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TEDCO funds 3 firms founded by disadvantaged entrepreneurs

Three startups received funding this week from a TEDCO fund designed to help firms founded by entrepreneurs from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

As recipients from the Pre-Seed Builder Fund, these companies receive funding and executive management help from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.

“The Builder Fund program includes education, team building, access to highly successful executive mentorship, and a pre-seed investment that can substitute for the conventional friends and family round that some startups enjoy,” McKeever “Mac” Conwell, co-manager of the fund, said in a statement. “Because of the Builder Fund, Maryland is able to invest in high-quality companies that historically have a more challenging time securing funding, while simultaneously growing our statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Builder Fund recipients must have founders who can demonstrate a lack of access to conventional funding due to a socially or economically disadvantaged status.

These companies will get active involvement with TEDCO’s network of outsourced executives and must have at least one founding manager working full-time in the company.

The hope is that later, with TEDCO’s help, these companies can get access to the conventional funding sources that they may not have been positioned to get before.

This was the second round of funding given out by the Builder Fund, which funded its first cohort late last year.

The recipients of this Builder Fund round included:

  • ScholarMe, a Howard County company that helps students find financial aid with a website that puts all of their options in one place, including scholarships, student loans and government aid;
  • Remodelmate, a Prince George’s County-based tech-enabled real estate company that provides an online marketplace for home renovation services where homeowners can find pre-screened local contractors with pre-negotiated rates; and
  • EliteGamingLIVE, a Baltimore eSports platform that lets K-12 students bring competitive gaming to education, including opportunities to compete at regional championships where they can win cash, scholarships, medals and trophies.

“The growth and success of the Builder Fund has been one of the many TEDCO achievements we are most proud of,” George Davis, TEDCO’s CEO, said in a statement. “Opportunities like these three companies are the reason the Builder Fund made it into Governor Larry Hogan’s proposed 2020 budget for first-time funding of $1 million to expand investments for startups run by entrepreneurs from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”

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