The Maryland Technology Development Corporation and the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative are joining forces to raise a $50 million fund specifically to help launch new technology-transfer companies in Delaware, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
According to a press release from TEDCO, the first investments in companies are slated to come in 2013, but only once $20 million, at least, has been raised. The Chesapeake Regional Innovation Fund “will provide seed capital for startups and emerging technology companies focused on innovations in energy, life sciences and security,” said the release.
Technology transfer is the broad term that represents the process by which ideas or products thought up in university labs are licensed by business people, who then form startup companies — Gatorade? Borne of technology transfer — to bring those products to market. (Seed Hatchery has a convenient way of explaining tech transfer: “science or technology invented at a research institution finding life – and profit – in a broader off-campus market.”)
TEDCO’s concerted efforts toward developing and supporting tech transfer startups is one piece of the legacy-building that the organization’s president, Rob Rosenbaum, referred to in his Q&A with Technically Baltimore. A $50 million fund complements work begun with the creation this year of the Maryland Innovation Initiative, which has the task of providing “early funding for tech transfer efforts at the University Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University.”
Overall, the strategy in creating such a fund appears to rest on an idea advocated for by Matt Van Itallie, managing partner at Canterbury Road Partners: that startup companies, and new jobs, can be created by channeling personnel and money toward bolstering local universities’ technology transfer programs, as Van Itallie explained in his talk at Ignite Baltimore 11.
Watch Matt Van Itallie’s talk at Ignite Baltimore 11: