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Imagined futures: Baltimore tech and biz leaders tell us what they envision for the next decade

With an eye toward 2029, more than 25 founders, investors and connectors tell us what the city will achieve and confront.

The Baltimore skyline. (Photo by Flicker user Phil! Gold)
Updated 7:40 a.m., 12/21/19.
The year is winding down, which offers time to pause and look back at how we were moving, reading, hiring and exiting in 2019. But in this case, it’s not just about one year: The coming calendar turnover marks the end of the decade, and the beginning of a new one.

It’s something we’ve been especially attuned to this year, as celebrated its 10th anniversary of bringing news, events and jobs to Mid-Atlantic communities.

Considering that we looked back at Baltimore tech toward the beginning of the year, we thought it would only be fitting to close out the year by thinking ahead. So we put out a challenge to some of the folks who built the tech community over the last decade to envision how the next one will look.

The idea was to think big. Here are the questions we sent around: “What will Baltimore’s technologists and entrepreneurs achieve over the next decade, and what new roadblocks or opportunities will they confront?”

Here’s a look at the responses:

Shelly Blake-Plock, CEO of Yet Analytics

“As an East Coast city sitting on a huge body of water, I don’t think you really have to go out on a limb to say that climate change could alter the dynamic of what success and failure look like for Baltimore over the next decade. And our decisions and actions over the next decade are going to have irreversible impact upon the following decades.

“I think startups could lead the way in one sense by committing to adapting and reusing existing office, storefront, and warehouse space throughout downtown and close to public transportation as opposed to moving out to county office parks or spaces inaccessible without cars. Additionally, in occupying those spaces, we should negotiate for climate conscious policies and practices with regard to electricity, heating and cooling, recycling, and bicycle accessibility.”

John Cammack, angel investor

“The last decade has seen the emergence of a Baltimore innovation/tech economy. Betamore, Impact Hub, Venture for America, City Garage, Johns Hopkins FastForward and many other components of the innovation ecosystem did not exist 10 years ago. That’s progress!

“But this emergence pales in comparison to what is underway in Boston, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Austin, which are concentrating more and more entrepreneurial talent with massive amounts of capital. Talent still leaves smaller tech-centric cities, including Baltimore, to congregate there. If not reversed, we will see an even greater national wealth disparity concentrated in a few super-tech ZIP codes.

“To get into this game, over the next 10 years, our local universities must further amp up their efforts to stand up local companies with IP generated by students and researchers. This is underway, but we must raise the bar further until the creation of local unicorns ($1 billion valuations) is a repeatable process. Concurrently, we need neighborhoods to bloom from entrepreneurship that revitalizes Baltimore one block at a time.

“To accomplish this, we need talent to flock (or remain) in Baltimore, not just to engage in social impact, but to pursue opportunities to build one’s career and wealth. Once we ignite Baltimore’s prosperity engine, many legitimate social issues will begin to resolve as new jobs are created and wealth is redistributed across the city.”

Jeff Cherry, founder of Conscious Venture Lab

In an interview, Cherry circled the U.S. Business Roundtable’s embrace of workers, society and the environment over shareholders as a key moment of 2019 that could have ripple effects for 2029.

“What I hope is that this movement toward stakeholder capitalism that seems to be gaining more momentum now is going to take hold and will have taken hold by then,” he said.

And as technology changes how work is done, Cherry said it’s important to consider the implications. If autonomous vehicles succeed, it will be seen as a great feat. But there are also impacts on workers to consider.

“From a technologists’ standpoint that’s one thing,” he said. “But from a business person’s standpoint if you’re not concerned about what happened to 10s of thousands of people that are out of work then you’re missing the whole point.”

A key for Baltimore in particular? Getting more capital flowing to new businesses, and potential investors “off the sidelines,” he said. [Editor’s note: Here’s our new podcast on just that topic.]

“It’s not all about the money, but the money’s got to be there,” he said. “In order for us to continue to build this city in the way we want to ppl are going to have to take risks and invest in new businesses.”

Yair Flicker, president of SmartLogic

“The city on the whole continues to face a lot of the same challenges — inequity, safety, infrastructure, corruption — the question we’d like to ask is how will the tech and entrepreneurship community be a force for good and help address these well-known issues? We’d like to say that it will, but the path forward is unclear.

“We’re excited about a number of grassroots projects right now, and I think our biggest question over the next 10 years is will they scale? And are they sustainable? Startups, small businesses, and community projects all require a lot of energy and resources and can falter over time due to burnout and shifting economic conditions. Which ones will go the distance? Only time can tell.

“We’ve seen the rise and fall of meetups, and we seem to be in a glut of coworking currently; we think it’s likely that coworking will recede to more sustainable levels over the next few years. All that said, both of those trends are ways of creating community; we think there will be a new wave of community networking opportunities in the next few years as the wave of coworking recedes.

“Our physical infrastructure, while dated, is getting some long-needed maintenance. What do things need to come to in order for the city to get itself together for something seemingly as trivial as building a functioning water billing system and related processes? One where those in positions of wealth at the Ritz Carlton pay water bills, and we don’t criminalize those in positions of destitution by issuing tax liens for water bills against their properties.”

John Foster, COO of Fearless

“In the next decade, I see Baltimore becoming the national model for civic technology. The city has a unique set of challenges and varied history, which makes it the right place for all kinds of people and companies to engage and improve the city in many ways.

“Once people are compelled to that call to action for Civic improvement, you will see Baltimore City become one of the leading cities regarding Digital transformation. They will do things like: adopt the U.S .Digital Services playbook, build human-centered design capability, deploy agile development and procurement methods. Fearless has been proud to be a part of the city’s growth for the last decade and hope we can contribute even more during the next 10 years.

“The biggest challenge the city will face as it transforms is making sure that digital equity remains a thing for all city residents. Because of the disparate gaps in things like education and socioeconomic status, the city must be mindful that ALL citizens deserve access to world-class services. In order for this to occur, everyone will need things like consistent internet access and the ability to access the services they need when they need it.”

Scott Garber, managing partner of Early Light Ventures

“Baltimore is primed for a bit of a resurgence — the pieces are gathering, and just waiting for someone to help place them together for a very bright future. Between Port Covington and a new mayor, there is a lot of tangible hope — and plenty of promise from the pride in the city from Baltimoreans.

The outpouring of support for our fund (Early Light Ventures) has been beyond humbling, and is something we’ll never forget. Although we’re not going to change the city on a granular level, we hope to support promising founders in Baltimore by funding them, and connecting them to anything, and everything that will help them succeed locally. We’re also pushing all of our non-Baltimore companies to hire locally, and establish a presence in Baltimore City. We really believe in Baltimore — and see the potential for a very real startup ecosystem (mentors who care/will help, local partners with expertise, and an early-stage funding environment that we’re working with others to build).

“In 10 years, I could see Baltimore being a beacon for top cybersecurity companies, as well as health IT and medical device startups — between Hopkins, Port Covington, and local clients/partners (that actually care about the City and want to build something real), the pieces are all there. One of the main roadblocks today, is the lack of early-stage capital — there is very little funding for pre-seed and seed-stage companies in the region. We hope to remedy this gap by investing as much as possible locally, and will enthusiastically lead rounds to help keep talented founders in Baltimore. These startups will bring jobs, build the basis of an ecosystem, and enable founders to focus on building their business right here, in Baltimore.”

Michelle Geiss, executive director of Impact Hub Baltimore

On what the entrepreneurial community will look like:

“As an entrepreneurial community, our culture of reaching out and reaching back will make us a force to be reckoned with. Entrepreneurs will be seen as the visionary and committed asset that has turned the tide for our city, and reinvested in the people and neighborhoods that have gone too long with too little support.”

On what the city will achieve:

“Baltimore will build back the people and neighborhoods that have been neglected for too long. We will realize that the solutions we’ve needed to our biggest challenges have been under our noses the whole time. We will build a system that trusts city residents to drive relevant work. We will learn how to share power and resources in new ways. We will tell a story of transformation that acknowledges the genius and dedication of our grassroots leadership on the ground.

“We will lead the nation in creating models of reinvestment that benefit everyone and reverse our disparities. This will be a city known for translating its creativity, grit, authenticity into vibrancy that is unique, magnetic, and welcoming.”

On roadblocks and opportunities:

“Over the next 10 years, entrenched systems and people will admit that they don’t have all the answers. They will understand that poverty and crime are symptoms of underinvestment and that to turn it around, we must trust the very people who have been impacted most by this neglect.

“We will need to try new things, establish new patterns of investment, and back new people. This will require us to be brave and bold and creative. We need to become a city of ‘yes.’ What do we have to lose?

“To move forward, we will need to contend with our history of exclusion and extraction. We have an opportunity to acknowledge our mistakes and to create systems of accountability, transparency, and access that overcome the ways we’ve operated in the past.”

Mike Heslin, Baltimore general manager for Lyft

“I am hopeful over the next decade that advocates for Baltimore — whether it’s individuals, companies, nonprofits, or local government — will continue to develop innovative approaches that address transportation challenges among those who need it the most.

“We’re on a path to drive forward a more-connected Baltimore. This happens when we eliminate barriers that prevent anyone from experiencing the best this city has to offer, unlocking equity in transportation, and increasing mobility to boost economic opportunity. That all takes continued collaboration among stakeholders, and the results promise to be transformative for our city and its people.

“A huge opportunity is that we’ve already seen Marylanders really adapt to and embrace multimodal transportation, as not only a way to improve the way people get around, but also for additional earning opportunities. We’re committed to being a part of the solution to improve people’s lives over the next decade and beyond.

“The biggest roadblock in using technology to enhance our community is continuing to do things the way we have always done them. It’s not about how can we make the current infrastructure work “better”—but how do we make and leverage connections that help make Baltimore a city that works for the people who live, work, and visit here?”

Samuel Hoi, president of MICA

“This decade is ending at a grand inflection point for what we collectively value in economy and culture.

“Technology is increasingly commoditizing traditional fields of labor. I believe the next decade will witness the completion of the escalating transition from a production-based economy rooted in the industrial revolution, to the idea-based economy. The Creative Age will fully arrive.

“In light of the urgent need to overcome the current social-economic divide that destabilizes societies, we have the opportunity to shape an inclusive creative economy for the new decade. This economy will be characterized by equitable pathways for creative and entrepreneurial ideas from diverse sources to be supported for development. An empathetic, fluid, cross-disciplinary understanding of our world will be fundamental to its success. From technology to the arts, finances to philanthropy, the Inclusive Creative Age and its workforce must be able to recognize and synthesize disparate information and nuanced cultural signals to create connections, fashion new solutions and move society toward justice, sustainability and wellness for all.

“At MICA, our pedagogy, curricula, culture and values are aligned with this vision. We are excited to participate in building this beautiful and necessary future.”

Will Holman, executive director of Open Works

“I think Baltimore is poised for a decade of growth built on the manufacturing and trade legacy that has always been our foundation. When I look at manufacturing startups around town — Gotham Greens, large-scale offshore wind, Blueprint Robotics, oyster farming, the explosion of new breweries, the new city sawmill at Camp Small, the legal cannabis industry — I see the seeds of a new, sustainable economy taking root.

“On top of that, we have more maker resources, pound-for-pound, than any city in America. One challenge will be making sure that Open Works, the Station North Tool Library, Digital Harbor Foundation, and other makerspaces are resourced enough to keep building the workforce and support infrastructure that all of these startups need to thrive. The other critical challenge is making sure that the prosperity generated by this new wave of manufacturing is equitably distributed — not just jobs, but wealth, ownership, and representation.”

Jim Hughes, senior VP and chief enterprise and economic development officer for the University of Maryland, Baltimore

“The University of Maryland BioPark will start the next decade with development of 4MLK, a highly-anticipated, $200+ million, 10-story lab and office building prominently located on Baltimore Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in West Baltimore.

“This new complex, which will double the BioPark’s tenant space, will further foster the BioPark’s reputation as an innovation district and the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s renown as a thriving academic medical center. It will attract entrepreneurs and technology companies from around the region and the world, giving them a fresh place to grow their ventures in fields like biotech, health informatics, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering.

“The BioPark will be home to leading venture capital firms investing throughout Maryland. Throughout the decade, the continued success and growth of current BioPark tenants such as Catalent Biologics, Pharmaron, and Illumina — as well as demand from new companies and organizations — will give rise to additional lab and office buildings. These developments will bring more than 1,000 new jobs and educational opportunities to West Baltimore, deepening the University and the BioPark’s impact and creating a more vibrant neighborhood in our city.”

Collected thoughts from analysts at Independent Security Evaluators

“Technology is difficult to predict that far in advance; it has changed so much in the last two years that it’s hard to imagine 10 years into the future, but here are a couple things we know are on the horizon.

Widespread use of smart doorbell cameras like Ring and Google Nest: These IoT (Internet of Things) devices may have a large impact on policing in Baltimore. As they become more popular, Baltimore City police will need to adapt. There is the potential for crowd sourcing surveillance efforts that will absolutely impact residents of the city.

Self-driving vehicles are here. They are on the road and before long they will be fully self-driving at highway speeds. This will impact Baltimore City public transportation, safety, infrastructure, policing, and other industries such as ridesharing. Electric cars are also increasing at a high rate and are a great choice for city drivers and those looking to be greener. This trend is not dying out anytime soon — especially not in Baltimore.”

On growing concerns with these advancements:

Privacy and Data Collection: While smart doorbell cameras have great value in safety and security from knowing when your kids arrive safely at home to knowing when your Amazon package has been delivered, it is yet another device recording the movements of people. There will be major ethical concerns when it comes to privacy especially in terms of consent.

Infrastructure: Baltimore infrastructure already poses a lot of challenges to technology advancement in Baltimore like scooters, rideshare, and smart meters. Due to the nature of smart devices such as gas and electric smart meters, parking meters, RFID readers, charging stations, etc., they don’t last long – with the addition of replacements, expansions, software updates, security patches, etc., it won’t be cheap or easy to maintain in a city.

Security: Fresh from the Baltimore City ransomware attack, security is definitely an ongoing concern. As more technology is implemented, the potential attack surface of the city grows larger. Baltimore needs to invest in its security programs and listen to its experts about keeping up to date with ever changing cyber threats.”

Mike Leffer, principal at Squadra Ventures

“Baltimore’s biggest challenge — the lack of early-stage capital and tech talent — is also its biggest opportunity. This generation of founders must be scrappy and dynamic. They have to work much harder to build great companies, but these companies will be resilient and lasting as a result.”

Nick Levendusky

Matthew Lowinger, cofounder of Innov8MD

“Baltimore is outshined by the glitz and glamor of other technology hotbeds. While there are a significant amount of VC funding in places like NYC, Silicon Valley, and Boston, Baltimore has true authenticity and grit.

“Baltimore entrepreneurs and technologist are hyper focused on achieving success not only for their venture, but for the city that we all love: Baltimore. It is a chain reaction — in a city like Baltimore, once one venture ‘makes it,’ then everyone feels uplifted and empowered to build in Baltimore.”

Tammira Lucas, cofounder of Moms as Entrepreneurs and The Cube

“Over the next decade, Baltimore will become an entrepreneur hub — a place where budding millennial entrepreneurs will want to migrate to launch their next tech or innovative business. Baltimore has tons of opportunities and resources, and I think with a strong focus on women entrepreneurs, Baltimore will become a leading city for entrepreneurship for women. The tech and entrepreneurship community that has been fostered over the last five years will be stronger and more significant if we continue to work together and embrace new ideas, people, and innovation.”

Todd Marks, CEO of Mindgrub

“In the next decade, I hope Baltimore sees the completion of either the Hyperloop or Maglev. It’s a massive opportunity for the city on so many levels, with the potential to generate extensive economic development.

With our affordable housing prices — compared to cities like New York, DC, and Philly  — and our amazing assets in education and healthcare, I expect there will be a surge in companies and residents moving to the area. A surge that will be further intensified by our expanding reach in a number of industries, including health, cyber, tech, government, manufacturing, and supply-chain logistics.”

Ed Mullin, cofounder of STAR Academy

“Hopefully Baltimore can establish itself as a leading city for:

  • Cyber products and services
  • Edtech [and] edfintech products
  • Medical device R&D and manufacturing
  • Low cost, skilled tech workers.

“The biggest roadblock to tech company growth is access to capital once you need a couple of million in investment. This leads to companies leaving and going to Boston, Silicon Valley or Austin when they need to get to the next level.

“The biggest opportunity is the large number of bright young people in the area who could be a generation of skilled tech workers who’s salary needs are much lower than those in Boston, D.C. or Silicon Valley. Utilizing our quality education programs in some areas to help those in failing school areas could be a game changer for Baltimore, but we’d need some new thinking on the administration level and some ‘bridges’ built.”

Jay Nwachu, president and chief innovation officer, Innovation Works

“As we look ahead to the next decade, there are milestones that the Baltimore tech and entrepreneurship community should expect to happen and there are milestones that we will need to happen if are to truly call ourselves a hub for innovation. Given infrastructural investments into major assets in Baltimore over the past ten years, including the rapid growth of coworking spaces, more opportunities for and entrepreneurship development programs and opportunities that may come with Cyber Town, we should expect more activity in both tech and entrepreneurship. We should expect a broader funding capacity to support the growth of social/tech/other ventures in Baltimore. We should also expect more entrepreneurs choosing Baltimore as a place to launch companies given its geographic location and relatively cheaper cost of living.

“However, these opportunities are likely to not reach their fullest potential if we do not maximize the full talent base that we have in Baltimore. By all means, entrepreneurship in Baltimore will not keep up with other competing markets if we do not find creative ways to support the entrepreneurial communities in Baltimore who might not provide opportunities for 10x returns but help us grow and sustain a vibrant city for all residents, not just those who can afford to live in resourced neighborhoods. The noninstitutional arts, main streets, small businesses are very much underinvested in, especially in Baltimore communities that have been neglected for far too long.

“For Baltimore to truly realize the maximum benefits of its investments into the sector, including being able to retain the talent that comes to the city along with their ventures and make Baltimore a home and not just a launch pad, it will need to get truly entrepreneurial and boldly address the seemingly more difficult aspects of entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

Patrick Rife, cofounder of Pixilated

“In 2030, Baltimore will have evolved in ways wholly unimaginable 10 years prior.

“Having leveraged its greatest assets, the citizens of this city, to create a thriving urban landscape, it will be regarded for its innovative approach to remaking itself in the likeness of its citizens.

“Baltimore will have produced landmark companies, initiatives and impact that will have created a template by which other mid-size American cities have followed to similar success.”

Teris Pantazes, cofounder of EFynch

Michael Rosenbaum, CEO of Arena Analytics and executive chairman of Catalyte

“Baltimore will become the world center for innovation that creates a new and positive relationship between individuals and institutions, systems, and technology. Today, most of us realize that most innovation and technology has not necessarily made us happier, made the world a better place or improved the human condition. We need a new social and economic compact, a new deal between each of us as human beings and the broad economic and social forces that have brought us to where we are.

“In Baltimore, the largest issues we face as a world today — socioeconomic mobility, structural poverty and bias, health for all of us and not just the wealthiest of us, and more — are paired with deep strength in innovation through healthcare and technology institutions such as Hopkins, Maryland, the NSA, and a host of rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies. The Baltimore region will leverage this strength to become where the most talented stay, or come and stay, and where the most sophisticated investors invest, to innovate and transform our world to address the most important issues. Ten years from now we will be the global center and exporter of these technologies and innovations.”

Martin Rosendale, CEO of Maryland Tech Council

“Baltimore and the surrounding metro area, is perfectly positioned with extraordinary assets in analytics, cybersecurity, and healthcare.

“In 10 years, it should be the premiere location for medical and cybersecurity technology, thanks in part to those of us committed to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. Innovation resulting from the convergence of data analytics, machine learning and healthcare technologies will improve the quality of healthcare while lowering the cost through precision medicine. Personal Genome Diagnostics, b.well and Key Tech are just three examples of amazing medical technology innovation in Baltimore. Cybersecurity technology is delivering hardware and software solutions that will protect us as we rely more and more on connected technology.

“Baltimore and the MTC members based there are already building the infrastructure necessary to support the entrepreneurs driving these innovations. Rapid and equitable deployment of 5G technology and the expansion of mixed use commercial developments in opportunity zones like Port Covington will support the development of technological innovation. Continued focus on early exposure to STEM initiatives to create the necessary workforce, and incentives to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship will be critical. Creative solutions to improve the flow of technology transferred from government and academic institutions in and around Baltimore will feed the demand for continuous innovation. All of the pieces are in place.”

Dr. Karl V. Steiner, VP of Research, UMBC

“Academic institutions play a key catalytic anchor role for Maryland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Maryland continues to be the #1 state in the nation in securing federal support for academic research and development from both the NIH and NASA. This major federal support for biomedical, environmental and space research, combined with a national leadership position in cybersecurity and data analytics, provides a very strong base for many of our colleagues to successfully launch entrepreneurial endeavors.

“We are particularly excited about the growing footprint and impact of Maryland’s university-affiliated research parks, such as bwtech@UMBC, which provide vital incubator support to the growing tech startup communities across Maryland. TEDCO and other state and private organizations provide strong funding opportunities to jump-start tech entrepreneurship in Maryland, and organizations from outside the state are increasingly paying more attention to our vibrant start-up community.

“For us to reach our full potential, Maryland will need to continue developing a strong and sustained commitment among early-stage and angel investors within Maryland. This investment is needed to support the growing entrepreneurial segments of our economy that will provide many of the new job opportunities for the next generation.”

Tony Surak, chief marketing officer of DataTribe

We will continue to see the evolution of Baltimore becoming a hub for cutting-edge cybersecurity and data science companies emerging out of the Intelligence Community. As new innovations emerge – taken from the brightest minds from the Intelligence Community — this early-stage cyber technology ecosystem will continue to advance. This will result in some of these companies growing into international players with a significant impact on the Baltimore technology scene.

Though we will continue to see competition from Silicon Valley when it comes to investment in new innovations, the Baltimore region will inexorably move into the forefront as the premier cyber destination in the U.S.

Sean Sutherland, partner at Kapowza and host of “Between Two Founders

“I believe Baltimore will become a city filled with trash wheels, not just in the inner harbor and other contributing waterways, but in the skies, and streets, a city filled with googly-eyed robots that watch over us and protect us. I believe over the next ten years, Baltimore will stem the tide of population loss, lead the nation in bio-health development, and Port Covington will debut with ample parking.

“I’d also love to see a more unified Baltimore, where everyone has a voice at the table and can contribute to a more positive narrative across the city. It’s time for us to be known more for education and entrepreneurship than crab cakes and Cal Ripken Jr.

“I’d like to see more investment be made to supporting innovation and infrastructure.”

Deb Tillett, president of ETC

“As I think through to the end of the second decade of this century, I am struck by how tech that we have been developing over these last 10 years will take the next 10 years to become consumer products. We saw the first drones years ago in the military industrial space now consumers are building them with their kids. Dash cams, door cams and personal cameras were introduced early in the 2010’s but now they are wearable on your shoulder and will become 360 degrees shortly allowing anyone to ‘spy’ on anyone. Automation was something we were imagining, it is now part of your everyday life with smart appliances, robots helping you with health care, Siri and Alexa working for you and again. This is just the beginning of the era of automation, robotics, AI and VR.”

David Warnock, founder of Camden Partners

“Baltimore has the potential to be a hub of emerging biomedical innovation. This will attract both venture capital as well as larger bio pharmaceutical companies to the area. The $1.25 billion acquisition of Paragon Bioservices, a former Camden Partners portfolio company, by Catalent, Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) is a precursor to the trend. Paragon grew from a small business in the University of Maryland BioPark to employing over 800 people in Baltimore.”

Jessica Watson, CEO of Points North Studio

“I strongly believe that Baltimore city is on fertile ground when it comes to the future of tech. I feel the surge of energy in conversations had with fellow tech professionals, as well as the increase in attendance to Baltimore Womxn in Tech events (up 75% over last year). Baltimore has been often considered an underdog city, but deep within our streets lined with row homes and in between the exposed brick walls of our historic buildings, a fire is brewing.

“Over the next decade, I expect to see more tech companies claiming Baltimore as their headquarters, more diverse talent taking up space and lending their perspective to solving challenges at home and beyond, and forward-thinking companies with similar missions working together to achieve bigger goals.”

Christy Wyskiel, head of Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures

“By December 2029, Baltimore’s innovation districts (EBDI, UMBioPark, Remington, Port Covington) will have grown materially, especially around the anchor institutions. Multiple companies in this ecosystem will have had initial public offerings (IPOs), creating a strong base of businesses with broad talent and sufficient capital to continue to build. More and more companies will have moved to the region (like Stripe), companies that want to grow in and around communities with strong workforce potential and ties to anchor institutions, such as the National Security Agency, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the area’s universities. Nationally-known clusters of cancer diagnostics, digital health and AI/machine learning companies will be found here, and some large biotech/diagnostics companies will be our state’s largest employers. Beyond Maryland, the mid-Atlantic region will be a close third to California and Boston in terms of life sciences strength.

“Some challenges will remain 10 years from now, however. State and city leadership on economic development matters is key. Like other vibrant ecosystems, the government, along with foundations, investors and anchor institutions, will need to step up to ensure young companies can grow into mature ones without leaving the region. We also will need infrastructure and talent support, specifically creative ways to train and retain employees at all levels.”

Brittany Young, founder of B360

“With so many tech companies and organizations flocking to the city, Baltimore has a unique opportunity to increase the tech community as a whole. The city will become more focused on technology and social innovation, especially with initiatives already in the works and leading this industry.

“The challenge for the city will be in acknowledging and cultivating the existing talent in preparation for all the unique tech jobs to come and uniting the public and private sector to accomplish this. This could look like getting curriculum in K-12 education that meets industry standards and needs directly, focusing on utilizing the free community college to push mid skill level jobs that can elevate the local economy and direct financial investment in local solutions that already have proven results.

“Yes, we are a city with challenges. But more importantly, we are a city with great solutions already happening and I look forward to seeing how the exposure to technology tools can elevate those solutions by 10x in the next decade.”

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