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Beta City expands into Build Baltimore

Win Smith, Co-Founder of Alchemy Learning, and presenter for the company. pitches at the 2015 Beta City event at City Garage in Port Covington. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Win Smith, Co-Founder of Alchemy Learning, and presenter for the company. pitches at the 2015 Beta City event at City Garage in Port Covington. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Betamore and Sagamore Ventures are expanding the Beta City event to two days and dubbing it Build Baltimore.

On Sept. 28, the Beta City event starts the Build Baltimore event where startups can pitch to investors and compete for a cash prize. On Sept. 30, The Foundery hosts Garage Fest highlighting projects, such as drones, robots and music being pursued via the city’s “maker community.”

“First and foremost this is supposed to be an event by the community for the community,” Betamore CEO Jen Meyer said.

Garage Fest is planned as a family-friendly addition intended as an interactive experience in City Garage and an exterior exhibit hall.

“Garage Fest is not just for people who already consider themselves Makers,” said Jason Hardebeck, CEO of the Foundery, said in a statement. “It will appeal to anyone who’s ever been curious about how something is made or wants to learn how to build something.”

Betamore is a nonprofit aimed at transforming Baltimore into a “a global hub for entrepreneurship and education for the twenty first century,” according to the firm’s website. Sagamore Ventures is the venture capital arm of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s privately held Plank Industries.

This is the third year that Betamore has hosted the event aimed at highlighting the work of entrepreneurs in the community. Planning to expand the event has been in the works, Meyer said, since the 2016 event ended.

Last year, Tissue Analytics, which makes a software platform to help assess chronic skin wounds and allow patients and providers to track how they heal, took the top prize at the event, winning $50,000. Second place TopBox, a software company that provides analytics to help organizations discover the root cause of issues that affect their customers, received $25,000.

The pitch contest last year attracted 119 applications, which represents a 70 percent increase from the inaugural event. Roughly 1,000 visitors attended the competition at City Garage in Port Covington.

“We’re in the business of building businesses and training a 21st Century workforce,” Meyer said.


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