2017 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards recognize three bwtech@UMBC startups

Published: Jul 14, 2017

(Ellen Hemmerly and colleagues at bwtech@UMBC, January 2015. Photo by Marlayna Demond.)

Each year, Maryland Incubator Company of the Year (ICOY) Awards recognize the achievements of current and past incubator companies in the state. In 2017, three bwtech@UMBCincubator companies at won their respective award categories, bringing bwtech@UMBC’s total ICOY winners to two twenty since the award program begin in 2002. The honorees, as well as several award nominees from bwtech@UMBC, were recognized at a special awards ceremony held at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

“We are thrilled that three of our bwtech@UMBC companies were recognized for their outstanding efforts by winning Incubator Company of the Year awards in their respective industry categories,” says Jennifer Reynolds, director of venture creation at bwtech@UMBC. “These awards represent the incredible effort and drive that our entrepreneurs have, and we are honored and humbled to play a part in their success.”

Fearless Solutions, a software company that primarily develops applications to presents content visually, won the award for best service/consulting company category. Delali Dzirasa ‘04, computer engineering, president and CEO of Fearless Solutions, headquartered in the Spark Coworking Space in Baltimore with additional office space in bwtech, reflected on how meaningful the award was for him, noting:

“We work hard to build software that has an impact on our community, partly because our community has helped so much in getting us to where we are today. It’s incredibly humbling to be recognized alongside so many other outstanding companies, and we’re really grateful for all of the support that we’ve received from both bwtech@UMBC and Spark—we wouldn’t be here without them!”

FZata, a company that develops therapeutic and preventive medicines using antibody technology, won the best life sciences company category. The company is currently developing a compound to fight against Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that disrupts normal, healthy colons and can be very challenging to treat, even in highly advanced medical care facilities. In the U.S., C. diff causes more than half a million infections, and nearly 30,000 deaths, each year.

Zhiyong Yang, co-founder and CEO of FZata, reflects, “Ever since the launch in bwtech@UMBC in November 2015, FZata has earned quite a few significant government grants, including a very recent $5.8M RO1 grant, which represents the recognition from our scientific peers. Now being selected as Best Life Sciences Company reflects the recognition from our business peers,” says Yang. “It is a great honor to us.”

Leverage, a software company that specializes in developing new technologies that can impact society, won the best software company category. Eric Conn ‘85, computer science, co-founder and CEO of Leverage, says that the support from bwtech@UMBC has played a large part in the success of the company, and he calls the ICOY award “validation of the hard work that our entire team has put in for nearly three years now.”

Our Internet of Things (IoT) software platform and companion educational website ‘IoT For All’ are quickly becoming the preferred tools for IoT projects large and small,” says Conn. “Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are already having a large impact on people’s lives and we hope to strike the right balance between the efficiencies that technology can bring and the preservation of satisfying, high-paying jobs for future generations.”

Since 2002, more than a dozen incubator companies at bwtech@UMBC had won awards at the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards.

In June, Mike Wagner ‘97, information systems management, ‘98, computer science, vice president of WaveStrike, was recently recognized by Ernst & Young at the annual Entrepreneur of the Year Maryland Awards. He was recognized as an entrepreneur in the technology services category for WaveStrike, a software engineering company that develops systems that protect national security.

Read “These startups won Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards” in Technical.ly Baltimore, and “EY honors Entrepreneur of the Year Maryland winners” in Baltimore Business Journal. 

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