USM Maryland Momentum Fund Invests $250,000 in InferCabulary
Towson University Incubator-based education technology startup has commercialized a visual vocabulary app that deepens word learning and increases critical thinking skills.
Baltimore, Md. (Feb. 26, 2020) – InferCabulary, a Towson University Incubator-based education technology startup created to help solve illiteracy, received a $250,000 joint investment from the University System of Maryland (USM) Maryland Momentum Fund. The funding will be used to expand the team and to accelerate growth.
InferCabulary is a tool that helps learners infer deep meanings of nuanced words for themselves by analyzing and interpreting the common thread among carefully chosen images and provided captions. The approach offered by InferCabulary’s software is the opposite of rote memorization and, instead, mimics avid readership. It also is designed to teach the many contexts of words in a fraction of the time, which in turn, accelerates student comprehension across the curriculum.
The startup was co-founded by Beth Lawrence, a Towson University graduate, and Deena Seifert. Their company is also based at TU Incubator. “We have grown significantly since launching our web-based InferCabulary out of TU Incubator. We have been so supported by the Maryland community, including TEDCO, and now the Momentum Fund.” said CEO Beth Lawrence.
Vicki Weinberg, an education specialist with the Minnesota State Department of Education said, “This has set me on fire because it is elegant and usable by general education teachers…I saw the immediate promise of this technology.”
The Company’s “Literacy Brought to Life” concept uses images and context clues to help define unfamiliar words. Active student engagement is a requisite, since students must use inductive and deductive reasoning combined with pictures to help make sense of new words.
“Beth and her team have grit and resilience and are very coachable” said Claire Broido Johnson, Managing Director of the Momentum Fund. “This is all about distribution partnerships. InferCabulary has built early partnerships, and as they accelerate, they will become an attractive acquisition target for several different existing players.”
“As speech language pathologists, Beth and Deena understand the impact that literacy and having a broad, deep vocabulary have on academic achievement. As entrepreneurs, they have the passion and vision to make their product a success,” said Patrick McQuown, executive director of entrepreneurship at Towson University. “This investment will help fuel their future success.”
The USM Maryland Momentum Fund provides investment funding for promising technology ventures born out of USM’s 12 institutions. The Momentum Fund supports early stage companies so they can move beyond grant funding and early stage seed investors to position themselves for commercial launch or to reinforce commercialization at the early revenue stage.
This round of funding also includes Andrew Morrison, Arcady Bay Partners, Bonsal Capital, City Light, and Kingdom Focus. Funds will be used for sales executives, marketing and advertising, and technology and operations.
About the USM Maryland Momentum Fund
The USM Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the twelve constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10 million commitment from the USM already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund, which was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, has invested in eleven startups to date: ARMR Systems, Gemstone Biotherapeutics, MF Fire, Minnowtech, Neoprogen, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, PaverGuide, Retrium, Veralox, and Zest Tea. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more at www.momentum.usmd.edu.
About City Light
City Light is a Venture Capital firm that invests early in impactful companies. We partner with experienced teams building category-defining solutions in the areas of education, safety and care, and the environment - where more revenue equals better lives at scale, every time. As one of the earliest and most successful impact investing firms, City Light has a track record of identifying and scaling impact in ways that build better companies. Some key portfolio investments are 2U (Nasdaq: TWOU), ShotSpotter (Nasdaq: SSTI), Trilogy Education, Ready Responders, and OhmConnect.
About TU Incubator
TU Incubator is a mixed-use business incubator at Towson University. Founded in 2007, TU Incubator has supported over 75 companies and produced greater than $50 million in economic impact. Today, TU Incubator is focused on technology enabled services, particularly those that focus on university core competencies, such as education and healthcare. TU Incubator encourages engagement and collaboration between organizations to augment the resources needed to establish a strong business foundation. We work closely with our network of community partners, service providers, and experienced professionals to add value to our members and help them succeed.
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Contact – USM Maryland Momentum Fund
Claire Broido Johnson
Contact – InferCabulary
Contact: Mike Lurie