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Four Emerging Technology Companies Receive VOLT Fund Loans

Monday, February 29, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Megan Mann
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Awards Aim to Serve as Bridge to Follow-on Funding

Annapolis, Maryland – (February 29, 2016) – Today the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) announced that four early stage technology companies in central Maryland have been approved for a total of $800,000 in loans through its VOLT Fund.  Awardees include two Anne Arundel County companies, Appian Medical, Inc., and Vixiar Medical Inc., Baltimore City based Vasoptic Medical Inc., and Grip Boost, LLC, a member company at bwtech@UMBC incubator.

The VOLT Fund, managed by AAEDC, received a $1.8 million allotment in 2015 from the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Investment Fund.  The state’s fund is supported by 1.5 percent of video lottery terminal revenue generated by Maryland’s five casinos.  Besides loans to conventional businesses, AAEDC’s VOLT Fund has a set aside for entrepreneurs of innovative technology.  Since the inception of the program in 2013, AAEDC has conducted three technology loan application rounds, allocating more than $2.4 million to 13 early stage companies in Maryland.

“For pre-revenue emerging technology companies that have created a product but have not yet brought it to market, the VOLT Fund provides tremendous support to allow these businesses to take their next step in growth,” said Robert Hannon, CEO and President of Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. “By offering patient capital to these companies that are at such a critical phase, the VOLT Fund plays an important role in Maryland’s innovation ecosystem.”

The awards are offered as a long term loan until the company experiences a liquidity event. A liquidity event is defined as an acquisition, investment from venture capital/angel investors or private equity firms in the amount of four times of the original loan made by the fund, or an initial public offering (IPO).

“We are honored to be selected from an outstanding group of top technology start-ups in Maryland,” said Dr. Chanda Arya, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Grip Boost. “The VOLT Fund investment will provide essential resources for our upcoming marketing campaign and is a fantastic opportunity to grow our business.”

“We are grateful to have been selected among such a strong group of companies to receive a loan from the VOLT Fund,” said M. Jason Brooke, CEO of Vasoptic Medical Inc. “These funds, which will support improvements in our image analysis software, come at a critical point in the growth of our company as we complete our early feasibility clinical study and march toward launch of a retinal imager for research use.”

More than 60 applications were received for the current application round. Applications were collected through a one-month application window and down-selected through two subsequent rounds. Staffs from two local technology incubators, the Chesapeake Innovation Center and bwtech@UMBC, assisted AAEDC in the early review of applications.  Subject matter experts also assessed applications before a review by an investment committee which made the final selections.

Details on each awardee include the following:

  • Appian Medical, Inc.: Based in Severna Park, Appian Medical develops and commercializes diagnostic and monitoring software, enabling consumers and physicians to better manage chronic health conditions. The company’s initial focus is on mobile health solutions for accessible, accurate, and affordable detection of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious disorder that affects 100 million people worldwide. Untreated, OSA causes or worsens diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and increases the risk for stroke, cardiovascular events, certain cancers, and all-causes mortality. 
    Loan Amount: $150,000
  • Grip Boost, LLC: Formed in March 2014, Grip Boost has commercialized a University of Maryland polymer-gel technology that restores grip on football & baseball gloves.
    Loan Amount: $250,000
  • Vasoptic Medical Inc.: Vasoptic is developing a portfolio of vascular imaging products, including a series of retinal imagers that allow scientists to evaluate vascular physiology for research purposes and doctors to diagnose ophthalmic and systemic diseases at the point of care.
    Loan Amount: $150,000
  • Vixiar Medical Inc.: Vixiar provides a non-invasive and inexpensive diagnostic to monitor heart failure patients. The handheld device self-guides a patient through a several minute procedure to estimate cardiac pressures that would normally require a left heart catheterization. The company is based in Annapolis.
    Loan Amount: $250,000

The VOLT Fund technology investment committee considers several factors in application review process.  Applicants must be high potential early stage technology companies with a clear path to follow-on funding.  Also, teams must be led by an experienced entrepreneur or demonstrate a willingness to acquire needed management talent. Companies must also be at a stage in product development where the cash flow break-even point is expected within 24 to 36 months.

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ABOUT THE ANNE ARUNDEL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The mission of the AAEDC is to serve as a catalyst for business growth in Anne Arundel County thereby increasing job opportunities, expanding the tax base and improving quality of life.  By providing investment and technical assistance and fostering community revitalization initiatives, the AAEDC plays a vital role in enhancing commercial districts, improving county infrastructure, increasing agriculture-based business and promoting high-value business sectors such as technology and national defense.

MEDIA CONTACT
Rosa Cruz
Director of Communications and Marketing
Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation/
Chesapeake Innovation Center
(p) 410-222-741


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