As 2014 comes to a close, I would like to take a moment to share some important news. Starting in January, I will be stepping down as CEO of Betamore. I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Meyer, a familiar face to many in our community, will be joining our team as President of our organization. Although I am stepping out from the day-to-day role I held for two years, I look forward to continuing to guide the organization as a member of the board.
I feel incredibly fortunate and honored to have had the opportunity to build something that has grown to what it is today. When my cofounders and I founded Betamore back in 2012, we set out to validate the idea that a new type of campus and programming were needed in Baltimore to support our region’s growing tech and startup communities.
Early on we knew that flexible office space wasn’t enough. We set out to build a holistic campus that didn’t just provide desks for startups but it also produced an educational product that fed our industry with more skill-bearing participants. Our hypothesis was that the closer industry was to education, the higher quality both will be.
Our test for validation was simple: Will employers hire students coming out of our intensive education program?
To date we have hosted over 2,500 students in our regular classes and workshops. We have enrolled over 80 students in our 10 to 12-week career-oriented education program we call the Academy. Of those graduates seeking full-time employment, we have helped place 79% of them into full-time jobs here in the region through a program we created called Betamore Works.
Our startups, who often enroll in or instruct our education, have also produced some incredible metrics. Over $20 million of venture capital has been raised by approximately 50 startups and companies that have worked from and been founded at Betamore. This has resulted in the creation of over 250 jobs for the Baltimore region.
While we have made every effort to make our campus as accessible as possible, we know that we can do better. Earlier this year I proposed to my board the notion of converting Betamore to a non-profit. The goal was to continue our incubation and workforce-development initiatives but better align our community-first mission with support that has been earmarked for programs like ours.
As the founding CEO, I wanted to get us well past the point of launch but knew this wouldn’t be my life’s work. Earlier this year we formed an organizational partnership with the GBTC, a non-profit and the region’s largest association for the tech industry who also happened to be looking for a restructuring. While we are not quite ready to announce all of the the details of our work, we have reached a point that has allowed me to step aside as Jen joins the team.
Before I leave, I would like to say thank you to my team, both past and present, for believing in the idea that place and community matter. Thank you to our amazing members, mentors, sponsors, Works partners, students and instructors for supporting our programs and the rest of the community. It has been an extraordinary journey.