The Columbia-based Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) held its 11th annual Incubator Company of the Year Awards (ICOY) at the Center Club in Baltimore on June 2.
The awards, chosen by a selection committee composed of venture capitalists and government and business leaders, recognized the achievements of eight companies currently located in Maryland’s incubators, including one recent graduate.
“This event allows the technology community to recognize the great strides made throughout Maryland’s incubators,” said Christian Johansson, secretary of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development.
Winning companies were selected based on the organization’s goals and its success in achieving those objectives. Judges considered factors such as economic impact on Maryland, social impact on the community and job creation (and job creation potential).
“Incubators throughout Maryland are essential in supporting the technology and economy of the future,” said Brian Merrit, a managing director with RSM McGladrey.
Merrit joined forces with TEDCO and a pair of Saul Ewing attorneys at the time the dot-com boom was deflating to establish the ICOY and give incubator companies a boost.
“We’re here to celebrate entrepreneurs,” said Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “They’re the ones taking the risks, stepping up, mortgaging their houses and [tightening their belts].”
TEDCO’s award for Best Technology Service Company of the year was presented to SI Tec Consulting, a resident company at the NeoTech Incubator of Columbia.
SI Tec Consulting is a minority-owned HUBZone business process automation firm based out of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. The company specializes in application consulting and development, database consulting and development, software integration, web portal consulting and integration, and business process analysis and automation for the federal and commercial markets.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment and did not respond to a request for comment in time to be included in this issue.
Group Z, a NeoTech Incubator company that provides project management and full Systems Development Life Cycle services with a core focus in application development, was included among the finalists for this award.
The award for Best Information Technology Company of the Year went to Kloudtrack, a Chesapeake Innovation Center resident that offers simple Software-as-a-Service and cloud computing capabilities, concentrating on its trademarked Human Side of Compliance concept. It focuses on areas where individuals interact with sensitive data and information.
Kloudtrack Founder Jan Levine said he joined the CIC for different reasons than most incubator companies, as he prized a structure which could lead the company to develop relationships with federal and state integrators who are part of the incubator network over the more typical common need to get first- or second-round funding.
“It has delivered a sense of added credibility to our company and has given us a point of introduction which is greatly needed,” Levine said. “The CIC has been very good at introducing us to the contractors in the space we are designed to serve.”
The award came as a surprise, he added, and is a source of pride for Kloudtrack.
“It was very gratifying, given the quality of the selection criteria and the selection committee,” he said.
Emerald Sky Technologies, a NeoTech Incubator company formed in 2007 to commercialize an innovative primary flight display with the objective to make and sell advanced cockpit displays for general aviation, was also in the running for the Best Information Technology Company award.
Other awards included Graduate Company of the Year, which was presented to WellDoc of the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) in Baltimore; Green Company of the Year, presented to UR Solar Power of the Frederick Innovative Technology Center; Homeland Security Company of the Year, presented to Unatek of the Technology Assistance Center (TAC) in Largo; Life Sciences Company of the Year, presented to CosmosID of the Technology Advancement Program in College Park; New Company of the Year, presented to StraighterLine of ETC Baltimore; and Technology Transfer Company of the Year, presented to Bartron Medical Imaging of TAC Largo.
Plant Sensory Systems, a resident company of the Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator at bwtech@UMBC, was a finalist for Green Company of the Year.
Keynote speaker for the awards ceremony was CEO Steve Dubin of Columbia-based Martek Biosciences Corp., which was acquired for $1.1 billion in January by DSM Nutritional Products. Martek is a graduate company of the University of Maryland’s Technology Advancement Program incubator.
Phil Bogart, an associate in Saul Ewing’s Baltimore Business Department, gave an indication of the difference incubator companies have been making to Maryland’s economy.
At ETC alone, he said, 151 companies have graduated since the incubator was established in 1999, 80% of which are still in business. All of the graduate companies have stayed in Maryland, he added, with 61% remaining in Baltimore City.
“More than 1,500 jobs have been created, with an average salary of $75,000,” he said. “One billion dollars in of out-of-state investment has been raised by ETC companies; more than 200 patents have been issued … and I’m told that Baltimore City alone benefits in the manner of $273 million just from the ETC program. That’s quite an achievement.”