12 Finalists Named in 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge

BALTIMORE, MD (April 2, 2015) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) named today 12 finalists in the InvestMaryland Challenge (IMC), the State’s international business competition. The Challenge brings together startup companies from a variety of industries with investors, advisors, successful entrepreneurs and other established members of Maryland’s entrepreneurial community. There are three finalists in each of four categories — Life Sciences, IT, Defense & Security, and Sustainability & Exploration. The winner of each will win a $100,000 top prize from the State’s Maryland Venture Fund. InvestMaryland Challenge partners have contributed another $300,000 in prizes that will be awarded to others in the field of 214 applicants. Winners of all awards will be announced April 28 at an event at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.

“These finalists are among the best and brightest startups and entrepreneurs in Maryland and beyond,” said Mike Gill, DBED Secretary. “In Maryland, we are committed to creating the best possible environment for high-tech, innovative startup companies like the InvestMaryland Challenge finalists. We want them to grow, thrive, create jobs, and become leaders of our business community and the global economy as well. Congratulations to all the companies involved in the Challenge and best of luck to the finalists. We cannot wait to crown four new winners.”

Life Sciences Finalists
Mindoula Health Inc. (Silver Spring)
Harpoon Medical Inc. (Baltimore)
GraftWorx (Bel Air)

IT Finalists
Vheda Health (Columbia)
STAQ (Baltimore)
Subject 7 (Potomac)

Defense & Security Finalists
Integrata Security (Columbia)
Bricata LLC (Vienna, Va.)
Protenus Inc. (Baltimore)

Sustainability & Exploration Finalists
Mercaris (Silver Spring)
Lessoncast Learning (Baltimore)
Admit.me (Silver Spring)

The finalists were chosen from 46 semifinalists following face-to-face interviews with panels of successful entrepreneurs, investors, educators, and other judges in Maryland’s entrepreneurial community. This year, the Challenge was opened to international applicants and attracted submissions from Brazil and Israel. Beyond the $100,000 top awards, prizes include two incubator spaces at the Army Research Lab valued at $75,000 each; opportunities to pitch investors like NAV.VC and Camden Partners; a $10,000 grant from the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center and Rural Maryland Council; $5,000 in preclinical drug development services from Noble Life Sciences; and $10,000 in consulting services from the Johns Hopkins University Innovation Factory.

The Challenge is an initiative of the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), a regionally recognized leader in seed and early-stage investing and a national model for state-supported investment programs. With nearly two decades of experience and numerous successful investments, MVF invests in highly innovative technology companies across the full range of industry sectors including software, communications, cybersecurity and life sciences companies in the areas of healthcare IT, medical devices and diagnostics.

About DBED
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events.