TEDCO and The Harbor Bank of Maryland CDC Invest Into Three New Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund Recipients

MBPF provides financial support needed to launch startup companies for minority entrepreneurs

BALTIMORE, Md. TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, and The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation today announced its new Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund (MBPF) investments for the organization’s recently launched funding program.

The MBPF program, created in February 2017 to provide pre-seed capital to underrepresented tech entrepreneurs in Maryland to drive economic development in the state, is under TEDCO’s Gateway Services.  TEDCO and The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation, will make investments of up to $40,000 to help minority entrepreneurs take a technology-based idea or concept that represents a viable business opportunity and develop it into a product that can be tested. MBPF is a pilot program for African-American entrepreneurs in Maryland.

“These minority-founded businesses represent the audacious ideas that make Maryland such a thriving technology ecosystem,” said George Davis, CEO of TEDCO. “MBPF is competitive, and only the best ideas supported by a thoughtful commercialization plan receive an investment – these awardees are among the best of the best.”

“The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation’s investment into these companies represents our commitment to supporting the best ideas and entrepreneurs in the region.  We know that catalytic investment is vital to the growth of the local economy,” said John Lewis, Executive Vice President of The Harbor Bank of Maryland CDC.

The winning businesses for the MBPF current round are: kweliTV, PYT Funds Inc., and PyroDex LLC.

  • kweliTV, based in Silver Spring, is an interactive streaming platform that shares the African Diaspora experience through high-quality content (independent film, news, web shows, kids programming, documentaries) produced by globally diverse and unique filmmakers and journalists who aim to share their stories and truths with the world. African Diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world of African descent that are comprised of unique cultures and histories from North America, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. 98 percent of kweliTV’s films have been official selections at film festivals, and more than half are award-winning.
  • PYT Funds, Inc (“PYT’, “Pay Your Tuition Funds”), based in Rockville, is an online, financial services firm that is helping families obtain access to capital to pay higher education costs. PYT focuses on the last-mile loan that is needed to ensure the student will cross the finish line and obtain a degree. PYT’s technology-enabled platform captures alternative data points and allows friends and families to chip in by vouching for the student and supporting the student with small gifts. Through the process of assessing alternative data with social vouching and cash, PYT is able to work with the lender to leverage a lender loan approval. The cash raised in the process will ultimately reduce the student’s debt balance.
  • PyroDex, LLC, based in Baltimore, is a business-to-business biotech company that offers a focused service of rapid, comprehensive detection of pyrogens or fever-causing contaminants in injectable or implantable medical drugs and devices, using technologies that do not rely on animal testing or animal products. Using a proprietary formulation resulting in a test that is 2 to 30 times more sensitive than the commercially available endotoxin-specific detection and other MAT kits, PyroDex is able to return test results in 2 days for a premium price or in less than 5 days for its standard price, to enable clients to release products for clinical applications.

MBPF investments are made to two or three applicants four times a year (a total of 10 investments per year). Applications for the next round of funding are now being accepted. To apply, contact: McKeever Conwell at mconwell@tedco.md or visit: http://tedco.md/program/minority-business-pre-seed-fund-mbpf/. Deadline for applications is January 18, 2018.

About TEDCO

TEDCO provides the resources and connections that start-up technology and life sciences companies need to thrive in Maryland. Funded by the state but operated independently, the organization is led by executives and staff who understand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs because they have been there themselves. TEDCO operates the Maryland Venture Fund and the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, as well as many other funds and programs to help growing companies succeed. Learn more at www.tedco.com.

Harbor Bankshares Corporation (HBC) is the only African–American owned and managed depository institution in Maryland and counts among its assets the Harbor Bank of Maryland (HBM) and the Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation (HBCDC). HBC manages 20 funds with new markets tax credit authority. Its allocations have attracted over $1.2 billion in investment in companies and projects responsible for creating over 3,600 jobs. HBM was founded in 1982 and is a Maryland chartered commercial bank. It also holds the U.S. Treasury designation as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Minority Depositary Institution, and an SBA 7(a) lender. HBCDC is a U.S. Treasury certified CDFI with a dual focus of creating affordable housing opportunities and increasing access to capital. HBCDC makes investments throughout the capital structure of projects and small businesses through a loan fund and principal investments in the form of mezzanine, equity, and other structured investments. It provides comprehensive services to its patrons.  Visit www.theharborbank.com for more information.