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University of Maryland Hosts Inaugural Angel Investing Event for Distinguished Alumni

University of Maryland Hosts Inaugural Angel Investing Event for Distinguished Alumni

MTECH Ventures Director Dean Chang
MTECH Ventures Director Dean Chang

The University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and Robert H. Smith School of Business hosted the university’s inaugural Impact of Angel Investing seminar yesterday for distinguished alumni.

The private seminar provided an overview of angel investing for alumni with limited angel investment experience, as well as experienced investors interested in networking with other alumni.

“The university hosted a great event,” says Ron Luzier, Clark School alumnus, class of 1972 and former executive vice president and chief technology officer of Swales Aerospace. “It was part history lesson, part tutorial, part introduction to ventures in need of support, and a great networking opportunity. The event was a win-win for the university, entrepreneurs, angel investors and the community at large.”

Angels are accredited investors who provide time and money from their own accounts as equity investments in startup companies, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Angels often have non-monetary motives for investing, as well as the usual financial ones.

Angel investors were the largest source of seed and start-up capital in the U.S. in 2006, according to a market analysis report by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Angel investments for that same year totaled $25.6 billion, flowing into 51,000 new ventures and creating 201,400 new jobs, according to the report.

“Our goal is to make the University of Maryland the hub of entrepreneurial activity in the state and region,” says Brian Darmody, associate vice president for research and economic development for the university. “Successful alumni angel networks play a key part in that plan by helping finance the creation of new companies.”

Speakers for the Impact of Angel Investing seminar included: C. D. Mote, Jr., president of the University of Maryland; MTECH Ventures Director Dean Chang; Technology Advancement Program Director Sarah Djamshidi; Asher Epstein, managing director of the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Melissa Carrier, director of venture investment and social entrepreneurship for the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Tony Stanco, executive director of Angel Investors of Greater Washington; and Mark Walsh, managing partner of Ruxton Ventures, LLC and senior fellow at the Smith School.

Companies presenting to alumni included Zymetis, Inc., a University of Maryland spin-off developing cost-effective methods for producing bio-ethanol, and Hook & Ladder Brewing Company, an award winning microbrewery that gives a portion of its proceeds to local fire stations.

“The University of Maryland plans to host further meetings of the angel alumni network, as well as engage other university angel networks in the region,” says Darmody.

September 20, 2007


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