The fund seeks to provide early-stage capital that can help develop startups that launch out of research and inventions that originate at state universities. Startups working at USM-affiliated incubators or other facilities such as the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore are also eligible, as well as those founded by Maryland grads.
The fund has an initial commitment of $10 million from the University System of Maryland, and leaders want it to grow to $25 million. Wise brings experience working with startups in the region.
After retiring as CEO of the Genetics & IVF Institute, Wise shifted his focus to helping innovation in Maryland. He quickly got involved around the Baltimore community, becoming a venture advisor to Abell Foundation President Robert Embry. He also lent his advice by joining advisory boards for UM Ventures, Betamore and the Lifebridge Bioincubator at Sinai Hospital, and judging pitch competitions such as the AccelerateBaltimore finals
and Beta City.
“Its very similar to what I was doing before with Abell,” which focuses on Baltimore, he says. “Now I’m going to focus on the entire university system and the state of Maryland.” He says he already began visiting each of the 12 campuses and making connections. Existing ties to the investment community will also help where the fund’s investments require a one-to-one match by outside investors.