TEDCO named George Davis as its new CEO on Wednesday. He will start in the leadership role of the quasi-public agency that backs early stage companies on June 26.
The organization provides investment funding as well support for entrepreneurs. Davis has experience both in leading and funding companies in Maryland.
Davis is former president of Aether Systems, and CEO of Owings Mills-based Avatech, which was acquired by RWWI in 2010. Davis went on to form investment fund Gamma3 with Aether Systems founder David Oros to back early stage companies that spawn from research at Baltimore-area universities.
Davis became the CEO of Gamma3-backed Gemstone Biotherapeutics, a startup commercializing wound healing technology developed at Johns Hopkins University.
“George brings to TEDCO a wealth of demonstrated leadership skills, diverse C-Level experience acumen and a history of successful investment and operational engagements within the Maryland Innovation Ecosystem,” said TEDCO Chairman Newt Fowler. “He’s an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.”
In an interview, Davis said he learned of the search through folks he knew in Maryland. He said he settled on the idea that “it could be a way to leverage my experience in what i’ve done and spread my wings across the state.”
He said a major focus will be on making TEDCO a “connective tissue” for companies, and a resource they can look to for support even if they don’t receive investment funding. He also sees opportunity to strengthen ties with existing larger companies in the state.
“I want to make TEDCO bigger and better. I want to drive finding winners with innovation and connect this broad region of resources…At the end of the day if you do that and produce winners, venture capital will come,” he said.
TEDCO’s previous CEO Rob Rosenbaum stepped down in January 2016. During that time, the agency was led by President John Wasilisin. Over that period, the agency made new hires to run the recently-absorbed Maryland Venture Fund, made changes to its seed investing program, launched a new pre-seed fund for minority entrepreneurs and, most recently, got legislative approval for a new Gap Fund.
He sees room for new initiatives, but said part of his role will be building on that work. He voiced a desire to grow efforts to support women and minority businesses unprompted. He also said he wants to continue to work with Wasilisin.
Davis said he is currently transitioning out of his role at Gemstone — which he said he’s never seen as a long-term role — as well as other roles including a board seat at Virginia-based Perthera that he assumed in February.