Third StarTUp Accelerator cohort attracts rising regional entrepreneurs

Eight Baltimore-based ventures begin residency in StarTUp at the Armory

By Rebecca Kirkman on June 7, 2022

People sit around a desk talking
Members of the 2022 StarTUp Accelerator Cohort complete a teambuilding activity with Jan Baum, second from left, faculty director of entrepreneurship. (Japhet Chukwuma ’24 / Towson University)

The Towson University StarTUp Accelerator kicked off its third cohort June 6 with founders from eight ventures based in the greater Baltimore area taking residency at the StarTUp at the Armory for eight weeks.

While the ventures represent a variety of industries—from finance and healthcare to electric vehicle charging networks, online athletics coaching platforms and assistive technology—they share the desire for a collaborative, cohort-based experience to grow their ventures and the opportunity to learn from Patrick McQuown, executive director of entrepreneurship at Towson University.

“When I met with Patrick, I was sold,” says Rebecca Rosenberg, founder of assistive technology company ReBokeh. Rosenberg joins the 2022 StarTUp Accelerator cohort after completing the venture-focused Abell Fellowship as a second-year graduate student in the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design.

Rosenberg looks forward to utilizing the StarTUp Accelerator’s support and resources as she transitions from student entrepreneur to full-time venture founder. 

“I’m so excited to be here,” she says. “We’re a couple of weeks away from launching ReBokeh, and I’m really happy to be among other entrepreneurs who are also building their ventures.”

The fellowship fosters collaboration among entrepreneurs and provides mentorship, founder-centric programming and exposure to successful alumni ventures. The Accelerator also includes a $10,000, equity-free stipend for each venture and collaboration space at TU’s state-of-the-art entrepreneurship hub in downtown Towson.

The 2022 cohort will engage with guests from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park, the Baltimore County Economic Development Advisory Board, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABS), and TEDCO (Maryland Technology Development Corporation). The program also includes a trip to D.C. to meet the founders of the startups Hungry and BarTrack.

In late September, the program will culminate with final venture pitches during the StarTUp Accelerator Showcase.

Man presents in conference room with screen "Venture Creation Demystified"
Patrick McQuown, executive director of entrepreneurship at Towson University, facilitates a teambuilding activity with the 2022 StarTUp Accelerator Cohort. (Japhet Chukwuma ’24 / Towson University)

On the first day, the 2022 cohort members got to know each other through “Lost at Sea,” a teambuilding activity illustrating the benefits of collaboration.

“The takeaway here is that working as a team results in a better product than working alone,” explains McQuown, who was recently named one of the 20 people nurturing Charm City’s tech ecosystem by Baltimore. “That’s why we have a cohort-based accelerator model—we want you all working to build and sell together.”

The cohort includes Susan Ganz TU Student Fellows Ryan Rutkowski ’22 and Conrad Brake ’21 of Tap In, who placed first in a national entrepreneurship festival pitch slam this spring, and Emily Vogel of Mint Print. 

Zimbali Networks, a financial technology digital asset management system that relocated to Baltimore after graduating from the Techstars Equitech Accelerator in March, also joins the 2022 StarTUp Accelerator cohort.

Jordan Strudwick, Zimbali’s web team strategy manager, is looking forward to building community within the Accelerator. 

“The mentors and resources available here are so esteemed, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity to tap into that,” he says.

2022 Accelerator Cohort

  • Tap In allows users to provide and receive dynamic, real-time data about their local bar scene and connects small businesses owners with their community.
  • Medsy helps reduce healthcare payer costs and improve outcomes by facilitating medication adherence for vulnerable people.
  • Mint Print uses blockchain technology to provide a publishing platform as well as an easy-to-use marketplace for buying and reselling digital books, comics and audiobooks.
  • Pirl Technology uses Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology to deploy electric vehicle charging stations that charge rapidly, have a lower environmental footprint and provide an engaging user experience.
  • Pro Theory combines a software tool, marketplace and network to create a community optimized for the connected sports training space.
  • ReBokeh builds modern, customizable assistive technologies for individuals with moderate vision impairments.
  • Zimbali Networks is a web3 fintech revolutionizing finance by building financial tools for communities across the world as an early entrant in a new web3 sector called “Decentralized Monetary Authorities.”
  • Inso (formerly Pretzl) is an online discussion platform that creates student-driven discussions with easily accessible insights into trending ideas and emerging themes generated by students, turning ideas into knowledge.

The StarTUp at the Armory opened last fall as TU’s front door for startups, small businesses and the region’s largest corporations. The state-of-the art, 26,000-square-foot space includes 6,000 square feet of free coworking space and meeting rooms where entrepreneurs and executives can connect with each other and to TU’s programs and people.

Learn more about entrepreneurship at TU.