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The Download: Tech groups stress funding needs

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By Steven Overly
Monday, December 20, 2010

Trade associations representing technology companies in Maryland and Virginia outlined policy initiatives that they plan to advocate for as the states' general assemblies head into session next month.

Both the Tech Council of Maryland and the Northern Virginia Technology Council call on their delegations to maintain or implement research and development tax credits for companies with innovative technologies. No such program exists in Virginia.

They also pressed for the need to prioritize funding for colleges and universities that conduct research and sustain a pipeline of graduates with degrees in science, technology, math and engineering.

The TCM proposal emphasizes continued investment in biotechnology and nanotechnology, two areas the council and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) have deemed a priority. The council also wants legislators to consider a tax credit for information technology companies.

The NVTC asked legislators to support the $25 million Virginia Research and Technology Innovation Fund that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced last week. The fund seeks to commercialize technology in university labs and help entrepreneurs grow companies.

MADE IN D.C.

The Washington region's start-up community has a new homepage. ProudlymadeinDC.com launched last week to provide those seeking information on area start-ups with a go-to hub of events and links to companies.

Michael Mayernick of social media company Giv.to and Zvi Band of Web developer skeevisArts built the site to provide a sense of identity and cohesion in a community that spans Maryland, Virginia and the District.

"Geographically we're talking about an area that's smaller than the [Silicon] Valley," Mayernick said. But "in D.C. there is so much fragmentation, not just in terms of events, but in terms of mind share."

They also aim for the Web site to serve as a landing pad for those outside the tech scene, such as investors or other entrepreneurs, who may overlook the fledgling community because government contractors tend to dominate.

ANOTHER AOL ACQUISITION

AOL bought digital advertising technology company Pictela last Thursday, marking yet another acquisition as the once-dominant Internet company looks to shift its business to content creation and Internet advertising.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but New York-based Pictela and its 18-person staff will remain a separate entity within AOL's advertising division.

AOL has been in transition since spinning off from Time Warner a year ago. This year it has acquired other relatively small shops, including Studio Now, TechCrunch, Thing Labs and 5min Media.


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