After working since October at a space in Baltimore City Community College, the founders of six startups in the latest cohort of Conscious Venture Lab gathered for demo day this week.
While the event at MICA’s Fred Lazarus IV Center on North Ave. marked the end of the impact-minded accelerator’s third cohort, it reflected a couple of firsts.
For one, it was the first iteration of the program to be held in West Baltimore, as it was initially founded in Howard County. The beginning of the cohort also followed a partnership between CVL’s Jeff Cherry and Joe Mechlinski to form Shift Ventures, which is backing CVL as well as socially-minded startups more broadly.
The event featured remarks from Ahmad Ashkar, the founder of the Hult Prize student innovation competition, as well as Funlayo Alabi, founder of CVL alum Shea Radiance.
In frequent travels, Ashkar said he has observed that impact-minded startups are setting the pace for innovation globally, especially in emerging markets. The U.S. has some catching up to do on this front, he said.
“The social enterprise startup model will be the engine. I assure you – everyone around the world is on the cutting edge,” he said.
The startup founders pitched to a panel of local tech community leaders including angel investor John Cammack, See Jane Invest’s Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, Betamore and Baltimore Angels cofounder Greg Cangialosi, ETC President Deb Tillett and CBJ Energy President Claire Broido Johnson. In lieu of picking a winner, the judges provided feedback to each of the entrepreneurs.
Here’s a look at the six startups that pitched:
Tammira Lucas is looking to expand the coworking space with childcare that she and TaKesha Jamison created with an initial space in Towson. The space is designed so that parents have a space to grow their businesses, and provides resources toward that end, along with a play area for kids.
This startup looks to empower grassroots advocacy. Fonder Kory Payne devised a platform that allows groups to create action pages that can send unique messages via video and social media to legislators and others in government. The platform also has bill tracking, with the capability of sending action alerts. Payne emphasized that the startup will allow customers to own their own data.
Winston Frazer founded the startup with Andrew George and Austin Peppel while a student at MICA. It focuses on 3D printing prosthetic covers for lower-limb amputees. The automated process is designed to allow amputees to customize their replacement limbs, and the fact that it’s categorized as a Class 1 medical device allows the company to go direct-to-consumer. Frazer said he also recently returned from Dubai through a partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce where he had a host of meetings over four days.
Jeremy Bedine and Estelle Mangeny created a platform that takes over “all things energy” in a building to help companies save energy as well as money. The platform includes energy monitoring and data analytics on spots where energy inefficiencies are taking place.
Jason Bass and Aaron Jones are extending their line of travel bags and other accessories through a series of pop-ups, including one that’s currently on view at West Elm in Harbor Point. They pointed out the accessories are manufactured in the U.S. With earnings, the company also started a field trip fund for Baltimore students.
Evgeny Klochikhin presented this smart mobility company that makes a device to link with smart parking meters, parking apps and other IoT services that are emerging in cities. It brings each of those services inside a vehicle. Klochikhin, who commuted from Northern Virginia for the cohort, said the startup will be starting a pilot with New York University this spring.
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