Invest Maryland Challenge | 2014

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2014 applications are no longer being accepted.
View the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Winners

View a special message from Governor Martin O'Malley



Are you an entrepreneur in need of a jump start?


The InvestMaryland Challenge is a national seed and early-stage business competition hosted by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development in partnership with Inc. Magazine. The Challenge will award $400,000 in grants and a host of business services to companies in the life sciences and high tech industries. Grants are provided by the Department's Maryland Venture Fund and the BioMaryland Center.


Companies also have the opportunity to receive direct investments from venture capital firms and angel investors.

  • Fewer than 25 employees
  • Annual revenue less than $1 Million
  • Duly-organized legal entity

The competition is for independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early-growth stages. The company must be a duly-organized legal entity and in good standing with the state in which they are legally registered. Sole proprietorships are not eligible. Existing Maryland ventures must have a principal place of business in Maryland. Non-Maryland ventures are expected to establish a place of business in the state either through acquired space or a state incubator. At least 51% of the grant money must be spent within the state. Entrants can only apply for one category. A non-refundable $100 application fee required. Subject to other requirements.

$100K Categories


IT Hardware & Software
Businesses in industries including but not limited to cloud computing, data mining & analytics, forensic tools, geospatial, data management, social media & apps, cellular tools, and e-commerce (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:
ClickMedix (Winner)

Life Sciences
This category covers a broad range of products and services critical to the life science ecosystem including, but not limited to Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Diagnostics and Therapeutics (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:
Harpoon Medical
Brain Sentry (Winner)
Vasoptic Medical

Businesses in industries that development products and services to protect computer and network systems from unauthorized access and attacks including but not limited to information security, data storage, backup and recovery. (Open to Maryland companies only).

2014 Finalists:
Light Point Security
Luminal (Winner)
Healthy Doctor

General Industry
This category is open nationally to all industries and covers a broad range of technologies focused on Maryland’s top industries including, Energy, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Maritime, Clean Tech, IT, Life Sciences and Manufacturing and concepts with high social impact. (Open to Maryland & Non-Maryland-based companies).

2014 Finalists:
SuggestedPosts (Winner)

IT Hardware & Software

2014 Judges

Life Science

2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


2014 InvestMaryland Challenge Judges


September 5, 2013 Application Submissions Open
October 29, 2013 Maryland Entrepreneur Breakfast
December 6, 2013 Application Submission Closes
December 2013 Judges Boot Camp
January 24, 2013 Night Out with the Judges Networking Reception
January 31, 2014 Round 1: Application & Business Plan Review
February 2014 Top 50 Semi-Finalists Announced
February 2014 Round 2: Face-to-Face Interviews
March 2014 Finalists Announced
May 19, 2014 Finale Awards Ceremony
* all dates subject to change


Governor’s Cup Awards

$100,000 - IT Hardware/Software
$100,000 - Cybersecurity
$100,000 - Life Sciences
$100,000 - General Industry

Provided by the Maryland Venture Fund
and the BioMaryland Center

Additional Grand Prizes Include:

Legal Services from Whiteford Taylor Preston
Betamore Community Membership
Cofounders Lab Pro Membership
2014 CyberMaryland Conference Package from Federal Business Council
Crowdfunding assistance from Rock The Post

Maryland Centers of Innovation Awards

$75,000 in Laboratory Incubator Space from Army Research Lab (Adelphi, MD)
$60,000 in Laboratory Incubator Space from Army Research Lab (Aberdeen, MD)
$10,000 Entrepreneur Grant from Rural Maryland Council and ESEC
$6,000 Associate Membership to TowsonGlobal Business Incubator
$1,200 in Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Affiliate Services
$1,000 in bwtech@UMBC Affiliate Services
ETC Baltimore Services
Montgomery College Kauffman FastTrac Scholarships

Life Sciences & Investor Awards

$5,000 in Noble Life Sciences Drug Development Services
$1,500 Women in Science & Engineering Grant from Sterilex Corporation
$2,500 in Grant Proposal and Consulting Assistance from BioHealth Innovation
$5,270 in BuzzQuake Marketing Services
$2,500 in Root3Lab Electromechanical Device Development Services
$2,000 in Somax Business Consulting Assistance
Epidarex Capital Investor Pitch

High Tech Startup & Investor Awards

$50,000 Conditional Loans from Prince George’s Economic Development Incentive
$50,000 in Microsoft BizSpark Services
$1,000 in Export Consulting & Assistance from Partner2Partner Logistics
EnerTech Capital Grant
New Markets Venture EdTech Investor Pitch
Dingman Angels Investor Pitch
Baltimore Angels Investor Pitch
FSC First Small & Minority Business Investor Pitch


2014 applications are no longer being accepted.
Applications accepted September 5th - December 6th 2013
All InvestMaryland Challenge Applicants Receive The Following:
  • Scoring and business feedback from the Challenge judges
  • Placement in the Challenge applicant database
  • Free admission to the Maryland Entrepreneur Breakfast – Fall 2013
  • Free admission to the Night Out With the Judges Networking Event- Winter 2013
  • Free admission to the InvestMaryland Challenge Finale – April 2014
  • Ongoing social media promotion



Partner With Us

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development invites you to partner with us on the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge! As an IMC Partner, you will work directly with Challenge affiliates, applicants, judges, sponsors and other partners to promote, advance and inspire the entrepreneur community in Maryland. In addition to networking opportunities, IMC Partners will receive the following:

Partner Benefits
Partner Contributions

To participate, please provide the following information to Michelle Jackson at Partner Organization Name, Point of Contact Name, Address, Phone Number & Email Address, Description of Award & Award Value, Judge Name, Title, Head Shot, Bio (one paragraph only).



Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please Contact Us?



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