USM Venture Capital Fund Supports $1.2 Million Investment in MF Fire, a UMCP-Based Fire Technology Start-up
Thursday, November 9, 2017
First Investment from recently created Maryland Momentum Fund
Adelphi, Md. (Nov. 9, 2017) – The University System of Maryland (USM) has selected MF Fire, a start-up company developing innovations in the wood-burning stove industry based on technology advances from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), as recipient of the first investment from the recently established Maryland Momentum Fund.
As part of an initial funding round of $1.2 million, the Maryland Momentum Fund is contributing $192,500. The USM Board of Regents created the $25 million fund in 2016 to enable the system to invest in and support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses. Other critical sources of money in the $1.2 million funding round include Bill Clarke, a leading clean tech investor.
MF Fire is a fire technology company with origins at Department of Fire Protection and Engineering, which offers the only fully accredited undergraduate program of its kind in the United States, and is one of only three accredited such graduate programs in the U.S.
In 2012, a professor approached graduate students and fire protection engineers Ryan Fisher and Taylor Myers with the challenge of developing an eco-friendly “next-generation wood stove.” Together, Fisher and Myers assembleda graduate fire science team and developed a wood-burning stove whose “clean” capacities comply with more-stringent emissions regulations that, at the time, threatened to eliminate all but six wood stoves from the market.
MF Fire has sought to engineer the perfect wood fire. This app-driven, ultra-clean wood stove has won the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Clean Energy Prize for Energy Efficiency in 2014 and first place in the particulate emissions category at the 2013 Alliance for Green Heat Wood Stove Decathlon. While traditional wood stoves are dirty and inefficient, MF Fire reimagined the wood stove as a clean energy source and created a smart stove that is up to 60x cleaner than average wood stoves.
Fisher (company chief operating officer) and Taylor (chief technical officer) have teamed with 28-year business veteran and entrepreneur Paul LaPorte to develop a commercial model for the company. LaPorte, a Baltimore resident, is chief executive officer. MF Fire bases its entire production efforts in the U.S., with its headquarters, as well as distribution and assembly, centered at its facility in west Baltimore.
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