A Mentoring Match that Helps Lead Early Stage Companies to Success
The Maryland Tech Council’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) encompasses a team-based approach to mentorship designed to help CEOs with development, funding and beyond. Teams of specially trained volunteers with expertise in entrepreneurship and start-ups are carefully matched to select ventures to assist them in becoming successful. MCEDC partners with the Maryland Tech Council in their work providing direct assistance to entrepreneurs.
Venture Mentoring: In Conversation with Martin Rosendale, Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Tech Council
January 20, 2020
Maryland’s leading team mentoring services to support innovation and expand opportunities for CEOs in cyber, tech and biotech companies—based on the MIT Venture Mentoring Services Program.
TELL US ABOUT THE WORK OF THE VENTURE MENTORING PROGRAM.
The Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services Program (MTC VMS Program) is the leading team mentoring services available in the State of Maryland. It exists to foster an environment that supports innovation, while expanding financial and business opportunities for Maryland-based cyber, tech, biotech, MedTech, pharmaceutical, and biopharmaceutical venture CEOs. The Program provides free team-based mentoring services to qualified Maryland-based tech and life science venture CEOs who are accepted into the program. The Program is designed to stay with the venture for the long-term by evolving the mentor teams to meet the venture’s needs as it moves through stages of development to ensure they are capital market ready. This unique mentoring program is based on the highly successful and internationally recognized MIT Venture Mentoring Services Program.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM HELP FEMALE FOUNDERS AND ENTREPRENEURS OF COLOR?
Of our 41 enrolled venture companies, 33% of them are woman or minority owned. The VMS Program provides these CEOs with an experienced mentor team that evolves over the life of the company to help them through the challenges of running their businesses. Many of our mentors are women and/or people of color as well, and they are able to empathize with entrepreneurs coming from similar backgrounds and lend support as it relates to additional challenges of running a business that might arise as a result of their race, culture or gender. Having a diverse team of mentors with a variety of backgrounds and expertise supporting the CEO helps him or her prioritize and focus on what’s important, as well as prepare for what’s ahead. Diversity within the mentor team means each mentor provides a unique perspective, with which the CEO can use to better evaluate his or her business decisions. Ultimately, our goal is for these CEOs to grow and succeed as executives.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM HELP COMPANIES OVERCOME OBSTACLES FACING NEW ENTREPRENEURS?
The VMS Program is flexible and CEO-driven, and the mentor teams are not set in stone. As a venture CEO’s needs change, the mentor team can change to accommodate new challenges and provide mentors with new expertise and a fresh perspective on the venture. As a venture company grows, scales, faces new obstacles, and prepares for the capital markets, there is always a team of mentors equipped to support them at the stage of development they’re in.
MD Department of Commerce and Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation Commit Continued Support of MTC’s Venture Mentoring Services Program
December 17, 2019
Maryland Department of Commerce and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) renewed their support and partnership of the Maryland Tech Council’s (MTC) Venture Mentoring Services (VMS) program for the new fiscal year. The Department of Commerce has committed $20,000 to the program as well to be used to drive the same sort of success experienced in Montgomery County in areas like Baltimore. MDEDC has committed $50,000 to the program for the fourth consecutive year, which has proven to help drive the growth of the county’s life sciences and biotechnology industries.
“Continuing MCEDC’s partnership and support of the Maryland Tech Council’s Venture Mentoring Services Program is paramount to the success of the tech and life sciences industries in our county and throughout the State,” said MCEDC’s Interim President and CEO/COO Bill Tompkins.
MTC’s VMS program fosters an environment that helps Maryland-based cyber, tech, biotech, life science CEOs get their companies “market ready.” Since the program began in 2016, more than 13,000 volunteer hours have been donated, with 41 enrolled ventures (1/3 of which are minority-owned). Through the guidance of 98 trained VMS mentors and 16 mentor training programs, the venture companies which have taken part in VMS have been able to raise $50.1MM in capital and grants. These mentee companies have employed 129 full time and 21 part-time employees in Maryland.
This funding will be used to support six additional mentor training sessions, three in Baltimore and three in Montgomery County. Additionally, it will afford the VMS program 52 venture/mentor meetings and 10 mentor breakfasts.
“Montgomery County and other counties throughout Maryland are reaping the benefits of our results-driven mentoring program that includes job creation, capital and the marketplace readiness to continue to fuel the future of our region,” said MTC CEO Martin Rosendale. “This program is about Maryland investing in itself with the skills, talents and experiences already available.”
About Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Service Program
The MTC Venture Mentoring Service Program is a program designed to foster an environment of innovation and business savvy companies through a mentorship program. Mentors share their expertise in a variety of disciplines in the business world to ensure that mentee programs are market ready. More information on the MTC VMS program is available at: http://www.marylandmentoring.org.
About Maryland Tech Council
The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) is a collaborative community that is actively engaged in building strong technology and life science industries by supporting the efforts of our individual members. We are the largest technology and life sciences trade association in the state of Maryland, and we provide value by giving members a forum to learn, share, and connect. MTC brings the region’s community together into a single, united organization that empowers our members to achieve their business goals through advocacy, networking and education. The vision for the Maryland Tech Council is to propel Maryland to become the number one innovation economy for life sciences and technology in the country. For more information: mdtechcouncil.com.
A Venture Mentoring Program Helps MoCo Companies Thrive
November 7, 2019
Reaching success as an early-stage company can be daunting. A Maryland mentoring program fills the gaps to help companies get off the ground, maintain focus and thrive. The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) created the Venture Mentoring Services (VMS), a team-based approach to mentorship that’s designed to help CEOs with development, funding and beyond. Specially trained teams of volunteers with expertise in entrepreneurial activity and start-up businesses, are matched with carefully selected ventures to assist them in becoming successful operating companies.
COMPANIES APPLY FOR CONSIDERATION
Companies can apply for the mentorship program, with a focus on tech and life science startups that have at least one person working full time and are past the proof of concept stage. There is no fee to the venture for the mentoring program. “Being part of a team with mentors with diverse background helped us get insight out-of-the-box, said Vishal Chintawar, CEO of Givhero, a company that has created an innovative social wellness platform. “Each member of the team brings with them vast experience running a business. When we pool together our knowledge, ideas fly.”
Venture Mentoring CEOs
November 7, 2019
GREG CRIMMINS, PHD, CEO, REMEDY PLAN THERAPEUTICS
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY.
Remedy Plan makes brand new, first in class cancer therapeutics, specifically cancer drugs that target and disrupt the most dangerous properties of cancer cells—their embryonic properties. We effectively try to convert cancer cells back to more normal cells. We have an amazing team that identifies and optimizes these drugs, and we plan to move our first drug into a Phase l clinical trial starting Q4 next year. This company started out as an idea four years ago, and now we’re going to be a clinical stage company helping cancer patients next year.
HOW HAS THE VENTURE MENTORING HELPED TO GROW YOUR COMPANY?
I was one of the first companies to participate in the Venture Mentoring Services here in Montgomery County. When I started this company, most of my network was in San Francisco and Boston, because I did my graduate and postdoctoral work in those cities. The key thing for me is the Venture Mentoring Service plugged me into the Maryland community. They connected me to a team of amazing mentors that not only can provide amazing business advice to help grow the business and help make strategic choices on the direction to move our business and drug development, but it also provides connections to this fantastic network of people in Maryland that care about entrepreneurship; care about biotech; care about advancement of drugs into the clinic to help patients. Our connection to this whole group of people has provided a huge support system for us.
VISHAL CHINTAWAR, CEO, GIVHERO
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY.
Givhero is an innovative social wellness platform that leverages causes employees care about to increase engagement in healthy activities, increase productivity, and reduce costs. With Givhero, employers provide meaningful motivation, by sponsoring employees’ health goals and rewarding their achievements by supporting their favorite causes. Employee wellness, social wellness, community wellness!
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
I had worked with nonprofit organizations, like Wounded Warrior Project, on fundraising. I saw people derive meaning, value and motivation from the causes they care about. I thought, huh, how can I connect that mindset to provide motivation for people to get active and healthy?
So in 2017, I started Givhero and built a powerful tool that taps into health and fitness activities and turns them into donations.
The concept was to challenge people to get active and raise money for the causes they care about. We gamify wellness programs; rewarding healthy behaviors with donations for charity. We introduced this idea to employers to get their employees to participate in social giving, because every employer wants an active and engaged workforce. And if employees get money from their employers for the causes they care about, it’s a win-win. That’s how we started the Givhero Social Wellness Program, by marketing this to Montgomery County businesses. We started a pilot program with 6-7 clients, and it worked. We now have 20+ clients, as well as funding. We’re on the right path.
MCEDC Invests $240,000 in Partnerships to Assist Local Entrepreneurs
October 17, 2019
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is pleased to announce investments of $240,000 to strengthen the local start-up ecosystem.
The funding will be deployed among a group of partner organizations that provide direct services to entrepreneurs, including the Maryland Women’s Business Center, the BeGreen Hub accelerator, the Montgomery County Food Council’s MoCo Made initiative, CONNECTpreneur, and the Maryland Tech Council’s Venture Mentoring Program.
These organizations use a continuum of strategies—from large pitch events and networking breakfasts to tailored mentoring and one-on-one business plan creation—to help new businesses scale. Combined, these programs are expected to reach hundreds of local entrepreneurs.
“The breadth of this partnership network reflects the diversity of entrepreneurs in Montgomery County,” said Bill Tompkins, interim CEO of MCEDC.
Maryland Tech Council is putting teams of mentors around CEOs for the long haul
October 7, 2019
To founders, the path of leading an early-stage company can seem like one that’s never been traversed before. Yet the Maryland Tech Council (MTC) has found that having a group experienced in different facets of building a business is helping CEOs get to the next stage of growth.
MTC’s Venture Mentoring Services (VMS) offers a team-based approach to mentorship that’s designed to help CEOs as they look to raise institutional funding and beyond.
“It’s so easy to put head your down and be so focused on the next development stage and the next milestone and lose sight of the fact that there is a network out there that you can rely on,” said MTC CEO Martin Rosendale. “What this program does is it brings that back to the forefront.”
After forming out of a merger between the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council and Tech Council of Maryland in 2017, MTC emerged as a group that combines members in biotech and life sciences, as well as cyber and software companies. It produces events, such as today’s Bio Innovation Conference that’s taking place in Bethesda, and serves as an advocacy arm in Annapolis.
It’s also involved in the work of helping ventures in the state get to their next level. And in talking to CEOs, Rosendale said one main area of need is raising capital. While MTC doesn’t provide funding, its new mentoring services program seeks to provide companies support in key growth areas, including getting ready to raise.
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation Renews Support Commitment to Maryland Tech Council’s Venture Mentoring Services Program
January 28, 2019
Maryland Tech Council (MTC) announced today that the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) will continue its partnership with and support of MTC’s Venture Mentoring Services (VMS) program. MCEDC has funded the mentoring program for three years and will continue to support it in 2019—to further augment the growth of Montgomery County’s target industries—technology and life sciences, while providing a key component to sustain economic growth in the County.
“We desired an experience similar to that of an accelerator group without the intense time commitment typically required,” said Givhero Founder and CEO Vishal Chintawar, one of the program participants. “The MTC Venture Mentoring Services program allows us to benefit from the insights of a diverse group of startup veterans who have not only assisted us in honing our focus, but who have also guided us in winning contracts with both small and large companies.”
Maryland Tech Council’s Venture Mentoring Program Expands to Serve Entrepreneurs across Maryland
October 03, 2018
Maryland Tech Council (MTC) announced today that, with the support of the Maryland Department of Commerce, the Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services (MTC VMS), will expand beyond Montgomery County to serve entrepreneurs throughout Maryland. The MTC VMS, which started just two years ago, has trained more than 60 mentors. The program uses a unique team approach to mentoring and is focused on technology and life sciences companies that are preparing to raise their first or second round of venture capital or institutional financing.
“This is a program to grow jobs and attract capital to Maryland by helping to develop seasoned entrepreneurs,” said MTC VMS Managing Committee member Sally Sternbach. “We exist to help mentees grow in their leadership capabilities, while helping them avoid typical setbacks and roadblocks often faced by early-stage companies.”