Published on 11/9/17 in the Daily Record

University of Maryland, College Park, startup MF Fire received the first investment form the University System of Maryland’s Maryland Momentum Fund, the system announced Thursday.

MF Fire will receive $192,500 from the momentum fund as part of an initial funding round of $1.2 million.  The investment from the Maryland Momentum Fund is the first by the $25 million fund created by the Board of Regents in 2016.

“The Maryland Momentum Fund embodies our goal of maximizing resources throughout the University System of Maryland and enhancing the system’s economic value to the state,” said Robert Caret, the system’s chancellor. “I am pleased the Maryland Momentum Fund has selected as its first investment MF Fire, a cutting-edge technology that was developed by keen young minds at (the system’s) flagship campus in College Park.”

MF Fire was developed by two graduate students in the Department of Fire Protection and Engineering. Ryan Fisher and Taylor Myers developed an eco-friendly wood stove. The stove is designed to deal with strict emissions standards that have cut back on the number of wood stoves available on the market.

The company claims its stove is up to 60 times cleaner than average wood stoves.

Fisher and Taylor teamed with Baltimore entrepreneur Paul LaPorte, who serves as the company’s CEO.

“With our Catalyst smart wood stove, MF Fire is pushing the bounds of what is possible in wood heat,” LaPorte said in a statement. “We have reimagined wood fire as a clean energy source,  and used state-of-the-art fire science and technology to bring that vision to life – one that deserves a prominent place, whether in a modern smart home or a rural cabin.”

The Maryland Momentum Fund has a $10 million commitment from the system and hopes to get an additional $15 million from venture capitalists and angel investors.

“We are very excited to have MF Fire as the initial investment from the Momentum Fund.  The company offers an efficient product based on combustion science and it emerged out of a center of excellence at the University of Maryland,” said David Wise, director of the Maryland Momentum Fund. “The Momentum Fund was established to support investments that create competitive companies while fostering our unique innovation ecosystem.”