A Maryland program pairing cyber researchers and entrepreneurial grad students to form startups just picked its latest crop of winners.
Now in its third year, the Maryland New Venture Fellowship for Cybersecurity is a program established in collaboration with bwtech@UMBC, UMBC and the University of Maryland system. This program aims to expedite the launch of cybersecurity businesses in the state and is funded through a grant from the US Economic Development Association.
Earlier this month, eight teams participated in a pitch competition hosted at bwtech@UMBC South to close this round of the program. Each team consisted of a technologist, a graduate student fellow from UMBC, and a mentor. Over 15 weeks, they worked together to develop new technology and design a business launch plan, guided by a curriculum facilitated by bwtech@UMBC and presentations from local business and technology experts.
At the pitch competition, each team had five minutes to present their launch plan to a panel of judges. Cash prizes were awarded to the teams with the most promising ideas and well-designed plans.
Two teams received $5,000 grand prizes: Pneuma, which is developing hardware and software for detecting and treating substance use disorder using neurotechnology, and True View Dental, which is developing a flexible dental camera for better visualization during exams and procedures.
Pneuma is made up of technologist Ramana Vinjamun, fellow Pranay Narava and mentor Ellington West (CEO of Baltimore’s Sonavi Labs). For True View Dental, the team consisted of technologist Ankit Goel, fellow Neha Chama and mentor Tom McCabe. Chama was also honored with the Outstanding Fellow Award and received a $1,000 prize.
The panel of judges for the pitch night consisted of Kimberly Mentzell, director of cybersecurity and aerospace at Maryland Department of Commerce; Darlene Ugwa, director of the Maryland Business Innovation Center; and Jack Miner, chief investment officer at TEDCO.
Aaron Miscenich, executive director of bwtech@UMBC, noted the significance of the pitch night as a platform to showcase the region’s potential for talent and innovation.
“We are extremely proud of the teams who participated in this year’s Maryland New Venture Fellowship program,” Miscenich said in a statement. “Pitch Night is the perfect way to showcase the great talent and innovation that exists not just at UMBC, but within Maryland’s tech community.”
The other teams that took part were:
- Alirtify, including technologist Kwabena Okrah, fellow Bhanu Reddy and mentor Hillel Glazer
- Sentinel Forge, including technologist Colin Hamill, fellow Harish Krishnamoorthy and mentor James Faison
- Xeddy, including technologist Basil Udo, fellow Sreya Negineni and mentor Brandon Mason
- SEEe, including technologist lee boot, fellow Charan Duggirala and mentor Bill Anderson
- SOHIVE, including technologist Chris Schilstra, fellow Sanju Biju and mentor Donna Ruginski
- Virtual Apprentice, including technologist Ellie Giles, fellow Rahul Podugu and mentor Lily Bengfort
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