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BBJ: UM Ventures Makes Its First Equity Investment

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two University System of Maryland schools are turning investor.

University of Maryland, Baltimore, and University of Maryland, College Park plan to invest up to $500,000 each in Maryland-based startups that use technology licensed from the universities.

UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the two schools, on Wednesday announced its first equity investment. UM Ventures contributed $100,000 to Harpoon Medical Inc.'s Series A, which now totals $3.6 million. The Stevensville company is developing a surgical tool for minimally invasive heart valve surgery, using technology licensed from University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Until now, UM Ventures' role has been to troll university research labs for ideas that can be commercialized. The tech transfer office helps faculty members pursue licenses, patents and startups, and helps connect new companies to business resources.

"We've created about 100 companies through this method but we've never had any cash to put in them," said James L. Hughes, the director of UM Ventures.

Read more from the Baltimore Business Journal.