Pitch Across Maryland co-organizers Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk stand with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
A crowd of about 50 spectators and entrepreneurs eager to pitch the Startup Maryland pitch bus waited outside at the UMBC Research and Technology Park for the bus’ arrival, which had been delayed about an hour.
But when the bus showed up at 10 minutes to 4:30 in the afternoon Wednesday, off stepped Governor Martin O’Malley with Pitch Across Maryland organizers Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk.
“We’re out ahead of other states in the whole startup effort here,” said O’Malley as he verbally beat back naysayers who argue that the East Coast — and Maryland, in particular — can’t hold a candle to the startup juggernaut Silicon Valley. “We are, in fact, a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said the governor as startup-hopefuls waited their opportunity to board the bus and deliver their pitches.
Watch O’Malley’s full remarks from Wednesday afternoon’s event:
The Pitch Across Maryland bus itself is set up as a mobile video studio that began its journey across the state September 11. Entrepreneurs at each of the tour stops have been invited on board to deliver three- to five-minute pitches. All the pitches recorded are given to the entrepreneurs at no cost. Binko said that 60 entrepreneurs pitched the bus on the first day.
Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk speak at the Pitch bus event:
Eight startup companies that have pitched the bus will eventually be chosen to present at November’s Entrepreneur Expo. From there, a winner and runner-up will be selected. While there is no cash prize, Binko said, both the winner and runner-up will receive “coaching and mentorship through the new year,” as well as the opportunity to pitch at bigger events, like the Southeast Venture Conference.
On Friday, the Pitch Across Maryland bus will be at Mother’s in Federal Hill for a Betamore-sponsored happy hour. This is a Baltimore Innovation Week event.
For entrepreneurs who can’t make any of the Baltimore stops today and tomorrow, there will be one more opportunity to submit pitches on September 28, when the bus heads to Merriweather Post Pavilion for an end-of-tour party.