Baltimore TechBreakfast returns Wednesday during Baltimore Innovation Week for its usual monthly showcase of local startups. This time, there’s a distinction: all five startups presenting are university spin-outs, created from licensing research technology.
Four of those startups are funded by the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), a program less than a year old with $5.8 million set aside specifically for startups founded from university-based research. The MII, which started accepting applications for funding from startups in November 2012, is run through the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).
Money for the fund comes from two sources:
- Five universities contributed a combined $800,000. Startups applying for money from the MII must license technology from one of the following schools to receive funding: University of Maryland, College Park, the Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Morgan State University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
- The other $5 million comes from the state of Maryland. The MII itself was created by legislative vote during the spring 2012 session of the Maryland General Assembly.
So far, 38 awards totaling just shy of $4 million have been distributed, said program manager Jennifer Hammaker, hired by TEDCO to oversee the MII.
Funding is awarded in blocks of $100,000 or $150,000 according to a tiered system broken down by phase:
- Faculty members from qualifying universities are eligible for Phase 1 funding of up to $100,000. Multiple qualifying universities filing a joint application can receive up to $150,000.
- Phase 2 is for faculty from qualifying universities or entrepreneurs licensing technology from one of the five qualifying universities: it’s $15,000 for a two-month market assessment.
- Only startups may apply for Phase 3 funding, provided they’re located in Maryland and have licensed technology from a qualifying university within a year of applying. Awards of $100,000 or $150,000 are distributed, respectively, according to whether the tech being licensed comes from one or more than one qualifying university.