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Feds Recommended Baltimore IT Company For International Work

The US government has recommended that the detection technology of Baltimore's StormCenter Communications be adopted worldwide.
 
StormCenter CEO says federal agencies have asked the company to expand its collaboration testing to volcanic ash centers around the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration representatives for the International Volcanic Ash Task Force recommended the company.

The International Civil Aviation Organization created the task force after the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption forced airports in Europe to close and disrupted commercial air traffic. The task force is charged with devising a risk management plan to determine safe levels of operation. 
 
Founded in 2001, StormCenter became a tenant at the UMBC Research & Technology Park three years ago. It has since added three employees and now employs eight. This year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and TEDCO named it the Incubator Company of the Year in the cyber and homeland security categories. 
 
The company provides real-time collaboration and data-sharing technology to improve situation awareness and decision-making. The company uses multiple data sources – federal, state and local – that have a geographic component.
 
“You can have 50 to 100 people at one time sharing data and visualization on a virtual globe like Google Earth,” says Jones. The technology can be used “for anything you want to share in real time with people who are separated by distance.”

StormCenter currently receives almost $4 million in funding from different government agencies. Its clients include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, NASA, the National Weather Service and state emergency agencies in Maryland, Kansas, Missouri and Alaska.
 
Jones says that he expects to add additional staff within the next year or two, particularly in customer service. “I envision 24/7 situational awareness customer support,” he says.
 
Source: Dave Jones, StormCenter Communications
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 

Biotech Firm PathSensors Hiring As It Expands Product

Baltimore biotech company PathSensors Inc. is hiring a dozen employees in the next 18 months as the company rolls out a new product.

The 12-person company wants to hire new staff who have a biology background and are familiar with lab practices, PathSensors President Ted Olsen says. He says he is also looking for personnel in quality assurance and shipping.

Last year, the company received $200,000 from the Maryland Biotechnology Center to develop a new product that detects harmful bacteria in food products. The environmental and food testing company is working on a product to detect Campylocacter, a genus of bacteria that can cause intestinal infections in humans. It has already developed a product that can detect and test for Salmonella.

Olsen says the company’s agri-food division will expand its products to the food processing industry, with more tests to identify contamination in pork and beef products, for example. The company’s biosecurity division offers products that detect biological threats such as mail screening for Anthrax. “Major high-profile government buildings use our products on a daily basis,” he says.

“In our market segments of food processing, there is a high level of interest in our technology,” Olsen says. He expects the Campylocactor test to be developed this year and available in 2013.
 
Campylocacter is most commonly found in poultry and beef products. Salmonella, another type of bacteria, can cause food poisoning in humans and also is found in poultry products.
 
PathSensors was founded two years ago as an offshoot of Innovative Biosensors, a Rockville company whose focus is clinical diagnostics. Olsen moved PathSensors to the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore because of the availability of office and laboratory space and qualified employees who are trained at Baltimore City Community College and the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland.
 
The company’s products are sold to systems that do the collecting and testing, and the products can deliver results in minutes, versus hours for competitors' tests, says Olsen.
 
In its three years, the Maryland Biotechnology Center has awarded $4.5 million to Maryland biotech companies. For the 2012 awards, 90 companies applied; seven, including PathSensors, were chosen.
 
Source: Ted Olsen, PathSensors, Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Digital Marketing Firm Moving to Bigger Digs in Columbia

Digital marketing firm WebMechanix  is moving from its current headquarters to a larger office next month, and expects to hire additional staff. 

The three-year-old company is leaving a 1,200-square foot townhouse in Ellicott City and moving to a 2,500-square-foot office in Howard County's Columbia, Partner Josh Mechanic says. He runs the company with his brother Chris Mechanic and cousin Arsham Mirshah, who founded the company in 2009; Josh joined a year later.

"We started out at a kitchen table," Mechanic says. Mirshah's father owned the townhouse and Chris and Arsham lived in it until the company began hiring employees and it was turned into the company headquarters in 2010.

 "We've been growing steadily and we have the financial stability to move to larger quarters," Mechanic says. "Our initial focus was on small businesses. But as we got more referrals, we started selling to bigger companies."

Mechanic says he had been looking for awhile for a suitable new home and found a "great deal" on a "great space." The company has a sublease until October 2014 on its new office. In fact, the relatively short sublease was one of its appeals. "We are not locked into a space for three to five years. We're not sure where we will be when the lease is up so this gives us flexibilty to move in the future," he says of a relocation that will cost WebMechanix $35,000 to $40,000.

Mechanic says the company’s sales have doubled every year since its founding, and projects more than $2 million in revenue this year. It has 40 clients for whom it does mobile, web, search, conversion and analytics as well as design development for new websites.
 
The company is also rolling out a new product, a digital marketing package that improves a company's website performance. It is priced so it's affordable to small businesses, from $800 to $2,250 per month, depending on the amount of work required. He says it usually takes three months to optimize the website, which is typically followed by ongoing marketing.

The company currently has 14 full-time employees plus four to five interns. It is moving into an office that accommodates about 25 full-time employees and within the next few months, is looking to fill a sales position, web developer and search engine optimization specialist and add five more interns.
 
He says the company constantly gets inquiries from college graduates about jobs. In response, it has a policy of taking on unpaid interns for 90 days, after which time they may be hired if the work is satisfactory.  
 
Source: Josh Mechanic, WebMechanix
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

O'Malley Could Lead Trade Mission To Israel and Jordan

Gov. Martin O’Malley may lead a trade mission to Israel and Jordan at the end of this year to encourage trade between Maryland and the Middle Eastern nations.

While in Israel, O’Malley would split his time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where he would likely meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry and other officials, according to the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC). He would also tour leading businesses such as Israel Aerospace Industries, whose subsidiary, ELTA North America, opened its American headquarters in Howard County in April. O'Malley could spend three business days each in Israel and in Jordan from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage says. 

Gov. O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory says the trip is "being considered" and his participation is not yet confirmed.  

The Maryland/Israel Development Center, the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Maryland Department of Economic and Business Development would organize the trip. The first two are both agencies of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage is arranging the agenda and recruiting interested Maryland entrepreneurs and executives who want to join the trip at their own cost. He is working with Israeli government officials and business leaders and with the U.S. Embassy to coordinate the Israeli trip while the Baltimore Jewish Council is working with Jordanian officials for that portion.

In Jordan, O’Malley's home base would be Amman, a two hours’ drive from Jerusalem.

Bogage is also arranging “personalized” business tracks. He is working with the U.S. Department of Commerce to assure that the entrepreneurs and business people who would accompany the governor can meet with their counterparts in their field in Israel.

“We want them to fulfill the goals of their going on the trip,” Bogage says.
 
Source: Barry Bogage, Maryland/Israel Development Center
Writer: Barbara Pash

National Premium Beer Seeks New Markets

National Brewing Company is expanding production and moving into new markets for its craft beer National Premium after reviving the legendary Baltimore brand last year. 

Eastern Shore real estate agent Tim Miller founded the Easton company last year after buying the rights to the name and locating the recipe for the original beer. After going through several test batches, the beer went on sale in Maryland during Memorial Day weekend.
 
The company currently sells 2,000 cases per month in 500 liquor stores and bars in Maryland, says Miller, who is National Brewing's president. Miller's goal is to increase sales to 100,000 cases per year by the end of 2014 and to expand into restaurants as well. Next month, the beer is being introduced in Washington, D.C.
 
National Brewing Company has contracted with Coastal Brewery in Delaware to make the beer to its specifications. Coastal bottles and packages the beer for distribution. Because it does not have its own facility that requires investing in brewing space, equipment and warehouse that would be required, the company was privately financed for under $100,000, says Miller.
 
Matt Oczkowski, communications director of the four-person staff, says the company currently sells out its production. 
 
The company has a permit to sell beer in D.C. and is applying for permits to sell its product in Virginia, which it expects to obtain within the next three to five months, and in Delaware, within the next 12 to 15 months.
 
Oczkowski says the company intends to open its own brewery someday, possibly in Easton, although he did not have a timeframe for doing so. It also intends to broaden the variety of beer it makes beyond its current European-style pilsner.
 
“There is a boom in the craft beer industry. As fast as we are brewing it, we are selling out,” he says.
 
Sources: Tim Miller, Matt Oczkowski, National Brewing Company
Writer: Barbara Pash

Chesapeake Regional Tech Council Relocates

The Chesapeake Regional Tech Council relocated its headquarters this month to a commercial building that it says will help it better reach its members.

The council left its space in the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., a county agency, to 839 Bestgate Road in Annapolis.
 
Chris Valerio, the council’s executive director, says the move was made to better reflect the council’s growing, regional membership and the fact that it is an independent agency and not a government entity. The council’s new office is located in one of its recent members, Annapolis Offices at Bestgate, a flex-office facility. Flex space is a former industrial building that has been converted to office space. 
 
The council has been situated in the county economic development office, a long-time sponsor, because it provided in-kind space and office help. “We have an independent board but there was confusion. People assumed we were a government entity,” Valerio says. “We are proud of that independent, entrepreneurial spirit.”
 
The council was founded in 1992 as the Anne Arundel High Technology Council. In 2008, the name was changed to Chesapeake Regional Tech Council because, at the time, 40 percent of its members were from outside Anne Arundel County.
 
Since then, half of its 280-company members are in Anne Arundel County or do business in the county, typically at the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade, and the other half are located in Baltimore County and City, Howard County, the Washington, D.C., area and the Eastern Shore.
 
Valerio, who runs the council with two full-time employees, says the move also allows her more mobility in meeting with member companies. They range from startups to large, established businesses. Most are in information technology rather than biotechnology, but members also include service providers like law firms and accountants. In the IT field, many are government contractors but there are also commercial firms.
 
 
Source: Chris Valerio, Chesapeake Regional Tech Council
Writer: Barbara Pash

UMBC Incubator Welcomes Nine New Tenants

The incubator at University of Maryland Baltimore County is seeing an uptick of new tenants. In the three-month period from March to June, bwte[email protected] Research & Technology Park welcomed nine new companies, an increase from previous similar periods but a typical number for the past year to 18 months.

It has also reached a major milestone by welcoming a total of 100 companies to the incubator, of which 85 have leased space.

Of the nine new companies, five are in cybersecurity and the rest are in IT, says Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of [email protected] attributes the interest in cybersecurity to the proximity of the U.S. Army and Department of Defense agencies at Fort Meade and the academic talent at the university. She has also seen a surge in life science startups.

Last year, [email protected] welcomed a total of 25 new tenants and IT consulting firm RWD Technologies was acquired. Hemmerly says the incubator is currently recruiting early stage to larger companies to fill that now-vacant space as well as space in a newly opened incubator facility.

Here's a rundown of the nine new tenants:

• Assured Information Security Inc., a cyberspace government contractor. The company has 40-plus  employees at its headquarters in Rome, N.Y. Since becoming a tenant, it has hired a dozen people and is looking to hire more, Hemmerly says. It chose UMBC because of its R&D interaction with the intelligence community at Fort Meade.

• Clovis Group, an accounting and finance IT and workforce management company that staffs government services.

• Communication Scientific International, a Glen Burnie-based, minority-owned communications systems and technical provider of defense and commercial communications.

• TechEdge Group, an Italian IT company that is based in Italy that also has an office in Chicago.

• Alpha Omega Technologies, a company that specializes  in secure delivery of data and information.

• NETWAR Defenses, computer systems consultants and designers who specialize in national security and intelligence.

• LightGrid, a telecommunications and delivery solutions federal contractor.

• Companion Data Services, offering data-hosting services and health IT services. 

Source: Ellen Hemmerly, [email protected] Research & Technology Park
Writer: Barbara Pash; [email protected] 

Tech Campus Betamore To Open For Entrepreneurs, Incubators

By the end of the summer, entrepreneurs in the Baltimore metro area will have another place to call home. Betamore, “technology campus,” in the words of co-founder Mike Brenner, should be open by then. 

Brenner co-founded the privately-financed facility with Greg Cangialosi. They are in the midst of renovating an 8,000-square-foot shell at 1111 Light St., a new building in Federal Hill, into part incubator, part classroom and part co-working space. The facility will serve its members and the community at large. Membership applications will be available online next month.

Brenner says Betamore is the first incubator in the region, as far as he knows, that will also act as a classroom. In addition, the two founders bring a sizeable mentoring network that they have acquired by working in the city.

Both are well known in the Baltimore tech scene. Cangialosi's Blue Sky Factory, an email marketing and service provider, was bought in 2011, and he now serves as managing director of Baltimore Angel's and CEO of Nucleus Ventures, an investment vehicle. 

Brenner closed out his other ventures to focus on Betamore. These included Sunrise Design, a web consulting and design studio, and Startup Baltimore, a blog that was acquired in March of 2012 by a company in Philadelphia that plans to transform it into Technically Baltimore, an online publication covering technology. The company also puts out Technically Philly.

Brenner declined to discuss financing for the facility except to say that while it was private, the founders are actively looking for public support as well. He says they are not ready to announce the fees that will be charged for memberships at the incubator and community space. 

The facility will have two classrooms. It will offer classes on entrepreneurship and technology for people in the community at large who are interested in the topic. It will also offer six- to eight-week-long courses for people who are career-oriented and want more in-depth study. Brenner says fees for both classes and courses will be charged, the amounts still to be decided.  
 
In the dedicated incubator space, desks can be rented by the month. Brenner says that renters will have access to Betamore's mentor network, events and weekly happy hours. From early indications, he expects renters to be two- to eight-person teams, and to have 50 teams and “really early stage” companies in that space at any given time. He also expects many renters to be programmers.
 
Betamore will not take an equity stake in its renter-companies. Moreover, it will put a time limit, as yet undetermined, on how long they can rent, "to get a fire under their feet," he says.
 
The third space is a community space that, like a typical co-working space, is a social environment. It will be available for people who want to drop by the facility on an occasional basis, whether once a week or once a month. There will be a fee for the community space. 

"So far, we've gotten a lot of interest. Everyone wants to know when the doors open," says Brenner. "I'm hesitant to reveal too many details. We want to do a proper rollout when we're ready to open."

Source: Michael Brenner, Betamore
Writer: Barbara Pash

Web Ad.vantage Adds New Clients, New Staff

Web Ad.vantage is growing, adding new clients and new staff. The digital marketing and online advertising agency also saw the return of a former client.
 
New clients are Oriel Stat A Matrix, a New Jersey-based global leader in consulting and training for performance improvement and regulatory compliance; HR Acuity, a New Jersey-based human resources, employee relations and workplace investigation solutions firm; and Marianna Goldenberg, a certified divorce and financial analyst in Pennsylvania who specializes in divorce settlements. The returning client was Connecticut Plastics, a precision plastics fabricator.
 
Hollis Thomases, president and CEO, says Web Ad.vantage also recently filled positions at the 13-person firm. Founded in 1998, the privately-held, women-owned, Minority Business Enterprise-certified firm is located in Havre de Grace.
 
Thomases says the market for strategic digital services is growing because the business space for web and social media is so complex, companies don’t know how or where to begin.
 
Web Ad.vantage starts with a strategic approach, and then uses anything connected -- search, email, social media, mobile and video – to provide practical services, personalized for each client.
 
“We really help [clients] life-cycle through this process of analysis and planning, so companies can make better decisions how to use their money,” says Thomases, who was recently named to the board of directors of tech industry group GBTC.
 
Source: Hollis Thomases, Web Ad.vantage
Writer: Barbara Pash

Program Takes Aim At Unemployment In Park Heights

A new program aims to address the soaring unemployment in the Park Heights area of Baltimore City. The New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc. is partnering with Sojourner-Douglass College to offer a workforce training program in the fall.
 
Workforce training will help the transitional neighborhood progress. The area has seen a number of new services and  investments in new buildings and a new affordable housing program

Will J. Hanna II, president and CEO of the nonprofit, says a fundraising campaign is underway to raise $1.9 million over the three-year period of the agreement with the Baltimore college to train a total of 835 people in the Park Heights community.
 
That financial figure breaks down to $635,000 per year of the agreement. To date, Hanna has raised $95,000 through private donors and grants for 2012. But he says that more grants are coming online soon and that he expects to meet that goal. He also expects to make a "major announcement" in August and for the program to kick off as scheduled in October. Some details of the program have yet to be decided.
 
Hanna says that a nonprofit-commissioned study found that while the national unemployment rate averages 8.2 percent, unemployment in Park Heights is close to 30 percent. Residents were undereducated and/or underskilled, or the skills they had didn’t fit today’s marketplace.
 
The program is geared toward practical skills like construction, electrical, EMT technician, EKG technician and patient care, among others. There will also be classes for people to obtain a high school equivalency certificate, or GED. Entrepreneurship training will be offered as well, with the possibility of opening an incubator to encourage commercialization of products.
 
Hanna says Sojourner-Douglass College was chosen because it has a training program in those fields and it has worked in Park Heights before.
 
“We felt it was important to reach out to an African-American college [for the program]. It was a natural fit for what we wanted to do,” Hanna says. "The idea is, once people complete the training, they can be gainfully employed."
 
Source: Will J. Hanna, The New Park Heights Community Development Corp.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Mindgrub Adding Second Catonsville Office

Mindgrub Technologies  is adding new clients, hiring more staff and adding a second office to handle the growth.

The company is in the midst of renovating a second office across the street from its new office in the historic First National Bank building in Catonsville. The 45-person firm will relocate the management team there, Mindgrub CEO Todd Marks says. The firm expects to move into the renovated 1,400-square-foot office next month.

Mindgrub is hiring 10 -- programmers, game designers, web and gaming developers, iPhone and android developers, information architects and technical production managers. It is particularly seeking people with expertise in Drupal, an open source web development platform. 

One of the new clients is the B&O Railroad Museum, a popular Baltimore City destination for tourists and student groups, for which Mindgrub is developing an "augmented reality"  tour. Mindgrub CEO Todd Marks describes augmented reality as taking digital content and superimposing it over the real physical world.

The tour will spotlight the historic railroad engines in the museum’s roundhouse. If you hold up an iPhone in front of an engine, Marks says, an animated cartoon character will pop up and talk about its history.
 
Marks says that besides the B&O Railroad Museum, other new clients it has added this year are Yamaha Motors, for which Mindgrub is developing a downloadable app with service information, and the University of Las Vegas, with an app for its alumni with deals and discounts in Las Vegas hotels and restaurants.
 
Marks founded the company in 2002 and was its sole employee until 2007. Mindgrub provides mobile and web application development and creative services. It has founded a spinoff product company called viaPlace.  
 
 
Source: Todd Marks, Mindgrub
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 

GBTC Appoints New Board Members

GBTC, Baltimore's main networking group for the tech community has unveiled its new board, to be officially installed later in the month. It's the latest of changes at the group in recent months, starting with Jason Hardebeck's appointment as executive director late last year. 

Of the 30-member board, half are new while the other half are holdovers from the previous board.

Known as a community for innovators, entrepreneurs and startups, GBTC is in the midst of other changes as well. Among them are the introduction of a weekly video show talking about events for that week and a regular newsletter, to be published every other week.

The show airs on GBTC's blog every Monday at 3 p.m. It can be viewed and download from the blog and/or linked to Twitter. "We're hoping it will become the central place people go to find out what is going on," says Sharon Paley, a GBTC staffer.

Hardebeck says the new board reflects gb.tc's expanded vision for the innovation community to represent a broader mix of members. While the new board is a mix of new and continuing members, the real difference is that the GBTC board will be more active, Hardebeck says.  

The moves comes just months after the appointment of Hardebeck last December as executive director of the nonprofit amid criticism about declining membership and declining revenue from dues.

"This is not a place where you come to a meeting every couple of months to catch up on what has been going on," Hardebeck says. "Our board will be engaged and active with all facets of gb.tc's mission, including cultivation of shareholders and participation in events and programming. There is way too much to do and too many opportunities for gb.tc to make a difference for just the GBTC team. Our board will be an extension of our efforts." 

Gb.tc eliminated its physical office and changed its membership model. Instead of charging membership fees, anyone who wants to be involved in GBTC can.

Paley says the membership group focuses on metro Baltimore, and anyone involved in the “innovation industry,” including software, hardware, the internet, gamers, developers and designers, as well as those affiliated with the industry like accountants, attorneys and marketers.
 
Since doing away with its physical office, Paley says the four-person staff will be doing more outreach, visiting places where tech companies work and getting an idea of the kinds of programs they want to attend and that sponsors are willing to support.
  
Sources: Jason Hardebeck and Sharon Paley, GBTC
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 


App Developer Woofound Gets $1.2M in Angel Funding

Baltimore tech startup Woofound has launched a new mobile app for the iPhone and received $1.2 million in angel funding.

The startup is also anticipating another round of financing, adding a new outlet and hiring more staff.
 
Woofound’s app is a visual personality game called “Me or Not Me.” It is sold in the app store but by the end of summer, Daniel Sines, co-founder and co-CEO with Josh Spears, expects to place the app on the Android Marketplace, recently renamed Google Play.
 
Soon, the startup will seek another round of financing, perhaps $3 million to $5 million. “We are going more institutional,” he says. It will seek venture capital financing, rather than angel investors, Sines says.
 
The amount will be based on the results of its launch next month of a commission-based fee from businesses for the app. The app is currently free but businesses will be charged on sales, of which Woofound gets a cut.
 
The app connects businesses to likely new customers by identifying users’ personality types and then recommends targeted places, activities and restaurants to their types. A Baltimore psychoanalyst and psychotherapist developed the personality test.
 
“We are offering an extremely personalized solution. We are highly targeted. We have more than 10,000 businesses and experiences on the platform,” says Sines. “The focus on the personal element differentiates us and makes us stand out.”
 
Sines and Spears founded Woofound in 2011. It is based on their previous company, Social Media Solutions Business, which helped companies manage Twitter, Facebook and other social media in their search for customers. They closed out projects for that company and focused their efforts into Woofound.
 
Woofound is located in an office in Baltimore County's Middle River area with a staff of 15 and five interns. Sines says it is looking to hire at least two programmers now and more staff over the summer.
 
Source: Daniel Sines, Woofound
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 
 














 

Juxtopia To Receive $2.6M in Federal Grants

Baltimore biomedical company Juxtopia expects to receive $2.6 million in federal grants by the end of the year and plans to use that money toward improving its flagship product, high-tech goggles.

Federal agencies the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense will award the grants. It has received $330,000 in federal grants, and expects to receive another $2.35 million before year's end. 

Jayfus Doswell, Juxtopia's CEO and Founder, says the money is going toward improving the software and hardware of its goggles, which have a variety of applications. Doswell envisions that they can be used by combat medics assisting a fallen soldier or by doctors performing surgery. 
 
Johns Hopkins Medicine’s department of surgery is using the goggles in pre-clinical trials to determine their medical applications, says Doswell.
 
Doswell listed the grants as:
* From the National Science Foundation, $230,000 in 2012 and another $2 million for a three-year period expected within the next six months;
* From the Department of Defense, $100,000 in 2011 and another $100,000 expected in 2012; and
* From the National Institutes of Health, two grants totaling $250,000 expected in 2012.
 
Juxtopia was founded a decade ago as a biomedical technology company, spun out of Morgan State University. In 2010, it graduated from the ETC Emerging Technology Center @ Johns Hopkins Eastern.
 
It returned to the incubator this year under a special program in which it will strive to increase the number of minority-owned tech companies in Baltimore. Called the Juxtopia Urban Innovation and Cooperative Entrepreneurship, Doswell says there are currently three companies in the program.  
 
“We try to guide minority-owned companies through the process,” Doswell says.
 
This summer, Juxtopia is offering five paid internships, thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, for high school and college students. The internships, in different engineering fields, are still open.
 
With a staff of 10 engineers and four mangers, Doswell says Juxtopia is “always looking” for new employees.
 
Source: Jayson Doswell, Juxtopia
Writer: Barbara Pash

Second Annual Hackathon To Offer More Cash Prizes

Geeks get their day once again at Baltimore's 2nd annual Hackathon. The event promises to be bigger, better and, most importantly, more lucrative than the first hackathon, held in 2010.

Described as a "high-tech science fair," the original hackathon attracted hobbyists, students and professional programmers who, in a couple of days, were supposed to take their tech idea from concept to creation. Ideas ranged from software handling organizational systems to transcription service. 

The same format applies to the 2nd Hackathon, which runs from June 8 at 6 p.m. through June 10 at 6 p.m. at the headquarters of Advertising.com, located at 1020 Hull St. in the Locust Point neighborhood. 

"We're trying to make it an annual event. The idea is for people to come together and [during those three days] work on projects that are technical in nature, either software or hardware,” says organizer Jason Denney, a member of Baltimore Node, a member-run space for hacker space.

There are hackathons all over the country. Since the first Baltimore hackathon, says Denney, two more sponsors have been added to the original five. This has enabled the organizers to add more prize money. This year's sponsors are Northrop Grumman, Looking Glass, Advertising.com, Paypal, Code for America, smart logic and Thunderbolt Labs. 

At the first event, a prize was given for best overall hardware or software project, team or individual. This year, there will still be a best overall hardware or software prize. But, in addition, there will be prizes for smart design, most difficult technology, aesthetics and public service project. Winners in each category will receive a $600 cash prize.

Organizers are hoping to increase attendance from the original event's 70 people to 100. Denney says anyone can register and compete for the prizes. Registration and tickets are online. A nominal fee covers entrance, food and a T-shirt. 

Source: Jason Denney, 2nd annual Hackathon
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
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