Biotechnology / Education / Funding / Investing / Venture capital

Money Moves: Infinite Focus Schools gets $100K investment from TEDCO’s Builder Fund

Plus, new funding to help AquaLith Advanced Materials and Isoprene Pharmaceuticals bring discoveries to market.

Infinite Focus Schools CEO Ashley Williams. (Courtesy photo)

Socio-emotional learning-focused app Infinite Focus Schools received $100,000 in new investment from TEDCO’s Builder Fund, the orgs said this week.

Founded by Ashley Williams, Baltimore-based Infinite Focus Schools makes software focused around mindfulness and emotional health. Along with a curriculum, the app allows users to track data on a child’s emotional well-being in real time.

“The idea is that kids can carry these coping mechanisms around in their pockets,” Williams told last year. Earlier this summer, Infinite Focus Schools had open roles for manager-level positions in software and sales.

The Builder Fund provides early-stage capital for entrepreneurs from “economically disadvantaged” racial, gender and geographic groups that are typically overlooked by investors.

“Companies like Infinite Focus Schools are a great example of innovation that gets investors’ attention in the State,” said Jack Miner, chief investment officer at TEDCO, in a statement. “The use of technology to develop a better understanding of children’s emotional well-being, especially during the pandemic, is helping to advance our community and get ahead of potential everyday challenges facing today’s youth.”

A 2021 RealLIST Startups honoree, Infinite Focus Schools previously received support from Innovation Works’ Ignite Capital, Johns Hopkins Social Innovation LabBaltimore Corps’ Elevation Awards and Loyola University Maryland’s Baltipreneurs accelerator.


Battery materials company AquaLith Advanced Materials raised $750,000 in its first outside funding round. The funding included investment from the Maryland Momentum Fund, which is the venture fund of the University System of Maryland, as well as a consortium of private investors.

Having licensed technology developed at the University of Maryland College Park, AquaLith is seeking to bring batteries to market that store more energy than what’s currently available, and reduce the costs and supply chain pressure that could lead to a worldwide battery shortage. Here’s how we described the innovation earlier this year:

The company is working to bring batteries to market that the leaders said could offer a more sustainable approach to powering the eco-conscious devices and vehicles currently showing promise for wide use. Plus, it works in negative-50-degree temperatures. With new battery chemistries that includes a novel aqueous — aka water — electrolyte, it can also offer a safer (read: less flammable) and more environmentally friendly approach.

The technology was invented by Dr. Chunsheng Wang, the University of Maryland College Park engineering school’s Robert Franklin and Frances Riggs Wright Distinguished Chair, in collaboration with Kang Xu, a fellow at the Adelphi-based Army Research Laboratory.

The company is led by a pair of experienced Maryland entrepreneurs: Ted Olsen, who founded exited pathogen testing company PathSensors, and Greg Cooper, who founded materials company Pixelligent.

The company is based out of College Park as it scouts for a bigger space to base its headquarters in Maryland.


University of Maryland, Baltimore biotech startup Isoprene Pharmaceuticals was awarded a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute.

Based out of the University of Maryland BioPark, the company is developing oral therapeutics for cancers such as triple negative breast cancer. The two-year grant will support further studies as the company works toward an initial regulatory filing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and trials with human patients.

The company is led by CEO Dr. Vincent C. O. Njar and Dr. Vidya P. Ramamurthy, its chief scientific officer.

The startup is receiving support from UMB’s New Ventures Initiative, which provides promising companies out of the university with full management, business formation strategy, office and lab space, as well as early-stage capital. In 2019, UMB students worked with the company as part of UM Ventures’ Presidential Entrepreneurial Fellowship.

Companies: Infinite Focus Schools / University of Maryland BioPark / University of Maryland College Park / TEDCO

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