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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, ChooseMaryland.org? 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

Sponsor

Award

Companies

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston

Legal services

All 12 InvestMaryland Challenge finalists

CoFoundersLab

Membership

All 12 InvestMaryland Challenge finalists

Rock the Post

Discounted crowdfunding services

All 41 InvestMaryland Challenge semi-finalists

Betamore

Membership

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.

InvestMaryland Challenge Finale

The InvestMaryland Challenge will conclude May 19 at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

For months, competitors in the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge have fine-tuned their business plans, developed growth goals and presented before judges. Their quest will conclude during the challenge’s finale on May 19 at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development‘s second annual early-stage business competition will award $100,000 grand prizes to businesses in four categories, including information technology hardware and software, life sciences, cybersecurity and general industry. All challenge competitors are also eligible for more than $300,000 in grants, software, lab and incubator space and other prizes.

The finale will feature Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and DBED Secretary Dominick Murray as they celebrate the State’s startup ecosystem. A reception, remarks from public officials and the presentation of awards will be followed by an opportunity to explore the aquarium.

Grand prizes winners will be selected from among 12 remaining finalists, announced in March, including:

IT Hardware and Software

Life Sciences

General Industry

Cybersecurity

Challenge applicants, judges, partners, sponsors and public officials will be admitted free but must register online. The general public may purchase tickets for $25 and exhibit tables are available for $300.

See the Eventbrite invitation for additional details and registration information.

Maryland Pew

The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzes state public policy.

Economic development incentive programs can play a major role in energizing a state’s business climate, but how the results of those programs compare remains largely unknown.

In an effort to measure the effectiveness of these programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness—both nationally recognized non-profit, non-partisan organizations—recently launched the Business Incentives Initiative. Maryland is among just seven states selected to participate in the program.

Nancy McCrea, Director of Research at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, led the State’s application process for the initiative and will manage Maryland’s contribution to the groundbreaking new partnership.

“We especially welcome the opportunity to work with other states and national experts in the field to identify areas where evaluation can be improved. We’re interested in how other states have improved reporting requirements to make them more consistent across programs and what tools they have used to collect performance information,” McCrea said.

“Essentially, the program is offering us consulting services for our work in developing better incentive evaluation procedures,” she added.

McCrea will join representatives of Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia at a kickoff event May 7-8 at Pew’s Washington, D.C. offices.

According to Pew, the Business Incentives Initiative has three main goals:

  • Identify effective ways to manage and assess economic development incentive policies and practices.
  • Improve data collection and reporting on incentive investments.
  • Develop national standards and best practices that states can use to successfully gather and report data on economic development incentives.

Ultimately, the initiative hopes to assist states in supporting incentive programs with the biggest positive impact, according to Jeff Chapman, Manager of the Economic Development Tax Incentives Project at Pew.

In an interview with the Bloomberg BNA SALT Blog, Chapman said, ”We will be working intensively with the seven selected states to develop and implement tailored solutions to the challenges they face in this arena. In addition, there will be a heavy focus on cross-state dialogue throughout the initiative. This work will pave the way for the development of a set of best practices that can be put to use by states around the country.”

Find additional information on Maryland’s business incentive programs through DBED and information on the Business Incentives Initiative through Pew.

GoWaiter.comSatisfying a craving from your favorite restaurant likely involves a drive, a parking spot, a table and a server.

But an innovative new franchise, GoWaiter of Waldorf, hopes to streamline that process, bringing food directly to customers’ homes from restaurants that do not ordinarily offer their own delivery service.

GoWaiter of Waldorf in Charles County is now slated for expansion thanks to a $100,000 State-sponsored loan to Bell Enterprises, LLC. The loan was made possible through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development‘s (DBED) Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA) and Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program (MPVSBLP), DBED announced on Tuesday.

Kristen Bell founded GoWaiter of Waldorf in 2012 and is owner, president and CEO of Bell Enterprises, LLC. Her husband, Christopher Bell, is Bell Enterprises’ chief information officer.

The husband and wife team trace their work history back to the United States Air Force. Kristen Bell served 11 years of active duty and is now a service-disabled veteran who works as an intelligence analyst. Christopher Bell is also a veteran who works as an information systems security manager.

According to Kristen Bell, the $100,000 loan will open up new opportunities for their young Maryland business.

“These programs are very valuable assets to small businesses owners, especially veterans, and could mean the difference between a company expanding or not staying in business,” Bell said in a statement.

“Oftentimes as a veteran, you may not have the money to start up or expand a business. This money will help us reach a larger customer base, as well as potentially grow in Maryland,” she said.

DBED Secretary Dominick Murray praised the loan program and its potential to assist entrepreneurial veterans.

“DBED was pleased to assist this promising veteran-owned company with their expansion in Southern Maryland,” Secretary Murray said in a statement.

“Maryland has an outstanding climate for entrepreneurs, including programs and resources that help propel a company from early stage to high growth. We look forward to working with more companies like GoWaiter of Waldorf to ensure their success and continued growth in our State,” he said.

Maryland DBED and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs offer a variety of programs to assist Maryland military veterans. Find additional information on their websites and a link to DBED’s full loan announcement here.