Many places, such as Baltimore, have the elements of a successful startup scene in place, but they may be missing a spark that create a chain reaction of invention, investment, financial success, and cyclical growth. Programs that jumpstart technology entrepreneurs with small infusions of cash and lots of mentoring have been sprouting up in places around the country the last few years.
Now, Baltimore is getting a program of its own.
Leading the development of the Startup City are two Baltimore tech scene raconteurs: Mike Subelsky, co-founder of Ignite Baltimore, and Monica Beeman, regional director of FundingUniverse Maryland.
So what's Baltimore's Startup City plan about? There's a background and details document here. In its own words:
Startup City will help create those initial successes via a twelve-week program for ten companies that offers each company:
* $15,000 in seed capital
* Weekly master classes with experienced entrepreneurs
* Regular access to mentors
* Introductions to potential customers and follow-on investors
* Free, beautiful office space collocated with the other participating companies
* Legal, accounting, marketing, and technical assistance from Baltimore's Emerging Technology Center
* Vigorous coverage of their stories in our blog via video and written profiles
* Exposure to investors, journalists, and business leaders at a Demo Day occurring at the end of the 12 weeks
The founders of each company are required to reside in Baltimore between 7/1/11 and 9/30/11. After that they are free to go where they want, but we hope they will have such a good experience that they will decide to stay in the city.
Each Startup City investor will contribute $16K to the fund in exchange for equity in the portfolio (about 5-10% of each company). 15K of the funds go to the companies and 1K is used for administrative costs such as leasing office space.
Investors are invited to attend all Startup City master classes and events, and we'd like to be able to call upon them for advice if any particular company in the portfolio gets stuck on something.
Budget permitting, we plan to arrange a second demo day in New York City to give the Startup City companies exposure to their robust investment community and startup sector.
Want to read more about Startup City? Bmore Media has an article, too.