Betamore and Sagamore Ventures want to up the ante with the return of their entrepreneurship event, Beta City, by offering $75,000 in cash prizes for winners of the event's startup pitch competition.
Beta City, a day-long entrepreneurship showcase, will take place Sept. 29 at City Garage in Port Covington. Now in its second year, Beta City highlights some of the region's most promising startups, with hope of attracting more investors and entrepreneurs, and elevating Baltimore's status as a good place for early-stage companies to put down roots.
"There's a part of us that's frustrated with the narrative that comes out about Baltimore. There are so many growing businesses, so many investments — it gets lost in the noise and the negativity," Betamore CEO Jennifer Meyer said in an interview. "We want to shed a light on the good stuff happening here."
The prize-laden business pitch contest is among the ways organizers hope to improve on last year's inaugural event. Last year, the pitch contest's top prize was just bragging rights.
"Beta City 2015 exceeded expectations and the momentum since then has raised the bar for this year's event," said Betamore's board chairman and co-founder, Greg Cangialosi, who is also CEO of MissionTix, in a statement.
Betamore is an incubator and co-working space that also serves as a community organizer for startup companies in Baltimore.
Last year's event drew hundreds of guests and served as a public debut for City Garage, the former bus depot turned into an innovation center by Sagamore Ventures, the venture capital arm of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's private company, Plank Industries.
This year's event also will include demonstrations from local startups, a VIP reception and the Main Event, an evening networking session.
Early-stage companies interested in applying for the pitch competition must submit an application through Betamore's website by Aug. 22. Out-of-state-companies can apply, but must consider relocating to Maryland if they win a prize. Six companies will be selected to pitch to a panel of judges.