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10 November 2017

MF Fire ignites $1.2m round

Connected stove developer MF Fire has become the first portfolio company of the Maryland Momentum Fund.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

MF Fire, a US-based cleantech spinout of University of Maryland, College Park, raised a $1.2m round yesterday backed by University System of Maryland's (USM's) commercialisation vehicle Maryland Momentum Fund.

Individual investor Bill Clarke also backed the round, to which Maryland Momentum committed $192,500, its first investment since launching in March 2017.

The Momentum fund holds $10m from USM but is targeting a final close at $25m with contributions from VC firms and angel investors.

MF Fire has designed an app-controlled woodfire stove called Catalyst that seeks to reduce air pollution and chimney fires. Catalyst satisfies US emission standards due to take force in 2020 and discharges 30% less carbon than conventional models, MF Fire claims.

The spinout exploits research by two UMCP graduates in fire protection engineering – Ryan Fisher and Taylor Myers, who became chief operating and chief technical officers respectively, alongside entrepreneur Paul LaPorte as chief executive.

MF Fire obtained $285,000 in December 2016 from unnamed angel investors, according to deals database PitchBook. It previously crowdsourced convertible notes of $180,300 in August 2016 after $100,000 in convertible liquidity from Tedco, the Maryland state-owned technology development agency, in January that year.

Paul LaPorte said: "With our Catalyst smart wood stove, MF Fire is pushing the bounds of what is possible in wood heat."

Robert Caret, chancellor of USM, added: "I am pleased the Maryland Momentum Fund has selected as its first investment MF Fire, a cutting-edge technology that was developed by keen young minds at USM's flagship campus in College Park." 


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