By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia
Gov. Martin O’Malley celebrated passage of Innovate Maryland on Friday, touting the program as a critical piece in the funding pipeline that funnels discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.
The goal of Innovate Maryland is to commercialize 40 discoveries every year through a partnership between the state and its research universities.
Maryland will kick in $5 million and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland, College Park have agreed to contribute up to $200,000 each to help researchers take their ideas to market.
The state will look to those entrepreneurs to “reform and really revolutionize the way we feed, fuel and heal this increasingly interconnected world of ours, and in so doing, create jobs and expand opportunity,” O’Malley said at the Emerging Technology Center incubator on the Hopkins Eastern Campus.
“All progress depends on jobs,” the governor said. “There is no progress without jobs.”
Innovate Maryland, passed by the General Assembly in the legislative session that concluded last week, dovetails with another economic development program championed by O’Malley. In March, InvestMaryland raised $84 million in venture capital that will fuel small, high-tech companies.
“In our state, fortunately, we have all the assets we need to harness the promise of an innovation economy,” O’Malley said.
The governor pointed out several ETC success stories, including Moodlerooms, which grew from three co-founders in 2006 to more than 100 employees this year. The company was sold to education IT giant Blackboard in March.
O’Malley also toured the incubator, visiting several entrepreneurs, including those behind BOSS, CervoCheck, Theracord and Juxtopia.
Juxtopia was spun out of Morgan State University. The company is working on a wide range of projects, including robots designed to traverse the surface of the moon and a landing system to get them there safely. But the main thrust of the business is toward “augmented reality glasses,” eyewear that gives the user a heads-up display.
Instead of identifying targets for Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, Juxtopia is building glasses that will assist medics performing procedures on the battlefield, among other commercial, military and industrial applications.
Innovate Maryland ”has the promise of fueling collaboration among Maryland’s public and private colleges and universities and federal research labs that create … innovative solutions around which high-tech companies and, consequently, new, high-paying jobs can be created,” said Jayfus Doswell, Juxtopia’s president and CEO.