Local business owners and startups are encouraged to apply for a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize sponsored by M&T Bank
Baltimore Homecoming, an organization that works to engage accomplished Baltimore natives and alumni and mobilize new partnerships, investments and collaborations in the city, announced today the return of the Crab Tank startup pitch competition launched in 2019. The event will take place at Amplify 2022, the organization’s three-day main event taking place May 4-6, 2022.
Crab Tank was created to spotlight and provide a platform for small to medium businesses, startups and entrepreneurs in Baltimore. The competition, sponsored by M&T Bank, provides local business owners an opportunity to compete for a $25,000 grand prize and $2,500 people’s choice award.
“We had an overwhelming response to the first competition and are thrilled to be able to bring it back thanks to M&T Bank’s continued support,” said Robbin Lee, Baltimore Homecoming’s executive director. “Baltimore serves as a welcoming city for startup and technology businesses, and we’re excited to help foster new connections and awareness and provide funding for Baltimore entrepreneurs.”
“M&T Bank is looking forward to another year of celebrating and supporting the entrepreneurs who make Baltimore a great place to live and work,” said Augie Chiasera, M&T’s regional president for Greater Baltimore. “The Crab Tank competition highlights the innovative spirit of Baltimore’s small businesses and startups that play a vital role in the vibrancy of the city’s economy and strength of its communities.”
Baltimore Homecoming is now accepting applications through January 14, at which time a selection committee made up of Homecoming host committee members, community advisors, and previous Crab Tank participants will pick five finalists who will have the opportunity to make their pitch during Amplify 2022. The in-person event will again feature a panel of high-profile judges with backgrounds in business and tech. The inaugural Crab Tank pitch competition featured Ashton Newhall, former managing general partner at Greenspring Associates, a venture capital investment platform; Shanna Tellerman, CEO of Modsy, an online interior design company; George P. Stamas, partner at global law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Melanie Whelan, former CEO at SoulCycle, an indoor cycling and fitness lifestyle company and Rodney Williams, founder and CCO at Lisnr, an ultrasonic data company.
“Baltimore has a burgeoning tech scene, and as an educator at Hopkins and Loyola, I’m lucky to see the early stages of incredible companies and ideas each day,” said Mustafa Wahid, adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education and startup executive-in-residence at Loyola University Maryland. “As a Crab Tank committee member, I have the honor of helping select entrepreneurs that embody the charm, grit, and resilience that the city of Baltimore has to offer. It is a unique opportunity to highlight companies of Baltimore heritage and I’m excited to see what companies and founders we uncover in the selection process.”
In 2019, Crab Tank received more than 40 applications from local businesses and startups in a short two-week application period. The event featured five start-ups with a technology focus, including emocha Health, an enterprise adherence solution that empowers patients to take every dose of medication; Fashion Spa House, a lifestyle enhancement company founded to fill the experience void in retail; SmartyPrep, a SAT/ACT prep company that gamifies the student and tutor experience; Sonavi Labs, the inventor of Feelix, a platform that includes AI-enabled digital stethoscopes and remote monitoring devices; and Femly, a feminine care company with a unique approach to making women’s health products accessible, which won both the $25,000 grand prize and $2,500 people’s choice award based on votes from the event audience.
Winning the Crab Tank pitch competition provided Femly Founder Arion Long with financial backing needed to start the design process for Femly’s proprietary and first-of-its-kind feminine hygiene dispenser. The company has since finished the first prototype and has been using it to successfully pitch new participation and gain traction in the consumer space. “It’s really cool because we started this process at a time where feminine hygiene wasn’t required in any public restrooms,” shared Long. “Now with cities and states proposing feminine hygiene laws, this has allowed us to be on the forefront of ending period poverty. Not only do we have feminine care products, but we also now have the machine that our product goes into to make it more accessible.” Femly is currently scaling and Long hopes her company will be the next consumer unicorn.
For a complete list of Crab Tank pitch competition guidelines and to apply, visit baltimorehomecoming.com/crabtank22. Baltimore Homecoming will hold an information session for interested applicants on December 9 at noon. More information and registration are available at baltimorehomecoming.com/programs.
About Baltimore Homecoming, Inc.
Baltimore Homecoming, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization designed to gather Baltimore’s most accomplished natives and alumni from around the U.S. and the world to spark new partnerships, investments and collaborations; make connections to the city’s next generation of innovators, artists, activists and community leaders; and to reawaken and deepen our personal ties to the city. Founded by Nate Loewentheil and JM Schapiro, who serve respectively as President & Chair of the Board and Board Treasurer, Baltimore Homecoming engages the professional community through its Board of Directors which includes Loewentheil, Schapiro, Rachel Bendit, Michael Chesser, chairman emeritus of Great Plains Energy, Michael Fader, vice president of MileOne Holdings, Josepha Hendler, Ganesha Martin, consultant, Anthony Moag, COO of Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Chip Wendler, vice president of strategic distribution initiatives for T. Rowe Price, and Brittany Young, founder and CEO of B-360. More information is available at baltimorehomecoming.com.
About M&T Bank
M&T Bank Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank.