DBED and Startup Maryland Jointly Host Webinar on InvestMaryland as a National Best Practice

BALTIMORE, MD (January 15, 2013) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and Startup Maryland today hosted a webinar on the State’s InvestMaryland initiative as a national best practice for other states to model.

The webinar provided information on the creation and implementation of the $84 million program that is fueling Maryland’s Innovation Economy by investing in start-up companies. Outgoing DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson joined Michael Binko, CEO of kloudtrack and Startup Maryland Co-Chair for the webinar discussion for entrepreneurs and startup communities nationwide. To access a replay of the webinar, click the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJUDTnBNADw

“Fostering entrepreneurship is critical to the success of every state in this increasingly competitive and global innovation economy,” said Secretary Johansson. “InvestMaryland is providing essential early stage capital for Maryland’s best and brightest young companies and is part of the State’s runway to success that supports startups as they mature through innovation to commercialization to company formation to job creation.”

“Stakeholder mobilization is one of the more subtle yet critical factors in building awareness and buy-in for public-private venture fund programs like InvestMaryland and the Venture Fund,” Binko said. “Governor O’Malley and DBED worked closely with the full spectrum of innovation communities to inform and engage them in the initiative.”

The webinar was held as part of the national Startup America Partnership’s effort to spread successful entrepreneurial support policies and programs across the country.  The largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history, InvestMaryland was tapped by Startup America for the organization’s “Ideas Center,” a collection of economic development best practices from around the United States.

“Startup America created the Ideas Center as a place where our Region Champions can share the most promising practices being employed to build strong and sustainable startup communities around the United States,” said Donna Harris, Managing Director for the Startup America Partnership. “The recent InvestMaryland/Maryland Venture Fund initiative has become widely recognized as one of the most successful and creative public-private venture capital programs in recent years. We are delighted to have Startup Maryland and Maryland DBED discuss in detail just how the effort was accomplished.”

“Access to capital is a concern many states and communities are tackling,” Harris added. “Broad awareness of these types of trailblazing ideas will benefit other Startup America Regions looking to increase capital flow and rally entrepreneur resources in their own communities.”

Created by Governor Martin O’Malley and passed by the General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is now being administered through the Maryland Venture Fund Authority and DBED. In March, the State raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies.

Two-thirds of the InvestMaryland funds will be managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds with a commitment to return, if successful, 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. The remaining third will be invested by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

Since signing its first deal in September, InvestMaryland has invested more than $1.8 million directly in Maryland companies and allocated another $12 million to Grotech Ventures to invest on behalf of the state.

About the Startup America Partnership

The Startup America Partnership is a growing national movement of thousands of founders, experts and resources providing startups access to the corporations, investors, and services they need to grow. Launched in early 2011, the Partnership brings together startups and local champions from around the country focused on creating successful networks for young, high-growth companies to thrive. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are its founding partners. American Airlines, American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., Microsoft and NYSE Euronext are corporate sponsors. For more information on the Partnership, visit http://www.s.co and follow us at www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.

About Startup Maryland

Startup Maryland (http://startupmd.org) is a regional initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership (http://www.S.co). It is a state-wide initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring resources together, increase access to capital / deal flow and boost awareness / celebration, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.

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Maryland DBED

Karen Glenn Hood


Startup Maryland Michael Binko/Julie Lenzer Kirk info@startupmd.org startupmd.org

Startup Maryland Unveils “Raise Your Game” Program for Startup CEO/Founders

Educational Sessions Led By Entrepreneurs … For Entrepreneurs

Helps Startups Grow and Inflect Quickly


Everywhere, Md. (March 19, 2013) – Startup Maryland (startupmd.org), a regions initiative of the national Startup America Partnership (www.s.co), today announced the Raise Your Game initiative to provide the Maryland entrepreneur community with a structured educational program designed to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities.



Development of the Raise Your Game program and curriculum was led by Startup Maryland Entrepreneur Champions Sam Polakoff, (president of TBB Global Logistics), Gregg Smith (CEO of Koolspan) and Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko (CEO of kloudtrack®).  Beginning in July of 2013, Raise Your Game will consist of a 6 month educational “bootcamp” program emphasizing the critical components of building successful companies.  These topics include:


  • CEO 101 – How to be a strong startup CEO and team leader
  • Starting Up – Best practices when forming your company | avoiding pitfalls
  • Planning for Financial Success – Financial Models, capitalization tables, accounting
  • Virtualizing Your Company – Lean Startup approach | outsourcing non-core functions
  • Go-to-Market Strategies – Sales, marketing, PR, channel | distribution development
  • Raising Capital and Exit Roadmapping – Lifecycle stages, financing options, exits


NOTE:  a video is available on the Startup MD YouTube site @: http://youtu.be/8C4JVlH1fxs and below


The Raise Your Game initiative is the first component of Startup Maryland’s Coaching initiative.  Coaching joins Connection, Celebration and Capital as four primary Areas of Concentration for Startup Maryland throughout 2013 and beyond.  These four guiding initiatives were officially announced at a White House reception during which Startup Maryland highlighted past successes and future plans for Presidential advisors and officials from several government agencies. (See Empowering Entrepreneur Champions below for more detail).


“Peer-to-peer mentorship and coaching is one of the cornerstones of Startup Maryland efforts over the next year and beyond,” stated Binko.  “Open dialog between founders/entrepreneurs is proven to be one of the most beneficial learning methodologies for high-growth startup leaders.  Startup Maryland is moving to formalize an approach with the Raise Your Game program.”


Whether entrepreneurs are just starting out with an idea or ready to inflect their startup into hyper-growth, Raise Your Game provides perspective and knowledge for CEO peers at all stages.


“Taught by experienced serial entrepreneurs/CEOs with specific subject matter expertise, Raise Your Game participants will be empowered to network with entrepreneur peers while also gaining valuable perspectives from service providers (legal, accounting, PR/marketing) professionals who will also be invited to provide specific guidance on selected topics,” added Julie Lenzer Kirk, Startup Maryland co-chair.


Upon successful completion of the Raise Your Game program, graduate-CEOs will join an exclusive alumni network.  To learn more, join us for an upcoming (April 3 @ 11 am ET) informative Raise Your Game webinar, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/972651137


Empowering Entrepreneur Champions

Near the end of 2012, Startup Maryland began a campaign to engage its participants as Entrepreneur Champion leaders for the Startup Maryland initiative.  With the support of the national Startup America team, Startup Maryland held a series of Champion sessions during which Big Ideas, a Theme and Areas of Focus were identified and prioritized.  The connective and coaching/mentorship aspects of building strong startup communities compliment the celebration and capital access goals forming the four pillars of the Startup Maryland mission.


With active universities, accelerators, economic development agencies and innovation partners like Maryland TEDCO and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Startup Maryland is concentrating on the entrepreneur communities to strengthen Maryland’s economic fabric while fostering a climate where the most promising companies can help each other while leveraging the state’s Unfair Advantage in order to inflect and thrive.

Looking for other startup/entrepreneur guidance and resources?

Join the Startup Maryland entrepreneurial community at http://startupmd.org/become-a-member/


About Startup Maryland:

Startup Maryland (startupmd.org) is a regions initiative launched out of the Startup America Partnership (www.S.co).  It is a state-wide initiative FOR entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs to bring entrepreneurial resources together, increase access to resources / capital / deal flow and boost awareness, while also bringing together entrepreneurs in a community of support to drive greater economic outcomes.


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Gov. O’Malley Joins Startup MD Tour

Gov. Martin J. O’Malley joined Startup Maryland Founders | Co-Chairs Michael Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk for a personal conversation aboard the 2012 Pitch Across Maryland Tour bus.


In fact, to show his support and solidarity for the entrepreneurs who  “pitched” their businesses during the state-wide tour last year, Gov. O’Malley graciously agreed to jump on “the host seat” to deliver his own pitch on the topic of InvestMaryland.   We anticipate interest, support and participation from the deep roster of political candidates working hard to earn your support.  We welcome their perspectives on innovation and want to afford each a similar opportunity to “pitch” the programs and efforts that they will bring to assist entrepreneurs and startup companies.


Gov. O’Malley then joined the Startup Maryland team and representatives from TEDCO, Baltimore County, Howard County and DBED for the ride to UMBC’s BWTech Research Center and Incubator campus.

Another summary video from The Daily Record (the leading daily business news outlet in MD) showcased the diversity of innovation and highlights from the first half of the Pitch Across Maryland Tour.

There UMBC’s Ellen Hemmerly was joined by RMI’s Mike Galiazzo, and Miles and Stockbridge’s Bob Brennan as co-hosts for the 12th Tour Stop of 2012.  Eight entrepreneurs then joined the team on the bus to record video “pitches” of their businesses and innovations.

These pitches will be added to the others collected during the Pitch Across Maryland tour and entered into the online Competition which continues into October and November.