(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Smart wood stove company MF Fire received $1.2 million in new funding in a round that includes the first investment from a venture fund created by the University System of Maryland.
The Baltimore-based company received $192,500 from the Maryland Momentum Fund, which launched earlier this year. Clean tech investor Bill Clarke was also named as a participant in the round.
MF Fire started in the University of Maryland College Park’s fire science program. Ryan Fisher and Taylor Myers invented the company’s Catalyst stove when they were graduate students in the program. They later teamed with Paul LaPorte, who is now the CEO of the company, as they further developed the stove for the commercial market.
The stove is outfitted with technology that can regulate the temperature of the stove. As a result, it emits lower amounts of carbon dioxide and is safer than traditional wood stoves, the team told us earlier this year at its headquarters within the Open Works makerspace in Station North. The stove also collects data about a user’s burn preferences. The team sees an opening in the market. The stove already meets federal emissions standards that are set to go into effect in 2020, and few others do.
Catalysts began shipping earlier this year, and the company has plans to grow in Baltimore as production ramps up.
“We are very excited to have MF Fire as the initial investment from the Momentum Fund. The company offers an efficient product based on combustion science and it emerged out of a center of excellence at the University of Maryland,” said David Wise, who was named director of the Maryland Momentum Fund earlier this year.
The University System of Maryland contributed an initial $10 million to the fund, and requires outside investors to match as a condition of providing money to startups. University officials are working to raise another $15 million from outside groups.