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TEDCO names leader

Robert A. Rosenbaum

Robert A. Rosenbaum

Venture capital fund manager Rob Rosenbaum was tapped Tuesday to lead the Maryland Technology Development Corp., a quasi-public agency tasked with nurturing the state’s high-tech startups.

Rosenbaum’s hire ends a national search that stretched on for more than a year and eventually led TEDCO’s board back to Baltimore, where it plucked Rosenbaum from Nobska Venture Partners, an early-stage venture fund that invests in technology companies in Israel and the mid-Atlantic.

Rosenbaum, who will step into his new role as TEDCO president and executive director Monday, said Tuesday that he and the board want to expand the corporation’s role in spurring growth in high-tech Maryland businesses.

The quasi-public agency created by the General Assembly in 1998 provides seed capital to turn research at universities and government labs into profitable businesses and helps the firms grow by connecting them with business incubators and other specialized assistance.

In its 12-year history, TEDCO has invested in more than 200 companies, and the state estimates its funds have leveraged $395 million from private investors.

“TEDCO is a very successful early-stage investment organization,” Rosenbaum said. “They’re looking to strengthen their ties to the private sector and move into more later-stage investments.”

In announcing the board’s decision, Chairman Jay Steinmetz and Gov. Martin O’Malley focused on Rosenbaum’s private sector experience as critical to his task of growing TEDCO.

“He understands what it takes to create and sustain and successful business and can relate to the Maryland business community,” O’Malley said.

Rosenbaum said he hopes to create more joint investment funds like the one TEDCO runs with Johnson & Johnson. That fund invests in Maryland businesses with technologies of interest to the health care and pharmaceutical giant.

The private sector, both investors and institutions that dole out grants, could also be a source of new funding for TEDCO to invest in more mature companies, Rosenbaum said.

“That’s part of my challenge, to find the money to do that,” he said.

Indeed, TEDCO’s funding has shrunk each of the past three years as the state has battled a string of revenue shortfalls.

The corporation has a budget of $15.9 million, down 42 percent from its peak of $28 million in 2008. The lion’s share is dedicated to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, which is expected to pump $11.9 million into stem cell research at private companies and public institutions in the state.

Rosenbaum served as managing director at Nobska starting in 2003. Previously, he was vice president of operations for Agora Inc. in Baltimore, chief operating officer of Versient Corp. in Hunt Valley, and director of information technology of Stride Rite Corp. in Lexington, Mass.

TEDCO’s top spot has been vacant since Aug. 28, 2009, when Renée M. Winsky resigned to take a position at the Tech Council of Maryland.

John Wasilisin, who had served as acting president and executive director since Winsky’s departure, will resume his role as TEDCO’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.