Xconomy Xchange: Meet Panelist Brentt Baltimore

On March 17, Xconomy is hosting an event featuring Jason Mendelson, a metro Detroit native and a University of Michigan alum who went on to co-found the Foundry Group, a highly successful venture fund based in Boulder, CO. Mendelson also is a talented musician. He was the lead vocalist in the music video spoof that hit the top of the VC industry music chart—however briefly—back in 2011.

Mendelson will discuss how to sustain and nurture a startup ecosystem. After his chat, a panel of local entrepreneurs will join him on stage to continue the discussion. Tickets to the Xconomy Xchange are still available, and as we get closer to the day of the event, we’d like to introduce our panelists.

Up first is Brentt Baltimore. He came to Detroit two years ago as a Venture for America fellow. A Los Angeles native, he initially went into investment banking after his 2010 graduation from Claremont McKenna College. It wasn’t long before his demanding job at Credit Suisse made him realize what he’s truly passionate about.

“I wanted to go to a place where I could have a serious effect,” he says. Though he had never set foot in Detroit, when he heard about the opportunity with Venture for America, he jumped at the chance.

“It was tough at first to adjust to Detroit,” he admits. “I pretty much moved here sight unseen. Once I got used to people talking in the elevators [an apparently Midwestern phenomenon], I really liked it here a lot. The community is super supportive, and it’s been fun to be on the ground floor of rebuilding a city.”

Today, Baltimore is working as an analyst with Detroit Venture Partners while he works to get his own startup off the ground. Along with three other Venture for America fellows, he’s the co-founder of Startup Effect, which teaches kids in New Orleans and Detroit how to apply a more entrepreneurial mindset to all aspects of life.

“We teach them to be confident, to learn how to fail fast, and move forward,” Baltimore says. “It’s a 10-week curriculum developed with some of the best companies in the world.”

Baltimore adds that Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, is an adviser to Startup Effect and gave the company its first chunk of seed funding. In 2014, Startup Effect plans to offer classes in at least one more city.

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