Thanks in part to a household name, a national startup accelerator for companies focused on electrication is coming to Baltimore in 2022.
Fortune 500 hardware and security company Stanley Black & Decker and startup ecosystem builder UpSurge Baltimore are teaming to bring the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator to the city next year. For companies, applications are now open through Nov. 23 for the accelerator, which starts in February.
It will be the fourth edition of the Stanley-backed accelerator. But it’s the first in Baltimore, the city where Black & Decker was founded in 1910. The area continues to be a strong employment base for the company, which has its storage and tool headquarters in Towson.
“We have seen firsthand the positive impact accelerators can have to advancing technology and communities, as well as our own team’s innovation learning,” said Stanley Black & Decker CEO Jim Loree in a statement. “Our goal is to be among the most innovative companies in the world and we know there is a strong, sustainable future in electrification.”
UpSurge was launched earlier this year to make Baltimore a top-tier innovation hub over the next decade. To get there, it is focusing on making the city known for equitech, a framework which prioritizes leadership by underrepresented founders, diverse teams and solutions that aim to address systemic societal challenges.
In focusing on electrification, the accelerator is seeking to tap expertise at Stanley Black & Decker, including many pros at the Towson office, as well as Baltimore institutions like Morgan State University, which is a leader in graduating Black electrical engineers, along with UMBC and Johns Hopkins.
UpSurge is seeking to spur ecosystem growth both from within Baltimore, and by attracting companies from outside the city. So it’s fitting that program is open to companies who are already here, as well as those from beyond the city.
“Having…a company that is so well known in this arena decide that Baltimore is a place that they want to host an accelerator I think says a lot to the world about what the potential is for young, high growth companies to put a stake in Baltimore as a place where they want to grow,” said Jamie McDonald, the CEO of UpSurge Baltimore.
The program is also looking globally when it comes to innovation — specifically, companies that are working on converting technologies to electric power. A worldwide push to address climate change is leading a need for a new wave of solutions that enable societies to move away from carbon-fueled power.
“Stanley as a company crosses so many parts of our world, from healthcare to elevators to tools,” McDonald said. “The need for clean power is of paramount interest to them. We’re really proud that they’ve decided to make Baltimore a place that they want to host this accelerator.”
This is the second accelerator program Techstars and UpSurge have partnered to launch in Baltimore over the last year. Later this year, a Techstars program focused on equitech companies is set to begin its first cohort. It’s a big part of UpSurge’s effort to attract companies to the city as it builds with those already here, as well.
“What we hope is that when companies get to Baltimore … that we really can weave them into the ecosystem, building relationships, a support system, mentorships and partnerships here that will make it a really attractive opportunity for them to grow and stay in Baltimore or to maintain a talent hub in Baltimore,” McDonald said.
“My big vision is that we have 10 of these accelerators over time,” she said — that’s 100 companies a year that will have gotten support in Baltimore.