Everyone is excited for Baltimore Innovation Week! Check out the BIW calendar and our events section so you don’t miss anything. RJ Tech Tour is Kicking Off tonight at the ETC Open House Happy Hour from 5-7pm. Yet Analytics and Loople will be demoing alongside 7 other startups during the Kickoff.
Where else will Loople and Yet Analytics be during the week? Check it out:
Paul Singh, dad, entrepreneur, speaker, investor and Airstreamer, is bringing his Results Junkies (RJ) Tech Tour to Baltimore from September 26-30. This year, Singh has driven across North America with his truck and his Airstream travel trailer to mentor and visit startups, coworking spaces, and accelerators. His Tech Tour includes 29 cities in the United States and Canada.
According to the Washington Business Journal, “Singh plans to invest in about 10 to 20 startups along the way, to the tune of $100,000 to $250,000 in total funding. He has also formed a group of angel investors who have pledged an additional $63,000 in funding” as of March 2016.
But Singh isn’t only interested in developed tech-based startups. “I want to see plumbers that use email-marketing to get as much value out of these events that we put on as the self-identifying tech-person does as well.” His goal is to draw these very different demographics by calling them to the Airstream. Check out his plan in his own words:
Interested in seeing what a day of the tour looks like? When Singh visited Iowa, Geoff Wood, founder of Gravitate, wrote an account of the eventful week. To give you an idea of the week they had, here are some of the key takeaways from Wood:
“Takeaway: If you’re going to start investing in tech companies, put half of your allocation into local companies and half into companies outside the area (through vehicles like AngelList syndicates). Learn from the deal flow you see with the national investors and hold the local companies to the same standards. It’s not philanthropy and it’s not altruism but that doesn’t mean the local startup community won’t benefit in the long run.”
“Takeaway: In Paul’s experience of visiting 20 cities so far on the tour, every ecosystem needs four things to grow tech-enabled, early stage companies: a coworking space (hey cool!), an event space, an angel investor group and code school.”
“Takeaway: Don’t get stuck only looking to local resources to help you grow your company—there is no excuse not to check in on decks, pitch presentations, term sheets, etc. from places like Techstars, 500 Startups and Y Combinator. Most are online—use them.”
If you’re interested in attending the RJ Tech Tour Happy Hour Kickoff at the ETC Open House, please follow this link and RSVP. And click the following link, if you want to find out about more events during Baltimore Innovation Week.
Baltimore is a growing hotspot for the arts, education, and tech startups. The ETC alone works with over 100 companies and there are many coworking spaces and incubators in the city. But why Baltimore? And what exactly makes Baltimore so great for startups? Here is a list of what people are saying about our city.
2) According to Business Insider, Baltimore is ranked second of 9 hot startup cities (that aren’t San Francisco or New York) (June 2016). Particularly, Baltimore has become very attractive for ed-tech startups because of big names like Johns Hopkins and Laureate Education (formerly Sylvan Learning). Baltimore educators have also proven to be entrepreneur-friendly and willing to test out new education-technology.
3) The Baltimore startup scene is a tight-knit community. Technical.ly (Apr 2014) reports that it is evident when you visit innovation hubs like ETC that the startups are close. This allows for open collaboration between entrepreneurs and their businesses.
5) Local universities – Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, and Towson University (Apr 2014) – have created programs that supplement entrepreneurship growth. This cultivates a steady supply of young business talent that supplements growing startups. Baltimore also has at least 25 universities, which means access to new talent.
When Steve Case, investor and co-founder of AOL Inc., visited Baltimore in 2015, he saw the potential of Baltimore as a startup hub. After his tour of Baltimore, Case said, “If everybody keeps working together to create more of that sense of possibility, more of that network effect, I think it will attract more talent. I think it will attract more attention. I think it will attract more capital. Baltimore can and should continue to rise as one of America’s great startup regions.”
What’s the best thing about being a Baltimore startup? Tweet us at @ETCBaltimore and we’ll add your comment to this post!
Chris Blackert began his company, Outer Loop Media, after graduating from Salisbury College in Maryland as a production major. Outer Loop Media helps companies and organizations spread their messages through video by combining a documentary style of production with cinematic techniques. Blackert describes himself as “naturally drawn to video production” because of his creative eye.
Blackert describes his company as the result of a college dream that he and his friend dreamt up that came to fruition about 3-4 years later. Blackert said, “My team and I specialize in online video marketing for medium to large sized businesses, really providing content for social media platforms as well as websites. Video has become a necessity for emerging and existing businesses to remain in touch with their customers and clients, so we provide the tools and expertise to make that happen.”
Outer Loop really focuses on creating the right messages for businesses. They pride themselves in producing a result that the client has envisioned in their head. “We like to think that we reduce some of the ‘stress’ that clients associate with video production and like to have a good time with our clients on set,” said Blackert. “We share a very profound interest in the success of our clients.”
Here at ETC, Blackert takes advantage of our coworking space. “I love the Beehive because of the modern and open feel to it. Being surrounded by so many, not only intelligent, but motivated peers really shows how Baltimore is thriving in the technology and creative sector.”
Outside of work, Blackert likes to spend his time outside. He plays disc golf and golf and enjoys hiking and taking photos of nature. Photographing nature is therapeutic for Blackert and brings a relaxing aspect to his work. He also loves watching films. “I love going to the movies to analyze how things are filmed and use that as inspiration for what I do.”
Here is a sample of Blackert’s work:
Check out Chris Blackert’s portfolio over here at OuterLoopMedia.com!
One of the most consistent methods for consumer engagement is storytelling. A story reveals to your audience the soul of your company, the ways in which you wish your brand to affect your customers and why it makes their lives better. What’s more, an audience that is engaged with your message is more likely to remember and advocate for your brand.
So where do we start? With a good story.
What is a Good Story?
The typical “Once Upon a Time” may not always apply; but in every aspect of life emotions are tested, struggles are overcome and lessons are learned. Within these emotional arcs we find empathy and can begin to understand the moments that connect us.
Human experience shapes who we are as people, so why not shape your brand in the same way? When you’re planning your communications strategy, using simple storytelling techniques is the key to success. The “Hero’s Journey” is a set of plot points that most stories commonly follow.
Remember, your brand is unique and everyone’s story is different. This structure can be used to find a new approach to how you want to tell it or discover an element to your story that you have been missing.
Improving Engagement & Recall
When a message is delivered through a story arc, the capacity for your audience to recall becomes greater. Our brains process images sixty times faster text. Facts prove points but a story sparks empathy and improves our ability to remember a message.
Memorable brands consistently use story techniques to push their products or ideas. When you connect your company with authentic aspects of day to day life, your customers will begin visualizing and understanding how your product or idea fits into their own lives. Suddenly, you are no longer the faceless company trying to sell them something, you’re a tangible being who understands them and is trying to make a difference.
Tailoring to Your Medium
Delivering your brand’s story takes time, preparation and plenty of editing. If you’re preparing to share your brand, whether through a blog, e-book, networking event, elevator pitch, or video, the main thing to remember is to tailor your content according to the medium you are using.
For written content, make it concise enough for anyone to read and understand quickly. Use real, “human” language and don’t be afraid to add an element of humor. Think about visually breaking up big chunks of texts with images or videos that further tell your story.
See what I did there?
When a reader can become fully immersed in the story through visuals and a personal point of view, they will become more engaged with the story.
Video is a medium with unlimited possibilities. In just 30 seconds your entire story has the potential to impact the world. At Early Light Media, we tell our brand story with our video reel. Not only are the images captivating but the voiceover informs the audience of the impact our company strives for with every video we produce.
Bottom Line? Be Authentic
Stories are old as time, and they have been bringing people together since the day they were drawn on cave walls.
Telling your brand’s story means sharing your authentic self with customers. Don’t shy away from that. Embrace the discomfort of letting your customers into your world. Stay true to your story through every aspect of your company. Make it the guiding force in all the content you create, clients you work with and relationships you build.