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Baltimore Homecoming announces Crab Tank pitch finalists 

Baltimore Homecoming, an organization engaging accomplished Baltimore natives and alumni and mobilizing new partnerships, investments and collaborations in the city, Monday announced the five startup founders who will compete for a chance to win $25,000 in the second annual Crab Tank pitch.

The event takes place at Amplify 2022, the organization’s three-day event happening May 4-6.

Crab Tank was established to spotlight small to medium businesses, startups and entrepreneurs in Baltimore. The competition, sponsored by M&T Bank, provides local business owners an opportunity to compete for the $25,000 grand prize and $2,500 people’s choice award.

The following startups will pitch their businesses to a panel of high-profile judges with backgrounds in business and technology and over 100 prominent Baltimore alumni at the event:

  • Astek Diagnostics, a medical device company founded by CEO Mustafa Al-Adhami, Ph.D., has developed a platform for rapid antibiotic sensitivity testing. Every year, 1.7 million Americans are evaluated for sepsis – and too many die while waiting days for the correct antibiotic. Astek’s platform determines antibiotic sensitivity in one hour.
  • BrickRose Exchange, founded by Pulitzer Prize winning Bianca J. Jackson, is a collaborative meeting space that engages audiences in-person and virtually in the Metaverse. With BrickRose Exchange, Jackson combined her experience managing mobile, web, and Metaverse projects for local Fortune 500 companies with a goal to transform Baltimore and communities beyond through live/hybrid events.
  • EcoMap, co-founded by CEO Pava LaPere and Chief Operating Officer Sherrod Davis, creates data-driven platforms that help groups, spanning local organizations to tech-giants, navigate ecosystems from entrepreneurial communities, industry groups, corporate networks and beyond. LaPere and Davis started EcoMap with the belief that information needs to be accessible to have equitable outcomes.
  • RunMitts LLC,one of two Black-owned outdoor gear companies in the United States, is an e-commerce company that sells patented mittens and other gear invented for runners, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts online and at REI. RunMitts Founder and Inventor Susan Clayton is an avid runner and started this company to encourage individuals like her to stay active during the winter months.
  • The Cube Coworkfounded by Dr. Jammira Lucas is the largest Black woman-owned coworking space in the United States that provides on-site babysitting services, business-building resources, meeting rooms and private office space rental. Dr. Lucas is a strong advocate for women in business, especially moms, having also co-founded the National Association of Mom Entrepreneurs which provides advocacy, support and resources for mom entrepreneurs.

The following business leaders, and others to be confirmed, will serve as judges and select the grand prize winner: Mac Conwell, founder and managing partner of Rarebreed Ventures, a Baltimore venture capital firm for “pre-seed” stage businesses who may be overlooked by traditional firms; Jason Murphy, founder of Murphy Enterprise, Baltimore native and retired NFL player turned entrepreneur invested in community impact, workforce development, vendor/supplier inclusion and sustainability; and, Dave Troy, chief executive officer of 410 Labs, a maker of subscription email tools, and founder of Baltimore Angels, a regional angel investment group focused on early-stage investments in technology.

The finalists were selected through an application process, reviewed by Homecoming host committee members, community advisors and previous Crab Tank participants. The 2019 winner Arion Long, Founder of Femly, credits the competition with enabling the creation of the company’s first prototype for its proprietary feminine hygiene dispenser.