Optoro Signs Strategic Alliance with UPS and Closes $30 Million Funding

Optoro, the leading platform for returned and excess inventory, today announced that it has closed a $30 million Series D funding round. The round included participation from new investor and alliance partner UPS, as well as additional financing from existing investors Revolution Growth, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Generation Investment Management, Tenfore Holdings, SWaN and Legend Venture Partners and the Maryland Venture Fund.

In connection with the investment, UPS and Optoro have also formed a strategic alliance, providing a one-stop shop solution for retailers and manufacturers to optimize the transportation and disposition of returned and excess inventory.

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BrainScope scores FDA clearance for smartphone-based device for TBI

BrainScope got FDA clearance for its handheld medical device for diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI). The news is a feather in the company’s cap as it builds out its offerings and preps its latest device for commercialization.

The Bethesda, MD-based company’s Ahead 300 device uses electroencephalography (EEG) technology to pinpoint TBI in patients with head injuries. The system runs through a smartphone and includes a disposable electrode headset, allowing doctors to quickly assess whether an individual has TBI.

BrainScope’s device responds to a prevalent healthcare issue. More than 5 million U.S. patients are seen each year with closed head injuries, and millions more do not have their injury evaluated, the company said in a statement.

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The Maryland Venture Fund (MVF) Appoints Parag Sheth as Director and Chief Marketing Officer

Sheth is the Final Strategic Hire Tapped to Build Upon MVF’s New Vision

September 26, 2016–COLUMBIA, MD–The Maryland Venture Fund today announced the final senior hire of its new management team, Parag Sheth. Parag brings to the table decades of sales, marketing, and business development experience at multi-nationals and venture-backed startups, including most recently at Radius Worldwide. After the Maryland Department of Commerce spun the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF) out to TEDCO in 2015, the Fund has been assembling a team that will provide more than just capital to the entrepreneurs with whom it partners. Sheth’s hire completes the initial phase of this plan.

“MVF is committed to the success and growth of the companies it supports, and that means building a team that is capable of understanding and responding to the unique challenges that entrepreneurs face,” stated Sheth. “I am excited to join a team with not only extensive operational and venture capital experience, but also the passion to go the extra mile for our entrepreneurs.”

Sheth joins Managing Director Andy Jones, Moss Amer, Phil Jung and Arti Santhanam who together are setting the refined strategy for investing opportunities. They will continue to focus on early stage Maryland-based companies, but will also support and engage the ecosystem of the entire Metropolitan DC region.

The change in management reflects a desire to actively support and engage high-growth companies that require more financing than angels can provide, but are capital-efficient enough to fundraise less than what traditional institutional funds seek to invest. The Fund is industry-agnostic, and is looking to back exceptional founders with a history of success.

“Parag and I have known each other for over 15 years,” stated Jones. “We have worked together twice, and made money for our investors in both of those ventures. We expect to deliver similar results working together for the third time. Parag has a phenomenal track record of delivering results and can assist our portfolio companies with pragmatic guidance.”

About the Maryland Venture Fund

The Maryland Venture Fund is an early-stage, evergreen venture capital fund dedicated to funding and growing the next generation of outstanding businesses in Maryland. They are an experienced team with significant venture and operating experience whose focus is on making entrepreneurs successful. With slightly more than $100M in assets under management, they partner with exceptional entrepreneurs and help them build valuable companies that last.

TopBox Awarded 2016 Speech Technology Excellence Award

TopBox announced today that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has granted the TopBox customer contact analytics SaaS solution with a 2016 Speech Technology Excellence Award.

The 12th-annual Speech Technology Excellence Award, presented by CUSTOMER Magazine, honors companies who have demonstrated innovation in speech technology solutions that improve the bottom line for their customers.

TopBox’s customer contact analytics solution is disrupting the market with its SaaS model, highly innovative analytic process, intuitive user interface, and affordable pricing.

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Fugue Emerges to Solve Complexity of Operating at Scale in the Cloud

Fugue, Inc. announced today the availability of its cloud-native solution for fully automating the deployment, operations and enforcement of cloud infrastructure at scale. Enterprises are moving to the cloud to increase competitiveness and efficiency. However, complexity explodes in the cloud, and achieving those goals is challenging, as most DevOps teams today are forced to manually stitch together disparate tool sets. Fugue tackles this complexity with a cohesive system that allows DevOps professionals to define infrastructure upfront, leverage a runtime component to ensure that all cloud resources remain consistent with that definition, and automatically correct configuration drift. Furthermore, Fugue eliminates wasteful and error-prone cloud maintenance burdens that slow innovation and increase compliance and security risks.

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Mitral valve repair device 100 percent successful in first human clinical study

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have developed a device that has a 100 percent success rate in repairing the mitral heart valve in its first human clinical study, with results published in the journal Circulation.

The device, called Harpoon TSD-5, is a needle wrapped with 50 coils of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) that is image guided to provide a less invasive measure to mitral valve repair compared to open heart surgery.

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Expect the Maryland Venture Fund to lead more investment rounds

Maryland Venture Fund’s lead investment in an expanded Series A round in a health technology company based in the state is the start of what its director sees as the future of the taxpayer-backed fund.

Columbia, Maryland-based Healthcare Interactive announced May 11 a $3.4 million add-on investment to bring its total A round to more than $11.8 million. Vienna-based Grotech Ventures and Birmingham, Alabama-based Harbert Management Corp., among others, are also investors in the round.

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