Startups
AI / Biotechnology / Cybersecurity / Ecosystem development / Guest posts

The incredible evolution of Baltimore and DC tech, from 2009 into the future

Vibrant coworking spaces, bustling meetups and insightful conferences have become the norm, notes author and CEO Dave Carberry.

A gathering during a prior Baltimore Innovation Week. (Courtesy ETC Baltimore)

In February 2009, Technical.ly published our first article. Fifteen years later, we're still here — but a lot has changed. We're celebrating our anniversary with a look back, and a look forward.

This is a guest post by Dave Carberry, founder of Enradius and Needworking.com, written as part of a series celebrating Technical.ly’s 15th anniversary.
Full disclosure: This article mentions Fearless, a Technical.ly Talent Builder client, and Spark Baltimore, where Technical.ly has coworking space. Neither relationship had any impact on this report.
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, milestones are not just markers of time. They represent the progress, challenges, and triumphs of a community.

As Technical.ly celebrates its 15th anniversary, I wanted a moment to reflect on the incredible journey and dynamic changes that have shaped the Baltimore and Washington tech scenes over the past decade and a half.

About a month ago, a community gathered to celebrate the release of my debut book, “Stop Networking, Start Needworking.” The event featured an engaging Q&A session with Dan Taylor, the VP of Global Ads at Google, centering on the future changes Google is making for data privacy. We were also excited to announce our Needworking.com partnership with Shervonne Cherry from Spark Coworking.  Shervonne has created an incredible ecosystem over the years with many successful growing companies in the region.

Dave Carberry, Shervonne Cherry and others at event holding Needworking event sign

Shervonne Cherry (right) and Dave Carberry (back) posing with others at a Needworking.com event. (Courtesy David James)

When I decided to start Enradius 10 years ago, I needed to re-educate myself on the landscape of the Baltimore tech scene. I attended Technical.ly’s Innovation Week in 2014 to hear Chris Jeffrey from OrderUp, as well as Chris Brandenburg from Millennial Media. I noticed the back cover of the Innovation Week guide, with the map of all the businesses in the city. I wanted Enradius on there.

I applied for a grant to Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and we made our home base in the original Struever Brothers office on Charles Street. The next year, we were excited to be on the back cover along with the local tech leaders at the time.

Enradius was one of the many companies that spawned from Baltimore-born Advertising.com — companies like Lotame, Millennial Media, MediaGlu, Staq and Videology. These were just the ad tech companies that grew in this region.   Advertising.com was sold and acquired by AOL a little over 15 years ago, then acquired by Verizon and then sold again, and now it’s renamed Yahoo (so confusing). They still have a presence in the region.

We have seen thriving growth not only in adtech but also in health tech, cybersecurity, fintech and IoT. Fast forward a bit, and there is an entirely new generation of founders taking this region to the next level.

Over the past 15 years, the Baltimore-Washington area has emerged as a thriving technology hub, witnessing remarkable growth and innovation, and the whole ecosystem itself has evolved. There weren’t many investors to turn to in the region 15 years ago. Companies like Grotech Ventures, which funded Advertising.com, were extremely difficult to get to.

Now, you have successful entrepreneurs whose companies were acquired or industry leaders coming together to help build, invest in and grow the next generation of tech organizations. It’s creating a swell in the area and a whole new dynamic. Leaders like Luke Cooper of Latimer Ventures, Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab, Delali Dzirasa of Fearless, Juliana Buonanno of TechSlice, Todd Marks of Mindgrub, Guy Filippelli of Squadra Ventures,  Shelanda Armstrong of 100KM Ventures, Greg Cangialosi of Early Light Ventures and Kory Bailey heading up UpSurge Baltimore. The landscape has evolved and will continue to thrive with so many people vested in the region to make a difference in not only technology but community as well.

Dan Taylor and Dave Carberry sit next to one another in front of TV screen and brown and red bookshelf

(L to R) Dan Taylor and Dave Carberry. (Courtesy David James)

I’ve been working with Ed Mullin and the Greater Baltimore Tech Council marketing committee (part of Maryland Tech Council) to help bring engaging events to the region, like Pitch and Pour nights and networking events.

This growth is something that you can’t just map out on the back of an Innovation Week booklet. Luckily, there is a resource you can go right to — BMore Tech Connect — built by one of these growing regional tech companies, EcoMap Technologies.

Baltimore and DC have been pivotal in the rise of cybersecurity. Companies like Tenable, ZeroFox, First Strike, Helion and Dataprise have played instrumental roles in developing cutting-edge solutions and safeguarding critical infrastructure and sensitive data globally. You also can’t leave out the larger employers like Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin.

Johns Hopkins University has been a driving force in health tech and other innovations through programs like the Fast Forward tech hub. Companies like WellDoc, CoolTech, LifeSprout, Roundtrip, Protenus and Emocha Health (now named Scene Health) have led the way, transforming patient care and healthcare management.

The region has seen a surge in AI and machine learning companies like RedShred and Inky Technology. These companies have pushed these innovations’ boundaries, applying them in areas ranging from email solutions to document categorization to predictive analytics. We see continued growth with companies like Fearless and The Canton Group winning major government contracts.

The next 15 years: A glimpse into the future

We could possibly have a quantum computing revolution, with companies like College Park’s IonQ solving complex problems in cryptography, optimization and material science.

Expect a surge in startups dedicated to renewable energy solutions. Baltimore- and DC-based companies are poised to contribute significantly to the global push for cleaner energy alternatives, from solar technology to advanced energy storage.

Embracing the concept of smart cities, the region will leverage IoT tech to enhance urban living. Intelligent transportation systems, efficient energy management and interconnected infrastructure will play a pivotal role in shaping the cities of the future.

One cannot discuss the growth of the region without acknowledging the collaborative spirit that defines the tech ecosystem. Incubators, accelerators and communities throughout the two cities like Spark, Open Works, Impact Hub, Halcyon House and 1776 played a vital role in nurturing startups across various domains. I’d be remiss in not mentioning Startup Grind, Startup Maryland, Startup Portal and the Guc Ozenci-led Founder Institute.

Vibrant coworking spaces, bustling meetups and insightful conferences have become the norm, thanks in part to organizations like Technical.ly. Its commitment to fostering a sense of community has been instrumental in bringing together diverse talents and creating an environment ripe for innovation.

White book cover with green text

“Stop Networking, Start Needworking” book cover. (Courtesy David James)

In my book, I write about the importance of events, member organizations and collaborative spaces that weave our ecosystem together. Working remotely was a necessity during the COVID days, but now, we need to embrace that human connection again — and the energy of this next generation is truly off the charts.

As we raise a collective toast to the past 15 years, we also turn our gaze toward the future with anticipation and excitement. The tech landscape promises continued growth, innovation and, most importantly, a steadfast commitment to diversity and equity. Technical.ly, with its role as a storyteller and community builder, will undoubtedly continue to shape the narrative of this transformative journey.

Here’s to the next 15 years of innovation, collaboration and the unwavering pursuit of a tech landscape that truly reflects the strength found in diversity. Congratulations, Technical.ly!

Companies: TechSlice / EcoMap Technologies / IonQ / Impact Hub Baltimore / UpSurge Baltimore / Squadra Ventures / Open Works / LifeSprout / Fearless / General Dynamics Information Technology / Mindgrub / Roundtrip / Maryland Tech Council / Spark Baltimore / Scene Health / Startup Grind / Halcyon / Protenus / Northrop Grumman / The Canton Group / WellDoc / Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship / Conscious Venture Lab / ZeroFOX / OrderUp / Advertising.com / Downtown Partnership of Baltimore / Founder Institute / Grotech Ventures / Johns Hopkins University / Tenable Holdings / Millennial Media / Lockheed Martin / Google / Technical.ly
Series: Technical.ly 15th Anniversary / Early Employees Month 2024
Engagement

Join the conversation!

Find news, events, jobs and people who share your interests on Technical.ly's open community Slack

Trending

Delaware daily roundup: Delmarva Power vendor stats; DelDOT's $15M federal grant; 50 best companies to work for

Delaware daily roundup: Over 4,000 Black-owned businesses uncovered; Dover makes rising cities list; a push for online sports betting

Philly daily roundup: East Market coworking; Temple's $2.5M engineering donation; WITS spring summit

Delaware daily roundup: Ladybug Fest illuminates small biz; Hahnemann Hospital's biotech future; intl. politics and a Middletown project

Technically Media