The Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII)
The Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) has awarded $22 million to more than 200 commercialization projects to include 46 start-up companies since its inception in late 2012. Awards were given across a variety of industries, including therapeutic, software, medical devices and engineering.
“MII is the leading program in Maryland that supports the transition of technology from the academic research laboratory through product development to commercialization in a start-up company,” says John Wasilisin, President and COO. “The program has been a game changer for innovators at Maryland’s research universities to take the next step in becoming entrepreneurs.”
MII-funded start-up companies have been successful in getting follow-on funding totaling $21 million from federal funds, angel investors and venture capital firms. Two recent examples are:
- Longeviti, a developer of CAD/CAM, laser, and robotic technology, licensed from Johns Hopkins University, to assist in craniofacial surgery. The company closed a $2 million Series A in July 2016 and attracted executives from a Fortune 500 company.
- MF Fire, a developer of the Catalyst Stove, licensed from University of Maryland, College Park. This is the first ultra-clean wood stove, emitting less smoke than a single cigarette. MF Fire recently received EPA certification and raised almost $900,000 in new funds in 2016 from various sources, including one of the first successful SEC Equity Funding offerings.
“After almost four years of investments, the exciting part is seeing these early technologies and teams move out from the lab, attract talent and close on seed capital investment,” says Jennifer Hammaker, Director of the Maryland Innovation Initiative. “That is a heavy lift and takes the full coordinated effort of our university partners, Site Miners and TEDCO to make it happen. It demonstrates that there are talented faculty and students who are embracing the entrepreneurial culture and doing the hard work necessary to commercialize.”
As MII-funded companies become part of TEDCO’s portfolio, they also get to take advantage of TEDCO’s wide array of resources. From mentors and roundtables to loaned executives, the companies receive the assistance and support they need as they move through team building, balancing the funding element and negotiating deals.
“We are extremely honored to be a part of this business collaboration with Johns Hopkins, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the MII,” says Jesse Christopher, CEO of Longeviti. “From Longeviti’s infancy, our Chief Surgical Officer and Founder Chad Gordon leveraged his relationship with MII to accomplish a Phase 1 effort – the development of leading edge software that will create increased successes in the surgical arena. After a lightning-speed start-up, Longeviti has raised $2 million in funding, published a variety of medical articles, attracted top executives from several Fortune 500 companies, created new jobs, and has established several Longeviti offices in and around Baltimore.”
The MII program funnels deals to TEDCO’s later stage funding programs like its Technology Commercialization Fund and Life Sciences Investment Fund. MII has been garnering attention from the angel and venture community by providing them a “first-look” at more than 180 innovative technologies coming out of top research universities in Maryland.
The Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) program was created as a partnership between the State of Maryland, five Maryland academic research institutions (Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore and University of Maryland Baltimore County) and TEDCO. With $5.6 million in annual funding, MII is designed to promote commercialization of research conducted in these universities through the creation of start-up companies. MII funds up to $265,000 per project through two phases of the program; technology assessment and company formation