Q4 2020 Investment Report
Greater Baltimore’s Start-Up Companies Thrive in 2020
Amidst the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Baltimore region’s diverse and resilient economy posted one of its best investment years on record. The Region’s start-ups received over $808 million of total investment in the calendar year 2020. This number is more than double the $355 million received in calendar year 2019. This growth exemplifies Greater Baltimore’s status as a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in the BioHealth and technology industries.
The $808 million total for Q3 does not include investments in real estate development, or in Greater Baltimore's existing high-value companies. Investments were tracked for companies at the pre-seed, seed, Series A, Series B, Series C, and Series D rounds, as well as Private Equity investments in early- and mid-stage growth companies.
The first quarter of 2020 saw over $206 million invested across Greater Baltimore, with more than $175 million going to cybersecurity and information technology companies. This was led by Baltimore City’s ZeroFox, which raised $74 million in February. Other early 2020 standouts include Baltimore County-based NAYAX raising $60 million, and Huntress, b.Well Connected Health, and EnVeil each raising over $10 million.
The second quarter of 2020 saw almost $115 million invested across Greater Baltimore, with a heavy emphasis in BioHealth. This was led by Baltimore City-based AsclepiX Therapeutics raising $35 million, alongside fellow Baltimore-based companies Lifesproutand Glyscend raising $28.5 million and $25 million, respectively.
The third quarter of 2020 was by far the largest at $362 million, led by a massive equity investment of $265 million in Baltimore City-based U.S. Wind. Other standouts from the third quarter include finance start-up Facet Wealth raising $25 million and growing e-commerce leader Whitebox raising $18 million. Third quarter closed a successful fundraising year for agricultural start-up Hungry Harvest, which brought in $20.1 million in 2020.
The Region finished strong in Quarter 4, with $133 million invested. This was led by Howard County-based Dragos’s $110 million Series C round, the largest start-up funding round for any company in Greater Baltimore in 2020. Following Dragos’s cybersecurity raise, Baltimore City-based IT start-up Apkudo raised $14 million, while Baltimore BioHealth companies ReGelTec and Fusiform Medical raised $4 million and $2.9 million, respectively. Highlights of Q4 investment in the Region follow the annual summary at the end of this report.
In 2020, Baltimore City reported the most deals and the highest total investment value, with 51 deals valued at $583 million. This is 376% of Baltimore City’s total of $155 million across 2019. Baltimore County-based companies reported the second most investments, with 11 investments valued at $71 million. This is 150% of total Baltimore County investment in 2019. Howard County, though third in deal count (7), reported the second highest deal value at $154 million. Howard County reported the smallest improvement at 114% of the previous year’s total of $135 million. Anne Arundel County followed with 5 deals, and Harford County reported 1 deal.
The most common industry for investment in 2020 was BioHealth, with $135 million invested across 25 deals. However, the technology and other industry categories each reported more than double this dollar amount, with $332 invested in Greater Baltimore’s IT & cybersecurity companies across 21 deals, and $342 million invested in other industries across 20 deals. These were led by investments in energy (U.S. Wind), fintech (Facet Wealth), and distribution (Hungry Harvest & Whitebox).
Greater Baltimore’s remarkable investment total of $808 million in 2020 underscores the Region’s significant value to Maryland and to the world. Despite unprecedented challenges amidst a global pandemic, the Region’s diverse industries and highly skilled workforce continued to innovate and expand. Looking ahead, the work accomplished in Greater Baltimore in 2020 -- whether it was done in the office, the lab, the home office, or on the couch -- may lead to innovations that change the world.
Special Feature: TEDCO’s 2020 Investments in Greater Baltimore
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) invests in the most promising early-stage technology start-ups across Greater Baltimore and the state of Maryland. In 2020, TEDCO invested more than $3.5 million in Greater Baltimore start-ups, as well as $6.75 million in local university-based research.
The EAGB tracked seventeen of these start-up investments, ranging from $50,000 to $750,000 in value. Of these, twelve were in BioHealth, four were in information technology, and one was in biofuel technology. Baltimore City companies reported the highest number of TEDCO investments (10 deals valued at $1.8 million). Howard County followed with 5 investments valued at $1.35 million, while Baltimore County companies received 2 investments totaling more than $400,000.
Howard County’s Attila Security received the largest single investment of $750,000, leading a strong contingent of Howard County cybersecurity companies. Meanwhile, nine of Baltimore City’s ten investments were in BioHealth. To learn more about TEDCO’s 2020 investments across Greater Baltimore, click here.
Greater Baltimore’s start-ups and early-stage companies enjoyed a strong fourth quarter in 2020, with 14 investment deals totaling more than $133 million. This is a substantial improvement over 2019, in which investment slowed significantly in Q4 with 13 deals valued at less than $10 million total. The resilience of Greater Baltimore’s economy despite significant pandemic-related headwinds is laudable; each investment tells the story of Greater Baltimore’s enduring impact within the innovation landscape.
The $133 million total for Q4 does not include investments in real estate development, or in Greater Baltimore's existing high-value companies. Investments were tracked for companies at the pre-seed, seed, Series A, Series B, Series C, and Series D rounds, as well as Private Equity investments in early- and mid-stage growth companies.
Of the $133 million, $110 million went to Howard County-based Dragos’s Series C round; Dragos is a world-leading cybersecurity firm protecting critical infrastructure for government and corporate clients. Baltimore City-based Apkudo, a leader in the management and lifecycle of connected devices, received $14 million in their Series B round. In BioHealth, Baltimore City’s ReGelTec received $4 million in Series A funding to develop minimally invasive spinal implants and Fusiform Medical received $2.9 million to optimize orthotics and prosthetics manufacturing.
Other notable investments in Q4 include $725,000 to Baltimore City-based Novel Microdevices (BioHealth), $700,000 to Howard County’s Bricata (cybersecurity), and $383,000 to Baltimore County’s DOOR Ventures (investment management IT).