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Maryland University, VC Partner on Start-Up Accelerator

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. (Loyola University)

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. (Loyola University)

Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland  and Wasabi Ventures, a venture capital company in San Mateo, California, have begun a new-business accelerator near the university’s campus. As part of the collaboration, Wasabi’s co-founder Thomas “T.K.” Kuegler, a 1994 Loyola graduate, will serve as the university’s entrepreneur-in-residence.

Loyola says the accelerator will provide opportunities for its students and help the surrounding community. “It creates new opportunities for our students to think creatively about new products, new markets, and the types of business, marketing, and expansion plans that will help young companies grow, and to apply these ideas to real-world organizations and the entrepreneurs behind them,” says Rev. Brian Linnane, Loyola’s president. “For those with an entrepreneurial spirit of their own, it can give them a chance to get their own businesses off the ground.”

Wasabi will provide provide professional staff to manage the accelerator, funding for start-up companies, internships for Loyola students. The program is expected to to focus on technology-oriented start-ups, because of their growth potential, the prevalence of technology firms in the region, and current interest by the state of Maryland supporting technology companies. However, the accelerator also plans to support enterprises serving community needs, such as retailers and clothing manufacturers.

The company specializes in supporting early-stage start-ups, taking an active role in their portfolio companies. In addition to providing financing, Wasabi says it can provide the expertise of engineering, sales, marketing, analysis, legal, accounting, and management professionals. In some cases, Wasabi says it can serve as senior management or co-founders of its portfolio companies.

Loyola plans to locate the accelerator in the Govans community in North Baltimore, just east of Loyola’s North Charles Street campus. It will begin operating this spring out of property the University recently acquired on Winston Avenue, and hopes to relocate to a more permanent space along the York Road corridor proper in the near future.

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