Loyola University Maryland is expected to announce Tuesday a partnership with a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm for a startup accelerator that will help students quickly form new companies — one of a handful of such programs recently launched in the Baltimore area.
Wasabi Ventures will work with the university to attract and mentor students into the accelerator program. The venture firm will provide professional staff to manage the program, oversee funding for new companies, and offer internships.
Thomas "T.K." Kuegler, Wasabi's co-founder and a 1994 Loyola graduate, said the venture will be housed in a Loyola-owned building on York Road in North Baltimore, and will begin operating this spring. Any company that Wasabi chooses to invest in will be able to use the accelerator's resources, but the firm will have a direct relationship with Loyola students, officials said.
Young entrepreneurs have been enamored of accelerator programs around the country in recent years. Such programs typically run for brief periods of time, offer a small infusion of cash and mentorship, and then "graduate" the companies so they can pursue their business model or additional funding. In exchange, the venture capital firms that run the accelerator take equity stakes in the startups.