Fulton Bank discusses new life sciences division at MTC event BioBuzz

The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) Business Continuity Task Force (BCTF) hosted Fulton Bank’s Bret Schreiber in its Executive Insight series on March 9 to provide insight into current market trends in the Biohealth Capital Region. and how Fulton Bank has helped life science and technology companies over the past few years.

MTC formed the BCTF at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to “help Maryland’s technology, life science, and B2B companies – emerging and established businesses – as they navigate this difficult time. economic uncertainty,” Jeremy Fischman, MTC’s chief communications officer, wrote in an email.

The Executive Insight Series is offered monthly to BCTF and MTC members and includes a speaker “who can provide expert insights into important and pressing topics that enhance attendees’ understanding of topics relevant to business executives.” today or explain new topics and technologies. who otherwise would not cross their radar screens.

Bret Schreiber has worked with Fulton Bank since 2019, when the company hired him to launch a Life Sciences and Technology division, of which he is now vice chairman. Prior to working at Fulton, he had no banking experience, but had worked with life science and technology companies in several capacities at the Maryland Department of Commerce, the Maryland Independent College University Association, and the Johns Hopkins University.

Bret Schreiber, Vice President, Life Sciences and Technology at Fulton Bank

The aim of Fulton Bank’s life sciences and technology division is to provide a new opportunity for start-ups in the sector to acquire capital, as they have been largely excluded from typical revenue streams.

“There was a hole that existed and that was the genesis of the life sciences and technology division here at Fulton Bank, to see if we could fill that hole,” Schreiber said.

Most traditional banks make sure companies can hit certain benchmarks before agreeing to give them a line of credit. Some of these markers may include a salable product and a steady stream of income. But since many of these companies are starting out with no product and are years away from FDA approval, they can’t prove to a bank that they’re worth betting on.

So, after speaking with hundreds of companies, Schreiber and the team at Fulton Bank created a new credit policy specifically for life science and technology companies. The new policy looks at other markers that show a company might be on the rise, such as patents, small business innovation research grants, TEDCO investments, equity from institutions like Johns Hopkins or Maryland State Grants.

Because of his decades of experience in the industry, Schreiber understands that these metrics mean a company is on the right path to doing something big, but would likely be shunned by more traditional banks. When working with companies, he also works with a traditional banker from Fulton Bank to ensure companies get all possible resources.

“What is our unique value proposition? To deploy early-stage capital, be hassle-free, and be sensitive to start-up pricing,” Schreiber explained. “We really wanted to provide access to a larger network for businesses to grow. For many purposes, we wanted to be the default bank for start-ups. »

Fulton Bank has also partnered with the Abel Foundation and Blue Highway Capital to offer venture capital to Baltimore customers. Venture capital is one of the most common ways life science and technology companies use to fund their efforts, and Fulton wants to make it more widely available in Baltimore.

“We’re kind of like Silicon Valley Bank, except SVB comes in series A, B, or C,” Schreiber says. “We are going into pre-seed ideation and pre-revenue. which is very unique in this space.

During the Q&A portion of the session, moderator and CEO of MTC Marty Rosendale asked Schreiber why Fulton Bank is more willing to take risks than some of the more traditional banks in the region. Schreiber explained that the high caliber of business and talent in the region makes it easy to take bets, and that the great companies that succeed outweigh the companies that will eventually fail. Since the division’s launch, Fulton has hired 120 life science and technology companies.

Not only does Schreiber see the division as filling a void left by other banks, but he also sees it as filling a gap for businesses between acquiring grants and loans from local and state governments and starting their businesses. .

“A lot of these companies want to rely on the public sector, but one of the things the state has been missing is a strong private sector partner to help grow and support the state’s economic development,” he said. he commented. “And it’s really these private sector partners who are going to drive this.”

To contact Bret Schreiber at Fulton Bank, email bschreiber@fultonbank.com. To contact MTC, email Jeremy Fischman at Jeremy@mdtechcouncil.com.

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