Maryland’s technology industry has never been short on talent or ideas, thanks partly to the federal government’s local presence. National Institutes of Health installations bolster a sizable biotechnology industry in Montgomery County, and the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade supports a thriving cybersecurity sector in the D.C.-Baltimore corridor.
But most of that work is closely related to serving the federal government. Some regional economic experts would rather see a local technology industry linked to commercial markets, possibly enabling wealth creation of the kind seen in places like Silicon Valley. Efforts to create a broader commercial industry have been piecemeal, with some of the region’s most promising firms leaving for other cities in search of funding.
“This is a big problem that’s going to require a lot of money and a lot of concerted effort,” said Jonathan Aberman, a Virginia-based technology investor.
Maryland has tried to solve that problem by handing out small taxpayer-funded investments each year to promising start-ups in the earliest stages of development. Maryland’s Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) hands out $100,000 investments in state-appropriated money to start-ups deemed to show potential.
But officials have found that the small investments, typically given to companies with only a few employees, aren’t enough for some firms.
On Tuesday, the state announced a program called the GAP Investment Fund. The fund is designed to make investments of $200,000 to $500,000. The plan is to cater to start-ups that…
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