Published on 10/26/17 in the Baltimore business Journal
Maryland Technology Development Corp. awarded $750,000 to six teams who submitted proposals for new kinds of startup incubation methods that could be used in Maryland. They will use the money to bring those ideas to life.
What started as a $300,000 incentive and an open call for ideas on new methods to help support and grow local startups, beyond the resources already available, yielded 51 proposals submitted to TEDCO. This incubation challenge was launched in June and promised to fund up to two innovative ideas.
TEDCO narrowed the pool of proposals down to 16, then six. All six teams delivered their final pitches Wednesday, during TEDCO’s annual Entrepreneur Expo.
John Wasilisin, president of TEDCO, said after seeing the strength of the teams and evaluating each of their unique proposals, board members decided to up the offer, to fund every one of them.
“Our goal was to get some disruptive new ideas in the mix, and de-risk them, by giving them the money they needed to jump start these great ideas,” Wasilisin said. “We want to see if we can really move the bar for startups in Maryland.”
The six finalist projects will each receive $125,000. The winning teams, collectively made up of about 21 collaborating organizations, are to use the funds to support the launch and first year of operation of their incubation ideas.
Here are the new projects being brought to Maryland:
- TrajectoryNext (Betamore, UM Ventures, the Grid, FastForward, Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures and University of Maryland, Baltimore): A new post-accelerator program will offer startups support and assistance as they work to build up their teams and acquire new customers. The program is designed to serve startups that are navigating the tricky period after graduating from an accelerator or incubator and losing that outside support system.
- (Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, Inncuvate Consulting, Bowie Business Innovation Center, Maryland Intellectual Property and Legal Resource Center, Prince George’s Community College and Northrop Grumman): This project focuses on creating innovation connections between entrepreneurs and corporate entities. During four-week cohorts, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to develop solutions for specific problems identified by local corporations, ensuring guaranteed customers.
- FounderTrac (Launch! Annapolis, MCVC partners, Annapolis Ventures and Maryland Tech Council): A 12-week accelerator program helps connect startups with industry mentors and also brings in in-house venture funding opportunities to help startups move their businesses forward. This program has already been launched and recently graduated its first cohort. It will be expanded in the coming years, with extra funding.
- (Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center‘s F³ Tech Program and Bethesda’s BeGreen Hub): This project focuses on building bridges and collaboration opportunities between rural and urban entrepreneurs. There will be quarterly symposiums that allow for representatives from different rural/urban industries to discuss the biggest problems facing their businesses, and challenge events that allow entrepreneurs to try and tackle those problems.
- Anchor Ventures (Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, UM Ventures and University System of Maryland): This project builds on a ‘venture cafe’ model that has worked in other states, and includes monthly meet up events — same time and day each month — where startups and entrepreneurs can network, collaborate, engage with guest speakers and mentors and mingle with venture capitalists in a relaxed environment. The program will be piloted in Baltimore, with hopes to expand it to other parts of the state as well.
- The LaunchPort Accelerator (MVR Co. and the Quinn Group): A new accelerator based in City Garage is geared toward medical device firms. It is being launched through a partnership between Engineered Medical Systems Inc., and Indianapolis-based medical products manufacturer, and local advisory firm the MVR Co. The program will give growing companies the opportunity to establish residency in a new manufacturing facility, called the Factory, as firms develop their technologies, seek regulatory approval, engage in trials and work toward commercialization.