ARL leads by example

First Federal agency to commit to InvestMaryland Challenge

June 19, 2014

Leadership from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory joined hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders at the InvestMaryland Challenge finale awards ceremony held on May 19 at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md. for the announcement of the State's InvestMaryland Challenge winners.

Launched in 2012, IMC is a state sponsored business competition that solicits new startups with venture capital to potentially develop into sustainable businesses in Maryland. As part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, "IMC is providing $84 million in growth funding to some of Maryland's most exciting young companies and is now the largest venture capital fund in the state's history," according to Governor Martin O'Malley.

Since first taking office in 2006, O'Malley has been a strong advocate for creating incentives to attract high technology business growth and investment in the state of Maryland.

As part of ARL's open campus initiative, the laboratory will be the first federal agency to engage in support of IMC by providing pilot awards known as Incubator Awards valued at $60,000 and $75,000. The two Maryland-based startup companies awarded will receive up to one year incubator laboratory space at no cost at the Adelphi Laboratory Center and Aberdeen Proving Ground, ARL's two largest sites. The award includes laboratory and office space, utilities, taxes, phone system, internet connection, shared use of common areas and opportunities to collaborate with Army scientists and engineers, which will provide exposure to potential government and military customers.

Wendy Leonard, program manager for ARL's Open Campus Initiative, noted that "ARL's participation in Invest Maryland Challenge fully aligns with the spirit of Open Campus' guiding principles. ARL is well-suited to partner with companies in life sciences and cyber security, and we believe the potential success of the selected companies will increase interaction and collaboration with ARL scientists and engineers," she added.

Dr. Reed Skaggs, representing ARL's Office of the Director, presented awards to Integrata Security, LLC and GraftWorx. Integrata will use lab and incubator space at ARL's Adelphi Laboratory Center location while GraftWorx will utilize space at Aberdeen Proving Ground in an ARL facility.

Integrata Security, based in Baltimore, focuses on state-of-the-art wireless network intrusion detection services. In just one year since launching, the company has signed an exclusive license agreement with the National Security Agency to commercialize its patented Wireless Intrusion Detection System (WIDS) technology.

GraftWorx, based in Bel Air, Md. was incorporated in 2013 and manufactures medical equipment for detecting blockages of peripheral arterial bypass grafts. The medical device company focuses on developing technologies to incorporate sensors into implantable grafts that will detect a blockage before it becomes a problem.

Both startup companies were the recipients of multiple awards. In addition to the ARL Incubator Award, Integrata Security was the recipient of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Affiliated Services Award. GraftWorx was also the recipient of the Epidarex Capital Investor Pitch Award and a BioHealth Innovation Commercial Relevance Program Award, which included grant proposal consulting.

Featured remarks and presentation of the four $100,000 IMC grand prizes were offered by O'Malley who commented on Maryland's outstanding growth in key sectors, such as research and development and economic transformations encouraged by the innovative companies that participated in IMC.

"We are a very strong state when it comes to (research and development); number one in terms of Ph.D. scientists and researchers and number one in R&D. In fact, the U.S Chamber of Commerce has named Maryland the number one state in America for innovation and entrepreneurship," O'Malley said. He went on to say, "The work that you all are engaged in is transforming our economy and transforming the way we feed, feel and heal this economy of Maryland. We are a hotbed of innovation for science and security in this Chesapeake corridor."

Special recognition was given to the industry-leading panel of judges who reviewed the business plans, profiles and applications of 260 nationwide entries narrowing the fields over three successive rounds. Selections were made from four categories: Life sciences, Information Technology, General Industry and Cybersecurity.


Last Update / Reviewed: June 19, 2014