offices in Silicon Valley and Seattle.

The participants also got a chance to check out the still-under-construction coworking space at Power Plant Live!, Spark. The space is on the third floor of the building at 8 Market Place, which already houses companies like Tissue Analytics and Staq. Crawlers were much obliged to FourV Systems for opening up the kegerator as the event ended.
Down at the Baltimore Innovation Week kickoff event, startups were happy to show off what they’re working on.
We were intrigued to meet Wepwo, a platform that links dog owners with dog walkers that just launched in Baltimore. Co-CEOs Dave Comiskey and Chris Gonzalez, who live in D.C., told us that Baltimore seems to be a good spot for consumer-facing apps.
The event also offered plenty of chances to play. Tony Powell of Frederick-based Philosoplay was having a blast demoing his new That Rock Paper Scissors Game!, which combines the old-fashioned Ro-Sham-Bo with elements of Pac-Man.

The goggles were also out. Plenty of folks (including us) put on an Oculus Rift provided by Will Gee of Balti Virtual to explore Under Armour shoes, and shoot some hoops. Alchemy Learning was also letting folks get a look at their virtual reality programming for education.
The event also brought out some young entrepreneurs looking to connect with the local tech community.
Towson University senior Bobby Gattuso is already gaining traction nationally and internationally with Hop Theory. His company makes teabag-like sachets that contain hops and flavor to turn macrobrews into craft beer. As he finishes up school, he’s looking to connect with other startups.

Dom Smith

Dom Smith. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

We also met Dom Smith, who’s building Hii Key, an app that aggregates and displays fliers for parties, concerts and other events. Smith decided to stay in Baltimore after a stint at Morgan State, and he was looking to meet other entrepreneurs.
Baltimore Innovation Week continues through Oct. 3. Check out the full calendar here.

Companies: Alchemy / R2integrated / Betamore /

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