UMBC’s Cyber Summer Kickoff brought new funding for a Baltimore a startup

The Maryland New Venture Fellowship for Cybersecurity closed out its first cohort with a pitch competition that awarded CyDeploy. Applications open for the next group on Aug. 1.

CyDeploy's Cynthia Mohamed and Brian Lyttle hold their check (Courtesy photo)

bwtech@UMBC launched a new program to develop university cyber ventures in 2020. With the arrival of summer, the university closed out the first cohort with an entrepreneurial showcase.

Brian Lyttle and Cynthia Mohamed of CyDeploy won $10,000 at the Cyber Summer Kickoff pitch competition on June 8. It marked the culmination of the Maryland New Venture Fellowship for Cybersecurity, a program that pairs technologists from the university community and entrepreneurial grad students to push startups forward. UMBC got funding from the US Department Of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and Baltimore County to launch it last year.

The program was a seven-month accelerator that went through seven modules including storytelling, customer discovery, marketing, competitive analysis, technology development management, finance, and investment strategy. The teams were engaged with a mentor, who was an experienced entrepreneur that guided much of their development and progress.

Held under a tent at Columbia’s Lost Ark Distillery, the kickoff event announced the start of companies to prepare for the opening of applications for the next cohort, which will be open on August 1.

It also included pitches from four teams in this year’s cohort to local investors.

CyDeploy ended up the consesnus favorite. Lyttle and Mohamed teamed with Baltimore technologist Tina Williams Koroma to develop the business around the product during the program. CyDeploy’s technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a cloud-based replica of a company’s systems. This can be used to test cybersecurity updates to IT systems and Internet of Things devices, like a Google Home, and medical devices like a pacemaker. The company received a grant earlier this year from Maryland Industrial Partnerships.

Along with the big check for CyDeploy, bwtech also awarded Francis Poblete with the $1,000 nod for Maryland New Venture Cyber Fellow of the Year.

Francis Poblete (second from right) was named venture fellow of the year. (Courtesy photo)

Francis Poblete (second from right) was named venture fellow of the year. (Courtesy photo).

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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