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Discovery Fund

The Discovery Fund is an early-stage investment fund formed to encourage the development and location of University of Maryland created or sponsored technology companies in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines announced the creation of the Discovery Fund on October 12, 2021 at the Quantum Investment Summit. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Discovery Fund to Seed Local Innovation Ecosystem

The Discovery Fund will support innovative companies and startups based in College Park and throughout Prince George’s County with up to $1 million a year from the university.

The first round of support is earmarked to help build a network of quantum business focused around UMD.

The university has long been a powerhouse in quantum physics research as well as a leader in designing and engineering technology based on this revolutionary branch of science—one expected to result in quantum computers with unprecedented capabilities as well as disruptive advances in material science, digital security, health care and other fields.

UMD’s growing commitment to strengthening the industry’s foundation further solidifies the university’s status as the heart of the “Capital of Quantum,” President Darryll J. Pines said.

Read the more about the announcement of the Discovery Fund.

This continual building on the infrastructure needed to catalyze startups and create groundbreaking products is absolutely essential if we’re to support and accelerate the advancement and commercialization of quantum technologies. The Discovery Fund is the perfect addition to keep the momentum going around the quantum ecosystem we have been building for more than three decades.

President Pines
President Darryll J. Pines University of Maryland, College Park

The Discovery Fund invests in promising early-stage technology companies and related projects that catalyze economic development in Prince George’s County, MD in the following fields:

  • Advanced Data Computing and Information Technologies
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
  • Biomedical Devices
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Analytics
  • Neurosciences
  • Quantum technologies

The Discovery Fund provides access to dilutive and non-dilutive capital to qualified companies and projects as described below:

Dilutive Capital

  • Preferred equity, convertible debt, SAFE’s etc.
  • Initial investment: Up to $150,000; all-in including follow on investment(s) of up to $300,000

Non-Dilutive Capital

  • Grants up to $75,000 annually; can re-apply annually.

The Discovery Fund is looking for companies and/or projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Companies need to be located/(willing to locate) in Prince Georges County, Maryland
  • Companies must be growth-focused start-ups (versus lifestyle small businesses)
  • Potential to generate market returns
  • Economic benefit to region (e.g., jobs)
  • Companies will have developed defensible technology
  • Seed stage: Companies in beta-to-launch-to-early commercialization development stages
  • Seeking to raise less than $1,000,000
  • Valuation/Valuation Cap less than $10,000,000
  • Clear milestones with reasonable chance to achieve (including funding)
  • Evidence on the path to product-market fit
  • Preferred sectors/fields include - Augmented and Virtual Reality, Neurosciences, Biomedical Devices, Data analytics, Cyber security, Quantum technologies, Advanced data computing and information technologies

Projects must also meet the following criteria:

  • Provide significant strategic benefit to Prince George’s County technology ecosystem
  • Help to recruit and retain promising companies located in Prince George’s County
  • Path to sustainability

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.


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Use Discovery Fund to…

  • Find a lab/office for my venture

    The Discovery Fund provides non-dilutive capital to companies that are in the beta-to-launch-to-early commercialization development stages that are interested in being located Prince George's County, Maryland. There are several other conditions and preferences that must be met for ventures to qualify.

  • Identify/apply for funding & grants

    The Discovery Fund provides non-dilutive capital to companies that are in the beta-to-launch-to-early commercialization development stages that are interested in being located Prince George's County, Maryland. There are several other conditions and preferences that must be met for ventures to qualify.

  • Relocate my venture to College Park

    The Discovery Fund provides non-dilutive capital to companies that are in the beta-to-launch-to-early commercialization development stages that are interested in relocating to Prince George's County, Maryland. There are several other conditions and preferences that must be met for ventures to qualify.

Contact Information

Startup UMD Suite, 7878 Diamondback Drive, Suite B, College Park, MD 20740