Crystal Brown 301-405-4621
University of Maryland spin-out will bring 50 new jobs to Prince George’s County
as part of public-private partnership and advancements in Greater College Park
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – FlexEl LLC, a custom battery solutions company, will open a research, development and manufacturing facility in Prince George’s County, Md. FlexEl was spun out of the University of Maryland based upon a thin film battery technology in 2008. The company, which won the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year award in 2010 and launched as a startup at the University of Maryland, will lease more than 10,000 square-feet from the university. FlexEl currently has 10 full-time employees and plans to add an additional 50 new jobs over the next five years.
“FlexEl is an innovative company with tremendous potential and we are excited to be working with Prince George’s County and the University of Maryland to help FlexEl move to the next level of development,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “It is critical that we support home-grown companies like FlexEl that are working to develop the next generation of technology.”
“The FlexEl story is a powerful example of how new technology and new jobs come from our labs to energize this region’s economy,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We are proud of their innovation and entrepreneurship and happy to help anchor them in Greater College Park.”
Considered a major success story illustrating the University of Maryland’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, FlexEl was nurtured by its connections to UMD, which includes winning the Office of Technology Commercialization’s Invention of the Year Award in 2008 and UMD’s Business Plan Competition in 2009. During its inception, FlexEl used many of the startup resources available at UMD, including the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, legal resource center and Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) incubator space. FlexEl also relies on the university’s extensive diagnostic and analytical capabilities that are worth millions of dollars. Company leadership also turned to UMD faculty to serve as advisors and hired students as interns.
FlexEl develops custom battery solutions for companies that have unique requirements that cannot be met by off-the-shelf batteries. They are embedded in the innovation teams of a few Fortune 500 companies and are helping them develop emerging technology products through battery innovation. The company has been optimizing its original thin film battery technology and expanding into adjacent battery technologies to develop solutions for wearable technology, medical devices, military applications, disposable consumer electronics, remote sensing devices and more.
“The relationship with the University of Maryland and the resources it has provided have been a critical part of our success, and we want to maintain this partnership as we grow to scale,” said FlexEl CEO Bob Proctor. “Our commercial traction is really at an inflection point that requires a significant facility in order to grow at the rate we see ahead of us. The innovation district solves that and the critical problem of attracting and maintaining extraordinary talent in College Park. This location provides state-of-the-art facilities, access to the College Park Metro station, a new, four-star hotel and relative proximity to both Baltimore and Washington, enabling employees to commute and for FlexEl to recruit from farther afield.”
In addition to serving as CEO, Proctor is also a founding member of Blu Venture Investors (BVI), a venture capital company that supports early stage entrepreneurs in the Mid-Atlantic Region. BVI has committed to host regular entrepreneur office hours for Maryland-based companies at the FlexEl location, in support of the growing and active startup scene in College Park.
The news is celebrated as an economic win for the region and the State of Maryland.
“I am impressed with FlexEl and want to congratulate Dr. Loh and all the investment partners that lead to this exciting frontier for the University of Maryland.” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “FlexEl is a model that I know will inspire other enterprising ‘start-up’ local businesses to innovate as well as ‘set-up’ their headquarters in the same location that launched and invested in their businesses. If Prince George’s County is to be the economic engine that we aspire to be, we want sprouting businesses to know we have their back and offer a total package of services designed to support their growth and sustainability.”
FlexEl, which originated from the research of two UMD professors in the Clark School’s department of electrical and computer engineering, plans to move in to the College Park location in the fall. A ribbon cutting and tours for media will be scheduled shortly thereafter.