Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region, and other people-oriented updates. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
INVANTI is a company with a mission that sounds like a match for Baltimore, so it’s fitting that it recently gained some direct local ties.
INVANTI is a South Bend, Indiana-based startup studio. It recently launched a $2 million Beta City Fund for investment, and is currently seeking applicants from around the country for a cohort of “initiators” in small and medium-sized cities as they solve everyday issues. INVANTI, which was founded by Dustin Mix and Maria Gibbs, will work with these problem-solvers on fleshing out ideas and forming companies over three months.
Kerrie Carden joined the company recently as chief revenue officer. The Baltimore resident previously served as director of student ventures with Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures, where she built the systems and pathways that support student entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, she founded Equip Advisory, a boutique advisory and consulting firm providing financial planning, career coaching and management consulting. She also previously served as head of product at ClearCompany and held senior leadership roles within the energy industry.
Curious to learn more about the new role, Technical.ly sent Carden over a few questions via email. Below are her responses:
Why did you decide to join INVANTI?
Maria, Dustin and I met because I eavesdropped on a conversation they were having at a conference we all attended at the Kauffman Foundation. Their people-first approach to venture creation really resonated for me, based on my own experience advising founders. I really appreciated their emphasis on building long-term relationships that were outcome-oriented, but not outcome-dependent. We can keep engaging with folks, even if they don’t end up building a business that perfectly matches our thesis, because we start with the person.
What are your responsibilities in this role?
I’m our chief revenue officer, focusing on growing our Studio Builder product, where we help organizations build entrepreneurship studios that impact the people, problems and places that matter to them. We’ve seen that our approach to process, progress and accountability makes a difference for founders, especially folks who don’t always self identify as entrepreneurs. Studio Builder is a way for other organizations like municipalities, nonprofits, and universities to streamline their own frameworks, creating better visibility, insight and repeatability.
I also get the opportunity to support our founders directly in our Founder Studio, where we work with and invest directly in people building companies tackling kitchen-table problems. I get to work 1:1 with folks throughout the process as they explore problems they’re connected to and then carve out their focus for their business.
Given that you are based in Baltimore, any tips on remote life you’ve learned so far?
Two things: gratitude, prioritization. First and foremost, I’m deeply grateful that I have the ability to do work I love where I live, and it’s a gift to me that I can try to help other folks find that for themselves through entrepreneurship. It’s important to me to use what I have in the service of others. Additionally, since working remotely means any time can be work time, it’s critical to define for yourself what “enough” is and stick to that. You can always do more, but we ourselves are finite. Giving more in one area means having less to give in others. You need to give yourself room to say, “I’ve done enough today,” and prioritization is key to set that bar at the top of the day.
There’s a new CEO at one of Maryland’s growth companies working at the intersection of cyber and education.
College Park-based Cybrary recently welcomed Kevin Hanes to lead its growing team, which just moved into a new HQ in the University of Maryland-adjacent Discovery District. Hanes was previously COO of Atlanta cybersecurity company SecureWorks. He steps in to lead the workforce development platform for cybersecurity at a time when it is planning to continue growth, and wants to more deeply engage its community of users.
“I want to be the destination where if you’re a learner or if you’re a business and you need to get skilled up in cybersecurity, you come here,” Hanes told Technical.ly DC.
With the move, cofounder Ryan Corey, who has served as CEO since cofounding the company with Ralph Sita in 2015, will continue to serve as an advisor to the CEO and a member of the company’s board of directors.
A pair of biotech companies growing in Maryland recently added medical leadership to their C-suites.
Baltimore-based early cancer detection company Delfi Diagnostics said Dr. Peter B. Bach joined the company as chief medical officer. Dr. Bach created the first lung cancer risk prediction model, and is a Medicare policy expert who served as a senior adviser to the Woodlawn-based Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the George W. Bush administration. Founded by prominent Johns Hopkins cancer scientist Dr. Victor Velculescu, Delfi is developing a liquid biopsy test to detect cancer from a blood sample. The Remington company earlier this year raised $100 million, and earned a spot on our RealLIST Startups 2021.
Frederick-based Veralox Therapeutics appointed Dr. Michael S. Hanna as its chief medical officer. Dr. Hanna is a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist who was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for a decade. He also held clinical leadership positions at biopharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb from 2004 to 2016. Veralox just this month closed on $16 million in new investment capital, and is looking to advance development of its treatment for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
RareBreed, the Baltimore-based firm that focuses on pre-seed funding, is among a dozen funds that received commitments from Insight’s Vision Capital 2020 LP Fund. Via Forbes:
Most importantly for Conwell, is that the capital provided by Insight’s initiative will flow down to each firm’s future investments and underlying entrepreneurs. Conwell remembers a Black founder who struggled for three years to raise capital for her wig startup. She even became a surrogate mother to secure the financing, which made Conwell mad. “I’m able to be her first investor because of folks like Insight,” Conwell says. The founder…“doesn’t get money without someone like me and I can’t give it to her without Insight. The true impact of what Insight is doing isn’t about me and the other funds they invested in, it’s really about the entrepreneurs we support and back.”
Elsewhere on the national stage, we also spotted Conwell among the new cohort of Kauffman Fellows.
.@MacConwell founded @RareBreedVC, a pre-seed fund that invests in exceptional founders outside of large tech ecosystems. Mac led the charge to create the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, the 1st state-backed pre-seed fund for women & minorities in the country. Welcome to #KF26! pic.twitter.com/gxSDBK9sIy
— Kauffman Fellows (@KauffmanFellows) June 23, 2021
The two-year program educational and professional development program is specifically designed for VCs. He’ll be alongside 56 other investors from firms like Kleiner Perkins, Greycroft, Precursor Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
Finally, a Power Move from a whole company. Fells Point-based Think|Stack was named a 2021 Global Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Public Sector Partner Award winner for its work securing credit unions’ digital footprints. In a tie, the company won the award for “most impactful nonprofit partner.” Given AWS’ presence, the awards featured some big tech players. In other categories, winners included recognizable names like Crowdstrike, Deloitte, GDIT and Palantir.
“For 10 years we were a small family business, two brothers and an amazing team of passionate rebels, helping credit unions with digital transformation and cybersecurity,” said CEO Chris Sachse, in a statement. “With our deep credit union knowledge and technology expertise, we are uniquely positioned to understand industry threats, systems and the total technology ecosystem, to make sure credit unions are secure. Being named a Global AWS Partner Award winner is an incredible honor.”
The company earlier this year received a $5 million investment, and became a credit union service organization to expand its cloud work with the financial institutions.-30-