News at Smith

University of Maryland Hosts Inaugural Angel Investing Event for Distinguished Alumni

Sep 19, 2007
Entrepreneurial Spirit

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College Park, Md. Sept. 19, 2007 - 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 senior vice president and chief technology officer of Alliant Techsystems Inc.s Space Division. 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.

The University of Maryland strategic plan calls on the university to foster entrepreneurial companies and support the economic development of the state and region, says Brian Darmody, the assistant vice president of research and economic development for the university. Successful alumni angel networks can help finance the creation of new companies and support the entrepreneurial climate in Maryland.

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 Schools 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.

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering
The Clark School of Engineering is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S. The Clark School's graduate programs are collectively the fastest rising in the nation. In U.S. News & World Report's annual rating of graduate programs, the school is 15th among public and private programs nationally, 9th among public programs nationally and first among public programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The School offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals. The school is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. With major emphasis in key areas such as communications and networking, nanotechnology, bioengineering, reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and space robotics, as well as electronic packaging and smart small systems and materials, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.