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The Download: Tedco's new chief seeks to make it look more like venture capital firm

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By Steven Overly
Monday, November 1, 2010

Robert A. Rosenbaum took the helm of the Maryland Technology Development Corp. early last month, hoping to make the quasi-government entity more like his last employer, a venture capital firm.

The Maryland General Assembly created Columbia-based Tedco in 1998 to provide seed money and early-stage financing for technologies that have the potential to break out of research labs and into the marketplace.

The bulk of Tedco's funding comes from the legislature, and the government has been cutting back to deal with larger state budget issues. The decline has prompted the agency to consider private and philanthropic sources of money.

Rosenbaum, a former managing director of Baltimore-based Nobska Ventures, also is pushing to close a gap in how the money is handed out. Too often, early-stage companies are left gasping for funds as they mature. If funding permits, he wants Tedco to fill that gap by following up on its seed investments with a second infusion of cash to help promising companies grow. The state allotted $18.5 million to the organization last year, two-thirds of which was specifically designated for a stem-cell research fund.

"I think [the lack of] money is holding back the explosion that could be in the region with the technology that is behind closed doors," Rosenbaum said.

A COLLEGIATE DEAL

LivingSocial, the District-based purveyor of group coupons, began offering deals to a new niche last week, this one made up of college kids.

As part of an arrangement with Reston-based Koofers, a Web site that provides students with old tests, professor reviews and other course aides, LivingSocial will provide deals centered around campuses and their surrounding towns.

Koofers will promote the coupons to its users and share in the revenue that results, said chief executive Gio Hunt. The companies are united by a common investor, Steve Case's Revolution, and each has a staff populated by AOL expatriates. (And also, we should note: LivingSocial is run by Tim O'Shaughnessy, who is the son-in-law of The Washington Post Co.'s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham.)

BITS AND BYTES

-- Prentice Johnson, a Bethesda-based Web developer for a government contractor, launched the beta version of Truband last week, a social network that connects people with similar personalities.

Users are asked to complete a survey so they can be matched with music, merchandise and games that correspond to their personality. While you can opt to interact with just the people you know, the site also encourages new connections between people with shared interests.

-- The Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart mayhem in the name of sanity this past weekend served as creative fodder for two Arlington developers. Chris Lawson of BigMess Media and Paul Murphy of 3advance.com built a Web site and two mobile apps for people to show support, share photos and arrange satellite rallies.


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