One of the first tenants to lease at Emerging Technology Center’s new Highlandtown location is SameGrain, developer of a social discovery platform that helps people anonymously locate, connect with, and grow new friendships with people who share similar demographics, beliefs, and interests.
One of SameGrain’s goals is making it easier for people who share common interests to find each other, says SameGrain co-founder Anne A. Balduzzi.
Balduzzi gives an example: “Let’s say you wanted to go on a hiking trip to New Zealand, but your friends who could go didn’t hike. SameGrain would help you find someone who hiked, who wanted to go to New Zealand, who read the same magazines you did, who had the same politics, same life experience, same religion, maybe went to the same college,” she says. “SameGrain would help you find people like yourself who would make good travel companions.”
Balduzzi says that one of SameGrain’s initial target audiences is college students who want to connect to like-minded students on campus.
She adds that she’s had the idea for SameGrain for about five years now, but was just waiting for the technology to catch up.
SameGrain is in the testing stage now and hopes to open to the public later this year.
SameGrain is one of five new tenants recently signed to Emerging Technology Center’s new location at 101 N. Haven St., just south of Pulaski Highway.
ETC, a nonprofit arm of the Baltimore Development Corporation, opened in 1999 in Canton. It focuses on growing early-stage technology, biotechnology, and innovation companies in Baltimore City.
ETC’s new space is an adaptive reuse of a historic industrial building—once home to the King Cork and Seal Company—that is now home to other small businesses and nonprofits, such as the Pinebox Art Center.
The five new tenants will be moving to Highlandtown from ETC’s current location in the Signature Building at the Can Company in Canton, when their lease expires in October.
The Emerging Technology Center, which opened in 1999 in Canton, recently signed five tenants to its new location at 101 N. Haven St., just south of Pulaski Highway.
ETC Haven Street’s first tenants are Adcieo, a specialist in the development of online engagement strategies; American Business Forms and Envelopes, a software systems solutions provider of printed business forms; Certified CIO, an IT outsourcing firm; Foodem, a business-to-business marketplace that connects wholesale food buyers with food distributors; and SameGrain.
The advantages of having a startup in an incubator space are capital, connections, and creativity, says Deb Tillett, president of ETC.
“Our job is to give the entrepreneur what they need when they need it,” Tillett says.
The space will eventually house up to 31 start-up companies, including tenants with hard-walled office space; smaller companies with cube space; and affiliates who use the Haven St. space on an as-needed basis, Tillett adds.
She says ETC was drawn to Highlandtown from Canton because of better access and lower cost. (ETC also has another location at Johns Hopkins University.)
“You can’t find a better spot along the I-95 corridor, and the Redline, when it’s complete, will be about a half mile away. Rent was also an issue,” Tillett says.
The criteria for becoming a tenant at ETC are pretty straightforward, Tillett says.
“You have to be an entrepreneur with a business or application we would be a good resource for,” she says. “Our sweet spot is IT, but we work in other areas such as medical devices, life sciences, education, and edu-tech.”
ETC’s Canton location currently also houses Beehive, a co-working space, which will eventually have a presence at Haven St., Tillett adds.
Highlandtown is just months away from becoming the new home of one of Baltimore’s oldest technology incubators.
by Danielle Sweeney