LAUNCH! Annapolis started when Ryan Sears and Tony Bagdon saw the tech community activity happening in Baltimore. Even though they live in Maryland’s capital and are both involved in entrepreneurship, they didn’t encounter each other until an event Charm City.
“We each got up and drove 45 minutes to meet each other,” said Sears, who is a cofounder of SurveySnap.
Over the last few years, the organization has been holding regular events for the Annapolis tech community, and the nonprofit’s meetup has nearly 1,000 members. Earlier this month, the group held a showcase featuring a number of organizations.
Beyond getting everyone together, however, the organizers have also been identifying members of the group who could benefit from more formal resources for entrepreneurs. So, LAUNCH! Annapolis has been looking to make intros, and consult on pitches or fundraising and develop programming that can help startups.
In doing so, they’ve also been working with the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council (CRTC), which counts Annapolis as one of three cities where it’s focused. Recently, the two organizations formalized their work as they look to create a “venture pipeline” in Annapolis. Sears said the organizations have similar missions and “complimentary ecosystems.”
“CRTC has a little more reach, more mature growth companies as members. LAUNCH! Annapolis is on the startup side of things,” he said.
Startups are looking at identifying their revenue and perhaps looking at their first round of funding. Meanwhile, the more mature companies in CRTC and later stage Annapolis companies are looking at later rounds and expanding growth.
The resources for those groups, Sears said, could be “combined into one track for an entrepreneur to get involved.” Joining members of the two organizations will also expand the network available.
Specifics are still being worked out, but Sears said the partnership will culminate with a large tech community event in Annapolis in 2016 that features pitches, networking and more.
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