Amid an ever-changing and ever-challenging year, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate the good.
As we wrote when we launched nominations for the 2020 Technical.ly Awards, this year is different. It must be. More than celebrating success for success’ sake, with the 2020 awards program, we aimed to honor the challenges overcome, as well as ongoing work to make local tech and entrepreneurship communities places that also challenge racism, the pandemic and the unjust status quo.
When we announced the categories and nominees for our 2020 Technical.ly Awards a few weeks ago, we received more than 1,700 votes in a couple weeks. It’s clear those in Baltimore’s tech and entrepreneurship community want a say in spotlighting those worthy of some accolades this year.
Technical.ly announced and celebrated the winners of the 2020 Technical.ly Awards on Friday at Baltimore Innovation Week’s Innovation Celebration. It was part of a day of virtual discussion and learning from the community’s response in 2020.
The six categories and their winners — determined by public vote — are:
The @Technical_ly award winners in Baltimore are in! At Baltimore Innovation Week, we honored the local innovation and entrepreneurship leaders stepping up in 2020.
And the winners are….
— Technical.ly Baltimore (@TechnicallyBMR) October 9, 2020
Invention of the Year — Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard
The much-frequented worldwide source for data on the pandemic was made in Baltimore. Led by associate professor Dr. Lauren Gardner (recently named to the Time 100 Most Influential People), a team from the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering launched the map and data center in January. It has since become the work of a cross-department team from that includes Johns Hopkins school of public health, Applied Physics Lab and Centers for Civic Impact. It drew more than a billion interactions a day by April for those in search of publicly available data on the pandemic.
Impact Leader of the Year — Jeff Cherry
Cherry founded purpose-driven startup accelerator Conscious Venture Lab in Columbia, and it moved to Baltimore city in 2017. It has continued to lead diverse groups of founders, becoming a landing point for companies building models for impact as well as business. In the wake of the summer’s protests that followed a series of police murders, Cherry was a strong voice for economic justice as a path to healing systemic racism.
Technical Leader of the Year — Damini Agarwal, director of product development, Infinite Biomedical Technologies
Leading a Spark Baltimore-based company that’s among a crop of intriguing medical device companies making a base in the city, Agarwal has had a hand in the day-to-day growth and milestones of a tech company that’s developing advanced technology to help amputees. She also gives back through volunteer work that includes galvanizing the next generation of women leaders in STEM.
Culture Builder of the Year — Shervonne Cherry, director of community and partnerships, Spark Baltimore
Cherry has been at the center as Spark Baltimore has grown as a hub both for the 140+ companies that are located there, as well as Baltimore tech over four years inside a building within Power Plant LIVE! In the pandemic, she took quick steps to keep the community together and create a safe space as the space reopened. A cofounder of the Baltimore Womxn in Tech meetup, Cherry also espouses a passion for expanding access to technology in Baltimore and is always ready with a connection that can help that growth happen.
Startup of the Year — Sonavi Labs
Developing digital stethoscope technology that includes both acoustic and AI was initially developed at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s West Lab, Sonavi Labs just recently advanced with an FDA clearance for the hardware portion of its device.
Growth Company of the Year — Hungry Harvest
The produce delivery company has long been of interest with steady expansion in Baltimore and cities beyond, as it built a business with a mission to fight food waste and hunger. Alongside the delivery service, it also set up in-person markets. This year, it doubled the size of its team to 100 people and its Series A round to $13.7 million as food delivery at home was trending up.