Home Venture Capital International firms coming to MoCo, venture capital deals

International firms coming to MoCo, venture capital deals


Power of People

It’s not every day that a local business catches the eye of People magazine. But that’s just what happened to Sunflower Bakery in Rockville.

The nonprofit, which offers pastry arts and employment training programs for young adults with learning differences, was the star of a September human interest story on the magazine’s website. The story notes that the bakery is a “social enterprise that imparts students with applicable real-world job skills and then helps them find employment.” 

While the bakery hasn’t seen a dramatic uptick in sales since the story was published, Executive Director Jody Tick says she has heard from other media outlets interested in its mission. “We’re thrilled,” she says. “It’s creating more awareness, and the fact that [People] is a national publication kind of puts us on the map in a different way.” 

International Influx

Notch a win for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s spring 2023 economic development mission to Taiwan: Two recruited companies from that trip are among seven international firms expected to participate in county business incubator programs.

Maryland officials announced in October that 27 international companies had been placed in business incubators statewide through the Maryland Global Gateway Soft Landing Program. The program gives the companies a chance to test the U.S. market at an affordable rate for six months through access to facilities, resources, advisers and more. 

The program’s goal is “to attract early-stage companies with hopes that they will establish a full-time presence in the state after the soft-landing trial ends,” according to a press release.

Representing industries ranging from digital technology to health care, the companies coming to the county are from Taiwan, South Korea, France, Australia and Tanzania, according to the state. “Proud to say that 7 of these 27 co’s are coming to Montgomery County, including 2 that I and @MontCoExec recruited while in Taiwan earlier this year!” county councilmember Natali Fani-González posted on X.

Blood Work

In September, North Bethesda’s AGED Diagnostics was named a platinum winner in the 2023 Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s Most Fundable Companies competition. Founded in 2018, AGED Diagnostics is developing the first accurate blood test for fatty liver disease, according to founder and CEO Rachel Zayas.

  • One of 17 winners out of more than 3,000 contestants
  • Two full-time employees and 15 collaborators and contractors
  • Received a $200,000 investment from the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO), an independent agency established by the state
  • Seeking $2 million in a seed funding round led by TEDCO
  • Expects to reach market launch by mid-2025

Let’s Make a Deal

Aledade, a Bethesda health care technology platform company, garnered the largest venture capital deal in Montgomery County during the second quarter of 2023, according to the most recent county report. Here are the five largest deals from April through June.

  • Aledade: $260 million
    • Location: Bethesda
    • Date: June 21 
    • Industry: Health care systems
  • Agnovos Bioscience: $31.5 million
    • Location: Derwood
    • Date: June 9
    • Industry: Therapeutic devices
  • Aembit: $16.6 million
    • Location: Silver Spring
    • Date: June 23
    • Industry: Business product software
  • Adaptive Phage Therapeutics: $12 million
    • Location: Gaithersburg
    • Date: June 13
    • Industry: Drug discovery
  • NeuroCytonix: $4 million
    • Location: Rockville
    • Date: April 10
    • Industry: Biotechnology

Source: Montgomery County Economic Indicators Briefing 2023 Q2 by Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. and Montgomery Planning

This story appears in the January/February issue of Bethesda Magazine.

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