InvestMaryland Challenge deadline nears

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews

The first phase of the inaugural InvestMaryland Challenge business competition is nearly over. Applications are due Thursday for businesses across the country looking to claim one of the three $100,000 top prizes or any of the in-kind business services worth a total of $125,000.

As of Monday morning, the Department of Business and Economic Development had received 180 applications from 10 states, including Maryland and Washington D.C. Applications have come from as far away as Florida and California.

The Challenge will award three $100,000 prizes to the top companies in life sciences, information technology and an open, general category. Winners will be announced in March. (View the full timeline here.)

Maryland companies can enter any of the categories. Out-of-state companies can enter the general category and would be expected to establish a place of business in the state and spend at least 51 percent of the grant money within the state.

The Challenge is funded by InvestMaryland, which raised $84 million in March to make venture capital investments in promising, young Maryland companies.

Here are a few of the more than 60 judges — professional investors, technologists, academics, and others with expertise to lend to entrepreneurs — discussing the competition:

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Nick Sohr

Nick Sohr