BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Venture Fund Authorityalong with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) hosted a free public forum on InvestMaryland – a state sponsored initiative to invest in the Maryland’s start-up and early stage companies. The forum, held on the Johns Hopkins University Rockville campus, drew more than 200 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other stakeholders for presentations led by the Venture Fund Authority and DBED on the implementation plan for the program, as well as how to apply for funding and other State funding resources.

“There is a tremendous amount of excitement and interest by entrepreneurs as well as the venture capital community in InvestMaryland, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs over the next 10 years and position our State as a leader in science, security, health, discovery and information technology,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “As we get ready to make our first investments, it was critical to host this Forum to educate and inform our stakeholders on how they can benefit from what is the largest venture capital investment in our State’s history.”

Earlier this year, $84 million was raised for InvestMaryland through an online auction of premium tax credits to insurance companies with operations in Maryland. The inaugural round of investments will be made in innovative companies beginning this summer through several private venture capital firms and the state’s Maryland Venture Fund (MVF). While other states have sold tax credits to fund similar venture capital initiatives, Maryland is the first state to use an online auction to raise the capital for such a program.

“The Maryland Venture Fund Authority has made outstanding progress in achieving all of our milestones to date, and I am confident that InvestMaryland will ultimately be a major success for Maryland and a model for our nation,” said Peter Greenleaf, President of MedImmune and Chairman of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority. “The InvestMaryland program clearly demonstrates – with $84 million to back it up – the State’s commitment to creating new jobs, encouraging entrepreneurs and supporting new business.”

Earlier this year, the Venture Fund Authority selected Grant Street Group to prepare for and run the tax credit auction and also more recently selected Altius Associates, a London-based firm, to oversee the selection of private venture firms to invest the InvestMaryland funds.

Private venture firms will be responsible for investing two-thirds of the funds, which will return 100 percent of the principal and 80 percent of the profits to the state’s general fund. The remaining 33 percent will be invested by 17-year-old Maryland Venture Fund (MVF). Over its life, the MVF has invested $25 million into hundreds of start-up and early stage technology and life sciences companies, generating a $64 million return, 2,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment. The Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA) will also receive a portion of funds for investment. Returns on the funds invested through the MVF will be reinvested in the program.

The Milken Institute ranks Maryland #2 in the nation for technology and science assets. According to study results, while Maryland received high rankings in human capital investment, research and development inputs, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism, it lagged behind other states in risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, demonstrating the need for InvestMaryland and other programs. The Index provides measurements of the technology and science assets for states, ranking them on their ability to foster and sustain a technology sector, which research has shown is a crucial factor in determining a region’s future economic success.