Climate Technology Founder's Fund (SB0960) to support new energy startups

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Left to right (back row): Ross Stern (UMD Director of Gov’t Relations), Eric Wachsman (MEI2 Director), MD Senator Brian Feldman, Rob Edwards (Hamilton Clark), Kathy Magruder (MCEC Director), Hamideh Soltani (USPlasma Director), Wade Haerle (MEIA Director); (front row): Senate President Bill Ferguson, MD Governor Wes Moore, House Speaker Adrienne Jones (photo credit: Executive Office of the Governor)

On May 9, 2024, Gov. Wes Moore signed into law the Climate Technology Founder’s Fund which will accelerate economic opportunities and carbon reduction for Maryland. By establishing the Climate Technology Founder's Fund, Maryland will be better positioned to invest in the startup companies looking to advance exciting new cleantech and climate tech solutions. This is a critical resource to help the state maximize potential economic and industry growth in these sectors.

Additional funds from the bill will allow the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) and the Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator (MEIA) to provide expanded support services for prototype development and manufacturing through their energy seed grant program and MEIA’s accelerator/launchpad programs.

With a wealth of leading academic and research institutions, Maryland can look forward to this investment supporting the transition from innovative ideas to real world dollars, jobs, and impacts as these technologies make their way to the market. The fund will focus on the Small-, Minority-, Women-, and Veteran-Owned Businesses (SMWVOB) that are developing the novel technologies, products, and services to reduce and address the impacts of climate change.

This dedicated funding is critical to sustaining the impact and future growth for MEI2 to facilitate early-stage technology commercialization in partnership with Maryland-based businesses, universities, and labs to support the State’s clean energy and climate goals. The program helps startups at the early innovation stage create investible businesses focused on solar, wind, batteries, energy efficiency, grid modernization, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), and any other technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or provides negative emissions benefits in the electric, oil and gas, residential, commercial, or industrial sectors. 

“An investible business has the momentum and credibility to obtain third-party investment to grow its operations become a viable business,” notes Katherine Magruder, Executive Director for the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “With investment in MEIA, we are aligning resources for researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to establish Maryland as a national leader in the evolving climate tech economy.”

MEI2 works closely with the MEIA. Together, the programs have established an energy innovation ecosystem that has produced 37 new companies and created more than 134 new high paying jobs in the state. Moreover, this university-company partnership has helped bring in over $70M in private investment and over $214M in non-dilutive grant funding to Maryland, a 47X return on investment of state funds.

“The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute's Seed Grant program in partnership with Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator has helped launch 37 new clean energy companies in Maryland,” said Dr. Eric D. Wachsman, the Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. “SB960 provides critical resources to expand that record of success to not only achieve Maryland’s aggressive climate goals but bring good high-paying jobs to the state in the process.”

Stephen Farias, Chief Science Officer and Founder at Materic (a recipient of both a Phase I and Phase II seed grant) noted, “The MEI2 Seed Grant made an early high-risk investment in our team. This enabled us to get first materials out and in front of potential customers. Our business has moved more towards development/services revenue but maintains a long-term vision of materials production with an energy focus.”

In fact, Materic recently received a $10M award from the U.S Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), for Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling Activities.

For more information on the recent legislation, click here.


The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute’s mission is to catalyze clean energy technology to address climate change, stimulate economic growth, and create a sustainable future in Maryland.

Published May 13, 2024