Archives For DBED


Motionsoft’s management software provides solutions for the wellness industry. Photo courtesy of Motionsoft.

The Maryland Venture Fund (MVF) has invested $600,000 in Rockville-based Motionsoft, a leading provider of management software to gyms and fitness clubs.

The investment comes as part of a $10 million Series B investment round led by Route 66 Ventures and included Edison Ventures as a co-investor. The State of Maryland’s investment is part of a multifaceted effort led by Governor Martin O’Malley to stimulate growth and job creation among high-tech startup companies in Maryland.

“Today’s investment is part of our focus on innovation — we are committed to supporting our entrepreneurs, innovators, startup companies and small businesses like Motionsoft because, in addition to being the future leaders of our economy, they are creating the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Governor O’Malley.

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The InvestMaryland Challenge is back. In its third year, the State-sponsored competition will again award $100,000 prizes to Maryland’s top early-stage businesses, Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray announced Wednesday.

The 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge will launch four new categories—Information Technology; Defense and Security; Life Sciences; and Sustainability and Exploration—making the contest more inclusive than ever. Grand prize category winners will each receive $100,000 grants. Applicants are also eligible to win other prizes, including cash grants, incubator space, marketing and legal services, and opportunities to pitch investors. All applicants will have opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs, judges, potential customers and partners.

Past winners have experienced rapid growth after completing the Challenge. Frederick-based Luminal, a grand prize winner in 2014, raised $10 million in additional investment and tripled the size of their staff. Likewise, North East-based i-Lighting, a grand prize winner in 2013, doubled the size of their facility, doubled their staff and launched several new product lines.

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Diversified Packaging Products, Inc. is based in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.

A veteran-owned company has received a helping hand from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) through a $20,000 interest-free loan, DBED Secretary Dominick Murray announced Monday.

The loan was awarded to Grasonville-based Diversified Packaging Products, Inc., an Eastern Shore wholesale distributor that supplies barware and beverage accessories. The Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program is administered by DBED in consultation with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA).

The company plans to use the funds to help the company finance equipment upgrades, including a new server, information management system and desktop computers. These are important components of the company’s ongoing expansion, according to James McCrea, a former captain in the United States Air Force. He and Mary Ellen McCrea founded the Diversified Packaging Products nearly 30 years ago, selling their original beer and wine gift boxes throughout the United States and internationally. They have recently expanded their product line to include various barware supplies and customizable accessories for the beverage industry.

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luminallogoLuminal, a rising star in Maryland’s cybersecurity community, has earned a follow-on investment of nearly $451,000 from the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), the equity investment arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). The investment, made with InvestMaryland funds, is part of a $10 million funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Luminal specializes in cyber defense related to securing cloud computing systems. The company is relatively new to the State. Earlier this year, it relocated from West Virginia and became eligible to participate in Maryland’s cybersecurity industry incentives. The MVF previously invested $600,000 in the company. Luminal later won a $100,000 grand prize in the InvestMaryland Challenge, a DBED-sponsored national business competition. It was also the first company to take advantage of Maryland’s Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit.


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Thanks to its unique collection of government agencies, research facilities and private companies, Maryland is home to a major defense technology market.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) plans to bring this community together for its Contract Connections: Defense Labs Tech Transfer Showcase, Sept. 15 at the BWI Marriott Hotel in Linthicum Heights.

The event is tailored toward scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and company representatives involved in cloud computing, network security, interoperability, biological defenses, infectious diseases and vaccines.

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National Golden Tissue began producing in Hagerstown in 2008.

National Golden Tissue began producing in Hagerstown in 2008.

National Golden Tissue (NGT)—a Hagerstown-based manufacturer of paper towels, napkins and bath and facial tissues—is planning major expansion and the creation of 100 new jobs. Spurring development is funding and assistance from State, federal and local resources.

“We are proud to be a manufacturer in the great state of Maryland,” said Gus Shahrooz, Chief Operating Officer for NGT. “We owe a large portion of our success to the support we have received over the years from Washington County, Hagerstown, and the State. The level of cooperation and support that these organizations have given NGT should be a testament for any manufacturer in the country looking to relocate.”

Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), announced on Wednesday, support for NGT in the form of a Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) $1 million conditional grant to Washington County. The CDBG is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Through the program, DBED and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development administer federal funds for community and economic development. Continue Reading…

Maryland Business PropertyDid you know that one of the State’s most comprehensive listings of available business properties is not only free of charge but easily accessible through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s website, You don’t even have to register or log in to use the Maryland Business Properties section of the website. It’s one of many resources DBED provides for growing companies.

Let’s walk through how to use this service and some details you should keep in mind while searching:

  • The Business Properties page features approximately 2,500 available buildings and sites, including photos, addresses, square footage, proximity to airports and highways, an interactive map and contact information to speak with a DBED representative, a local economic development representative or property broker.  
  • The interactive map allows for in-depth search customization and categorization. Simply change the settings to search for a specific size, building feature or zoning. In addition, you can obtain detailed demographic information (population, household income, etc.) about any community in Maryland. The map also helps business owners take advantage of regional finance options and tax credits by showing Priority Funding Areas and One Maryland Jurisdictions.  
  • This service is best suited for medium to larger sized businesses, as the directory primarily includes properties of at least 20,000 square feet or 10 acres of land.
  • The information on buildings and sites comes directly from listing brokers and from DBED’s local economic development partners. The software is powered by Location One, the oldest, largest and most affordable economic development building, site and community database system in the nation.

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Mobile System 7

Mobile System 7 has moved to Maryland.

Mobile System 7, a data system security provider, has moved its headquarters from Virginia to Bethesda, Maryland, and earned $400,000 in State and county investments, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced Tuesday.

The company’s move opened the door for a $300,000 investment by the State’s InvestMaryland program, administered by the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF). Created in 2011, the InvestMaryland program is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history, the result of an $84 million online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies.

The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development also joined the financing round, investing $100,000. Private investors contributed, as well.

“We are excited to have a great partner like MVF that recognizes the value of data security to the enterprise. The proliferation of mobile devices and SaaS make enterprise data accessible, globally and around the clock. We ensure that only legitimate users have access to this data,” Mark McGovern, CEO of Mobile System 7, said in a statement. “With this investment, we will expand our team to support our growing customer base.”

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The InvestMaryland Challenge concluded this week as dozens of early-stage companies were awarded grants, business services and other resources valued at nearly $1 million.

Four $100,000 grand prizes, funded by the Maryland Venture Fund and BioMaryland Center, part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, were awarded to companies involved in information technology hardware and software, life sciences, cybersecurity and general industry.

Find a full list of grand prize and special award winners here

Greg Merril, CEO of Brain Sentry, who won the grand prize in the life sciences category, said the competition is helping to strengthen the State’s entrepreneurial community. Brain Sentry’s flagship product is a helmet-mounted sensor which helps identify whether someone should be assessed for a concussion.

“It’s so difficult for startup companies to get the funding and support to really make an impact in the economy. The State of Maryland is doing all the right things to make companies like Brain Sentry a success,” Merril said.

For Josh Stella, CEO of Luminal, the grand prize winner in cybersecurity, the competition offered his company an opportunity to share its mission with a wider audience. The software company is building next-generation security and infrastructure systems for cloud computing.

“It is a challenge to communicate deeply technical ideas to business people who aren’t solidly technical. It’s definitely been interesting to explain what we’re doing to folks who aren’t computer geeks and computer science folks like we are,” Stella said.

“You have to have a compelling invention and you have to have a compelling business plan because the judges understand what it means to create a great company,” he added.

Find extended interviews with these entrepreneurs in the above videos. 

From among hundreds of applicants, judges selected four innovative early-stage companies to receive $100,000 grand prizes during the second annual InvestMaryland Challenge finale Monday evening.

Find a full list of grand prize and special award winners here

The contest, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, was launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2012 to boost State resources for startups.

Governor O’Malley reflected on his work with Maryland entrepreneurs.

“I want to thank you for having the courage to take risks, to break the symmetry and to create new ideas and solutions to human problems, which is really what the creation of wealth is all about,” he said. ”I’ve been honored to be a small part of the great work all of you are engaged in. You are transforming our economy and you are transforming the way we feed and fuel and heal this economy.”

Maryland DBED Secretary Dominick Murray likewise praised all applicants for their efforts toward strengthening the larger economy.

“Young high-tech innovative companies like yours are vital to our economy in Maryland. The products and technologies that you have developed are keeping us safer, keeping us healthier and keeping us better connected than ever before,” Secretary Murray said.

See the above video for extended remarks from Governor O’Malley and Secretary Murray.

The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge, an early-stage business competition of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, came to an exciting close Monday evening at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by DBED Secretary Dominick Murray, entrepreneurs and business leaders, applauded the winners of nearly $1 million in grants and prizes.

“Congratulations to the winners of the InvestMaryland Challenge, all the companies that participated and the members of Maryland’s vibrant and growing entrepreneurial community that have made the InvestMaryland Challenge such a success,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement.

“Maryland is more committed than ever to supporting the entrepreneurs and innovators who develop cutting-edge technologies, start new companies and create family-sustaining jobs that will employ citizens of our State for generations to come. I look forward to watching all of the Challenge companies grow and thrive here in Maryland,” he said.

Competition judges selected four of the most promising and innovative applicants to receive $100,000 grand prizes.

$100,000 Grand Prize Grant Winners
Industry Company Company Description Company location
IT Hardware/Software ClickMedix ClickMedix enables access to high-quality healthcare through mobile health (mHealth) technologies. Gaithersburg, Maryland
Cybersecurity Luminal Luminal is a software startup company building next generation security and infrastructure systems for cloud computing. Frederick, Maryland
Life Sciences Brain Sentry Brain Sentry’s innovative helmet-mounted sensor helps identify players who should be assessed for a concussion. Bethesda, Maryland
General Industry Healthify Healthify sells a web-based platform to Medicaid Managed Care plans to screen their members in a medical setting for psychosocial needs—issues like food insecurity, substance abuse, and depression. New York, New York

In addition to the grand prizes, Cybersecurity category winner Luminal will receive free exhibit space from the Federal Business Council during the CyberMaryland Conference in Fall 2014. Healthify, the General Industry category winner, will receive an additional $2,500 cash award from the 2013 General Industry winner, i-Lighting CEO Scott Holland.

InvestMaryland Challenge sponsors have also provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, prizes and business services to participating companies, bringing the total awards available to applicants to nearly $1 million. Find descriptions of each special award below:

InvestMaryland Challenge Finalist Awards




Whiteford, Taylor & Preston

Legal services

All 12 InvestMaryland Challenge finalists



All 12 InvestMaryland Challenge finalists

Rock the Post

Discounted crowdfunding services

All 41 InvestMaryland Challenge semi-finalists



All IT Hardware/Software, Cybersecurity and General Industry finalists


Maryland Centers of Innovation Awards Winners
Sponsor Award Company
bwtech@UMBC CyberHive bwtech@UMBC CyberHive Awards: Co-working space
Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Affiliated Services Award: Affiliated services
TowsonGlobal Business TowsonGlobal Business Incubator Award: Associate membership
ETC Incubator ETC Incubator Award: Incubator space
Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center & Rural Maryland Council Rural Entrepreneur Award: $10,000 grant
U.S. Army Research Laboratory Army Research Laboratory Awards: Incubator space and collaboration with U.S. Army scientists and engineers
Montgomery College Montgomery College Kauffman FastTrac Awards: Scholarships to Kauffman FastTrac Tech Venture course


Life Sciences and Investor Awards Winners
Sponsor Award Company
Epidarex Capital Epidarex Capital Investor Pitch Award: Pitch before venture capitalists and angel investment teams
Sterilex Corporation Women in Science & Engineering Award: $1,000 to advance biomedical
BioHealth Innovation BioHealth Innovation Commercial Relevance Program Award: Grant proposal consulting
Noble Life Sciences Noble Life Sciences Drug Development Services Award: $5,000 in pre-clinical drug development services
BuzzQuake BuzzQuake Marketing Award: Web development, content consulting and logo design services
Root3Labs Root3Lab Electromechanical Device Development Award: Electromechanical device development support
SoMax Consulting SoMax Business Consulting Award: Business consulting


High Tech Startup and Investor Awards Winners
Sponsor Award Company
New Market Ventures New Market Ventures EdTech Investor Pitch Award: Pitch before investors
Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, College Park Dingman Angels Investor Pitch Award: Pitch before investors
Baltimore Angels Baltimore Angels Investor Pitch Award: Pitch before investors
EnerTech Capital EnerTech Capital Award: $2,500 grant and mentoring
Microsoft BizSpark Microsoft BizSpark Business Services Award: $50,000 in business services
Prince George’s County Prince George’s EDI Fund Conditional Loan Award: Prequalified to receive a $50,000 loan
Prince George’s County FSC First Loan Fund Investor Pitch Awards: Pitch before investors
Partner2Partner Export Partner2Partner Export Award: Export consultation and support


LuminalCybersecurity startup Luminal has moved its headquarters to Maryland and plans to expand, thanks in part to a State investment, Governor Martin O’Malley announced Monday.

The InvestMaryland program, one of Governor O’Malley’s key economic development initiatives administered by the State’s Maryland Venture Fund, has awarded Luminal a $600,000 investment.

Previously based in West Virginia, Luminal recently moved to Frederick, Maryland. The company’s flagship product is Fugue, which brings control and security to cloud computing. The investment is part of a $3.8 million fundraising round Luminal will use to grow its engineering staff, continue product development and expand its customer base.

“The current model for computing is broken, and bad actors are racing far ahead of available defenses,” Josh Stella, CEO of Luminal and previously a principal solutions architect at Amazon Web Services, said in a statement. “We’re taking advantage of the nature of cloud computing to deliver native security, declarative control, and operational simplicity previously unattainable.”

Following its move to Maryland, Luminal became one of the first companies in the State to apply for the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit. It was also recently named one of the top three finalists in the cybersecurity category of the InvestMaryland Challenge, an early-stage business competition offering $100,000 grand prize grants and a host of other awards and business services. The winners will be announced in May.

Governor O’Malley said he welcomes Luminal to Maryland’s growing cybersecurity community.

“Investing in young, high-tech companies is a critical piece of Maryland’s strategy to strengthen and expand our Innovation Economy, grow family-sustaining jobs, and support the development of technologies that keep us safer, healthier and better connected than ever before,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. “We are proud to make this investment in Luminal and to have them in our State. Maryland is the epicenter of cybersecurity and we look forward to Luminal playing a significant and growing role in that community.”

Find additional information on the InvestMaryland program and other business resources through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.