University of Maryland Unveils Master’s Degree Program in Technology Entrepreneurship

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, a national leader in entrepreneurship education and venture creation, today announces it will offer a new master’s degree program in technology entrepreneurship starting this fall.

The 30-credit, 15-month Master of Technology Entrepreneurship, available online to current and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, features the university’s most advanced and comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum to date, taking students from concept development and prototyping to business model generation and customer validation, as well as legal aspects of entrepreneurship, financial and innovation management, and effective growth strategies.

“As a pioneer in online education and new venture creation, the University of Maryland is empowering the next generation of technology entrepreneurs through this innovative master’s program,” said Dr. James V. Green, director of entrepreneurship education at the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), which is offering the master’s program through the UMD Office of Extended Studies. “In addition to our most rigorous academic entrepreneurship track, for the first time, we are pairing this enriching academic experience with the skills and relationships of the university’s acclaimed startup incubators.”

The Master of Technology Entrepreneurship can be completed in 15-months, with students enrolling in two 3-credit courses over five 12-week terms. The degree program is designed to fit both full-time and part-time students from anywhere in the world.

The following courses, each available online (descriptions available here), will be offered:

  • Innovative Ideas and Concept Development
  • Strategies for Managing Innovation
  • Business Modeling and Customer Validation
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Creative Design, Prototyping, and Testing
  • Market Development and Commercialization
  • Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Management and New Venture Financing
  • Corporate Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Fundamentals of Technology Startup Ventures

In addition, students in the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship program will have access to Mtech’s first online incubator, leveraging the experience and expertise in new venture formation and launch of the successful Technology Advancement Program incubator and Venture Accelerator Program.
The online incubator will include activities such as video-based coaching and advising, mentoring, networking and connecting promising startups with additional support, which could include funding introductions.

Mtech incubator graduates and success stories include two billion-dollar companies (Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation), hybrid engine inventor PAICE Corporation, Squarespace, and more than a hundred additional technology-based ventures.

The University of Maryland has a long history of producing successful entrepreneurs, with alumni launching industry-leading companies such as Google, Under Armour, Sirius XM Radio and Polycom.

The approximate cost of the master’s program is $19,500, plus books and fees, payable in five installments over the 15-month period.

The Master of Technology Entrepreneurship launches in September 2014. Learn more at:

MIPS Program Approves 15 Technology Product Development Projects Teaming Maryland Faculty and Companies Worth $4.1 Million

Green technologies, oyster farming, Chesapeake Bay-saving and medical inventions dominate round

Pictured, left to right, from A&G Pharmaceutical: Jun Hayashi, co-founder and VP of research & development; Ginette Serrero, co-founder and CEO, and Michael Keefe, chief operating officer. A&G is conducting a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company's GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening through its MIPS grant.

Pictured, left to right, from A&G Pharmaceutical: Jun Hayashi, co-founder and VP of research & development; Ginette Serrero, co-founder and CEO, and Michael Keefe, chief operating officer. A&G is conducting a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company’s GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening through its MIPS grant.

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved 15 research projects worth $4.1 million to teams combining Maryland companies with state university researchers to bring technology products closer to market, program officials announce today.

A technology acceleration program, MIPS grants money—matched with company funds—to faculty engaged in each project.

For this round of funding, companies are contributing $2.8 million and MIPS $1.3 million to the jointly funded projects. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.

This round of funding partners faculty with 11 startups, one medium-sized and three small companies. Four projects, the most ever for a single MIPS round, include companies from the Maryland Eastern Shore. Three involve oyster-farming technologies, eight are green technologies, and four could result in a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.

“MIPS is a great value for the State of Maryland and serves as a national model of how to leverage the intellectual power of our universities to drive innovation and the economy,” said MIPS Director Joseph Naft. “The program attracts Maryland’s entrepreneurs, enabling them to multiply their R&D efforts by engaging world-class faculty and graduate students to do real-world research. Take a step back and look at the $28.1 billion in revenue generated by MIPS-supported products, add in tax revenue, and you have a return on investment of 30 to 1. More than 5,000 current jobs have resulted from MIPS projects, many of them from big-impact companies such as MedImmune, Hughes Network Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. MIPS is an example of how companies, academe and government can all work together to propel our state forward.”

Winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • ($625,000) George Rinard, professor, department of computer science and information technologies, teams with Hagerstown-based vCalc LLC to develop the company’s free on-line mathematics system, which provides a large and growing library of equations and data items that are used daily in academia, industry and society.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

  • ($114,094) Robert Paul, professor, department of biology, partners with Tall Timbers-based Shore Thing Shellfish to develop “in situ” or “on site” methods for seeding oysters without using land-based tanks.

Salisbury University

  • ($153,575) Samuel Geleta, associate professor, department of biological sciences, works with Rock Hall-based GreatGrow Maryland LLC to test the company’s soil amendment, which could dramatically increase crop yields and reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and chemical pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • ($203,161) Katherine Tkaczuk, professor of medicine, works with Columbia-based A&G Pharmaceutical Inc. to conduct a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company’s GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening.
  • ($158,000) Jill Whitall, professor, department of physical therapy and rehabilitation science, teams with Baltimore-based Rehabtics LLC to develop a software system for physical rehabilitation using customized, motion-controlled rehabilitation video games.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • ($256,274) Donald Meritt, principal agent, Horn Point Laboratory, partners with Crisfield-based Metompkin Seafood Inc. to develop an automated spat-on-shell oyster production system.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • ($166,428) Allen Davis, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering, teams with Church Hill-based High Impact Environmental Inc. to provide research and development support for the company’s Agricultural Stormwater Cascade System to manage and reduce runoff from agricultural field systems.
  • ($151,001) Jonathan Dinman, professor, department of cell biology and molecular genetics, partners with Towson-based Birich Technologies LLC to develop gene-silencing technology as both a research tool and potential cancer therapeutic.
  • ($1,109,320) Jungho Kim, professor, department of mechanical engineering, works with Germantown-based Earth Networks to extend the company’s WeatherBug® Home residential energy efficiency product, which integrates key weather variables into home energy management and demand response programs.
  • ($162,736) Stephanie Lansing, assistant professor, department of environmental science and technology, partners with Halethorpe-based Fiberight LLC to develop a technology platform for the conversion of non-recycled, organic municipal solid waste (MSW) streams into advanced biofuels, including digester biogas.
  • ($157,330) Isaak Mayergoyz, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, works with College Park-based CoolCAD Electronics LLC to build a novel, compact and highly efficient Silicon Carbide (SiC)-based on-board charger for the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles.
  • ($241,980) Reinhard Radermacher, professor, department of mechanical engineering, works with Annapolis-based XChanger Companies Inc. to evaluate the energy-saving potential and thermal comfort of the company’s air delivery unit, which initial studies have shown yield potential HVAC operating savings of between 18-31 percent.
  • ($133,651) Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, partners with College Park-based Remedium Technologies Inc. to develop a hemostatic putty for treating battlefield wounds.
  • ($134,864) Charles Schwartz, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering works with Waldorf-based Pothole Pros LLC to integrate quality assurance into the company’s infrared pavement repair technology.
  • ($334,500) Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, teams with Fishing Creek-based Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Co. to develop oyster sorting and grading technologies to support and expand the oyster industry in Maryland.

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

Pictured, the Shore Thing Shellfish team, from front to back: Mandy Burch, Brian Russell and Sheldon Russell planting oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

Pictured, the Shore Thing Shellfish team, from front to back: Mandy Burch, Brian Russell and Sheldon Russell planting oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish. Three projects, the most for any MIPS round in 26 years, involved the development of better oyster-farming technologies.

This is the 53rd round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added more than 5,000 jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

Pictured: Two-month-old oyster spat on shell. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (0.98 in) long. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

Pictured: Two-month-old oyster spat on shell. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (0.98 in) long. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

CoolCAD Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Security Keychain that Locks Your Computer When You Are Away

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD Electronics LLC, a University of Maryland-based electronics design company, just launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for its new GateKeeper Chain security product, a small, colorful key fob that automatically locks your computer when you leave and unlocks it when you return, university officials announce today.

The GateKeeper Chain works over Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth SMART) wireless technology, combining a personal sensor with an encrypted connection that allows only its unique key to unlock your computer. The password is encrypted and stored on your PC, not the GK-Chain—so no one can steal it. The result is effortless security for your computer when you walk away, and easy access when you return.

“Our goal is provide people who use computers with optimal security and convenience,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate Dr. Siddharth Potbhare (M.S. 2005, Ph.D. 2008), who co-founded CoolCAD. “It’s easy to forget to lock your computer when you leave your desk, and it’s a chore to log back in when you get back. GateKeeper takes care of both.”

As an extra layer of security, CoolCAD offers a companion smartphone application that lets you manage and track your keys, but more importantly—warns you when you leave your keys behind.

Initial prototypes work with PCs and Android phones, although the company is creating Macintosh and iOS versions as well.

Rewards for backers of the GateKeeper Chain Kickstarter campaign include access to pre-production-run prototypes, custom gold or silver key fobs, laboratory tours with CoolCAD’s engineers and designers, and up to 50 hours of one-on-one consulting to create customized products, which could include logos, additional branding and optional form factors.

CoolCAD plans to use its Kickstarter funding to take the patent-pending GateKeeper Chain from a fully functional prototype to a 200-unit pilot production run, which the company will use to obtain FCC certification and conduct comprehensive reliability testing and failure analysis tests.

Full production runs for the GateKeeper Chain are slated for June, with an expected delivery of the first 4,000 devices in July.

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD’s ten-member team includes Co-Founders UMD Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research Professor Neil Goldsman, and Vice President and UMD alumnus Dr. Akin Akturk, who earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2006.

CoolCAD is a member of the Technology Advancement Program incubator, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, whose graduates include Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, both of whom were acquired for more than $1 billion. The company’s headquarters are in Mtech’s Technology Ventures Building, located off-campus near the College Park Metrorail station.

CoolCAD has acquired research and development projects and subcontracts totaling over $4 million over the past five years, including Phase I and Phase II SBIRs/STTRs and four Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships program grants with two different UMD professors.

Joseph Naft Named Director of UMD Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program

Joseph Naft, director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program.

Joseph Naft, director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program.

Joseph Naft, entrepreneur, aerospace engineer, physicist, computer scientist, CAD/IT expert, undergraduate research program director and consultant, long a behind-the-scenes pillar at the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), has been named director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, institute officials announce today.

The MIPS program accelerates innovation in Maryland by funding collaborative R&D projects between companies and University System of Maryland faculty to bring technology products closer to market. MIPS grants money, matched with company funds, to faculty engaged in each project.

Since 1987, MIPS funds have advanced more than 500 companies in Maryland and spurred successful commercial products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform. MIPS-supported products have generated more than $25 billion in revenue.

Naft takes the reins after serving as associate director of MIPS since 2006. He replaces Martha Connolly, who was recently named director of bioentrepreneurship for UM Ventures at the University of Maryland, leveraging Mtech’s expertise across campuses.

“Joseph Naft has guided long-standing initiatives supporting faculty, students, entrepreneurs and companies both at the university and in the region,” said Mtech Director Peter Sandborn. “He is a proponent of MIPS, understands the inner workings of the program, and is a tireless advocate for companies and faculty researchers. His appointment is well-deserved.

Naft understands research and entrepreneurs. He’s started two high-tech companies and was vice president of a third.

The first, Ramsearch, Naft co-founded with UMD Professor Michael Pecht, director of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE). Ramsearch created and delivered to the U.S. Air Force a systems engineering software tool incorporating reliability and maintainability analyses. The company won $2 million in contracts. Naft sold the company to a partner.

The second company, Naftware, developed natural language information extraction systems for the NASA Ames Research Center and the National Science Foundation under three SBIR contracts.

“An important part of my preparation for MIPS is my entrepreneurial experience,” said Naft. “You have 12 people on your staff and you have to make payroll every two weeks. I know the pressure you are under. I know what it is like to do a pro forma and go to a bank and get a line of credit for operating funds, and put your home up as collateral.”

Naft also served as vice president for manufacturing software development for Fairmont, W.Va.-based Tygart Technologies, a role he took on part-time from 1994-1998. There, he conceived and created the architecture for GRIP, a Java/web-based intelligent purchasing and electronic commerce system for minimizing supply-chain subcontracting costs and enterprise-level manufacturing process planning.

He has also consulted for Fairmont-based ManTech International Corporation and Baltimore, Md.-based Environmental Elements Corporation.

Naft knows universities. He has no fewer than four academic degrees, including a B.S. in aerospace engineering and B.A. in psychology from Case Western Reserve University, an M.S. in physics from Vanderbilt University, and a B.S. in computer science from the University of Maryland.

Naft joined the University of Maryland Engineering Research Center (now Mtech) in 1984 after stints as a mechanical engineering group leader for the Boeing Company and as an assistant professor of physics at Nashville State Technical Institute. At first, he led a new computer-aided design laboratory to support UMD researchers, but soon became the center’s director of information technology.

In 1998, Naft was selected to lead a program to fund undergraduate research called ASPIRE, short for A Scholars Program for Industry-Oriented Research in Engineering. Since then, the initiative has supported nearly 500 undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects.

When MIPS started in 1987, Naft helped coordinate reviews of high-tech proposals, sometimes managing as many as ten at a time. He later designed and guided the development of the successful MIPS web-based proposal and review system, MIPStrack. In 2006, he was named associate director of MIPS.

“I want to grow the program,” said Naft. “The MIPS model works wonderfully, putting the vast expertise and facilities of Maryland’s public universities to work for Maryland businesses. I want to maintain that outstanding record of success and grow it into a larger program. Maryland’s vibrant entrepreneurial sector presents us with great opportunities that warrant doubling the funding MIPS provides for technology-based product development. We are leaving too many promising projects on the table, projects with terrific commercial potential for our state with companies that are ready to contribute to the cost of those projects to develop new and innovative products.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $25.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

WellDoc Closes $20 Million in Strategic Financing


Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) funding recipient WellDoc®, developer of the first FDA cleared mobile prescription therapy, BlueStar, recently announced that it received funding from its first institutional investors, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Windham Venture Partners, as part of a $20 million round of financing that now broadens its capitalization beyond its initial group of angel investors. For a limited time, WellDoc and its investors will also explore the possibility of adding co-investors that bring strategic value to the company.

“Our new investors share WellDoc’s vision of fundamentally changing how people manage their chronic diseases to improve outcomes and reduce costs,” said Ryan Sysko, co-founder and CEO of WellDoc. “This investment will help WellDoc launch and commercialize BlueStar, the world’s first Mobile Prescription Therapy for type 2 diabetes, on a nationwide basis.”

WellDoc’s flagship product, BlueStar, is a first-in-class, patient-centered product cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2010 for use by adults living with type 2 diabetes. BlueStar requires a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider and can be dispensed and reimbursed through a pharmacy. The new product is powered by WellDoc’s proprietary Automated Expert Analytics System and enables patients to self-manage their diabetes through real-time motivational, behavioral and educational coaching. BlueStar coordinates care by helping patients adhere to their treatment plan while also providing clinical decision support to the patient’s healthcare provider to optimize treatment decisions.

WellDoc’s 2008 MIPS project teamed the company with Charlene Quinn, associate professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, for clinical trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s DiabetesManager product (now BlueStar). The company also wanted to prove that its easy-to-use diabetes management system could be implemented on a large scale.

Quinn and WellDoc evaluated the effectiveness of a patient-to-provider interactive diabetes management system that could be utilized with readily available personal electronic devices. In the MIPS phase one project, patient diabetes management algorithms were revised to test the effectiveness of the WellDoc intervention for a larger, randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the phase 2 MIPS project.  The randomized control trial involved 30 patients, who were given WellDoc’s cell phone-based diabetes management software, which securely captured data and provided real-time diabetes management feedback. In addition, WellDoc’s system analyzed patient data and provided suggested action plans to patients’ healthcare providers (HCPs). The solution promoted patient self-management and enhanced communication between patients and their HCPs.

The MIPS study showed that adults with type 2 diabetes using WellDoc’s software achieved a 2.03-point reduction in A1c, an indicator used to identify the average blood glucose level of a diabetic over a 12-week time period. Every one-point drop reduces the risk of diabetes complications (e.g., amputations blindness) by as much as 40 percent. The top ten diabetes drugs in the U.S., on average, reduce A1c by about one point. The results of this trial were published in Diabetes Technologies and Therapeutics, Volume 10, 2008.

Dr. Quinn then conducted the first, one-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a mobile phone-based diabetes coaching and decision support intervention, the results of which were published in Diabetes Care, the world’s preeminent diabetes-focused scientific journal, published by the American Diabetes Association. The trial met its primary endpoint of reducing blood glucose levels over one-year, demonstrating patients using the WellDoc system plus their usual care had an average decline in A1c of 1.9 percentage points compared to a 0.7-percentage-point decline seen among patients treated with usual care alone (control group).

“Maryland Industrial Partnerships was really instrumental in helping us build the evidence associated with our product,” said Ryan Sysko, co-founder and CEO of WellDoc. “There were two specific areas where we used the MIPS grants. The first was looking at our clinical trial data and analyzing it to understand the impact of our system on patients. Second was looking at how we could start to evolve into more complex and advanced analytics to truly begin to personalize our system so we could begin to tailor our messaging and support to patients based upon their particular set of issues.”

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 45 percent of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease and 25.8 million people in the U.S. (approximately 8.3 percent of the population) suffer from diabetes. The ADA estimates the total annual cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and an additional $69 billion from reduced productivity.

“I would say MIPS validated us,” said Suzanne Sysko Clough, Founder & Chief Medical Officer of WellDoc. “Here we are, two people knocking on the doors of Fortune 100, Fortune, Fortune 300 companies, public payers, private payers, partners, and until we had that endorsement from a MIPS grant, it was hard. It really did help us open doors by saying we are MIPS-endorsed. It made a big difference in our ability to get traction.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $25.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

UMD Alumnus Company Squarespace to Run Inaugural Big Game Ad

Ten years ago, in a small dorm room at the University of Maryland, Anthony Casalena set out with a $30,000 loan from his father to change the way websites were built and make it easy for anyone to create one.

Squarespace was born.

Now an industry leading, all-in-one website publishing platform provider, the company marks a milestone this Sunday with its first Super Bowl advertisement, titled “A Better Web Awaits.” Read more about the ad and preview it in The Official Squarespace Blog, or on YouTube.

“Our goal was to create a spot that was appropriate for the Super Bowl while also communicating our values,” said Casalena, CEO and founder of Squarespace. “The ad clearly establishes our mission as a company: Squarespace helps sets your website apart from the clutter we commonly find all over the web.”

Anthony Casalena, UMD Hinman CEOs alumnus and founder and CEO of Squarespace.

Anthony Casalena, UMD Hinman CEOs alumnus and founder and CEO of Squarespace.

Casalena was a member of one of the first cohorts of the Hinman CEOs Program, the nation’s first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative, which places entrepreneurial students from all technical and non-technical academic disciplines together in a unique community where they live together, learn about entrepreneurship, and can launch new ventures.

“The Hinman Program is a great facilitator of ideas,” said Casalena. “The program can connect you with the people you need to meet. It fosters a more professional way of thinking about a business and exposes you to things you wouldn’t see otherwise, such as venture capitalists or evaluating business plans. It is valuable for you to see how all of these things work in the real world.”

With 259 employees and offices in New York and Dublin, Squarespace is one of the biggest publishing platforms on the Internet, serving as a basis for millions of websites. Its user-friendly interface underlies a rich and deep publishing platform with a broad set of features.

In addition to dozens of fully customizable templates, each with a unique mobile experience, Squarespace offers simple drag-and-drop website management, blogging capability, modern ecommerce and donation capabilities, social media integration, a full suite of content block types such as photo galleries and events calendars (and no need for plugins), as well as special features for bloggers, photographers, musicians, restaurants and more.

Squarespace frontsite

Squarespace offers four mobile applications to complement its web-based service, including blogging app Squarespace Blog, photo gallery app Squarespace Portfolio, analytics app Squarespace Metrics, and idea app Squarespace Note.

From a team of one, Casalena built an award-winning company, as evidenced by:

Bootstrapped for six years, Squarespace completed a $38.5 million minority investment from Index Ventures and Accel Partners in 2010. Since then, the company released a complete overhaul of its publishing platform with Squarespace 6, more than doubled is staff and added dozens of features to its system, including its mobile apps.

After the Super Bowl, Squarespace’s ad campaign will be expanded nationwide and include TV, digital, social, and out-of-home components. The commercials, created in 60-second and 30-second formats, can be viewed at starting February 2.

About the Hinman CEOs Program
Hinman CEOs, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, is the nation’s first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative, placing entrepreneurially-minded students from all technical and non-technical academic disciplines in a unique community. Students live together, learn about entrepreneurship, and can launch new ventures. The mission of Hinman CEOs is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, create a sense of community and cooperation, and develop ethical leaders. All undergraduates from the University of Maryland, College Park are invited to apply for this competitive program. Brian Hinman, University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering alumnus and successful entrepreneur, provided funding to initiate and support the Program.

Mtech TAP Incubator Graduate Neuralstem Inc. Closes $20 Million Investment


Neuralstem Inc., a 2001 graduate of the Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator, announced that it closed on a $20 million investment from leading institutional and accredited investors in a registered direct placement of 6,872,859 shares of common stock at a price of $2.91 per share.

neuralstem_logoBased in Rockville, Md., Neuralstem, now a publicly traded biotherapeutics company, features a patented technology that enables the production of neural stem cells of the brain and spinal cord in commercial quantities, and the ability to control the differentiation of these cells constitutively into mature, physiologically relevant human neurons and glial cells.

“We are very pleased to have raised the capital in this offering from leading institutional investors, including dedicated institutional healthcare investors. With the proceeds strengthening our cash balance, we have the resources to further advance our cell therapy and small molecule clinical trial programs,” said Richard Garr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neuralstem.

Neuralstem’s NSI-566 spinal cord-derived stem cell therapy is in Phase II clinical trials for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Neuralstem has been awarded orphan status designation by the FDA for its ALS cell therapy.

Neuralstem was in TAP from April 1997 to December 2001. The company’s office space was accented with large, white canopies over its desks, creating a neural network-looking appearance when taken in aggregate.

In addition to ALS, Neuralstem is also targeting major central nervous system conditions with its NSI-566 cell therapy platform, including spinal cord injury and ischemic stroke. The company has received FDA approval to commence a Phase I safety trial in chronic spinal cord injury.

Neuralstem also maintains the ability to generate stable human neural stem cell lines suitable for the systematic screening of large chemical libraries. Through this proprietary screening technology, Neuralstem has discovered and patented compounds that may stimulate the brain’s capacity to generate neurons, possibly reversing pathologies associated with certain central nervous system conditions.  The company has completed a Phase I safety trial evaluating NSI-189, its first neurogenic small molecule product candidate, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Additional indications might include traumatic brain injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For more information about Neuralstem, visit or connect with the company on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

Pixelligent Granted Innovation Research Award for Next-Generation OLED Lighting


Pixelligent Technologies, an Mtech TAP incubator graduate and MIPS funding recipient, recently announced it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The nine-month, $150,000 program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting, which is used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs. As part of this program, Pixelligent will partner with OLEDWorks LLC, a leading OLED lighting company.

“As we continue working with the world’s leading electronics and next generation lighting companies, we are excited to partner with OLEDWorks, one of the leading American manufacturers of OLED lighting solutions”, said Craig Bandes, president and CEO of Pixelligent.

The SBIR program, established by the U.S. Congress, supports scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds. The goal of the program, titled Advanced Light Extraction Material for OLED Lighting, is to develop an internal light-extraction structure that will be fully compatible with OLED device manufacturing processes and operating conditions that can expedite the commercialization of white OLED lighting.

“We are honored to receive this highly competitive grant from the DOE that recognizes the significant value our advanced materials can provide in Solid State Lighting (SSL) applications”, commented Dr. Gregory D. Cooper, CTO and Founder of Pixelligent Technologies.

Since 2012, the company has received three SBIR grants from the Department of Energy, totaling $1.3 million, to expedite the development of its advanced materials for commercial use.

Once occupying four wet labs and two offices in TAP from 2005 to 2011, Pixelligent moved to Baltimore in June, 2011. In 2012, the company expanded its footprint to include more than 13,000 sq. ft. and has increased its work force by nearly 150 percent since moving operations to Baltimore. This growth is attributed to the increased demand for its proprietary Zirconia nanocrystal additives and the progress Pixelligent has made in significantly scaling-up its manufacturing capacity. The company is now producing and shipping its nanocrystal additives to customers around the world.

Also in 2005, Pixelligent worked with UMD chemistry and biochemistry Professor Daniel Falvey through a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant on nanocrystal additives for increased resolution in photolithography. The project helped Pixelligent as it transitioned its technology to other applications in semiconductor manufacturing and the electronics industry, according to the company.

In December 2012, The Baltimore Sun reported that Pixelligent was “searching the region for space for a manufacturing facility capable of increasing its capacity to make nanocrystal coatings for electronics and semiconductors by 10 times or more.”

Pixelligent has raised more than $17 million over the past four and a half years.

Pixelligent’s first three employees earned their Ph.D.s from the University of Maryland. Founder & CTO Greg Cooper earned his Physics, Zhiyun Chen, Vice President of Engineering, earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and Serpil Gonen Williams, Vice President of Product Development, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry. Pixelligent also employs three other UMD graduates. Xia Bai and Selina Thomas both earned Ph.D.’s in Chemistry and Lei Zhang earned her Master’s in Material Science and Engineering.

UMD Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Wins National Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education


Pictured: USASBE President Pat Dickson, left, and EIP Director Jay Smith.

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) has selected the University of Maryland Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) as the first-place winner for an Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education award in the Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program category, university officials announced today.

A joint initiative of the The Honors College and A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), EIP is a two-year, living-learning program for freshman and sophomore honors students that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, creates a sense of community and cooperation, and develops ethical and innovative leaders.

A leading voice in entrepreneurship research, teaching, and application, with over 1,000 members across the world, USASBE established the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship education at the programmatic level. Each is awarded on a competitive basis, with only one institution winning in each category during a given year.

“EIP is a growing and dynamic program,” said Clark School Dean and Farvardin Professor Darryll Pines. “Few initiatives have made it to this national scale in less than four years. It is a testament to the passion and dedication of EIP Director Jay Smith, who not only lives and breathes the concept of innovative thinking, but also genuinely cares for each and every one of his students.”

The premise of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) is simple: take some of the most talented students entering the University of Maryland and teach them how to apply entrepreneurial and innovative thinking to everything they do.

Less than four years after the program’s launch, its students are leaders across the university, winning competitions, starting new ventures, bolstering companies, non-profits and government initiatives, and spreading the mindset that an individual really can change the world.

Students best describe the program’s effectiveness.

“Ever since EIP opened my eyes to the entrepreneurial way of thinking, my mind has been on fire,” said Daniel Barotti, a junior mechanical engineer major who is simultaneously developing a system to improve the coordination of relief organizations during disasters, specially-lighted crosswalks to enhance pedestrian safety, and an online platform that donates money to charities when people play games online. “EIP Director Jay Smith taught us how to take a step back and re-evaluate everything. He encouraged us to start businesses and create the change we’d like to see in the world.”

EIP alumna Ashmi Sheth has interned with Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, served as a Changemaker for the social innovation organization Ashoka U, consulted for the banking-for-change company Agora Microfinance, and assumed multiple leadership roles in the Smith Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA).

“The layout of EIP was like a thinking incubator,” said Sheth. “What [Jay Smith] does is very difficult to teach—how to think differently. He brought in successful entrepreneurs and opened our eyes to thinking ‘hey, maybe we don’t all have to work at a big company after college, maybe we can have the guts to just start something and change the world with it, especially our own communities.’”

The comprehensive yet dynamic structure of EIP includes the following:

  • Residential Community: All students live together for two years in an EIP-designated residence hall, creating a strong community, promoting the sharing of ideas, and nurturing real entrepreneurial activity.
  • Incubator Facilities: Two floors of the EIP residence hall were remodeled to create classrooms, project team rooms and program offices, making it easy for students to brainstorm, whiteboard ideas, and benefit from real-time coaching and mentoring.
  • Experiential Learning: Students participate in experiential learning activities including simulations, case studies, creativity projects, outdoor challenge course, a social venture “gumball challenge,” rapid- prototyping exercises, co-curricular workshops, internships, guest lectures, business idea/plan development, presentations, and the creation of student-owned ventures. Many assignments are team-based to build skills in cooperation, negotiation and project management.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Program offices are located in the residence hall for easy access to coaching and mentoring. Students receive guidance on business ideas, the entrepreneurial process, or discuss career options. The program director has extensive international experience as an entrepreneur, corporate finance professional, consultant and professor of venture business.
  • Challenging Academics: Students complete a series of four required EIP courses (9 credits) taken with members of their cohort. These courses focus on entrepreneurship fundamentals, assessment of individual strengths and interests, developing a personal entrepreneurship strategy, identifying contemporary issues and opportunities for innovation, international aspects of entrepreneurship, and, as a capstone, creating a for-profit business idea with social impact. Courses are taught by the EIP director, select university faculty and industry professionals.
  • Impact Seed Fund: EIP students are eligible to receive grants from a $50,000 annual seed fund established for developing new ventures that make a positive social impact. Funds are to be used for research, product development, or working capital for students’ ventures.
  • Start-up Discussion and Peer Feedback Meetings: Students readying to launch ventures are invited to join regular meetings to share their ideas with their peers and the program staff. The meetings help students develop ideas, identify issues to consider, and obtain other feedback and advice.

Since 2010, EIP has grown to serve 170 freshmen and sophomores in the 2013-2014 academic year and supports 120 additional upper-level students who have completed the program’s course sequence. EIP students are among the highest academic performers at the university, representing a wide variety of fields of study, including business, engineering, sciences, mathematics, agriculture, linguistics, government, psychology, and architecture. Over 40 percent of the program’s freshmen are women.

EIP students have formed ventures in areas such as mobile applications, electrical/electronic devices, internet/web development, military/law enforcement, real estate, specialty apparel, gaming, niche social media, and social ventures. Dozens of others are evaluating ideas to pursue.

In addition, students have worked for Amazon, Google, Texas Instruments, Toyota, and Under Armour, as well as NASA, SAIC, Orbital Sciences, NIST, NIH, FDA, and Northrop Grumman.

They have won case competitions sponsored by Deloitte, Unilever and Target.

“Jay Smith and the EIP students are changing the university every day, for the better,” said Honors College Director William Dorland. “It is wonderful to see their efforts recognized at the national level. There will be more recognition to come, I am certain.”

“We are honored to be recognized for excellence in entrepreneurship education by USASBE, one of the most influential organizations in the nation for supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses,” says EIP Director Jay Smith. “We are committed to continually improving a model program to spur entrepreneurship and innovation, two of the key economic development drivers for creating jobs and bringing new products to market. For students, entrepreneurship is a fantastic vehicle for self-expression and self-actualization, giving them a chance them to pursue their dreams while creating value for society.”

Collegiate Entrepreneurship Software Platform VentureBoard Adopted By University of Maryland

Web Application Helps Students, Advisors Interact, Build Companies

Scott Block

Pictured: Scott Block, co-founder of VentureBoard

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — VentureBoard, a higher education software platform that reduces the barriers to starting companies and helps create a robust entrepreneurial culture on campus, has been adopted for two applications at the University of Maryland, university officials announce today.

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has deployed VentureBoard in its Hinman CEOs Program courses, while the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship will use VentureBoard as a foundation for its new Fearless Founders program.

VentureBoard helps both students and advisors throughout the venture creation process. Using an elegant, modern interface, students can quickly find and assemble teams across campus, build and refine their business model canvasses, and manage their company’s projects and tasks on an ongoing basis.

For faculty and staff, VentureBoard provides a data-driven overview of the ventures in their portfolio, allowing them to quickly see which are active or in need of assistance. Advisors can also share thoughts and links, give direct feedback to student questions, and delegate tasks.

“Integrating VentureBoard into our classroom has been a win-win for both students and instructors,” said James V. Green, director of entrepreneurship education at Mtech and director of the Hinman CEOs Program, the nation’s first living-learning undergraduate entrepreneurship initiative. “Students gain access to an excellent tool for crafting business models, while instructors gain insights into the real-time status and progress of student ventures. This, in-turn, enables us to provide support that is relevant and timely.”

For the Dingman Center, VentureBoard will serve as the organizing platform for Fearless Founders, a new initiative that helps prepare student entrepreneurs from idea generation to business launch.

“One of the most important things about VentureBoard for us is that its interface, with a Facebook wall-type feed, is consistent with how young entrepreneurs communicate with each other about starting their businesses,” said Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center. “In addition to its business model canvas and Lean LaunchPad-type tools, it gives us a great way to track teams, help them communicate with each other and match entrepreneurs with advisors.”

VentureBoard can extend across a university campus, or serve specific cohorts.

The company was founded by University of Maryland students Scott Block (information systems and marketing double major, Hinman CEOs), Justin Searles (computer science major), and Avi Eisenberger (information systems and marketing double major) as a solution to the challenges they encountered while pursuing entrepreneurship in college.

VentureBoard will be available to additional universities for the spring 2014 semester.

Contact VentureBoard at (256) 258-8706;; or follow the company on Twitter @ventureboard.

About VentureBoard (
VentureBoard is an online platform that helps college students start new companies. To help students stay on task and to help university advisors track student performance, VentureBoard integrates student discovery, ideation, and collaboration to allow universities to better manage student-run companies. By providing a robust, user-centric online platform, VentureBoard encourages students to become more engaged in their businesses and allows university staff to stay better connected and organized with student entrepreneurs.


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