At Bethesda-based BrainScope today, the latest stop on the "Jobs and Opportunity" Tour, Governor Martin O'Malley highlighted InvestMaryland, the State's pioneering $84 million venture capital initiative, as a prime example of why Maryland is well-positioned for success in the New Economy. The Governor also announced that BrainScope has earned InvestMaryland's first venture capital financing, and launched the InvestMaryland Challenge -- a $300,000 business competition to help identify and support new start-ups in Maryland.
Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maryland #1 in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and cited InvestMaryland as one of the "Policies that Produce."
"In Maryland, we choose to make the modern investments a modern economy requires: educating, innovating, and rebuilding for our children's future," said Governor O'Malley. "We know that our greatest assets are the talents, skills, creativity and ingenuity of our people. InvestMaryland is an important part of our overall strategy to nurture the State's Innovation Economy by investing in our competitive advantages like science and technology and encouraging entrepreneurship. Our investment in BrainScope and the launch of the InvestMaryland Challenge demonstrate that we believe in aspiring entrepreneurs and Maryland's ability to compete and win in the New Economy."
BrainScope earns first InvestMaryland investment:
InvestMaryland represents an increased commitment by the State to invest in and attract private investment for early-stage science and technology companies. The initiative was funded by a first-of-its-kind online tax credit auction that raised $84 million in March 2012. BrainScope, which is pioneering sophisticated neurotechnology to quickly assess Traumatic Brain Injury at the initial point of care, will receive the first $250,000 investment from the program. The Maryland Venture Fund had previously invested $250,000 in BrainScope.
BrainScope's portable, non-invasive devices will help military personnel and first responders more quickly diagnose and begin to treat concussions and other Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year. In addition to its applications in improving outcomes for soldiers who suffer TBI's, BrainScope's technology may also be used to assist in sports-related brain injuries.
"We are truly honored to be the first recipient of venture capital funding through InvestMaryland," said Michael E. Singer, BrainScope President and CEO. "Traumatic Brain Injury remains one of the very top health issues for our servicemen and women, and concussion is a national topic of concern and conversation. These funds will support the development of our medical device to help first responders assess head-injured patients. We thank the State of Maryland, in particular the Maryland Venture Fund, the Department of Business and Economic Development and the Governor, for their support as we work to develop these important products."
InvestMaryland Challenge offers three $100,000 top prizes for innovative new businesses:
While touring BrainScope, Governor O'Malley also announced the first InvestMaryland Challenge, a $300,000 business competition designed to fuel entrepreneurship by connecting seed and early-stage businesses with mentors, venture capitalists, potential investors, and business resources like incubator space and legal services. The Challenge will offer three top prizes of $100,000 each to the most promising submissions in three categories: Information Technology (hardware or software); Life Sciences; and a general/open third category. Inc. Magazine has signed on as a national media partner for the InvestMaryland Challenge.
"Inc. is pleased to be the media partner of the InvestMaryland Challenge," said Eric Schurenberg, Editor-in-Chief of Inc. "We at Inc. are always delighted to be part of an effort to put capital in the hands of entrepreneurs, helping them do what they do best: inspire, innovate and leave the world better than they found it."
"We're proud that InvestMaryland will fund many new and growing businesses like BrainScope," said Christian S. Johansson, Maryland Secretary of Business & Economic Development. "But the Challenge also gives us a way to identify, celebrate and encourage the State's thriving entrepreneur community."
The InvestMaryland Challenge is open to legally-organized businesses with fewer than 25 employees and annual revenues of less than $1 million. The IT and Life Sciences categories are open only to Maryland-based companies; companies outside Maryland may compete in the general category but, if selected to receive the top prize, must be willing to locate their business to the State.
Business leaders from successful companies throughout Maryland will judge the entries, which must be submitted by completing a comprehensive application online at InvestMarylandChallenge.org. The deadline for submissions is December 13, 2012. Finalists will be invited to present their ideas in face-to-face interviews with industry-specific judging panels in late February 2013, and Governor O'Malley will announce the winners in March. Complete details are available at InvestMarylandChallenge.org.