MassVentures Awards 2015 START Program Winners

MassVentures today announced the 2015 START program winners. Each has received a grant to help grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.  As of today the START program will have awarded $9 million to 40 Massachusetts SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase II companies.

The START program is a three year process designed to provide increasing financial rewards to SBIR Phase II companies that demonstrate progress on the path toward commercialization. At the outset of Stage 1, ten companies are selected to receive $100,000 in funding. Over the course of the next year, each company, with advice and coaching provided by MassVentures and the START ecosystem, strives to execute on its product commercialization strategy.  After that year, five of the original ten winners are selected by an expert panel to each receive $200,000 grants.  At the conclusion of the second year, the judges choose two companies to each receive $500,000.

The 2015 winners are:

2015 winners

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 1 (each receiving a $100,000 grant):

Stage 2 (each receiving a $200,000 grant):

 

“The START program is a unique feeder system to MassVentures and the venture community that fosters growth of companies and readies them for venture funding.  Recently, MassVentures funded past Stage 3 winner, Ginkgo BioWorks, for commercializing the world’s first organism engineering foundry,” said Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures. “MassVentures helps companies like Ginkgo BioWorks capitalize on their SBIR funds and arm them with the capital, experience, mentoring and network they need to transition to high-growth companies.”

Program highlights:

  • Past winners have grown revenues by 20% and have used, or will use, their START grants to secure an additional $24,000,000 in funding.
  • Massachusetts receives nearly 12% of all US SBIR funding, or approximately $250 million – the second most SBIR funding in the country and the most per capita,
  • Winning companies have increased employment 30%, adding dozens of new jobs to the ecosystem,
  • 60% of the over 200 recipients of SBIR II awards in Massachusetts have participated in the START program.

National Award Recognition

In addition, the MassVentures’ START program received a national award for its contribution to the innovation economy.  The 2015 Tibbetts Award recognizes companies and individuals that have leveraged SBIR, or helped others do so, in a way that has generated measurable value to their firm or the nation.  The award was presented to MassVentures in Washington, D.C., for its efforts to help others leverage SBIR/STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) investment to generate measurable value to their firm or the nation. “The Tibbetts award is liking winning the World Series of the venture community. It’s a prestigious, national award that recognizes the best of the best in the SBIR world,” said Bob Weiss, President of Technology Transitions.  “The START program provides companies the ability to foster research to the point where they are able to attract private capital. This mimics how the 128 high-tech corridor was born and is how Kendall Square has been reborn.  With SBIR recipients in gateway cities throughout the Commonwealth, START provides an opportunity to spread that growth and create a broad resurgence in Massachusetts as the center for high technology.”

Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth and Chairman of the Board for MassVentures commented, “The START program has provided a diverse group of high-tech companies with the resources and guidance they need to reach their potential and enjoy sustained growth.  START is a catalyst for our innovation economy and sends a resounding message to high-tech businesses around the world that we are creating a supportive and productive environment in which these companies can thrive.”