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Hopkins officially opens new incubator space

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures officially opened new office and lab space for its FastForward incubator Wednesday night. University and city officials hope the space helps encourage startups to stay in Baltimore.

Companies started moving into the FastForward 1812 offices, at 1812 Ashland on the northern edge of the medical campus, in December, but Wednesday night marked the space’s grand opening.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh hailed the space as an opportunity to continue to grow the city and compete with other tech centers in the state.

“Baltimore will no longer allow the corridors of (Interstate) 270 to take on all those tech projects, because we can do it right here,” she said.

The offices echo the Baltimore theme. Conference rooms carry the names of such Baltimore neighborhoods as Federal Hill and Locust Point.

Companies at the incubator space have to pay rent. They can start small, renting desk space and taking advantage of the shared equipment and conference and phone rooms.

There are larger offices that companies can rent. FastForward doesn’t want to fill all of the offices; it wants to leave room for existing companies to expand so they don’t have to leave the building.

The same concepts apply to the building’s lab space of more than 15,000 feet. It includes private labs and shared labs. The private labs also leave room for companies to expand.

FastForward hopes that after two years companies will have grown enough to move into larger spaces of their own.

Within the building, startups of all sizes have access to venture capital partners who can help companies through the funding processes.

The building also allows the companies at different stages to interact with each other and, the university hopes, help each other out, as they share coffee in the kitchen spaces or sit next to each other at the shared desk and lab spaces.

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