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NextStep Robotics Wins Pitch Dingman Competition Grand Prize, Announces New Board Members

BALTIMORE, MD – May 13, 2024 – NextStep Robotics, a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) spinout company dedicated to commercializing cutting-edge stroke rehabilitation technologies, was awarded the $20,000 Grand Prize in the 2024 Pitch Dingman Competition’s All Stars Track. The signature annual competition is hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park.

NextStep is also pleased to announce the appointment of new board members. These expert business executives bring a wealth of experience in the healthcare and technology sectors, which will be invaluable as NextStep Robotics continues to grow.

  • Erika Smith: Ms. Smith is a seasoned biotech executive with a proven track record in CEO leadership, board positions, and early-stage life sciences investment. As a member of the Executive Committee Board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and Vice Chair of the Emerging Company Section of BIO, she brings valuable insight into industry trends.
  • Maggie Deng: Ms. Deng, who spent most of her career with Morgan Stanley, has extensive business leadership experience and specializes in guiding companies through startup phase to successful initial public offering (IPO). Her focus on companies offering holistic healthcare solutions aligns perfectly with NextStep's objectives.
  • Brenda Furlow: Ms. Furlow brings over 30 years of experience in life science and medical device company leadership. Her expertise in mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property licensing, and governance will support NextStep as the company advances.

“I am excited to lead NextStep into the next development phase,” said Brad Hennessie, CEO of NextStep Robotics. “Having these incredibly accomplished executives join our Board of Directors is a huge validation of our work and mission to improve the lives of stroke survivors.”

NextStep Robotics is actively raising a $1.5 million investment round, with $500,000 already closed. The company was also recently awarded $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the final year of its current clinical trial.

Additionally, NextStep Robotics recently registered its device, AMBLE, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. AMBLE is a portable ankle robot designed to alleviate and, in some cases, treat foot drop after a stroke. Foot drop, the inability to raise the foot during activities of daily life such as walking, increases the chances of falling and injury. The AMBLE device, an in-clinic training tool, will undergo a soft launch in select clinics this year.

About NextStep Robotics
NextStep Robotics is a medical device company developing innovative technologies to improve stroke rehabilitation. The company's flagship product is a device designed to help stroke survivors regain mobility and independence. NextStep Robotics is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of stroke survivors and their families. For more information, visit