Startups
Baltimore / Data / DEI / workforce development

9 key takeaways from a new report on Baltimore’s evolving tech ecosystem

UpSurge Baltimore provides a snapshot of the region’s tech landscape while continuing its mission to foster an inclusive innovation economy.

A printed version of the report as seen at UpSurge Baltimore's 2024 Annual Meeting. (O'Doherty Photo/Courtesy UpSurge Baltimore
It felt like the whole city turned out to Baltimore Peninsula last week for UpSurge Baltimore’s 2024 Annual Meeting, where the organization unveiled its annual report and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin of development partner MAG Partners rolled out the red carpet by offering startups free rent for a year.

UpSurge’s new 2024 Baltimore Tech Ecosystem Report offers a view of the current status of this local tech and innovation landscape that both the organization and development players like MAG Partners want to grow. Through reports like ”Diversity 2023” and “Momentum 2023,” as well as its earlier ecosystem studies, UpSurge continues to pursue a goal of making Baltimore an innovation economy where everyone belongs by 2030.


Chris Bunner, UpSurge’s senior data analyst, believes in the power of data collection to uncover truths — a sentiment shared by the over twenty contributors who assisted the organization with sourcing data and developing metrics to track milestones, growth and points of attrition in local tech.

These participants include advisors like Christy Wyskiel, senior advisor to the president at Johns Hopkins University, as well as organizations such as Wexford Science & Technology and Conscious Venture Partners — all of whom are deeply engaged in the Baltimore tech and community ecosystem.

“While our work starts and ends with people, it is grounded by data,” said UpSurge Baltimore CEO Kory Bailey in the report.

This publication marks the first instance where UpSurge expanded its research scope geographically, encompassing the entire Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with Baltimore City as its focal point. The report is broken down into the following sections: Startups, Capital, Workforce and Methodology.

Read UpSurge Baltimore’s full annual report

Here’s what caught our attention as particularly noteworthy for technologists and entrepreneurs.

Startups

  • According to UpSurge, there are 496 startups in the MSA, with 312 of them located specifically in Baltimore City. Additionally, 220 of these startups are engaged with UpSurge. Gaps in existing data sources include startups outside of the targeted MSA, startups in Baltimore County and startups that haven’t worked directly with UpSurge Baltimore.
    •  UpSurge also reconciled some of its data against that from PitchBook, whose qualification of Baltimore information has been criticized by UpSurge leadership in the past.
  • UpSurge highlighted startups like Backpack Healthcare, Blackpoint Cyber and b.well Connected Health as boasting successful fundraising efforts, innovative products or services, strategic partnerships, and significant growth trajectories. Entrepreneurs can draw inspiration and learn from these startups’ success stories and strategies while navigating challenges and seizing opportunities in the Baltimore tech scene.
  • Innovations from companies like Cerebro Capital, Haystack Oncology and Wave Engine Corp. demonstrate the city’s role as a hub for advanced technology development, as well as highlight opportunities for technologists to contribute to groundbreaking advancements in various fields. Also, the success stories of startups like Apkudo and Previse underscore the potential for growth and impact within the Baltimore community.

Capital

  • UpSurge reported a total of 870 investors in the Baltimore MSA from 2017 to 2023, averaging 190 investors annually. There were 155 investors in 2023.
  • Accelerator activity for Baltimore MSA startups involves participation in short-term programs offering coaching, mentorship and funding in exchange for equity. In 2023, $1.55 million was raised through accelerator programs across 26 deals, according to UpSurge.
  • From 2017 to 2023, alternative financing, particularly in venture debt, took place across 13 deals. The smallest deal size amounted to $0.25 million, while the largest reached $45 million.

Workforce

  • UpSurge’s workforce analyses include occupational categories for various professions. Those job groups include computer and mathematics; architecture and engineering; and life, physical and social science. According to UpSurge, which drew numbers from the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the local relevant workforce grew 43% in Baltimore City between 2017 and 2022, when it represented 9.71% of Baltimore City’s entire workforce. That’s a much higher five-year increase than in the country at large (tech workforce grew 26% to represent 7.23% of the total workforce).
  • According to employment data from the ACS, Black women represent 32.49% of the tech workforce in Baltimore City, as well as 15.8% in the Baltimore MSA. Black men represented 24.44% and 12.62%, respectively.

  • Computer occupations and information security roles are experiencing notable growth in Baltimore, as indicated by the OEWS survey. While the report did not specifically note how much these professional categories grew by percentage nor the number of people, it did state that there were 4,720 and 10,530 people in the ’information systems analysts” and “computer occupations, all other” categories, respectively. These were two of six subgroups under the broader “Computer & Mathematical Occupations” group; the others, which all experienced negative growth, are “computer and information research scientists,” “data scientists,” “computer user support specialists” and “web and digital interface designers.”

Meanwhile, updated data from Technical.ly’s own Lightcast-sourcing Tech Economy Dashboard noted a 6% increase in Baltimore-area tech jobs (defined as those within what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “the high-tech industry”), as well as an 8% growth in tech occupations (all those recognized as computer and IT jobs, regardless of industry),  between 2018 and 2023.

Graph with three bars across several categories in navy, green and pink.

A comparison of tech industry growth across seven geographic regions and three categories. (Tech Economy Dashboard/Technical.ly)

Companies: UpSurge Baltimore
Series: Thriving Tech Communities Month

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

Our services Preferred partners The journalism fund
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

How 3 local orgs help founders and entrepreneurs build their networks

Cal Ripken Jr. essay: The MLB legend explains his drive to build STEM centers in schools across the nation

The end of software as technology

Major state funding boost means more Maryland college students can get tech internships

Technically Media