Tag: b.Well


Female Entrepreneurs Explain Why Baltimore Is a Great Place…

Female Entrepreneurs Explain Why Baltimore Is a Great Place for Tech

March 22, 2019

A recent study from Smart Asset ranked Baltimore as the No. 2 city in the country for women in tech. The study looked at four factors: gender pay gap for women in tech; income after housing for women; women as a percent of the tech workforce; and the percent change in tech jobs. Smart Asset noted that women make up almost a third of the tech workforce in Baltimore and that tech jobs grew by almost 30 percent between 2014 and 2017.

We in the Johns Hopkins entrepreneurial ecosystem already knew, of course, that ours is an inclusive one. Still, encouraged by this recognition — and in celebration of Women’s History Month — we asked female entrepreneurs what makes Baltimore such a great place for women in tech.

Wendy Perrow, CEO, AsclepiX Therapeutics

Wendy Perrow

Baltimore is a wonderful place for women leaders in biotechnology, as we have some of the most innovative technologies being created from the University of Maryland and The Johns Hopkins University! The richness of the intellectual property in Baltimore has led to me leading two companies in Maryland, with new technology from both institutions. As a member of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Life Science Advisory Board, we are working to make Maryland a top scientific hub by 2023.

The workspaces created by the University of Maryland BioPark and Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures’ FastForward allow us to keep working with our founders and creators of their innovative technologies in Baltimore. Our goal in Baltimore and Maryland as a whole is to create new and innovative products, vaccines and medical devices that can treat patients and reduce the treatment burden for unmet medical needs.

Brittany Young

Brittany Young, founder, B-360

Baltimore is a good place for women in tech because we are able to form our own communities within a larger ecosystem. Often, entrepreneurship can seem like a lonely journey, and being a woman in tech can seem even more isolating, but groups like Baltimore Women in Technology connect you with other like-minded women and opportunities for growth.

Kristen Valdes

Kristen Valdes, founder and CEO, b.well Connected Health

While the b.well team is spread out across the country, we can’t imagine our home base being anywhere other than Baltimore. Having spent my entire career working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and world-class institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, it made perfect sense to have our headquarters here.

Thanks to our close proximity to these leading health care organizations in the region, greater Baltimore has been a key player in b.well’s early success. We believe that Baltimore can be and should be the health information technology capital of the United States.

Kristin Yim

Kristin Yim (WSE ’20), project lead, Semester.ly

The Johns Hopkins University and all the administrators have been open to all my ideas, many of which are coming to fruition. I have a great support system here from the computer science department, Center for Leadership Education and student government. I’m part of Women in Computer Science, and I love being able to bounce new feature ideas off of the girls (and guys) that attend our meetings. It’s also given me the opportunity to mentor other girls and give advice on entrepreneurship and spread the word about the resources that are available.

FastForwardU has been great about giving us space to work, connecting us to other entrepreneurs and notifying us of grant opportunities. FastForward also got us an ad hoc legal consultation when we were really stressed on a deadline.

Aimee Martin

Aimee Martin, CEO, MileMarker

Baltimore has a strong and growing network of women in tech. Our top universities and effective government-supported programs recognize the value of women entrepreneurs who are solving important problems through their businesses. It’s a great place to build women-led ventures and a wonderful place to live.

Pava LaPere

Pava LaPere (KSAS ’19), president and co-founder, TCO Labs, project lead, EcoMap

The best part about Baltimore is the flexibility built into our entrepreneurial community and culture. There is the feeling that we should do what is right — not just what has been done or what is easiest. I think an environment that allows women in tech to thrive comes from this will to solve problems as well as the close-knit community we have. Baltimore may be a smaller city, but that makes for strong relationships, allowing us to build great support networks regardless of where we come from.

Carolyn Yarina

Carolyn Yarina, CEO and co-founder, Sisu Global Health

Baltimore has been an incredibly supportive ecosystem for Sisu Global Health. We are proud that the majority of our financing has come from the Baltimore area and we’ve had great mentors, peers and partners all concentrated here in Baltimore. There also are supportive groups and ecosystems for women entrepreneurs and women in tech (Baltimore Women in Tech, for example).

The ecosystem encourages involvement and giving back. Sisu’s co-founders speak to high school students about getting more girls into STEM, and entrepreneurship classes to provide an example to female entrepreneurs. Many of our peers do the same.

Still, there is more we can do to level the playing field and address the unconscious (and conscious) biases against women in tech. What I love about Baltimore’s culture is that we aren’t afraid to admit our shortcomings and to improve. I look forward to seeing that continued improvement.


Good News: February 2018

Good News: February 2018

Startup News

    • Shortly after raising $11 million in series B funding, Protenus CEO Nick Culbertson announced that the Baltimore startup plans to nearly double the size of its team. Culbertson said the 30 hires will likely be sourced locally. The FastForward startup analyzes and protects health care data for health systems across the country and saw its revenue grow twentyfold in 2017. Technical.ly


    • The Maryland Tech Council named two FastForward companies among the finalists for its annual Industry Awards Celebration. Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) is vying to be named Life Science Company of the Year, and its CEO Doug Ward is up for Chief Executive Officer of the Year. Protenus is a finalist for the Emerging Company of the Year award. The Maryland Tech Council will announce the winners on May 17. Maryland Tech Council


    • According to a synopsis from Protenus, health care organizations reported 477 data breaches to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the media. These breaches affected 5.6 million patient records. Healthcare Informatics


    • Inspired by his mother’s experience managing multiple chronic conditions, Sathya Elumalai is developing a portable, handheld device that records key vital signs in just 30 seconds. Elumalai is commercializing the technology through his FastForward startup Multisensor Diagnostics. TMC News


    • BurnAlong, a fitness startup that participated in the M-1 Ventures accelerator, announced that it raised $1 million in an oversubscribed round. Based in Owings Mills, MD, BurnAlong offers streaming fitness classes through partnerships with fitness instructors and gyms. Technical.ly


    • Emocha Mobile Health, a tenant in FastForward 1812, hired Thomas A. Carroll as its chief operating officer. Carroll, who co-founded RuxtonPark Healthcare Capital, will help the company expand into new markets among other duties. MobiHealthNews,Technical.ly


    • Fast Company named emocha Mobile Health one of its 10 most innovative businesses in the health sector, citing its technology that makes “medication management mobile-friendly.” Other brands ranked alongside emocha include CVS Health and 23andMe. Fast Company


    • Sunrise Health and b.well are two of 24 digital health startups participating in the Texas Medical Center Accelerator. Founded by Johns Hopkins students and a member of the Social Innovation Lab’s 2016-2017 cohort, Sunrise provides text-based group support for behavioral health patients that utilizes artificial intelligence tools. One of two winners of $25,000 at the M-1 Ventures accelerator, b.well aggregates patient health care data by providing incentivized care coordination, along with concierge and matching services. MedCity News


    • The St. Louis-based accelerator program Capital Innovators selected FastForward startup Vision Interchange as one of six startups in its spring investment round. The 12-week program will provide the e-commerce company that lets consumers trade eyewear with a $100,000 investment. KMOX

Social Ventures

    • Alex Riehm has taken over as the director of SIL. Formerly a deputy director with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Riehm assumed the SIL leadership role in November and aims to build a “continuum of service for anyone with a good idea in Baltimore.” Technical.ly


    • Baltimore Magazine’s list of 30 visionaries who are shaping the city’s future. The publication recognized FactoryFour CEO Param Shah for his work to bring manufacturing into the digital age. Shantell Roberts received recognition for her work through Touching Young Lives which provides safe sleeping spaces for babies. Baltimore Magazine


    • A member of the 2017-2018 SIL cohort, Mera Kitchen Collective has pop-up dinners, offers catering and hosts other food-focused events as a means of empowering Baltimore’s refugee and immigrant community. In a podcast, the Mera Kitchen Collective team explains Baltimore’s long-time role as a haven for refugees, the state of the city’s refugee community and how its efforts will help this population overcome barriers. Cureate


    • A member of this year’s SIL cohort, Hosts for Humanity matches volunteer hosts with patient families seeking a place to stay while loved ones receive care at local medical institutions. Since January 6, the venture has placed four people with hosts for a total of 40 days, saving the families over $5,600. Baltimore Business Journal (subscription required)

Innovation News

    • A single experimental blood test called CancerSEEK could one day enable clinicians to simultaneously screen for multiple early stage tumors. The test detected 98 percent of ovarian and liver tumors. Joshua Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine student, says the test will need to be validated in a more real-world setting. BioWorld Today


    • A technology that focuses ultrasound waves could be tomorrow’s solution for treating brain tumors. A group of entrepreneurs from Johns Hopkins are looking to build on the Hopkins-born idea, which would serve as an alternative to invasive surgery. The group has received $250,000 in grant funding from TEDCO and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
      Baltimore Business Journal

Johns Hopkins News

    • A $50 million gift from the United Arab Emirates has enabled Johns Hopkins to establish a new institute for stroke research and clinical care. The Sheikh Khalifa Stroke Institute in Baltimore will use engineering skills, artificial intelligence and precision medicine to improve diagnoses, treatments and restorative functions for stroke patients. Baltimore Business Journal


    • A private developer will receive $800,000 in state grants to help complete 15,000 square feet of retail space at the new Marriott Residence Inn on Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus. This is the latest investment in the East Baltimore Development Inc.’s redevelopment of the Eager Park community. Baltimore Business Journal


    • To kick off the spring semester, four dozen Johns Hopkins underclassmen visited workplaces across Baltimore to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in city government, health care and other industries. The tour included a visit to a FastForward U innovation hub, which provides space and co-working opportunities for student innovators and entrepreneurs. The Hub

Baltimore News

    • Southwest: The Magazine hailed Baltimore as “the city you’re missing” and “the most underrated city in America” in its issue released on February 1. The magazine’s editorial director touted the city’s strong entrepreneurial spirit, hip workspaces, burgeoning arts scene, friendliness and foodie scene. Baltimore Sun


    • The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would incentivize making early-stage investments into local startups by offering angel investors tax credits. Del. Brooke Lierman, the bill’s lead sponsor, says, “We want to make sure we can capitalize on (Maryland’s growing number of startups) and on the growing entrepreneurial spirit in Maryland.” Baltimore Business Journal, Technical.ly


    • Eight startups will compete for $100,000 in prizes at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Up/Start Venture Competition. The third annual event was open to class of 2018 MICA students and alumni from the class of 2017. SIL’s Alex Riehm was one of the judges who selected the finalists. The finale will occur on April 4. Baltimore Business Journal


    • A new innovation space in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood has begun growing a number of businesses in Baltimore. The CO-OP at Maryland Ave. opened in 2017 and already has a number of tenants, including a steel and metal broker, a carpet installer and a nonprofit. Technical.ly


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