The Maryland Venture Fund has invested $150,000 in a company that streams audiobooks to early-childhood programs and primary schools via a Netflix-like subscription service.
Based in Bethesda, Md., after moving from Washington, D.C., Tales2Go supports the development of literacy skills during the most critical early childhood and elementary years, when students acquire a foundation of vocabulary and fluency necessary for academic success.
“Tales2Go shares Maryland’s commitment to innovation, discovery and investment in education and I am proud to welcome this dynamic young company to our state,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “I am confident their industry-leading platform and our wealth of education resources, high-quality workforce and vibrant network of innovators and entrepreneurs will lead to continued growth and success for Tales2Go and for Maryland.”
The Tales2Go service is used differently across ages and grade levels, ranging from individual to group use with or without physical books in hand. The company has seven employees and plans to double its staff by the end of 2015.
Created by O’Malley and passed by the General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history.
The $84 million program is being administered through the Maryland Venture Fund, the venture arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
In March 2012, the state raised $84 million for the program through an online auction of tax credits to Maryland insurance companies. Two-thirds of the funding – $56 million – is being managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds and, if successful, return 100 percent of the principal and 80 percent of the profits to the state’s general fund.
The remaining third of the InvestMaryland capital is largely allocated to direct investments by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.