In order to help promising early-stage companies associated with the University System of Maryland (USM) move beyond grant funding and early-stage seed investors, the USM Board of Regents established the Maryland Momentum Fund. This “late seed-stage funding” anticipates a serious round of financing—an A round—often within 12 to 24 months.
In most cases, the Momentum Fund will make investments of $150,000 to $250,000, with a maximum investment of $500,000. These investments will be equity purchases or notes that are convertible into equity.
In all cases, the financing provided by Momentum will require a 1:1 match by a third-party investor at the same terms. In many—if not most—instances, the company will not yet have all of the matching funding available and will find value in the commitment from Momentum in raising the additional financing.
To qualify for funding, companies must be headquartered and with principal operations in Maryland and must also have a meaningful connection to USM through one of the following requirements:
- - The IP is owned by a USM member institution and licensed to the company;
- A founder or an inventor in the company is a member of the USM faculty, a graduate of a USM institution, or a student at a USM institution; or
- The company is located in a USM research park or incubator, or in a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) zone.
Applications for funding are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year and will be evaluated once all of the required information has been received. A select number of companies undergo a due diligence process as a step toward being presented to the external Advisory Board for potential funding. Advisory Board meetings are held once every quarter.
To begin the process, contact Momentum Fund Managing Director, Claire Broido Johnson. Once eligibility has been established, the company will be given complete information regarding how to proceed with the review process.
Although the Momentum Fund is a source of equity financing for USM’s most promising early-stage companies, the System wants every USM company to be successful. In some cases, meetings may be scheduled to help a company improve its business plan or pitch. Additionally, a company that is not selected to move forward in a current round of funding may be identified for coaching so that it might be brought into a later round.
For more information, contact Claire Broido Johnson.