The scales have changed and there are more 2022s behind us than ahead. A look back at how we thought the year would go and how it actually unfolded reminds us to see where dreams and market reality have intersected over the past year for some of the most promising startups in Baltimore.
In January, we released our annual list of startups to watch, called RealLIST Startups. These startups represent some of the best in class based on being less than three years old, earning revenue from a specific product offering, and not yet experiencing an exit, merger, or acquisition.
2022 was a very different trading landscape than 2021. While existing in a world less concerned about COVID-19, the general market was more fiscally conservative than before, crypto markets crashed and valuations have come down to earth. In this time of silent quits and hiring freezes by big tech companies, we asked these local companies in the fields of medical technology, DEI, data analytics and cybersecurity: where do you stand? you and have you grown?
We haven’t heard from the tech-focused company DEI about what it’s been up to in the past seven months. But its co-founder responded to Technical.ly’s June 23 e-newsletter prompt, for the closing of our third Racial Equity in Tech Month. We asked, “What do you think is the biggest obstacle to achieving true racial equity in Baltimore’s tech scene?” And how would you fix it?
Co-founder of Black Brain Trust Saint John Angel told Technical.ly via email, “While there’s no silver bullet, I think the biggest hurdle to achieving racial equity in Baltimore’s tech scene (and any other scene in Baltimore and beyond) is to have a methodical and measurable way to work toward racial equity over time.
Saint John sees the EquiScore BI, a tool to collect and analyze comprehensive DEI data for businesses, as the best way to achieve substantial change toward equity in Baltimore’s tech ecosystem. She continues to push local businesses to adopt her tool and try a more systematic approach to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Baltimore’s tech scene won’t become racially equitable by doing things that feel good and hoping it works,” St. Jean said. “We urge tech companies to recognize that when they properly define and measure D, I, and especially E, and put in place a system to continually improve it over time, they can (and Baltimore can) finally see a comeback. on their DEI investments in the shape of a more racially equitable tech scene (and their results).
This company recently closed a $1.1 million pre-seed round and seeks to prove that its product can disrupt current thinking about marketing and sales data analytics by taking on enterprise customers at large scale such as Virtusa Corporation.
Return Solutions also plans to grow from 12 to 30 people by the end of the year if all goes well and sales targets are met.
The startup, which created an application to draw more attention to local restaurants by gamifying sponsorship, has signed partnerships with Visit Baltimore, Puzzle Quiz and the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Association in an extension to DC.
The organization plans to expand to Ellicott City, Annapolis and Columbia in the coming months. Founders Jal Irani and Derek’s Battle are also preparing to find investors for their first funding round in early 2023.
Over the past six months, the medical technology company has added two engineers to the team and called the University of Maryland Biopark.
The company also contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about submitting its medical device, which aims to rapidly identify patients with blood-borne bacterial infection, for the agency’s Q2-2024 submission schedule. FDA feedback has been positive, says CEO of Astek Diagnostics Mustafa Al Adhami.
Through a partnership with a Baltimore-based manufacturer Key Technologies Inc.the medical device company is set to manufacture its single-use cartridge device for detecting sepsis from early next year.
The battery technology company’s management did not respond to Technical.ly’s outreach.
The news remained silent on the aftermath of the University of Maryland University Park spinout, but we’ll continue to keep an eye out for innovations from companies with roots in the R1-status research institution.
The cybersecurity company’s team has grown by four people. Founder Tina Williams – Koroma hired a president of engineering, a front-end developer, an AI/machine learning developer, and an operations manager.
The organization has been accepted into many accelerators including Google for Startups — Women Founders, Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, Amazon Web Services Impact Accelerator and the Futuristic Black Ambition Prize Program.
The Williams-Koroma company has launched its product and is currently onboarding customers. Before the end of the year, she plans to launch a seed cycle and continue to scale the business through hiring, customer acquisition and product development.
This company was recently accepted into a venture capital firm Engage yourself business marketing cohort in Atlanta, Georgia. Through Engage’s partner companies, the CEO of Qualytics Gorkem Sevinc plans to release its tool for automating data quality checks.
Blockchain company ecotech was part of TEDCO and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Proposal Lab Cohort. The organization also participated in the Bethesda Green Innovation Lab.
The digital ecosystem builder has closed an oversubscribed $3.5 million seed round led by Venture Capital Las Olas in June. With these funds, the company hired 10 additional team members, bringing the full-time headcount to 27 and completing the pre-hire cycle. Pava LaPereCEO of EcoMap, was keen to point out that 74% of the team identified as female or a person of color (44% POC and 51% female, when separated).
30 ecosystem navigation platforms are active or in the process of being implemented, according to LaPere, and the organization plans to move to a new headquarters in the Bromo Arts District in September.
In April, Youreka Laboratories was acquired by B2B software solution provider Dispatch. All of the mobile automation technology company’s employees moved as part of the deal, and the Baltimore offices remained.
Dispatch CEO Pat Burns told Technical.ly at the time of the merger that Youreka Labs would continue to have a strong presence in Baltimore. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if “we outgrow [the office] and I have to buy a new one in Baltimore soon.
There’s no news of a new office right now, but the year isn’t over yet.
Finally, check out updates on some of these honorable mentions:
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-