TEDCO Higher Ed Collaborators Grow Impact in Baltimore through Venture Funding

Published in Maryland Inno on January 15, 2023, 12:00 AM

Maryland is a national powerhouse in finance, health care, education and manufacturing; coupled with several of its public and private colleges and universities, the state is looking to boost outcomes in these industries through venture capital and private investment.

TEDCO is proud to serve as a lead collaborator in Maryland’s support of businesses within emerging and underserved communities statewide. Its work with institutions ranges from collaborative marketing of venture funding to direct programming support for startups based at institutions. The foundation for this work traces back to 2012, when TEDCO launched the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) as a collaborative incubation and funding initiative between the state of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and the University of Maryland, College Park.

“MII was created to foster innovative entrepreneurs and ideas in the commercial sector of Maryland,” said Arti Santhanam, executive director of the MII board. “By utilizing Maryland’s five academic research institutions, we’re supporting the innovation ecosystem throughout Maryland by bringing more jobs, business and economic diversity to the state.”

In less than 10 years, the effort to bring products and services from the qualifying institutions has supported 119 businesses in securing additional rounds of funding totaling more than $70 million. Nowhere is the partnership more active than the greater Baltimore region, where a number of institutions have prioritized economic growth in underserved areas of Baltimore City.

“We work with investors and industry to try and solve big problems that the world is facing,” said Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the president of Johns Hopkins University for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and executive director of JHU Technology Ventures. According to organizational reports, Wyskiel has helped broker startup resources for more than 160 companies, helping to generate $404 million in revenue from licensing and industry collaborations since 2013.

Last summer, JHU Technology Ventures partnered with Microsoft to provide more than $150,000 in funding to three university-based startups with products in cancer detection and therapeutics and wildfire detection.

“The Johns Hopkins Enterprise receives over $2.5 billion in very competitive research funding from a wide range of areas, and how do we help translate those dollars into real world solutions for unmet needs?” Wyskiel asked.

Since 2020, Morgan State University has earned 11 U.S. issued patents, nearly tripling the number earned by faculty at the university in its history. Officials at the university say these numbers reflect the kinds of investments made by the state through increased appropriations and funding partners like TEDCO, partners who can see the future through the lens of entrepreneurial development.

“If you really are looking to invest heavily in research opportunities at Morgan… (try and ask) how do we create the kind of ecosystem where we can have startups and you nurture those startups and they are going to grow into major tech companies,” said Morgan State President David Wilson. “For every $10 million invested in Morgan, you’re going to get a lot of those spin-offs.”

The investment and startup culture even impacts opportunities in the liberal arts. The Maryland Institute College of Arts is one of the oldest degree-granting art colleges in the U.S. and will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2026. Its Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship and MICApreneurship program works to support students and alumni in cultivating business in creative works and design.

Through its annual UP/Start Venture corporation, community members compete for investment to support business ventures. Last year, finalists earned more than $100,000 for tech projects in human resources, occupational wellness and virtual communications.

“Our job is to demystify art and to shatter the stereotype of starving artists, and then (bring) art into every aspect of education because our mission is to prepare diverse students for fulfilling and contributing lives,” said MICA President Samuel Hoi.

To watch episodes of the TEDCO Talks virtual series, visit the links below.

TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. TEDCO identifies, invests in and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. Learn more at tedcomd.com.

By: Tammi Thomas, Chief marketing and communications officer at TEDCO.