Happy fall to all! Like the total eclipse that took place on August 21st, I welcome the new energy, and the new season.
As we move into fall harvest time, I wanted to publish a brief update on my professional projects and affiliations. Let me first say, by no means do I expect you to have interest in this. However, if you are connected to me in any way (professionally or personal), this post may offer some clarity around what I’m currently involved in, and where my interests lie.
The origin of this post comes from my collective experiences that began after I sold my company, Blue Sky Factory, back in July 2011. Since then, I've found myself in the role of entrepreneur, co-founder, investor, philanthropist, board member, advisor, mentor, etc. Given the variety of roles I've put myself in, its no surprise that I often get “lumped in,” “connected to,” and “associated with,” many different organizations, ranging from non-profits and startups, to investment funds and government agencies. As a result, I've often found myself struggling to concisely answer the question of what it is that I do. Others have expressed confusion around the same.
My common answer to “What do you do for a living?” is, “I’m an entrepreneur.” That said, the question provoked some thinking on my part, and as an exercise in clarity, led me to take this opportunity to publish a bit of a “clarity” post. Selfishly, this post is mainly for myself, but I’m hopeful that it will provide the same clarity to any of you who may be remotely interested in the question: What does Greg do?
Below, in no particular order, are a list of the various organizations that I'm “active” with. To be clear, “active,” means to me, that I dedicate some part of my day, week, or month to helping one of the following organizations. To clarify upfront, I currently do NOT have a full time position, nor am I the CEO, of any one of the organizations listed below:
Betamore is a non-profit organization I co-founded in 2013. Our vision is for Baltimore to become a key destination for innovation and entrepreneurship. Betamore works hard on executing that that vision by providing programming that supports community development, education (workforce / professional development) and incubation of startup companies in our region .
After a year in business as a for profit, my co-founders and I agreed that the organization would best be suited as a non profit, in order for it to realize its true potential.
As a result, with the help of many amazing people, in 2015, we successfully facilitated the merger of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council (501c3), via a process of donating all of the assets of Betamore, Inc to the organization.
Today, as an organization led by Jennifer Meyer and her amazing team, I have the pleasure of serving as the Chairman of its Board of Directors, a role I am honored to serve in. I have the honor of chairing an amazing group of active board members who are all engaged with helping advance the organization. Betamore is also supported by an advisory board of over 100 of the region’s leaders, and continues to be supported by the state, our city, our foundation, non-profit and corporate community, and of course by its amazing members.
This past week we celebrated our third annual fundraiser, BetaCity and added the first annual GarageFest to the week's events. We had a record attendance of well over 1000 people that represented our regions ecosystem and beyond. I am grateful to see all of the momentum, growth, & support, and am excited for the future.
Let me first start out with a little history of how this group got started. The Baltimore Angels was founded shortly after a GBTC (Greater Baltimore Technology Council) board meeting that took place at the UMBC Tech Campus in 2009. Fellow entrepreneur Dave Troy and I (both board members of the GBTC at the time) discussed the need for early stage investment funds to exist regionally, with the goal of helping to activate the ecosystem here in Baltimore that we both knew existed.
At the time I was still actively running Blue Sky Factory and my focus was there. Dave, and local attorney Newt Fowler, got things going for the Baltimore Angels, and set-up the base framework for the group to operate in. Shortly after, we started holding meetings and not long after that, started doing deals.
By the fall of 2011, I had sold Blue Sky Factory and Dave had started 410 Labs, so we both agreed that I should take over leading the organization.
In early 2012, I incorporated the Baltimore Angels, LLC, and began to organize the group’s processes and membership. Today, I serve as the managing member and co-chairman, and have been administering the group with the assistance and guidance of Ed Chalfin (co-chair), an active appointed board of directors, along with an incredible group of operations directors over the years (Sean McElroy, Michael Tucker, Meredith Persico), and have had the pleasure of building a membership base of amazing individuals & sponsors. In addition, I can't say enough about how much I enjoy meeting all of the founders and seeing first hand all of the amazing innovation in our region and beyond.
Today, we have over 50 members, and are approaching a milestone of deploying almost $10m of early stage invested capital in regional startups from within our group, since inception. I’m also proud that we have established ourselves as one of the largest and most active angel groups in the region. Check out our new website: http://www.baltimoreangels.com
During my time building Blue Sky Factory I got to know my partner’s Joe Loverde and Todd Harvey from Mission Media and MissionTix respectively. In 2013, after selling Blue Sky Factory, launching Betamore and getting the Angels organized, I invested in MissionTix and came in as CEO. After 2.5 years in the role, I decided to step out of the CEO role. Today, I am still a partner in the company and work with the team on business development and strategy. We’ve launched a new software platform, shifted our focus in regards to the markets we serve, and are innovating on how we can bring the best solutions to market for our customers.
Headliner Ventures (aka Mavin Ventures) is growth equity firm that I co-founded with Jeff Kurtzman. We work with founders of growth stage companies with raising capital, and provide growth advisory services. Earlier this year we completed our first investment with Pixilated. Jeff actively works as a board member and acting CFO with the Pixilated team.
This is the vehicle I use for my angel investments and consulting primarily. This has been active since 2011.
This is my wife, Theresa's, business. She is an amazing aromatherapist, product formulator, and small batch manufacturer of all natural body products focused on essential oils. In January 2017, we opened her latest apothecary in Federal Hill. The shop is off to a great first year, and the online store just soft launched. Her products are getting rave reviews, and she continues to innovate in her field. Things are off to a great start and the future is very bright!
In addition to the above, I sit on the board of the Baltimore Development Corporation, Baltimore City’s economic development arm. And also the boards of Believe in Music, and Federal Hill Main Street .
And, thats a wrap! I'm excited about the remainder of 2017 and what’s to come as we head towards 2018. In the meantime, happy harvest time to you and your endeavors. I wish you all the best and a healthy, happy and positive future. Thanks for reading.