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Ground Up

The Daily Record's real estate blog

DataTribe co-founder: ‘Screw the other states. It’s about Maryland’

Mike Janke, co-founder of DataTribe, speaks during a ceremony announcing his firm will open a location at Port Covington. He said the move will create "Cyber Town USA." (Adam Bednar)

Mike Janke, co-founder of DataTribe, speaks during a ceremony announcing his firm will open a location at Port Covington. He said the move will create “Cyber Town USA.” (Adam Bednar)

Mike Janke described himself Thursday as a Copenhagen-tobacco-chewing, cowboy-boot-wearing, former enlisted Navy SEAL.

The co-founder of cybersecurity studio DataTribe then went on to give a frank assessment of competition between jurisdictions to become that sector’s hub. He described an “economic war” between places like New York, Atlanta and Texas vying to attract companies.

But during the ceremony announcing his firm’s intention to open shop at the $5.5 billion Port Covington development he gave the edge to the Old Line State. That edge, he explained, is sharpened by available talent.

“Iowa doesn’t compete with Texas for the oil industry because it doesn’t have oil,” Janke said. “We have the oil.”

While previously meeting with Gov. Larry Hogan and Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Gill on messaging to lure Silicon Valley firms, he mentioned the talent pool in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. He walked away from the meeting, he said, with a clear message: “Screw (Washington and Virginia). It’s Maryland first.”

He’s taken that message to heart. His company is leasing space at the planned $5.5 billion overhaul’s “Cyber Town USA” on the South Baltimore Peninsula. He expects his firm to be one of about 30 cybersecurity companies operating at the development when the next round of construction finishes in roughly two years.

“Screw the other states. It’s about Maryland,” he said. “We have the oil.”

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