ClearMask wins $30K at Shore Hatchery


Entrepreneurs looking to build companies in Baltimore stood out on the Eastern Shore last week.

On October 26, a group of startups competed in Salisbury University’s latest Shore Hatchery entrepreneurship competition.

The 11th round of the event supported by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation drew 13 entrants from around the region, and awarded $92,000 in winnings.

“Our four winning businesses were all women-owned with two minority-owned. These entrepreneurs join the 49 winners from our five-year Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery program who created 226 jobs with an estimated revenue of $16 million in 2018,” Shore Hatchery Director William Burke said in a statement.

Here’s a look at the winners:

Topping the field was ClearMask, the Baltimore-based startup developing a full-face surgical mask that allows deaf and hard of hearing patients and others to allow more transparent communication prior to a procedure. Cofounder Aaron Hsu pitched at the event, and brought home the big check of $30,000. The earnings will help the startup as it identifies materials and engineers the process to bring the mask to mass production, cofounder Allysa Dittmar said.

Fresh off a win at Beta City’s pitch competition, Femly’s Arion Long added another $27,000 for her startup offering a delivery service of organic feminine care products. Long intends to set up operations in Baltimore, and wants to make tampons, pads and other feminine care products freely available in public restrooms.

Lisa Ball of Chester-based Plum Dragon Herbs also won $25,000 to support growth of the company’s herbal health products and natural, topical analgesics.

Winning $10,000 was Algen Air, a Baltimore-based startup founded by Dan Fucich and Kelsey Abernathy. The IMET startup is creating an installation that will scrub carbon dioxide from a room and produce oxygen, while growing nutritional algae.

Along with funding, winners receive mentoring support from board members of Shore Hatchery.