Baltimore daily roundup: ‘Shark Tank’ nets Dawn Myers $150K; driver distraction tech; FastForward U renamed for Pava LaPere

Plus, Gov. Moore's post-Key Bridge collapse plans for the Port of Baltimore.

The Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship, formerly FastForward U. ( NICHOLE DAVIS)

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A two-shark deal for Baltimore’s Dawn Myers

Dawn Myers’ episode of Shark Tank aired on Friday, and the Baltimore-based founder secured a deal with Mark Cuban and Emma Grede for $150,000 in exchange for 15% equity and 5% in advisory shares.

She was inspired to create her product, The Mint, after realizing a market gap for Black women’s hair tools during a Shark Tank episode in 2017. She expressed gratitude for the support of the Baltimore ecosystem leading up to her appearance.

➡️ Find out more about how mentorship prepared Myers for her primetime debut

New traffic signs can tell when drivers are on their phones and more

DC has introduced a new traffic safety technology aimed at reducing distracted driving called the SmartSign. When attached to mobile trailer units, it can detect if drivers are using their phones, wearing seatbelts, or speeding. Rick Birt, director of the DC Highway Safety Office, told my colleague in DC the signs provide instant feedback to drivers, encouraging them to prioritize safety while on the road.

➡️ Learn more about DCs latest traffic tech here

News Incubator: What else to know today

• Johns Hopkins University’s student entrepreneurship and innovation hub, FastForward U, was renamed for alum and EcoMap Technologies co-founder Pava Marie LaPere in a ceremony on Saturday. [Johns Hopkins University]

• A surge in AI deepfakes is prompting researchers and startups to develop tools to detect and label deep fake content. Sort of like what happened with the principal out in Baltimore County. The effort is meant to curb the impact that deepfakes might have on social media, elections and fraud. [Washington Post]

• Following the Key Bridge collapse, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, announced an ambitious goal to have Baltimore’s port fully operational by the end of May. Despite acknowledging the aggressiveness of the timeline, Moore expressed determination to work tirelessly to meet this target. [Politico]

• The Grit Fund is offering grants of up to $10,000 to artists in Baltimore City and Baltimore County for collaborative projects, encompassing visual and performing arts, cultural organizing, collectives, and artist-run spaces. [Grit Fund]

• The energy-intensive nature of artificial intelligence has led to increased interest in in-memory computing, which could reduce power consumption. [Bloomberg]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Discover the future of work with the regional manufacturing institute at Tech Talks on April 30. Explore AI, the industrial metaverse, and more.  [Details here]

• Join UpSurge Baltimore and friends for a mentor appreciation celebration at this week’s Equitech Tuesday on April 9. [Details here]

• Impact Hub Baltimore is hosting a member Yappy Hour for members and their furry friends on April 11. [Details here]

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