TEDCO logo over a backdrop of the Maryland flag

TEDCO 2021 Recap – Successful Initiatives and New Funding Programs

The celebration doesn’t stop here! Be sure to check out Part 2 of our 2021 TEDCO recap

2021 was a phenomenal year for TEDCO (Maryland Technology Development Corporation)! Despite challenges and setbacks due to COVID-19, the venture and equity investment organization pushed boundaries and made phenomenal strides in growth and expansion across the state of Maryland. TEDCO also provided crucial funding, resources, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups in the state.

BHCR members may already be well-acquainted with TEDCO’s activities through its widely popular monthly e-newsletter and LinkedIn page, however, we wanted to recap just a few of their key milestones and achievements from 2021.

“When I think of TEDCO, I see an organization that fuels the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Maryland and helps to unleash the potential that founders have inside them when they are supported,” shared BioBuzz and Workforce Genetics CEO Chris Frew. “Looking back on 2021 you can see that the TEDCO team is fueled themselves and continues to make a huge impact on diverse populations of innovators across the state. I’m thrilled to see how much they are accomplishing and the many new faces that are helping to lead TEDCO forward.  Congrats on all your success.”

TEDCO - Leading Innovation to Market

Funding Successes

2021 saw a record-breaking number of TEDCO applications across various industry sectors for new innovative technologies. When startup companies join TEDCO’s portfolio, they gain access to a wide range of TEDCO resources—from mentors and CEO roundtables to loaned executives. These companies receive the assistance and support they need as they move through team building, balancing funding elements, and negotiating deals.

TEDCO’s vision and effort continue to spark excellence in commercial innovations across Maryland and help startups through their subsequent stages of development. In fact, a recent independent study reported that TEDCO generates $2.3 billion in economic benefits to the state of Maryland and supports 10,433 Maryland jobs! Most importantly, TEDCO has and continues to play a crucial role in supporting startups and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image Courtesy: TEDCO

Rural and Underserved Business Recovery from Impact of COVID-19 (RUBRIC) program
RUBRIC was created through Governor Hogan’s state emergency economic relief package to benefit socially and economically disadvantaged and rural early-stage technology-based businesses that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its funds are administered through TEDCO.

At the height of the pandemic, these companies were experiencing the highest barriers to traditional financing but were still expected to scale to the next phase of fundraising. In July 2021, the program awarded grants to 45 Maryland companies.

You can read more about the recent grants awardees here. The RUBRIC program was also highlighted in the 2022 Maryland Economic Development Association’s (MEDA) Recognition Program.

Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII)
RBII is designed to enhance technology commercialization by providing guidance and mentorship to small and early-stage companies in rural Maryland, with no cost to the company to receive assistance.

A recent healthcare-focused RBII recipient of note is Opal HTM, a White Plains-based company that developed a patented system that improves hospital efficiency by reshaping how medical equipment is managed and maintained. The system uses wireless sensors to track where, when, and how often medical equipment is used, providing end-users with a real-time, high-precision account of equipment utilization. The company received a $25,000 investment through the RBII program.

Agriculture and Rural Rebuild (ARR) Challenge
The ARR Challenge was created for applicants across the state to collaborate with either a research institution, industry, and/or a rural agricultural entity to help develop lasting and sustainable, technology-enabled improvements in Agtech and other rural industries. TEDCO received 31 applications from all regions of the state and awarded grants up to $200,000 to seven projects. You can read more about the awardees here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Grant
TEDCO was awarded a $125,000 grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. FAST funding exists to improve outcomes for women-owned, rural-based, and small disadvantaged businesses in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs by increasing participation. The support FAST provides helps these small research and development firms compete in the SBIR/STTR Program—which for 2022 will have more than $4 billion in non-dilutive, early-stage seed capital. The FAST grant supports TEDCO’s SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab. Find more info about the Proposal Lab can be found here.

Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII)
The MII program was created as a partnership between the State of Maryland and five Maryland academic research institutions: Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and University of Maryland, College Park. Since 2012, the program has been accelerating promising technologies with significant commercial potential to market while leveraging each partner University’s strengths.

MII’s 2021 round of funding included $1.8M invested in 12 companies and over $4.4M awarded to 36 project grants. In the nine years since its launch, MII has disbursed $43M, de-risked 276 unique technologies, and created 119 start-ups. MII’s portfolio of startups have gone on to raise over $571.5M in follow-on funding, with seven exits thus far.

The full list of 2021 MII awardees can be found here. These companies focus on different areas of technology including medical diagnostics (BLOCKsynop, Capsulomics), digital therapeutics (Empower Therapeutics, Evincis Bio), medical services (PreSquared), drug development therapeutics (Silvec Biologics, Geminus Therapeutics), cybersecurity (Haystack Solutions, ML4Cyber), and green energy  (Geothermal Technologies), among others.

Astek Diagnostics, an MII portfolio company, was also accepted into the Y Combinator (YC). Astek is a spinout from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), that guides physicians in prescribing appropriate antibiotics for patients with bacterial sepsis in one hour. The YC is a startup accelerator, based in San Francisco, working with companies to refine their pitch to investors.

If you are interested in applying for MII funding, please refer to the eligibility requirements and application process here.

Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF)
MSCRF is focused on identifying and fostering cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine in Maryland. Since its inception in 2006, MSCRF has nurtured Maryland’s stem cell industry by building a strong community that attracts new companies and talent to the region as well as awarding approximately $170 million for over 500 grants.

MSCRF’s Accelerating Cures initiative is comprised of six programs that help transition human stem cell-based technologies from the bench to the bedside and provide mechanisms to build and grow stem cell companies in Maryland. 2021 saw 24 awardees through the six programs:

  • 7 Discovery grants to help advance cutting-edge stem cell research and technologies. Faculty at Maryland-based universities and research institutes can apply for these awards.
  • 5 Launch grants to support more junior faculty and researchers at Maryland-based universities and research institutes who have never received an MSCRF grant.
  • 1 Validation grant to support Maryland-based researchers who have intellectual property associated with stem cell-based technologies that require additional validation before they can be commercialized.
  • 2 Commercialization grants to support Maryland-based companies developing new human stem cell-based products.
  • 2 Clinical grants to support clinical trials for stem cell-based medical therapies in Maryland.
  • 7 Postdoctoral fellowships to conduct human stem cell research in academia or in industry in Maryland.

You can read more about the 2021 awardees here.  If you are interested in applying for the MSCRF, please refer to the eligibility requirements and application process here.

New Programs and Initiatives

TEDCO launched several new initiatives in 2021 that provide informative and educational resources to BHCR members as well as expand funding opportunities to Maryland startups.

Social Impact Funds
TEDCO embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion in Maryland’s startup communities. In an effort to better serve the state’s underserved founders and communities, TEDCO created the Social Impact Funds which include the Pre-Seed Builder Fund and Inclusion Fund. The Social Impact Funds are purposefully designed to engage and invest in economically disadvantaged founders and communities. Managing this fund is Jean-Luc Park, the new Senior Director of Social Impact Funds.

Maryland Entrepreneur Hub
The Maryland Entrepreneur Hub (The Hub) was launched by TEDCO in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Commerce and the University System of Maryland. The Hub provides a one-stop shop platform of resources and tools available for entrepreneurs starting or running a business in Maryland.

The platform gives a competitive edge to entrepreneurs in Maryland as the state boosts a diverse innovation ecosystem filled with various organizations, incubators, accelerators, investment funds, events, and other entities.

Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII)
In November 2021, TEDCO announced the launch of the Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII)—a program designed to provide technical and business assistance to underserved early-stage companies in the state’s key urban areas. The program provides valuable connections to entrepreneurs through its collaborative partners’ resources and funding, guidance in developing technologies for commercialization, and general business assistance for continuous growth.

UBII also welcomed two Venture Growth Advisors who work in concert with the collaborative partners to assure a high level of support for companies. The Venture Growth Advisors are Tiffany Davis, for Prince George’s County and Tammira Lucas, for Baltimore City. More info about the UBII program can be found here.

TEDCO Portfolio Company Milestones

Numerous TEDCO portfolio companies expanded and celebrated impressive milestones in 2021. As early-stage companies they had previously received valuable TEDCO funding, which has aided in their continued advancement.

Recent TEDCO portfolio company milestones include:

BioBuzz has worked closely with TEDCO over the years and is excited to continue supporting and covering the organization’s endeavors in 2022 and beyond.