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Here’s who’ll be repping Baltimore at SXSW 2024 in March

Pitch competitors, organizers, speakers — the region is showing up in Austin. Are you planning to attend? Let us know.

Lines around the block, like this one, are a common sight at SXSW. (Courtesy UpSurge Baltimore)
Update: This article has been updated to include Financial Joy School CEO Ruby Taylor's mentor session on March 8, EcoMap Technologies CEO Sherrod Davis' planned panel appearance and CyDeploy CEO Tina Williams-Koroma's attendance. (1/29/2024, 7:13 p.m.)
Full disclosure: This article mentions Fearless, a Talent Builder client. That relationship had no impact on this report.

Baltimore’s tech and community ecosystem has a notable presence this year at South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the world’s most famous tech and culture conferences.

From the pitch competition to the innovation awards, the March gathering in Texas will be full of Baltimoreans. Local founders will showcase their companies and celebrate one another’s work, as well as share lessons with others who hope to follow in their footsteps.

UpSurge Baltimore’s CEO Kory Bailey, a member of the SXSW Pitch advisory board, confirmed to that folks like Fearless’ LaToya Staten, Techstars’ Adam Phillips, Storytime AI cofounder Brian Carlson and Balti Virtual’s Will Gee would be along for the trip to Austin.

Bailey’s org will also be hosting the Equitech Breakfast again, he said, noting that last year there were 700 RSVPs, and that the organizers “expect to have the same results this year.”

Yellow graphic with sun in top left corner and company logos at bottom.

A promotional graphic for the Equitech Texas Welcome Breakfast. (Courtesy Kory Bailey)

Scroll down for a look at how else Baltimore will represent at the 2024 event, which draws upwards of 300,000 people annually.

SXSW Pitch

SXSW has been hosting its pitch competition for 16 years, just one year longer than’s been around. The event has collectively raised over $23.2 billion in funding for the global startup ecosystem, according to PitchBook.

Scheduled this year for March 9-10, the event provides founders an opportunity to present their startup technologies to industry experts, potential early adopters, and members of the investment community. In 2022, Sonavi Labs took home the top prize just to get it under their belts.

Here’s who is involved in 2024:

  • Local HR tech platform FemEquity and its founder Adeola Ajani will be pitching solutions for women and underrepresented professionals going through pay or professional gaps in Austin in early Spring.
  • Jen Fry and her app, Coordle, a location-aware web platform designed to simplify group coordination, will face judgment from a panel of judges traveling to Texas from locations such as Chicago and Pittsburgh during this year’s SXSW pitch.

Innovation Awards


  • b.well founder Kristen Valdes, who spoke at South by in 2018, is thought to be returning as a speaker this year, according to Bailey.
  • Ruby Taylor, founder and CEO of Financial Joy School, is featured in a mentor session on March 8
  • EcoMap Technologies CEO Sherrod Davis will speak on a panel about how AI can be used to support founder ecosystems.
  • Femly founder Arion Long, who has previously referred to SXSW as “a vibe,” is also a speaker this year, according to a social media post.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Arion Long (@arionklong)


  • CyDeploy CEO Tina Williams-Koroma said she plans to attend SXSW on her company’s behalf.


Are you planning to join? Let us know at

Attend SXSW 2024

This is a developing story and may be updated.

Companies: Fem Equity / Cambium Carbon / CyDeploy / EcoMap Technologies / UpSurge Baltimore / Sonavi Labs / Fearless / Techstars / SXSW

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