Gus Sentementes' recent article noted that Lookingglass Cyber Solutions, one of our region's technology companies, had received $5 million in venture capital from sources on both coasts ("To find investors: Go west, young startup — but come back," Feb. 12). This is no small feat, since less than 1 percent of all companies receive this type of funding.
Venture capital requires a perfect combination of strong management, a compelling product, a large market and little real competition — and, as Lookingglass CEO Derek Gabbard noted, good timing and luck.
The reasons 99 percent of companies aren't attractive for venture capital have less to do with where they are located and more to do with the realities of their business models.
This story could have been about how Greater Baltimore continues to build on its entrepreneurial successes, where entire tech industries have materialized out of single companies — from Microprose Software, which gave birth to one of the strongest gaming communities in the country, to the burgeoning for-profit education sector in large part due to Sylvan, to the myriad of mobile application companies that have sprung from Advertising.com, and the generations of software companies that trace their roots to the likes of
There is a reason that Forbes Magazine recently recognized Baltimore as the second best city for tech jobs. Venture capital has an uncanny way of finding the most promising companies in which to invest, and they're agnostic to geography. Greater Baltimore is on the cusp of becoming a leader in innovation because money follows talent, and the talent increasingly sees Greater Baltimore as a very attractive place to build a business.
As a region, we need to do everything we can to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and to attract and retain talent. As Lookingglass and many other companies in our region have proved, smart money will follow.
Newt Fowler and Jason Pappas, Baltimore