With the first Maryland TechCrawl kicking off tonight, Heather Sarkissian and John Trupiano hope to bring some attention and excitement to those Baltimore-area startup companies that are busy creating high-tech products.
The TechCrawl will be a "show and tell," where high-technology product makers pitch their companies' wares to an eager audience of discerning investors, potential partners and curious journalists, organizers said.
Each company will have a booth and a home plate - visitors to their booths will step up to the plate and immediately be "pitched" by a company representative for 60 seconds.
"The key is to generate some energy and bring people together," said Sarkissian, who's the chief executive officer of MP3Car.com, a mobile-computing technology firm.
The number of events geared toward helping the Baltimore region's network of technology entrepreneurs has grown in the last few years. But the TechCrawl at the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore promises to offer something different.
Sarkissian said that many of the other networking events focus more on making personal connections among entrepreneurs and investors than on the technology behind the products.
Many startup companies also don't have the budget to travel to expensive trade shows to demonstrate their products, so a local event that offers such an experience could help them, Sarkissian said.
Sarkissian and Trupiano, president of technology consulting firm SmartLogic Solutions, work for companies that are based in the Emerging Technology Center, Baltimore's business incubator for promising early-stage companies.
In organizing the TechCrawl, they got the ETC behind them. "It's an idea that seems to have really caught fire," said Ann Lansinger, president of the ETC. About 200 people are expected to attend tonight's event, she said. "It's something that we plan to do again."
Twenty-one companies will be present and ready to give one-minute presentations to anyone who approaches their booths. Anonymous judges will filter through the crowd and at the end of the night, the company with the best pitches will be awarded $500 provided by MP3Car.com and SmartLogic Solutions.
For the most part, the organizers wanted to stay focused on companies that make and sell tangible products, either software or hardware. For instance, a company called OtherInBox.com will be presenting about its software that helps organize e-mail.
EncorePath will be showing off its first product, the Tailwind, which improves arm function for stroke survivors suffering with paralysis.
And Nuvo Technologies will display its kiosk that enables multiple cell phones to be charged rapidly.
"I think this [event] should be considered a celebration of all the great technology coming out of this region," Trupiano said.
The event will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the ETC in Canton, at 2400 Boston St.
Maryland TechCrawl Web site: http://mdtechcrawl.com/