Through a new program, dev agency SmartLogic is looking to provide dev resources that will help a startup scale in Baltimore.
With SmartVentures, the Baltimore-based software development consultancy, which is becoming an increasingly familiar face in D.C.’s tech community, will invest time and expertise into an early-stage company that specifically has a need in engineering and product development, said SmartLogic President Yair Flicker.
It’s a different approach to investment: Instead of providing funds, SmartLogic is covering the costs of time and team. In all, the dev expertise and mentorship is worth $400,000.
Companies must be based in Baltimore, or relocate to the city for the program. Initially, SmartLogic is looking to work with one startup.
Among more than 150 custom applications it’s built for clients, the 14-year-old company has had a role in tech development for startups that went on to be acquired such as OrderUp and RedOwl Analytics. They’ve also seen mistakes various companies have made along the way.
Out of that experience, Flicker said he’s seen how a mix of “good engineering hygiene” and tech leadership can help a company get to the next level. There are processes that they’ve applied, and the company also grew to offer CTO-level services that are designed to help startups as they take a product to scale.
“We think we have all these services, all of this expertise, and now we want to take a company and do a deep dive with them,” Flicker said.
Serving as program director will be Margaret Roth, a cofounder of Yet Analytics.
“Finding the right expertise, mentors and hires to build the product the right way, the first time, with the least amount of technical debt, is a failure-point most founders don’t know they’ve hit until long after they’ve poured thousands of hours into developing something that won’t ever take them to scale,” Roth said. The program will aim “to help companies bypass this and still learn all the lessons they need to take with them.”
The idea is that SmartLogic can offer technical know-how alongside the company, and help it grow. So it’s also required that the startup is based in Baltimore – or willing to relocate to the city. Flicker said SmartLogic has room for a small company within its offices. The company has expertise to offer whether it’s consumer or enterprise tech, but the startup should be beyond validating a product and be ready to move beyond the MVP, Flicker said.
While there’s no set time, the idea is that the program will take place over a six- to 18-month timeframe. By the end, the goal is to get to the next big milestone, like raising a round of funding or hiring a dev team.
Applications, available here, are being accepted on a rolling basis, Flicker said.-30-