Archives For Innovation & Tech

A growing number of cybersecurity companies, from startups to industry trailblazers, are choosing to build their brands in Maryland.

Jeffrey Wells, Executive Director of Cyber Development with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, explains why in the above video.

Wells cites a number of unique benefits to launching a cybersecurity company within Maryland’s borders, including the following:

  • Advanced technology
  • Research facilities
  • Federal agencies and military commands
  • Academic institutions
  • Trained workforce

Financial assistance is also available through the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit and other State and federal incentives.

For more information on the State’s efforts to stimulate the cybersecurity industry, visit CyberMaryland.

RedOwl Analytics

RedOwl Analytics was named Most Innovative Company at RSA Conference 2014. Photo courtesy RSA

Thanks in part to the region’s abundant resources and business friendly environment, RedOwl Analytics has rapidly progressed from a modest startup to a Maryland success story, co-founder Renny McPherson recently explained in the Huffington Post.

The cybersecurity company—which analyzes complex data trails to increase digital situational awareness—has built a reputation as one of the state’s leading digital security businesses. RedOwl Analytics won the $100,000 grand prize in the inaugural 2013 InvestMaryland Challenge, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and more recently, was named “Most Innovative Company” at RSA Conference 2014.

In his blog post, McPherson spotlights several reasons why his company is thriving in Baltimore, including access to talent, the emerging tech environment, access to bigger companies, proximity to investors and an entrepreneur-friendly government.

RedOwl Analytics’ founders have taken advantage of opportunities for state-sponsored funding. McPherson writes, “The state of Maryland announced $84 million in investment for the ‘innovation economy’ just a month after we settled on Baltimore in March 2012. After that good omen, we entered the inaugural InvestMD challenge in 2013 and won our IT software/hardware category. The competition itself forced us to better define our company strategy, and the $100,000 prize for first place went towards hiring more technical talent.”

The company also identifies with Baltimore’s supportive atmosphere. McPherson writes, “People and companies look out for one another here in Baltimore and celebrate each other’s accomplishments with (almost) as much enthusiasm as a Ravens playoff run. That’s right in line with our company’s core values.”

Find McPherson’s full blog post here on the Huffington Post.

Follow the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development on Facebook and Twitter, and share with us why you decided to build your business in Maryland.

 

The next great idea was easier to find than a necktie at TechBuzz2014, a semi-annual event put on by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) where entrepreneurs, given more to flannel shirts than business suits, pitched their fledgling companies to an auditorium full of venture capital and angel investors.

The event aimed to link investment firms with 20 promising startups seeking about $1 million to $3 million to expand their businesses, hire talent and begin building their products.

Dozens of startups have presented at six similar TechBuzz gatherings since 2010 and 40 percent received venture funding within a year as a result, said MAVA Executive Director Julia Spicer. The growth of TechBuzz over the past four years reflects growth of early and venture-stage investing in the mid-Atlantic. The Baltimore-Washington region is among the most active areas for venture investing in the country, along with California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

Venture capital funding in Maryland increased to $663 million in 2013 from $408 million in 2012, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The state’s 63 percent growth far outpaced the national average of 7 percent. Maryland is also establishing itself as a major market for early investment, according to a report by the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) last month.

That was evident Tuesday at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, a newly renovated Art Deco-era moviehouse, where startups, some of whom who just sold their first product weeks ago, came in search of early “angel” or “Series A” investment. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) was a co-sponsor of the event. James Keeratisakdawong, Principal with DBED’s Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), co-chaired the committee that reviewed the applicants and selected 20 companies to present.

The startups spanned a wide array of ideas and products, some targeting consumers, others geared to the enterprise market. Companies ranged from Basepair, developer of software to analyze DNA sequencing data, to Brain Sentry, a Bethesda company whose wearable helmet sensors can signal when a youngster in a contact sport needs to be checked for a possible concussion, to LoveThatFit, a “virtual fitting” technology that enables users to try on clothes “virtually” and that aims to improve online apparel shopping. Armed only with slide presentations and “elevator speeches,” the entrepreneurs had four minutes to make a pitch. A countdown clock ensured not a second more. A panel of judges then evaluated them in the venture capital equivalent of “American Idol.”

One judge, MVF Managing Director Thomas S. Dann, observed that many local startups are focused on the hot markets of cybersecurity and cloud computing. But whatever the venture, he said, “we want to see entrepreneurs focused on the problem that the customer is trying to solve and how the ROI [return on investment] they offer can attract that next customer.”

Passion was also important. The judges said they made special note of whether the entrepreneur was motivated by a “pain point” they had experienced while seeking a product or service. One example of that was Mark Olcott, who described his College Park-based company Vitus Vet as a cloud-based network of medical records for pets. He described an example of a dog named Bogey that was brought to an emergency clinic for treatment after being injured. The pet died later that night because it couldn’t tolerate the type of anesthesia administered.

Olcott revealed he was the vet.

“I felt like I got kicked in the stomach,” he said.

Startups also must not overlook the potential competition for what they’re trying to create, said Dayna Grayson, a Partner at New Enterprise Associates, which ranked sixth last year for investments in Maryland, according to a recent Baltimore Business Journal survey. “A lot of presenters today didn’t talk about competitors,” she said. “Many large public companies have few direct competitors. It’s not enough to say you’re going to be among the best of five or six.”

Ultimately, as one investor judge told the entrepreneurs, the proof is in the product: “You get enough customers,” he remarked, “then you don’t need our money.”

BALTIMORE, MD (March 4, 2014) – Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that the State, through the BioMaryland Center, has awarded nearly $1.5 million to seven innovative life sciences companies and one educational institution through its Biotechnology Development Awards program. The companies, which received up to $200,000 each, will use the funding to accelerate the commercialization of a wide range of treatments and technologies; including a device that detects concussions in youths engaged in sports; a tool that takes a minimally invasive approach to mitral valve repair; and a drug to reduce eye injections for macular degeneration. An award was also given to a Johns Hopkins University researcher who is developing a device to lessen certain risks involved with cardiac ablation.

“Because of the better choice to invest in initiatives that create jobs and support our growing Innovation Economy, Maryland is well positioned to expand our global leadership and competitiveness,” said Governor O’Malley. “These awards are critical to ensuring the groundbreaking research being done here in Maryland has the opportunity to move to the commercial marketplace.”

Since its inception in 2010, more than $6 million has been awarded through the program to 32 Maryland life science companies. It is a key component of Governor O’Malley’s Bio 2020 initiative. The BioMaryland Center is part of the State’s business and economic development agency, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

“The program already has yielded multiple success stories. Three previous awardees—Gliknik, Telcare, and Unither Virology–collectively have raised more than $100 million after using their biotechnology development award funds to advance the early stages of their technology,” said Dr. Judith Britz, Executive Director of the BioMaryland Center. “We are proud of the work these innovators are doing and anticipate the Center’s investments will help them move their technologies from research to reality.”

Awardees this round include:

  • AsclepiX Therapeutics, LLC (Baltimore) –a long-lasting drug which would reduce the number of eye injections for macular degeneration and improve patient vision.
  • Brain Sentry, Inc. (Bethesda) – helmet mounted sensors which detect and count possible concussive injury hits for youth engaged in sports.
  • Clear Guide Medical (Baltimore) – ultrasound guided technology to make needle biopsy more accurate, faster, and safer.
  • Cordex Systems, Inc. (Annapolis) –an enhanced blood pressure cuff to measure endothelial dysfunction, the earliest indicator of atherosclerosis.
  • Harpoon Medical Inc. (Stevensville) – a surgical tool which will enable surgeons to reliably repair the mitral valve using a minimally invasive beating-heart approach.
  • Otomagnetics (College Park) – a magnetic particle drug delivery system for treatment of sudden hearing loss and eventually common ear infections.
  • Vasoptic Medical Inc. (Columbia) – a low-cost portable retinal imaging instrument for early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy affecting 1 in 3 diabetics.
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) – a system which assists with securing the puncture site during cardiac ablation therapy to compensate for the beating heart.
RedOwl Analytics was named Most Innovative Company at RSA Conference 2014 in the Innovation Sandbox program.

RedOwl Analytics was named Most Innovative Company at RSA Conference 2014 in the Innovation Sandbox program. Photo courtesy RSA

Maryland’s RedOwl Analytics was named the “Most Innovative Company” in the Innovation Sandbox program at RSA Conference 2014 this week in San Francisco.

Innovation Sandbox is one of the information security conference’s most prestigious programs for young cybersecurity companies. The Baltimore-based business was chosen from among ten finalists from across the nation to compete for the ”Most Innovative Company” title. Each company performed product demonstrations before a panel of industry experts.

RedOwl Analytics’ flagship product, Reveal, is a software application that uses computing, statistics and visualizations to help organizations detect patterns, anomalies and hidden risks in their data.

After accepting the award, RedOwl Analytics CEO Guy Filippelli told SCMagazine.com, “We’re really excited to see that people appreciate the human layer of security … We were fortunate to be a part of a great group of companies. We’re really blown away.”

This isn’t the first time RedOwl Analytics has been in the spotlight.

In spring 2013, the company won the top $100,000 prize for information technology in the inaugural InvestMaryland Challenge, a business competition by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. The company, which was founded in December 2011, has also made news for participating in strategic partnerships and attracting venture capital investments.

RedOwl Analytics is one of more than 20 Maryland companies showing at this year’s RSA Conference. The State is represented by the CyberMaryland delegation, led by Jeffrey Wells, Director of Cyber Development within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

For instant updates of CyberMaryland events at the RSA Conference and Maryland cybersecurity companies, follow CyberMaryland on Facebook and on Twitter.

Maryland is showcasing some of most promising cybersecurity companies, government assets and educational institutions this week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Known as the nation’s premier information security conference, it draws approximately 35,000 attendees and hundreds of the world’s leading cybersecurity innovators.

Among conference exhibitors is CyberMaryland, which represents the State’s efforts to foster cybersecurity growth. The CyberMaryland delegation includes the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Venture Fund, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimorebwtech@UMBC incubator, county representatives from Anne Arundel, Montgomery County, Prince George’s and the Howard County Economic Development Authority, and Maryland’s “cyber warriors.”

CyberMaryland’s presence at the RSA Conference comes on the heels of a new agreement signed by State, federal and local officials and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Governor Martin O’Malley and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and  celebrated the agreement, which defines the technology transfer activities and other responsibilities of each partner. The agreement also facilitates moving the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to a renovated 65,000-square-foot building in Rockville, owned by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation. Twenty companies, including Cisco SystemsMcAfeeMicrosoftRSA and Symantec, have agreed to provide hardware, software and assistance to the center as part of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence partnership.

According to Governor O’Malley, the center’s expansion marks another example of the State’s trailblazing efforts in cyber defense.

“For most of our civilization, we’ve been trying to figure out how to secure the air and the land and the water, more recently space, and now there is a fifth domain, the cyber domain. … What we need to make sure is that we capitalize on that security mission to create jobs and expand opportunities for Marylander and Maryland’s young people,” he said.

Senator Mikulski, who has long supported funding for cybersecurity projects within Maryland’s borders, also shared her enthusiasm for the center expansion.

“We want to do something about these cybersecurity threats to your personal identity, to your credit card security, to your records, be they financial records or medical records—that’s what we’re focusing on,” she said.

To follow CyberMaryland’s activities this week at the RSA Conference, like them Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

 

BALTIMORE, MD (February 19, 2014) – Faculty researchers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Johns Hopkins University were recognized for their groundbreaking research and its impact on human health with 2014 BioMaryland LIFE (Leading Innovative Faculty Entrepreneurs) awards. Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray and BioMaryland Center Executive Director Dr. Judy Britz presented the awards to Dr. Jonathan Powell of the Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center to further develop a new therapeutic agent for diabetes type II; and to Dr. Eduardo Davila of the University of Maryland, Baltimore for his T-cell based universal immunotherapy platform to fight cancer. First awarded in 2010, the LIFE prizes are two $50,000 grants funded by the BioMaryland Center along with the two universities to help advance research in biotech and biopharma, medical devices, or diagnostics that have the greatest potential for commercial application.

“We are proud to work with our partners at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland to create a pipeline of support and assistance that takes the groundbreaking research being done at our world-class universities from the bench to the bedside,” said Secretary Murray. “I want to salute all of today’s faculty presenters for the important role they play in keeping our state on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery.”

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One Maryland manufacturer has literally been to the moon and back.

Providing the unique patches on the uniforms of Apollo 11 astronauts for the 1969 moon landing is just one example of Lion Brothers’ broad work history.

More recently, Lion Brothers designed the patches for NBC correspondents at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

In its 115-year history, hundreds of companies, labor groups and government organizations; athletes, collegiate and professional; and community groups, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, trace their patches and insignia designs back to Lion Brothers.

“We make the very best products in the world. It’s something quite remarkable, when you have that knowledge base and that commitment to making beautiful and extraordinary things. It’s really in the DNA of this place,” said Lion Brothers CEO Suzy Ganz

While the walls of the company’s Owings Mills headquarters are filled with framed patches and jerseys from notable past projects, Ganz emphasized that the company isn’t content to rest on its laurels. It is continuing to innovate and expand.

“We’ve accelerated innovation and came out with new printed products that were received really well by the market. Particularly in licensed sports, we developed some of the first digital textile printed products in our industry,” Ganz said.

Lion Brothers has developed groundbreaking techniques with the use of heat application and lasers to create intricate, lightweight and breathable numbers and letters for athletic uniforms. The company has also begun allowing individual users to interact directly with the patch-making process. For a Girl Scout’s final patch, she accesses a Lion Brothers-powered website and creates her own patch design, which is made at the facility and sent to her.

Innovations like these helped the company fare better than most during the recent recession. Lion Brothers avoided layoffs among its American workforce of roughly 60 technicians, designers, developers and other staff. The company also maintained its workforce of about 400 employees in Hong Kong.

In the near future, Ganz hopes to “re-shore” more of the company and grow its selection of completely American-made products. As part of that process, the company will move from its Owings Mills factory to another Baltimore-area location. The new plant will allow for more advanced technology and streamline Lion Brothers’ supply chain. Ganz said the move will likely occur in March 2014.

As the company evolves, Ganz said it will continue to focus on its most valuable assets—its employees.

“In manufacturing, people tend to think that it’s a machinery oriented business, but it’s really a people oriented business and people connect with the products they make,” she said.

It’s thrilling for employees to see the company’s work on the jersey of a professional NBA player or even on the jacket of a United States customs officer at an airport, Ganz said.

“There’s something quite magical about that feeling of ‘Look at that. I did that,’” she said.

Ganz said she hopes Lion Brothers stands as a symbol of the manufacturing sector’s potential for growth and longevity in Maryland. Her leadership in the sector led Governor Martin O’Malley to appoint her chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission. Her three-year term began in January 2014.

“There are tons of opportunities in Maryland. Manufacturing is a sector with a multiplier effect, so it’s about more than just one job. Multiple workers are needed to provide the raw materials and retail these products. Manufacturing plays a tremendous role in making Maryland healthier,” she said.

Fortunately, she said, Maryland already has the tools to grow its manufacturing sector, including a valuable work force and supportive atmosphere.

“It’s a state where we have wonderful workers—they enjoy a high quality of life here,” Ganz said.

“As we move from products that were once mass produced to smart products, we find brains and talent here in Maryland. For us, being a manufacturer means we can connect to universities, labs and other places that bring us all sorts of new innovation,” she said.

TEDCO - Maryland Technology Development CorporationWhat would your business do with $100,000?

For more than a dozen Maryland technology startups, dreams of expansion and development are becoming a reality with the help of awards from the state-sponsored Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).

TEDCO announced on Tuesday that 13 startups received total funding of $1.3 million, $100,000 each, between July 2013 and January 2014, through the organization’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The companies range from i-Lighting, an InvestMaryland Challenge winner and lighting system innovator, to Graftworx, a high-tech medical device developer.

“The Technology Commercialization Fund is a core TEDCO program that makes critical early-stage funding available to promising companies in Maryland,” Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO, said in a statement. “The diversity in technology and industry that spans our TCF portfolio is impressive and TEDCO is energized and optimistic about the promise of these 13 companies.”

Founded by the Maryland State Legislature in 1998, TEDCO is an independent early-stage investment firm and private capital manager. Since its creation, it has funded 192 companies. Beneficiaries of TEDCO funding must have more than 50 percent of their employees in Maryland and must demonstrate startup status by time active, number of employee, investment levels and partnerships.

TEDCO released the following list of winning companies and descriptions:

  • Allovue, LLC, located in Baltimore, streamlines school financial management processes into one data visualization application that helps school leaders navigate the budget process, manage multiple funding streams, track expenses, allocate spending money to teachers, identify trends over time, and plan for future capital investments. 
  • Altenera Technology, Inc., located in Bethesda, has a goal to provide innovative alternatives to resolve some of the challenges common to current clean energy solutions on the market.
  • An Estuary, LLC, located in Baltimore, builds social platform technology and technology-integrated professional development solutions for educators.
  • Ariadne Diagnostics, LLC, located in Rockville, is developing companion diagnostic tests in the areas of metastatic colorectal cancer and neurodegenerative/neuromuscular diseases based on proprietary panels of biomarkers.
  • Citelighter, Inc., located in Baltimore, is a research and writing platform that helps students organize materials for writing papers and lets teachers track their students’ progress.
  • Graftworx, LLC, located in Bel Air, is an early stage medical device company developing a novel solution for detecting blockages of peripheral arterial bypass grafts. 
  • I-lighting, LLC, located in North East, maximizes the longevity and performance of LED lighting with its patented Easy PlugTM Installation System and low voltage DC power supplies.
  • Integrata Security, LLC, located in Baltimore, develops and implements highly innovative solutions that increase the resiliency of information systems for enterprises and government agencies that require the highest level of information security.
  • Maryland Energy and Sensor Technologies, LLC, located in College Park, is developing commercial applications of thermoelastic cooling technology and is the exclusive licensee of this cost effective highly efficient green technology.  
  • Noble Life Sciences, Inc., located in Gaithersburg, provides in vitro and in vivo preclinical drug development services including experimental design and testing, animal and cellular disease models, cell line development and protein production, selection and validation of biomarkers, and vivarium services.
  • PrintLess Plans, LLC., located in Baltimore, develops large format auxiliary displays offering architecture, engineering, and construction professionals a durable, mobile means to view libraries of digital drawings in their original size.
  • Rehabtics, LLC, located in Baltimore, is developing a software system for physical rehabilitation using motion-controlled video games for use both in institutions and at home.
  • SurveySnap, Inc., located in Columbia, develops software for architecture, engineering and construction industry professionals that do site-surveys, building assessments and job estimating.  

The University System of Maryland will have new opportunities to collaborate and partner in research on unmanned aircraft systems, through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Virginia Tech University and Rutgers University. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Dec. 30 that it has selected the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), led by Virginia Tech, as one of six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites to support integration of UAS into the national airspace system. The selection opens new avenues for the University System of Maryland to partner with MAAP in research on unmanned aircraft systems.

The MOU, signed in September, highlights the cooperative UAS research conducted by the three institutions, the research and testing proficiencies, and the potential for an efficient integration effort.

“Maryland is home to the world’s leading center of UAS activity—the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River—and an array of other assets. At both the university level and among federal facilities, Maryland has been performing testing and development of UAS for more than two decades,” the governor said in a statement. “With the selection of MAAP as one of the UAS test sites – and the partnership that leverages the unparalleled capabilities of three world-class educational institutions – we stand to create jobs and generate a significant economic boon to the state, the region and the nation.”

According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Maryland expects 2,500 new jobs and an economic impact of $2 billion by 2025 associated with drones research and development.

Read more about new opportunities for Maryland through MAAP here.

Johns Hopkins University ranked first in the nation in research spending among top-ranked research institutions.

Johns Hopkins University ranked first in the nation in research spending among top-ranked research institutions.

Johns Hopkins University ranked first in the nation in research spending among top-ranked research institutions, the Washington Post reports.

The Baltimore-based university spent $2.1 billion on research and development in the fiscal year ending in 2012, including a large portion in biomedical research, according to the article.

Other Maryland institutions—University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland, Baltimore; Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.; and University of Maryland, Baltimore County—also ranked in the top 200 0f the National Science Foundation’s list.

The dedication to research spending in Maryland, especially when focused on the life sciences and new medical technologies, is welcome news to the BioMaryland Center, an office within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The BioMaryland Center supports and collaborates with the state’s most prestigious research centers. Under the leadership of executive director Dr. Judy Britz, Ph.D., the center works to bring life sciences innovation “from research to reality,” with the help of tax credits, awards, incubator space and more.

Learn more about the BioMaryland Center here.

 

A preschooler peels back the label on a Crayola crayon. A happy hour-goer grasps a chilled bottle of Yuengling. A young mother reads the nutritional facts on a canister of Walgreens brand snacks.

They’re all handling a range of easily-overlooked Maryland-manufactured inputs—the labels.

Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company, has produced and printed labels for millions of everyday items in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Based in Rosedale in Baltimore County, the company’s clients include Crayola, Heinz, Yuengling, Walgreens, Walmart and others. In recent years, its manufacturing capabilities have extended beyond labels to include lids, wrappers, foil, embossing, die cutting and a range of other services.

Coordinated by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Governor Martin O’Malley recently toured Gamse Lithographing Company with president and owner Daniel J. Canzoniero. The governor used the opportunity to meet some of the company’s 150 employees and to learn more about the innovative printing technologies that set the manufacturer apart.

“In this day and age, where there have been a lot of companies closing and a lot of downsizing and rightsizing, we haven’t been through that. It’s really nice to have some recognition for the stability that we’ve shown here over the years,” Canzoniero said.

Part of Gamse Lithographing Company’s secret to longevity is a dedication to the employee. The company has a long history of offering quality health coverage to workers, in addition to a competitive living wage. Canzoniero said the company is constantly working to expand each employee’s skillset through the use of new equipment and training programs.

“We’re strong believers in the fact that there need to be employers in Maryland for high school educated and trade school educated employees, not just those who were fortunate enough to get college educations, masters and Ph.D.s,” he said.

Canzoniero praised Maryland for its exceptional workforce and central location, which eases product development and negotiations with clients.

“We have good geographic synergy with a lot of the major Fortune 100 companies, being in the Mid-Atlantic,” he said.

See the above video to learn more about Gamse Lithographing Company.

Governor Martin O’Malley spotlighted Gamse Lithographing Company's dedication to providing employees a living wage and reliable health coverage.

Governor Martin O’Malley spotlighted Gamse Lithographing Company’s dedication to providing employees a living wage and reliable health coverage.

Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company in Rosedale, Maryland has made labels for commercial items across America.

Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company in Rosedale, Maryland has made labels for commercial items across America.