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11 December 2017

UM Ventures launches Baltimore Fund

University of Maryland's tech transfer office is set to form a fund that will invest in local university-linked startups.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the University of Maryland System (UMS), has unveiled plans for a venture fund of undisclosed size aimed at retaining university-linked startups in the city of Baltimore.

Baltimore Fund will back startups affiliated with any of UMS’s 12 academic and research institutions. Eligible startups could have half of their first year’s rent covered to help lure them to local facilities such as UMB’s BioPark research space, City Garage hub in Port Covington and John Hopkins University’s FastForward incubator.

UM Ventures is also launching a centre called Graduate Research Innovation District, or Grid, with office and co-working space as well as advisory and legal services available for Grid-affiliated startups and the wider southwest Baltimore ecosystem.

Two University of Maryland institutions – University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) – had announced seven joint programs to aid tech transfer projects and the Baltimore community in October 2017.

The seven include commercialisation vehicle Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures, which will link UMB and UMCP spinouts to grants as well as staff resources, facilities and equipment.

Jim Hughes, director of UM Ventures, said: “The goal here is to get more university-affiliated companies in the city, to create jobs and spur economic development.”

“We are very excited for this launch. It really expands the economic development role of what we are doing, specifically working to bring new companies to Baltimore and build up the tech community in the city."

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