Plasmonix, Bambeco land InvestMaryland funds

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews

Plasmonix and Bambeco have received the latest investments through InvestMaryland, the Department of Business and Economic Development announced Thursday.

The state made equity investments of $100,000 in Plasmonix and $200,000 in Bambeco, which also received $400,000 through InvestMaryland last month.

“Companies like Plasmonix and Bambeco continue to shape the future of Maryland’s economy by growing the jobs of tomorrow,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “These are the first of what will be dozens of investments over the coming months thanks to InvestMaryland’s significant impact on our State’s innovative companies.”

InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history. In March, the State raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies.

Two-thirds of the InvestMaryland funds will be managed by carefully screened private venture firms, who will invest the funds with a commitment to return, if successful, 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. Grotech Ventures was tapped last week as the first InvestMaryland partner and received $12 million to invest on behalf of the state. The remaining third will be invested by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

So far, the state has made eight investments through InvestMaryland. DBED has also launched the InvestMaryland Challenge, a business competition that will award three $100,000 top prizes and about $150,000 worth of in-kind business services to other entries.

Applications for the competition are due today (Thursday 12/13) by 11:59 p.m. EST.

“The speed with which the InvestMaryland funds are being disbursed and the strength of the companies in which we are investing show how critical this program is to the State’s entrepreneurs and start-up community,” DBED Secretary Christian Johansson said. “Investments from programs like InvestMaryland and its partners in the private sector can propel entrepreneurs from innovation to commercialization to company formation to job creation.”

Plasmonix, is a biotechnology company specializing in metal-enhanced fluorescence, which is used in cell detection for medical research and clinical diagnostics. The technology has potential applications across the life science, as well as in cosmetics, apparel, paints and lighting.

“Plasmonix is grateful for the continued support from the Maryland Venture Fund and the Department of Business and Economic Development,” said William Gust, president and CEO of Plasmonix. “These funds are critically important to the ongoing development and commercialization of Plasmonix’s technology and we would not be where we are today without this support. We hope to repay the confidence demonstrated in Plasmonix by adding jobs and growing the company here in Maryland.”

An online retailer of sustainable products, Bambeco’s catalog includes solar-powered tea lanterns, recycled scrap steel trash bins, bicycle chain bottle openers and briefcases made from recycled truck tires with seatbelt shoulder straps. The company has 24 employees and expects to double its staff in the next two years.

“We are honored to be a recipient of venture capital funding through InvestMaryland,” said Susan Aplin, Bambeco president and CEO. “Forty percent of annual retail sales in the United States occur during fourth quarter. These funds allow Bambeco to secure the necessary inventory for our planned holiday sales. We are thankful for the additional investment from InvestMaryland and thank Maryland Venture Fund, the Department of Business and Economic Development, and Governor O’Malley for their continued support as we work to create jobs and help grow Maryland’s economy.”

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Nick Sohr

Nick Sohr