Events / Startup Grind DC / Startups

Maryland entrepreneurs are upping local presence at Startup Grind’s global conference

A group is heading to the org's two-day event in Silicon Valley next week, and six startups are entering Startup Grind's training program for entrepreneurs from around the world.

Back to the Grind at City Garage in November 2017. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Startup Grind’s presence has grown around Maryland in the last couple of years with a trio of chapters now active. Now, the local organizers are also looking to stand out on the global organization’s big stage.

When the Startup Grind’s Global Conference kicks off on Feb. 12 in Silicon Valley, Maryland will have a delegation, according to Chris Haug, the chapter director of Startup Grind’s Columbia chapter who is looking to increase access to the organization’s community and offerings in the region.

About 20 people from the area will be attending, and there will also be a bigger presence than in past years for local companies in the programming that Startup Grind offers: Six startups are joining in the Silicon Vally-founded organization’s global startup program.

They include Treble, TransitioningU, Efynch, ClearMask, TracerScale and Petish. The startups were among the 250 young companies from 5,000 international applicants as part of a cohort that gets access to resources during and after the conference, Haug said. And it goes beyond the two-day event.

“They get to participate in a yearlong global cohort where Startup Grind as a global organization is providing a wide variety of educational programming and access to our network and connections throughout the world,” Haug said.

It’s a growing presence, as last year the program hosted only one Maryland startup. Additionally, ClearMask — a 2019 realLIST honoree — is one of 50 companies selected for Startup Grind’s Accelerate program. It’s a new initiative that provides an opportunity to pitch on the main stage for the transparent surgical mask startup founded by a team out of Johns Hopkins, as well as participation at a pre-conference event called “Startup Day,” and introductions via Startup Grind.

Haug sees this year’s conference as “a real opportunity to take the kind of exposure [the companies] are getting within our region and expand that to a global stage.”

Startup Grind is made up of more than 600 chapters in more than 125 countries. In Maryland, there are chapters in Baltimore, Columbia and Frederick, a number which Haug is also looking to increase.

Among the repeat attendees is Sean Sutherland, director of accounts at Canton-based creative agency Kapowza. Sutherland said the conference embodies a spirit of entrepreneurs and supporters looking to help each other, and it’s also a chance to meet folks from around the world.

“It’s wonderful in terms of seeing what the rest of the world brings to the table in terms of entrepreneurship. In Baltimore were fortunate to have such a thriving ecosystem and I was really excited when I got to Startup Grind to see that’s the case for a lot of other areas,” he said.


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