Video: InvestMaryland Challenge boosts entrepreneurial innovation

The InvestMaryland Challenge concluded this week as dozens of early-stage companies were awarded grants, business services and other resources valued at nearly $1 million.

Four $100,000 grand prizes, funded by the Maryland Venture Fund and BioMaryland Center, part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, were awarded to companies involved in information technology hardware and software, life sciences, cybersecurity and general industry.

Find a full list of grand prize and special award winners here

Greg Merril, CEO of Brain Sentry, who won the grand prize in the life sciences category, said the competition is helping to strengthen the State’s entrepreneurial community. Brain Sentry’s flagship product is a helmet-mounted sensor which helps identify whether someone should be assessed for a concussion.

“It’s so difficult for startup companies to get the funding and support to really make an impact in the economy. The State of Maryland is doing all the right things to make companies like Brain Sentry a success,” Merril said.

For Josh Stella, CEO of Luminal, the grand prize winner in cybersecurity, the competition offered his company an opportunity to share its mission with a wider audience. The software company is building next-generation security and infrastructure systems for cloud computing.

“It is a challenge to communicate deeply technical ideas to business people who aren’t solidly technical. It’s definitely been interesting to explain what we’re doing to folks who aren’t computer geeks and computer science folks like we are,” Stella said.

“You have to have a compelling invention and you have to have a compelling business plan because the judges understand what it means to create a great company,” he added.

Find extended interviews with these entrepreneurs in the above videos. 

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