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October 10, 2013
BY Eric Hal Schwartz
Israeli tech companies seek investments from Maryland
The 2012 Trendlines team brought their tour to Baltimore. (Provided)

The 2012 Trendlines team brought their tour to Baltimore. (Provided)

Bethesda and the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC) will play host to Israeli medical technology companies on Oct. 18, as the companies present their work and offer investment and partnership opportunities to local businesses.

The stop will mark the culmination of a multicity tour of U.S. cities put together by Israeli investment firm Trendlines and OurCrowd, a new equity investor that uses crowd-funding, a way for a large group of people to pool money to support a project or company, to garner funds from smaller investors.  The Maryland event is cosponsored by law firm Offit Kurman, whose Bethesda office will hold the event.

“It’s a matchmaking function,” said MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage. “It gives a platform for the companies to present to Maryland businesses.”

Part of the appeal for investors and entrepreneurs in investing in the companies is that OurCrowd and Trendlines have already backed up their stated support of the companies they will present with their own investments. Trendlines, which looks to develop medical and agricultural technology companies, has invested in 60 companies and been involved in bringing together American and Israeli companies for more than a decade.

“We create and develop companies that improve the human condition,” said Todd Dollinger, the chairman and CEO of the Trendlines Group.

OurCrowd is much younger as a company but uses the growing field of crowd-funding to give smaller inv-estors a chance to participate in companies they vet. It has brought more than $20 million to Israeli companies since February. OurCrowd will also share some of its process and history at the event.

“They make investment available to more people,” Dollinger said, explaining how with Trendlines and similar companies there is a minimum investment of $50,000. OurCrowd requires just $10,000 to join in the company’s development.

The companies that will present at the event are working on medical technology that could potentially impact a huge number of patients. ProArc Medical, for example, has developed a treatment that reduces infection risks for those with enlarged prostates. Gordian Surgical’s product can be used to open and close incisions automatically during laparoscopic surgery to minimize trauma. SensoGo has created a system to analyze walking patterns to help create therapy suggestions for patients with orthopedic problems, patients who might also benefit from CoreBone’s new bone graft material that could improve healing prospects and even apply to dental procedures.

“All of them are going to move into human trials next year,” Dollinger said.

Another company, Medical Surgeries Technologies, is a bit further along and will present their robotic manipulator with software that keeps laparoscopes exactly where a doctor wants them without requiring the complexities of coordinating the movements with any assistants.

This is not the first time that MIDC has hosted this kind of event.

“We bring a lot of high-tech companies to Maryland,” Bogage said. “We also take trade missions to Israel.”

In November, MIDC will host an event showcasing Israeli companies in Maryland. Last year, MIDC worked with the Baltimore Jewish Council to take Gov. Martin O’Malley to Israel.

Israeli tech companies are eager to access the Baltimore-Washington corridor with its close proximity to top hospitals, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, Dollinger said.

There will likely be more than 50 investors at the Bethesda event looking to extend that partnership.

Said Dollinger: “Maryland’s been very supportive of our companies over the years.”

Eric Hal Schwartz writes for JT’s sister publication, Washington Jewish Week.

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