TEDCO to Manage New 'Highly-focused' Affinity Funds

Changes reflect organization’s renewed focus on entrepreneurship and financial sustainability

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced the realignment of two of its core funding and investment programs, the addition of a Patent Assistance Program and that it will be managing four new highly-focused investment funds, or TEDCO affinity funds. TEDCO also unveiled a new website – www.TEDCO.md – that makes it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to connect with Maryland’s go-to source for entrepreneurial support and guidance. The organization’s restructuring of existing investment programs and addition of affinity funds will position the public corporation to generate long-term income to further leverage the State’s investment in innovation.

Formerly known as the Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund (MTTCF), TEDCO’s newly-named Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) has raised its funding level to $100,000. The TCF will continue to support projects that advance a technology toward market, enabling companies to achieve early technical milestones that are critical to advancing products along the commercialization pathway and securing follow-on investments. The TCF agreement was also changed into a conventional convertible note to ensure additional opportunities for long-term income. Since its inception, the TCF program has awarded more than $15.1 million in grants to Maryland companies, which have gone on to receive downstream funding in excess of $550 million.

A new program called the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), created by the General Assembly and administered by TEDCO, launched in the final quarter of 2012. The MII promotes the commercialization of research conducted in five qualifying Maryland universities: Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Maryland Baltimore. The initiative encourages universities to partner on commercialization proposals, strategies, and funding sources. With a $5.8 million budget for FYI 2013, the MII program facilitates technology transfer from university labs to start-up companies, creating jobs and fuel for Maryland’s economic engine.

With the advent of the MII, another TEDCO program, the Technology Validation Program (a combination of the former University Technology Development Fund [UTDF] and the former TechStart Fund), has been restructured and will provide funding for proof-of-principle studies that confirm the commercial viability of a technology and/or market analyses to establish that a technology meets a significant market need. Researchers working on technologies developed at non-MII universities, not-for-profit research institutions and federal laboratories (for market assessments only) are all eligible to apply for the Technology Validation Program. TEDCO has provided $6 million in grants to researchers through the program, which has resulted in the creation of more than 50 Maryland start-up companies.

To assist start-up companies seeking patents for technologies licensed from Maryland’s universities, TEDCO also announced a new Patent Assistance Program. Through this program, start-ups can apply for matching funding to pay ongoing patent expenses due to a Maryland University while the company raises capital. The program creates an incentive for entrepreneurs to license technologies from Maryland’s universities and for those universities to license technology to entrepreneurs at an earlier stage in their company’s development.

TEDCO also announced that it has launched an effort to establish a family of four highly-focused investment funds, or TEDCO affinity funds, that the organization will manage. Propel Baltimore, a $4.3 million angel investment fund targeted at Baltimore City companies, was launched in March 2012. The other funds include the Veterans Opportunity Fund, a $10 million fund geared toward entrepreneurs who served in the U.S. military; the Chesapeake Regional Innovation Fund, a $20 million fund supporting technologies spawned out of regional universities; and Orange Knocks, a $20 million fund targeted at cyber security technologies.

“TEDCO has supported Maryland entrepreneurs and innovations for more than 14 years, and this year with the addition of several multi-million-dollar funds under its management, we will play an even greater role within Maryland’s innovation economy,” said Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “Responding to the needs of the start-up community, restructuring some of our signature technology development programs and being able to manage several targeted investment funds represents a new, more sustainable chapter for TEDCO. We believe our new website reflects this renewed focus, and will make it simple for Maryland entrepreneurs to take advantage of all the funding, mentoring and networking resources TEDCO has to offer.”

TEDCO’s new website, www.TEDCO.md, hosts information about each of the organization’s programs and funds, including eligibility requirements, program/fund manager contact information and applications. Users can also access TEDCO’s calendar of events and register for networking receptions and monthly funding briefings, and easily navigate the site to locate opportunities.

TEDCO also released its inaugural State of the Start-Up report, which provides an overview of the health of Maryland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. To learn more about how TEDCO supports innovation, read the State of the Start-Up here.

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) is the go-to source for entrepreneurial support and guidance for start-ups and early-stage companies engaged in bringing innovative ideas to market. For more than a decade, the organization has provided funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to support Maryland’s innovation ecosystem. While founded by the Maryland General Assembly, TEDCO is an independent entity that makes seed/early-stage investments and manages private capital for angel and venture capital funds. It is frequently ranked as one of the most active seed/early-stage investors in the nation. The organization plays a key role in bringing research created in Maryland’s educational institutions and federal laboratories into the commercial marketplace. For more information on TEDCO and its programs and resources, visit www.TEDCO.md.

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