Several of the founders and leaders of Baltimore's 2023 RealList startups honorees and honorable mentions. (Courtesy photos, image by

January is a time for half-hearted new year’s resolutions and summarily dashed hopes of another Ravens Super Bowl win, yes. But you can add celebration to the list, too.

If you’re already plugged into what we do here at, then you’re well aware that the first months of the year mark the time when we announce the new edition of our RealLIST Startups. And if you don’t know, here’s a refresher: In each of the main markets we cover, our reporters annually list around 20 startups — 10 main honorees and 10 honorable mentions — that we deem worth watching in the new year.

This year’s qualifying companies needed to be founded in 2020 or later (although we considered some exceptions, as noted below); generate most of their revenue from selling a “product,” which largely invalidated consultancies and agencies; and not have undergone an exit event, like an IPO or acquisition. We put these criteria to you in Slack and newsletter callouts and held them against our coverage over the past few years, including items like our quarterly PitchBook Venture Monitor analyses and Awards that note significant raises and product releases by companies within our geographies.

While the final list you’ll see below took high-raising companies into account, we also sought to highlight innovative companies impacting fields beyond those like biotech and cybersecurity that seemingly dominate the local tech investment market. In addition, this list takes into account companies from throughout the Baltimore area, including its suburbs and surrounding counties.

All of this said, we largely still approached this year’s RealLIST like those we’ve published for six years running — with nuance and an eye for where we see growth and need. Those lists have frequently predicted growth trajectories and other developments that we’ve covered as often as possible, as well.

Without further ado, here are the Baltimore region’s startups to watch in 2023:

10. Youme

Founded in 2021 and led by CEO Hafeezah Muhammad, this Windsor Mill-based company operates a telehealth platform offering comprehensive mental health services for children and families. The $287,500 raise it logged last month was one of the tops of Q4 2022, adding to a Crunchbase-reported $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from early 2022.

9. MIRA1a Therapeutics

Drawing from research by chief scientific officer and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine adjunct professor Adam Paplin, East Baltimore’s MIRA1a Therapeutics (also known as MIRA Pharmaceuticals) is innovating in pain management by developing a namesake drug that replicates cannabis’s anti-inflammatory qualities without side affects like hunger or anxiousness.

As it prepares MIRA1a for Food and Drug Administration approval, the company is riding high on the nearly $7 million seed it raised last year — one of 2022’s largest for a Baltimore city-based company.


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