The UpShot: ✨ Celebrating Success - Techstars Equitech Accelerator Demo Day! ✨


What an end to this years’ Techstars Equitech Accelerator! Last week, our ecosystem came together to celebrate the Techstars Equitech Accelerator Class of ‘24. For those who may have missed it, 10 innovative startups showcased their ideas, progress and game plan for success! Over the past 3 months, the Techstars team of Adam Phillips, Darius Clair and Russell Harris have worked tirelessly to provide guidance and connect these 10 companies with the best mentors, advisors and supporters our ecosystem has to offer. As they set out on the long journey of customer discovery, UpSurge and Techstars worked with each team to answer the question “Why Baltimore?”.

With our UpRise program, we engaged Techstars companies like ReviewTailor and Secured Health in events such as Masterclasses, Startup Strategy Sessions and Equitech Tuesdays. A day before D-Day (Demo Day), the UpSurge team sat down with the founders from the Class of ‘24 to learn more about their overall experience with Baltimore.

Shauna Dillavou, CEO of Brightlines, loved how the ecosystem linked its arms together to make the Techstars founders feel welcome and supported. Shauna delivered a phenomenal pitch striking the balance between informative and cautionary, warning against nefarious elements online. Kristin Bell, Co-Founder of ReviewTailor, appreciated the opportunity that Equitech Tuesdays provided to meet several influential people and important players in the Baltimore ecosystem under one roof.

Lydia Ofori of Plainr emphasized the highly relational nature of Baltimore’s tech ecosystem. She remarked how different it was from other ecosystems that she has been a part of including the UK and NYC. “People don’t just want to be transactional. They want to get to know you”[sic]. This in addition to the presence of early adopters of Plainr like Private Equity Funds and private market asset managers within the Baltimore MSA convinced Lydia to double down and move her company to Baltimore.

During his pitch for Secured Health, a Baltimore-based healthcare startup, founder Rich Trinh decided to swing for the fences asking for a meeting with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield — and got an immediate response. Brian Piennick, the President & CEO of the regional healthcare giant who was in the audience following his keynote address shouted, “Next week!”

As CEO Terrence Nickelson stepped on stage to deliver the last pitch of the evening, the DC-based founder of Goby Homes, a collaborative platform to streamline and revolutionize real estate transactions, reminded the audience that he’s not going anywhere and plans to be back in Baltimore in a matter of weeks.

The Class of 2024 exemplifies the charm of Charm City and the strength and support of our ecosystem. These founders have navigated different ecosystems and experienced the tech community of many other cities. But clearly, Baltimore is unique. In no other ecosystem do people, from interns to CEOs like Brian Piennick, put founders first, wrap their arms around them, and invest in their success.

The Demo Day event capped off another strong class of the Techstars Equitech Accelerator and as this chapter closes…another one begins. The applications for the 2024 Techstars Founder Catalyst Program sponsored by Stanley Black & Decker are now live!  This ten-week, primarily virtual, pre-accelerator program will provide early-stage founders with tools they need to succeed on their startup journey. The part-time, industry-agnostic program will support up to 20 diverse and underrepresented founders based in the Mid-Atlantic region as they build their businesses across a range of industries. Apply here!

Also, if you’re interested in working with amazing founders like the ones from the Class of 2024: Techstars is looking for a Baltimore Accelerator Lead to be the face of its Techstars Accelerator program! Apply here!

Lastly, thank you to all the Baltimore ecosystem mentors, experts, founders, investors and partners for showing support to these founders! Please continue to put Founders First! #ThisIsEquitech

What’s UP: Founders

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The UpShot is Baltimore’s Equitech ecosystem news, curated for startups, founders, funders and friends, all working together to build the country’s first Equitech City. ↗️↗️↗️
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