Entrepreneurs / Year in review

Kevin Plank goes local: No. 3 Baltimore tech trend of 2016

The Under Armour founder extended his ambitions and love of big statements to his home city.

Kevin Plank with local leaders. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The end of the year is a time to think about what’s next for 2017, but it’s also worth reflecting on how we got here. We’re looking back at some of the themes that kept coming up in our coverage of Baltimore’s tech community in 2016. See the full list of 2016 trends here.

Entrepreneurs have been known to seek out inspiration every now and again, and in Baltimore they need look no further than Kevin Plank.
With his classic entrepreneur story, drive and love for making a big splash, Plank leads by example with Under Armour. He continues to focus on running the company day-to-day, but he’s still an entrepreneur at heart. With the ventures he is backing under Plank Industries and the Sagamore banner, Plank is showing that starting businesses can reshape the landscape of the city.
In March, he spoke passionately at SXSW about building in Baltimore and creating jobs. Looking back, it was the prologue to a big year.
Port Covington sits at the center of the effort. The big plans to redevelop the South Baltimore neighborhood were unveiled this year, and the public debate about a Tax Increment Financing deal for the property also showed that everyone must benefit in 2016.
Along with Under Armour, the neighborhood is also set to be a home for other Plank ventures like the Sagamore Rye distillery. The ventures extend beyond the peninsula. A Pendry hotel is being built at the Rec Pier in Fells Point, a new UA fitness center opened at 10 Light Street and Sparrows Point is set to be home to a new Under Armour distribution center. Plank even bought the water taxi.
As an entrepreneur, Plank also sees that growth comes through encouraging new companies. The current activity is at City Garage in Port Covington, where Sagamore Ventures is providing space and funding for startups like Treason Toting Co., BaltiVirtual, Workbench, Hungry Harvest and Ready Robotics, as well as a makerspace and Under Armour’s manufacturing innovation center. Showing that it’s a center of the tech community, Beta City has been held at City Garage for the last two years and Betamore is set to open a second location there in 2017.
This year, Plank showed that thinking about the city is part of what it means to be an entrepreneur in Baltimore.

Companies: Under Armour

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