By the end of the summer, entrepreneurs in the Baltimore metro area will have another place to call home.
“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