2018 Summer Newsletter

2018 Summer Newsletter

New investments: Spiro Technologies, Armored Things, FairMarkIT, and 20 START companies and more…

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.4 Million to START Companies in Massachusetts

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Colleen Arons (HED) – colleen.arons@mass.gov

Kate Anderson (MassVentures) – kate@cwconsulting.co

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Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.4 Million to Spur Technology Development in Massachusetts

MassVentures START Program, in partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, awards grants to cutting-edge Massachusetts companies

MARLBOROUGH – June 22, 2018 – This week, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $3.4 million to twenty innovative, early-stage, high-growth companies in Massachusetts. These awards, a collaboration between the MassVentures START program and the MassCEC, will help grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth. Today’s funding will support companies located across the Commonwealth spanning the technology sector, from robotics to clean energy to defense.

“Our administration is committed to remaining a global leader in innovation and life sciences,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Through the funding of the START program, we are pleased to provide vital support to these growing companies as they contribute to the Commonwealth’s robust innovation economy.”

“Supporting early-stage Massachusetts companies helps drive job creation and economic activity,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to supporting Massachusetts’ high tech industry, especially as these entrepreneurs and innovators make the leap from concept to commercialization.”

“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation as a great place for companies to grow to scale,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “These awards allow start-up companies to leverage substantial federal dollars to pursue critical, cutting-edge research, moving from concept to commercialized products. We are happy to support programs like this, as well as our M2I2 Initiative, to help innovators bridge the gap from what is possible to real, tangible results.”

Now in its seventh year, the START program has awarded nearly $19 million to 74 Massachusetts Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II projects and helped winning companies raise additional capital of $278 million.

“SBIR is America’s $2 billion seed fund and MassVentures START program helps companies capitalize on these funds and arms them with the capital, experience, mentoring and network they need to transition to high-growth companies,” said Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures.  “The START program fosters growth of companies and readies them for venture funding with the goal of helping them build their businesses here in Massachusetts.”

For 2018, MassVentures and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) have again partnered to increase the scope and capacity of the MassVentures START Program. MassCEC has committed up to $400,000 to START in 2018. The MassVentures and MassCEC cooperative endeavor is the result of the success of the expansion of START eligibility to recipients of US Department of Energy SBIR grants.

“We are pleased to partner with MassVentures to expand the START program to include these exceptional cleantech companies pursuing innovative clean energy solutions,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike. “These companies represent the best of the Commonwealth’s robust cleantech sector and will be able to leverage these funds into significant private investment, leading to job creation and the continued growth of the state’s nation-leading innovation economy.”

Today, MassVentures’ Jerry Bird joined Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant, Mass Clean Energy Center leadership, and members of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation at Intrinsix Corp., a former START winner in Marlborough to announce the 2018 START winners.

“It was my pleasure to welcome the winning companies to Marlborough for this exciting announcement,” said Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant. “We are proud of the innovative economy we have fostered in Marlborough. START winners like Intrinsix that call Marlborough home help drive growth across MetroWest and all of Massachusetts.”

“I’m proud that small businesses are driving the revitalization of many communities across my district, and I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for making these critical investments in local technological development,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. “Helping these innovative businesses to grow will directly boost our local economies and spur job growth.”

“I am thrilled to hear that Metamagnetics, Inc. has been awarded a 2018 START Program Stage II grant,” said Representative Danielle W. Gregoire. “MassVentures has been critical to the growth of this local company, and I am eager to see what additional strides will be made with this further investment.”

The MassVentures START (SBIR Targeted Technologies) program ensures growing Massachusetts-based companies are able to commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts.  The program is a three-year process designed to provide increasing financial rewards to the companies that demonstrate progress on the path toward commercialization. At the outset of Stage I, twelve companies are selected to each 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, up to six of the original twelve 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.

About MassVentures

MassVentures is a quasi-public venture capital firm focused on fueling the Commonwealth’s innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups as they move from concept to commercialization. The MassVentures’ START program received the prestigious 2015 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.   More information on the START program and the MassVentures 5 Year START Report can be found at www.mass-ventures.com/start-program/.

About MassCEC

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits and to secure long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts.

2018 START Program Stage I Winners

Physical Sciences Inc., Andover

Physical Sciences Inc. has developed a low cost, rapid coating technology that allows for lower cost, higher energy density batteries.  START funding will support the development of high performance specialty batteries leveraging this technology for the unmanned vehicle markets.  “The battery market requires prototype demonstrations prior to acceptance and incorporation in a design. This places a significant burden on companies developing new technologies to fund full product development prior to technology acceptance.  START funding will support required production and initial qualification testing of specialty batteries for the targeted markets.” -Bill Marinelli, Chief Operating Officer, Physical Sciences Inc.

Apprendis, Berlin

Apprendis’ flagship product, Inq-ITS, is a science learning platform with simulations for Physical, Life, and Earth Science – all aligned with NGSS standards. Students engage in interactive science labs while receiving real time coaching. Teachers get alerts when kids struggle. Schools get the data they need to demonstrate growth. “The START program will give Apprendis a large boost in getting research-based educational technology into more classrooms. The seed money will help us extend our online science learning platform (Inq-ITS), provide personalized support to more students, and get real-time data into the hands of more teachers.”  – Dr. Janice Gobert, Co-Founder & CEO, Apprendis

CF Technologies, Inc., Boston

Innovator and environmental award winner CF Technologies, Inc. of Hyde Park introduces a process converting rancid, zero-value, environmental-burden, brown grease into high quality biodiesel using efficient supercritical fluids and catalytic conversion technologies.  “Commercialization funding provided by the MassVentures START program will fulfill our immediate needs for a focused market research program and to hire a key customer facing team member. Most importantly, the funding will provide the acceleration needed to bring our successful technology to commercial success. Thank you MassVentures!” –John Moses, President & Founder, CF Technologies, Inc.

CueThink, Inc., Boston

CueThink has built a peer-to-peer platform that improves students’ critical thinking skills and math collaboration in K-12 classrooms. The application provides consistent language and problem solving structure for students to excel on performance-based assessments. CueThink is a winner of the NewSchools Venture Fund Math Challenge grant and was awarded a 5-star rating for pedagogy by Common Sense Education.  “The START program award will help CueThink hire key marketing and sales personnel to expand our pre-sales pilot programs and ensure stronger customer growth and success. This grant comes at a vital time in the organization’s trajectory and builds on the momentum we are experiencing.” -Sheela Sethuraman, Founder and CEO, CueThink.

TelAztec LLC, Burlington

TelAztec LLC has developed and manufactures its patented “RANDOM” type anti-reflection (RAR) nano-textures that are nanometer scale textures etched directly into the bulk optical material that provide extreme optical performance with no added absorption, unsurpassed laser damage threshold levels, and extended lifetimes for high energy laser optics. “The START program will help further accelerate and expand on the commercialization that has begun for TelAztec’s “RAR Nano-texture” line of high energy laser optics through increasing production and manufacturing capabilities as well as expanding our customer base both domestically and internationally.”  –Douglas Hobbs, President, TelAztec

Adaptive Surface Technologies, Cambridge

Adaptive Surface Technologies, Inc. (AST) is an industrial technology company that produces materials and coatings that repel fluids, contaminants, and biological fouling. Their products can be used for a wide range of industrial, marine, and medical applications, while protecting and improving the environment.  “The Mass Ventures START program funds will give AST the additional resources it needed to explore its first opportunity in the B2C sector. We are excited to commence work on testing market need & pull, developing a user friendly-product, and conduct field trials with local Massachusetts industrial partners.” David Ward, CEO, AST

Uniqarta, Inc., Cambridge

Uniqarta is a Cambridge-based startup commercializing an ultra-high-speed component placement solution for next generation microLED displays offering superior picture quality and greatly reduced power consumption. “The START program will provide Uniqarta with funds to accelerate our business development and patent protection efforts,” stated Ronn Kliger, Uniqarta co-founder and CEO. “It complements our SBIR-funded technology development work to help us attract industry-leading commercialization partners.”

Quantum Diamond Technologies, Inc., Somerville

Quantum Diamond Technologies, Inc. (QDTI) is using its unique quantum sensing technology to create a novel, magnetic-based detection platform that will enable rapid, simple, low cost and ultrasensitive diagnostics instruments for the Life Sciences, Central Lab and Point of Care environments.  “We are excited to receive the MassVenture START program award that will provide capital and advisory support as we work to expand our diagnostic assay development efforts”, said John Pena, President, Quantum Diamond Technologies, Inc. “The additional resources will help accelerate our efforts to achieve valuable early customer feedback.”

Solchroma Technologies, Inc., Somerville

Solchroma Technologies is building the world’s most vivid reflective digital displays for Smart Cities and urban environments.  “The MassVentures START program will provide Solchroma with the resources to accelerate commercialization of our ground-breaking reflective display technology – created and built in Massachusetts.  Through enhanced customer engagement and partner development, START funds will enable Solchroma to launch the future of digital signage in Smart Cities worldwide.” -Roger Diebold, CEO & Co-founder, Solchroma Technologies

C-2 Innovations, Inc., Stow

C-2 Innovations designs and builds all-weather amphibious robots for monitoring, sampling and mapping various terrains.  “C-2 innovations, Inc is extremely grateful for the MassVentures Start trust, by supporting us financially and with business insights.  The support comes at a key moment in our business development providing the critical funds for capability demonstrations and marketing. Without it we would be in a real struggle to survive.” – Arnis Mangolds, CEO , C-2 Innovations, Inc.

Battery Resourcers, Worcester

Battery Resourcers recycles lithium ion batteries such that the recovered components can be used in new batteries.  “The Mass START program will enable Battery Resourcers to hire key commercial development personnel here in Masschussetts thereby accelerating our commercialization efforts specifically with regards to obtaining contracts for Battery Resourcers recovered cathode material” -Eric Gratz, CEO, Battery Resourcers

2018 START Program Stage II Winners

Spero Devices, Inc., Acton

Spero Devices is developing a high-performance accelerator chip for extended reality applications in mobile platforms, enabling real-time, low power performance at a dramatically reduced price point. “The START program provides critical capital in support of Spero Devices’ commercialization efforts, enabling the company to perform business development to identify customers and demonstrate requirements, advance and expand our patent portfolio, and pursue strategic investors as we raise capital to drive product development. All of this is made possible by MassVentures and its START program.” -Jai Gupta, CEO Spero Devices

VocalID, Inc., Belmont

VocaliD is a voice AI company that creates an infinite variety of affordable and customized digital voices to empower individuals and brands to be heard in their own voice.  “The MassVentures START program has been instrumental in accelerating our transition from our R&D efforts toward commercialization, said Rupal Patel, Founder & CEO @ VocalID. The combination of funding alongside the team’s strategic advice and support have been game-changing for a technology company like ours that is defining a new product category.”

Massachusetts Materials Technologies LLC, Cambridge

Massachusetts Materials Technologies (MMT) developed and is bringing to market test instruments for nondestructive evaluation of mechanical strength of components and assets – both actively in the field or at factories and warehouses – without the need to extract samples for destructive laboratory strength tests. MMT’s initial customers operate high-pressure oil and gas transmission pipelines where service interruption is not an option and more accurate pipe strength data is needed to extend the service life and operational limits of aging assets. The need for performance-based nondestructive testing extends to aging chemical and nuclear plants. MMT is highly engaged with industry leaders to concurrently develop the technology platform and ensure that the value is captured by the customers.  “Due to the contributions by the START program, our team has built expertise and experience to concurrently develop technologies and secure sales traction with customers.” – -Simon Bellemare, CEO, Massachusetts Materials Technologies LLC

Silverside Detectors, Cambridge

Silverside Detectors is developing next-generation nuclear radiation detectors that help governments reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. Silverside’s neutron detector provides state-of-the-art detection efficiency at a fraction of the cost of currently deployed detectors, allowing significant expansion of detection coverage in ports, borders, and in networks around cities. Silverside works directly with federal agencies and local first responders to provide the best science in the most practical, user-oriented solutions.  “The START grant is a huge multiplier on the technical investment that the government made through the SBIR award. We’re excited to use the funds to take the core technology to customers and adapt it for real-world application. The START grant represents an opportunity for commercialization that is very hard for a small company to fund on its own.”

Xilectric, Inc., Fall River

Xilectric has developed a new technology that mitigates damage to Li-ion batteries from elevated temperature and high cell potentials.  Their technology helps cell manufacturers provide superior energy storage products with lower cost of total ownership to their customers. ” Xilectric is extremely grateful for the support from the MassVentures START program which will help support customer trials and initial scale-up activities.” – Steve Weiss, Founder & CEO, Xilectric

Metamagnetics, Inc., Westborough

Metamagnetics is commercializing Autotune Filter technology, a new approach to electromagnetic interference mitigation in communications systems ranging from 4G LTE and public safety networks to tactical datalinks and satellite communications.  Metamagnetics’ solution helps reduce size, weight, and cost while improving resiliency and interoperability of wireless communications systems. “We are delighted to continue building on the success of our previous partnership with MassVentures that allowed us to transition our self-biased circulator technology into production with thousands of units shipped this year,” said Dr. Anton Geiler, President of Metamagnetics. “For this new Stage II grant we are looking to take a major step towards ISO9001 certification, make key hires here in Massachusetts, deploy an ERP solution, and develop a financial plan for manufacturing scale-up.”

2018 START Program Stage III Winners

Dynamo Micropower Corp., Somerville

Dynamo Micropower provides the oil and gas industry with a game changing power solution called the PowerCore, which is able to burn Any-Gas for fuel to power Any-Load found in the field.  The solution, based on a novel gas turbine, reduces energy costs by up to 80% for customers. “The START program will give Dynamo a head-start in commercial launch of our product by enabling us to engage in strategic marketing and pre-sales program–getting us well on our way to our ultimate goal: successful commercialization of our game changing technology.” – Jason Ethier, CEO, Dynamo Micropower

Cambrian Innovation, Inc., Watertown

Cambrian Innovation provides distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions for industrial businesses. Cambrian’s award-winning EcoVolt® product suite offers cost-effective and sustainable options for onsite wastewater treatment, water reuse, and clean energy generation to some of the top names in food and beverage processing, including Lagunitas Brewing Company, Bear Republic Brewing Company, Russian River Brewing Company, and Rombauer Vineyards, among others.  “The START program has been a great resource for our company, and we are excited to continue working with MassVentures as we grow. We have already made great progress on the second generation of our flagship product, the EcoVolt Reactor, thanks to the funding and support from the program. We look forward to building upon that progress in Stage III.” – Matthew Silver, Founder & CEO. Cambrian Innovation

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Request for Proposals – MassVentures START Program Stage I Grants

Request for Proposals

For MassVentures START (SBIR TARgeted Technologies) Program Stage I Grants

February 1, 2018

MassVentures hereby invites all Massachusetts companies that meet the eligibility criteria set forth below to submit applications to its START program for Stage I grants.

What is START?

START is a program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist Massachusetts companies that have received at least the equivalent of a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) or Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) grant to commercialize their technologies. The program was created to assist high growth companies that will expand employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.

 Who is eligible?

Any Massachusetts company whose application to the program is not based on pharmaceutical, therapeutic or medical device technology and has received a Phase II SBIR or STTR award.

There is no strict requirement about when the qualifying Phase II SBIR or STTR award was received. However, if it was received prior to February 1, 2014, you should explain in your application why it remains commercially relevant today.

A “Massachusetts company” is one that conducts its research, development, manufacturing and commercialization primarily in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is committed to continuing to do so. It is expected that START funds will be spent primarily in Massachusetts.

Further details on program eligibility requirements are here.

How do I apply?

A detailed description of the application process is located here.

When is the Deadline for Applications?

The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 5:00 pm EST.

How Do I Get More Information?

Many of your questions will be answered on our website. Please make sure to review the full START section, including our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have further questions after reviewing these pages, please contact the START Program Manager, John Fitzpatrick, at jfitzpatrick@mass-ventures.com.   In addition, MassVentures will be conducting two informational sessions.

The first information session will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 from 10 – 11:30 am at Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C., City Point, 230 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor, Waltham, MA 02451.

  • Hear from the START managers about the process
  • Learn from past winners about what makes a successful application
  • Get insights from judges on what they look for in applicants

More information can be found here.  Space is limited – please RSVP to GCormier@mass-ventures.com

Second, MassVentures will conduct a conference call on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 2:00 pm at which time potential applicants can ask us questions about the START Program and the Stage I application and selection process. The dial in information for that call is below:

When:           Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 2:00 pm

Call-in:           (712) 832-8320, Access Code: 7551599

 

2018 MassVentures START program kick off!

The 2018 MassVentures START program:

Up to $3 million in funding available for MA SBIR Phase II companies

  • Join the growing ranks of successful Massachusetts companies who are a part of the START program.  Past winners include Ginkgo BioworksClear Motion (Levant Power), Boston Engineering, and Artaic.  Full list here.
  • The RFP will be posted February 1 on the MassVentures websiteand applications are due March 1.
  • The START Program Phase I application is only a few pages long and is designed to be user-friendly.

MassVentures START Information Session

Don’t miss this opportunity – space is limited

Tuesday February 13, 2018

10 – 11:30 am

Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC
CityPoint
230 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor
Waltham, MA 02451

Hear from the START managers about the process

Learn from past winners about what makes a successful application.

Get insights from judges on what they look for in applicants.

Space is limited – please RSVP to GCormier@mass-ventures.com

 

For more information, please see: www.mass-ventures.com/start-program/

MassVentures joins in $3 Million Round for Spiro Technologies

Please see Spiro’s press release below.

 

Spiro Technologies Raises $3M Investment Lead by Geekdom Fund for Proactive CRM powered by Artificial Intelligence

Boston, MA, October 9, 2017

Spiro Technologies, the provider of the first Proactive CRM, announced today a $3 million Series Seed funding led by Geekdom Fund with participation by MassVentures, Hyperplane Venture Capital and New Harbour Partners. MassVentures’ Vice President Jennifer Jordan will join the Spiro board of directors.  Spiro will use the new investment to expand its sales, marketing and product development teams.

Spiro’s Proactive CRM (customer relationship management system) advises sales leaders and representatives about important activities to move deals through the pipeline. Spiro automatically updates itself; makes recommendations and reminds users about the best prospects to reach out to to close deals; and uses unique natural language processing to create and respond to emails.  On average, sales teams using Spiro talk to 23% more customers and prospects during the week, and close 20% more sales.

Spiro was launched in 2014 by three CRM industry veterans, Adam Honig, Andy Levi and Justin Kao. Collectively, they have more than 40 years’ experience selling and delivering solutions to salespeople, and have built applications which have been used by over 300,000 sales professionals.

“We are very impressed with Spiro’s vision for the future of CRM,” said Don Douglas, Senior Managing Director, Geekdom Fund. “They have demonstrated great early traction for their Proactive CRM which advises salespeople who to call, email and follow-up without data entry. We are happy to partner with Spiro’s experienced management team and support them while building the next generation of customer relationship management software.”

“Spiro has created something completely different than the rest of the CRM market by focusing on delighting salespeople first,” said Jennifer Jordan, Vice President, MassVentures. “Their customers were typically not able to use CRM before Spiro because their sales teams resisted adopting it. We believe that Spiro can significantly expand the market of CRM to additional sectors, and we’re excited to be involved with Spiro just as it’s poised for huge growth.”

“We’ve grown Spiro from a personal sales assistant to a full sales CRM platform, powered by artificial intelligence,” said Adam Honig, Spiro’s CEO and Co-founder. “With the new investment, we plan on expanding rapidly and bringing new innovations to help companies sell more and acquire customers more easily.”

 

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About Spiro Technologies

Spiro Technologies provides the first Proactive CRM that reminds salespeople who to call, updates itself and helps sales leaders drive more revenue.

About Geekdom Fund

The Geekdom Fund L.P. is a venture capital fund that invests in early stage IT startups in San Antonio, South Texas and beyond. With a hands on approach, we give companies the tools they need in order to reach Series A funding.

 About MassVentures

MassVentures is a quasi-public venture capital firm focused on fueling the Commonwealth’s innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups.

Contact

Alicia Gordon

Spiro Technologies

(617) 804-5560

alicia@spiro.ai

Click here for more details from Spiro.

Applause Announces Acquisition by Vista Equity Partners

Vista’s investment and expertise in accelerating high-growth companies will help Applause scale and become the software quality backbone for the world’s most successful digital experiences

August 23, 2017

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applause, the global leader in digital experience quality, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners (“Vista”), a leading investment firm focused on software, data and technology-enabled businesses. The acquisition combines the unique technology and broad customer adoption of Applause Digital Experience solutions with Vista’s strategic and operational expertise for high-growth technology companies. With Vista’s backing, Applause will accelerate its market leadership for digital testing, user feedback and market insights offerings.

“This is a tremendous milestone for Applause, one which validates our mission: to deliver flawless digital experiences to the world,” said Doron Reuveni, President and CEO, Applause. “Our human-centric approach to software design and quality has become essential to ensure technology works as intended, by real people, in the real world. As we take Applause to our next stage of growth, we are delighted to partner with Vista’s second-to-none talent and expertise.”

The digital experience is becoming critical for companies as they look to interact with their customers in the most advanced and direct ways. Applause connects its clients’ software development processes with its SaaS platform to manage the largest global community of on-demand digital experience experts and to provide actionable insight into how software works in the real world. Applause’s unique and scalable approach to software testing and feedback dramatically decreases both the time and cost of delivering great digital experiences on mobile apps, websites, IoT and more.

“We are delighted that Applause is joining the Vista family. We look forward to partnering with the Applause team to spur innovation, accelerate growth and extend its market leadership in community driven digital experiences,” said Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. “The market demand for Applause has never been stronger. It is fueled by businesses that understand that digital ‘customer experiences’ are the primary way to compete. The Applause solution enables leading digital brands to ensure that their software works across any device, in every location.”

Applause will continue to operate independently with no changes in executive leadership. The transaction is currently expected to close in the coming weeks and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as the lead financial advisor to Applause. Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor to Vista. Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to Applause. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Vista.

About Applause

Applause empowers the world’s leading digital brands – including Google, Uber, Michael Kors, and FOX – to deliver flawless digital experiences to their customers on any device, in every location. Applause ensures software quality for websites, mobile apps, IoT products and in-store interactions in a way no other approach can – through its technology platform and managed global community of over 300,000 professional, on-demand, digital experience experts. Applause delivers authentic, real-world human input at every phase of software development, delivering insight into market requirements, user feedback and software quality. Companies that use Applause benefit from flawless digital experiences that build customer loyalty, drive revenue and accelerate innovation.

Prior to the acquisition by Vista, Applause raised funding from leading investors including Accenture, Credit Suisse, Egan-Managed Capital, Goldman Sachs, Longworth Venture Partners, MassVentures, Mesco Ltd, QuestMark Partners, and Scale Venture Partners.

Learn more at https://www.applause.com.

About Vista Equity Partners

Vista Equity Partners, a U.S.-based investment firm with offices in Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, and Oakland with more than $30 billion in cumulative capital commitments, currently invests in software, data and technology-enabled organizations led by world-class management teams with long-term perspective. Vista is a value-added investor, contributing professional expertise and multi-level support towards companies’ realizing their full potential. Vista’s investment approach is anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions, and proven management techniques that yield flexibility and opportunity in private equity investing. For more information, please visit http://www.vistaequitypartners.com.

Media Contacts

APPLAUSE
Julia Dunlea, 603-387-3191
jdunlea@applause.com

VISTA EQUITY PARTNERS
Alan H. Fleischmann, 202-776-7776
vista@laurelstrategies.com

2017 START Winners – MassVentures announces $3.4 million for 20 companies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2017

CONTACT: Kate Anderson (617) 773-4842, kate@cwconsulting.co

MassVentures Announces $3.4 million in 2017 START Program Funding

Partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center expands awards to additional cutting-edge Massachusetts companies

Boston – MassVentures today announced the 2017 START (SBIR Targeted Technologies) program winners. Each START winner will receive a grant to help grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.  The winning companies span the state and the technology sector, from robotics to clean energy to defense. Full list, including locations and descriptions of the winning companies, is below.

For 2017, MassVentures and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) have partnered to increase the scope and capacity of the MassVentures START Program. MassCEC has committed up to $400,000 to START in 2017. The new MassVentures and MassCEC cooperative endeavor is the result of the success of the 2016 pilot program to expand START eligibility to recipients of US Department of Energy SBIR grants.

Now in its sixth year, the START program has awarded over $15 million to 70 Massachusetts SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase II projects and helped winning companies raise additional capital of $278 million.

“The START Program is one of the many reasons Massachusetts is the nation’s leader in innovation,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash. “These investments leverage federal dollars to support cutting-edge companies grow from the earliest stages of research and development through to commercialization which leads to job creation and economic development opportunities for the state.”

“The START program is a rich feeder source to the venture community that fosters growth of companies and readies them for venture funding,” said Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures. “MassVentures START program helps companies like Clear Motion and Gingko Bioworks capitalize on their SBIR funds and arms them with the capital, experience, mentoring and network they need to transition to high-growth companies.”

“In partnering with MassVentures, we’re opening the START program to clean energy companies and leveraging the strength of Massachusetts’ diverse innovation economy,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “With access to these funds, companies can draw additional private investment and drive toward commercialization while fueling job creation across the state.”

The MassVentures START program ensures growing Massachusetts-based companies are able to commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts. The program is a three-year process designed to provide increasing financial rewards to the companies that demonstrate progress on the path toward commercialization. At the outset of Stage 1, twelve 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, up to six of the original twelve 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.

2017 START Program Stage I Winners

2017 START Program Stage II Winners

2017 START Program Stage III Winners

 

2017 START Winners/Company Description by Location

Acton

Spero Devices, Inc. – Stage I

Spero Devices is developing an innovative accelerator card for computationally intensive applications in products that are constrained by size, weight and power. The applications are in machine learning, visual computation, and scientific simulation. The computational efficiency of the accelerator is greater than a factor of ten when compared to competitive co-processor devices fabricated in 2022. “The MassVentures START grant will help build the value of the company by enabling us to build a patent portfolio, travel for business development, and develop customer-driven applications in machine intelligence.”

Andover

Physical Sciences Inc. – Stage II

For over 40 years, PSI has provided technology solutions and innovative products to government and commercial customers. PSI’s employee-owners continue to grow the company across a range of markets applying emerging science to important problems and play an important role in the development and transition of advanced technology from the laboratory to commercial and government use. “Stage I funding provided PSI with the ability to form strategic alliances that enabled our PERM detection technology to compete in the Radiation Portal Monitor market and establish initial production capability.  Stage II funding will enable us to expand our production capability while entering the mobile and military detector markets.”

Barnstable

Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. – Stage III

Remote Sensing Solutions (RSS) is a fast-growing small business that develops and provides advanced technology and products for radar and sonar applications. Its core product is the ARENA platform that serves as the voice, nervous system and brain – the digital subsystem – of a radar or sonar. Reconfigurable and modular, the RSS ARENA products are enabling a new generation of sensing capability and sensor design.  “The START program provides research and development companies, like ours, with critical funding and advisory resources to transform from a knowledge-based R&D company to a high-growth, product-based company. In our case, with the START funds and guidance, we have transitioned our ARENA technology that was initially developed through our R&D efforts into a game-changing product-line that is solving our customers’ critical sensor needs while enabling significant growth in employment, revenue and corporate value.”  – Dr. James R Carswell, CTO, Remote Sensing Solutions

Belmont

VocaliD, Inc. – Stage I

VocaliD humanizes the voice inside any device that speaks–redefining how we interact with one another and our intelligent devices. VocaliD creates custom digital voices as unique as fingerprints by leveraging their growing Human Voicebank of 20,000+ speech donors from around the world and proprietary voice blending algorithms. Whether the personalized voices empower millions who use assistive communication devices or connect loved ones through companion robots and smart toys, VocaliD is powering the next generation of social connectivity. “The START grant comes at a pivotal time as we begin to scale up operations and increase brand awareness to accelerate customer acquisition.” -Rupal Patel, Founder & CEO @ VocaliD.

Billerica

Akita Innovations LLC – Stage I

Akita Innovations LLC uses advanced materials technologies to solve research and product development challenges for commercial and government customers.  Akita’s chemicals, materials, and coatings are applied to protective/barrier fabrics, optical materials, biosensors, energetic materials, and antifog, anticorrosion, and anticontamination coatings.  “The START grant from MassVentures will be used by Akita to perform business development and preparation for commercialization of our antifog and anticontamination coatings. Such work is not funded by SBIR support for our technology, so the START award will allow us to commercialize the technology and grow our business and staff more rapidly.”  – Larry Takiff, President, Akita Innovations LLC

Burlington

Spectral Sciences – Stage I

Spectral Sciences, Inc. (SSI) is a small, employee-owned business dedicated to innovation and excellence in basic and applied research.  Areas of expertise include remote sensing and signatures analysis, atmospheric and combustion sciences, computational solutions in chemistry, physics and fluid mechanics, and development of instrumentation to support phenomenological studies and new measurement concepts. SSI’s scientists and engineers have built its foundation on extensive US government contract research and development, and are branching into commercial markets across multiple industries from defense companies to established technology organizations and start-ups.   “The START award for our Multifunctional Imager technology will allow us to gain new insight into the machine vision market for industrial automation and robotics and kick-start our entry into that market.” – Robert Sundberg, President, SSI.

Cambridge

Eutropics – Stage II

Eutropics is a biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics laboratory that develops novel functional clinical diagnostic tests that recognize unique features of cancer cells from individual patients. The information indicates if that patient is likely to have a meaningful response to a given drug treatment. Test results are provided to pharmaceutical companies and used to select patients into clinical trials, or to oncology clinicians to help them select best treatment options for their cancer patients.  “The MassVentures START program award will help support ongoing development and provide critical seed funding to raise capital to drive ensuing commercial activities. It cannot be overstated how significant the association with MassVentures START program is for the commercial implementation of an important clinical diagnostic platform. “ – Michael Cardone, CEO, Eutropics

Massachusetts Materials Technologies LLC – Stage I

Massachusetts Materials Technologies LLC (MMT) has developed the Hardness, Strength and Ductility (HSD) Tester – a revolutionary, portable, non-destructive testing instrument to measure metal strength.  There is a need for instruments that identify the strength left in aging metals as well as quality assurance for construction of new metal structures.  MMT has launched an initial testing service for the 300,000 miles of high pressure oil and gas metal pipelines that are critical to transfer energy safely and efficiently across the United States. “The START program will have a large impact on our ability to accelerate the commercialization of our technology and commercial sales that are critical to the success of our innovation efforts.” -Simon Bellemare, CEO, Massachusetts Materials Technologies LLC

Radial Analytics, Inc. – Stage II

Radial Analytics is a seed-stage digital health company. Our decision science platform helps drive better patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. “The MassVentures START program has been instrumental in accelerating our progress, allowing us to hire key roles here in Massachusetts and accelerating our commercialization efforts” – Dr. Thaddeus Fulford-Jones, CEO, Radial Analytics

Silverside Detectors – Stage I

Silverside Detectors is developing next-generation nuclear radiation detectors that help governments reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. Silverside’s neutron detector provides state-of-the-art detection efficiency at a fraction of the cost of currently deployed detectors, allowing significant expansion of detection coverage in ports, borders, and in networks around cities. Silverside works directly with federal agencies and local first responders to provide the best science in the most practical, user-oriented solutions. “The START grant is a huge multiplier on the technical investment that the government made through the SBIR award. We’re excited to use the funds to take the core technology to customers and adapt it for real-world application. The START grant represents an opportunity for commercialization that is very hard for a small company to fund on its own.”

Fall River

Xilectric, Inc. – Stage I

Xilectric has developed a new technology that mitigates damage to Li-ion batteries from elevated temperature and high cell potentials.  Their technology helps cell manufacturers provide superior energy storage products with lower cost of total ownership to their customers. ” Xilectric is extremely grateful for the support from the MassVentures START program which will help support customer trials and initial scale-up activities.” – Steve Weiss, Founder & CEO, Xilectric

Medford

MTPV Power Corp. – Stage II

MTPV™ creates clean energy solutions, converting heat into electricity using semiconductor chips. Just as solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, MTPV can turn any heat source into clean power.  MTPV’s EBLADE™ Power Platform provides a small footprint, scalable and easy to deploy solution for energy capture and conversion. “MTPV Power Corporation is delighted to be named a MassVentures 2017 START Program Stage II awardee. Stage I START Program funds have helped MTPV to deploy a commercial site pilot, advancing market readiness. The funding and support provided by the START Program is an invaluable resource for high growth companies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts working to commercialize innovative technologies.” – David Mather, President & CEO, MTPV Power Corp.

Somerville

Altaeros Energies – Stage I        

Altaeros’ mission is to deliver the next generation of infrastructure to rural and isolated communities. Altaeros combines proven technology with flight control innovations that enable cost effective autonomous deployment of tethered airborne platforms. At heights above 200m a wide range of applications become attractive including power generation, telecommunications, and other infrastructure services. They are currently focusing on providing a cost effective, reliable and environmentally friendly solution for rural connectivity around the world. “The START grant is a great program that will allow us to hire several key team members to help turn the corner from R&D and product development to full commercialization of our breakthrough telecom infrastructure solution.” – Ben Glass, CEO/CTO, Altaeros Energies

Curoverse, Inc. – Stage I

Through the growth of genomic, imaging, sensor, and other data, healthcare is becoming more predictive, personalized, and precise. Curoverse is building an open-source platform that supports real-time queries of globally distributed biomedical data, efficiently runs machine learning algorithms, and is secure, fault-tolerant, scalable, and embraced by the community.  By addressing the unique data and compute infrastructure software challenges in the biomedical field, Curoverse empowers scientists and clinicians to focus on what they do best: making breakthrough discoveries and delivering real-world care. “The START grant will enable Curoverse to bring Arvados to many new commercial opportunities, linking genome data with clinical data, and to create a big data environment that facilitates the development of precision medicine.” — Ward Vandewege, CEO, Curoverse

Dynamo Micropower Corp. – Stage II

Dynamo Micropower provides the oil and gas industry with a game changing power solution called the PowerCore, which is able to burn Any-Gas for fuel to power Any-Load found in the field.  The solution, based on a novel gas turbine, reduces energy costs by up to 80% for customers.  “The START program will give Dynamo a head-start in commercial launch of our product by enabling us to engage in strategic marketing and pre-sales program–getting us well on our way to our ultimate goal: successful commercialization of our game changing technology.” – Jason Ethier, CEO, Dynamo Micropower

Waltham

Tactai, Inc. – Stage I

Tactai brings the sense of natural touch in the human to machine interaction. With Tactai’s software and wearable technology people for the first time can touch, feel, grasp and interact with virtual objects and virtual applications with life-like realism. The opportunity to add natural touch to our everyday digital interactions across every possible application of Human expression has the potential to substantially enrich and improve social exchanges and online experiences. “Winning the START award helps us to acquire additional resources to reach more customers and to bring our technology to market sooner.” – Steven D Domenikos, Founder & CEO, Tactai Inc.

Watertown

Cambrian Innovation, Inc. – Stage II

Cambrian Innovation provides distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions for industrial businesses. Cambrian’s award-winning EcoVolt® product suite offers cost-effective and sustainable options for onsite wastewater treatment, water reuse, and clean energy generation to some of the top names in food and beverage processing, including Lagunitas Brewing Company, Bear Republic Brewing Company, Russian River Brewing Company, and Rombauer Vineyards, among others. “Cambrian Innovation is honored to be named a MassVentures START Program Stage II winner. The START program has been a great resource for our company, and we are excited to continue working with MassVentures as we grow. We have already made great progress on the second generation of our flagship product, the EcoVolt Reactor, thanks to the funding and support from Stage I of the program. We look forward to building upon that progress in Stage II.” – Matthew Silver, Founder & CEO. Cambrian Innovation

Westborough

Metamagnetics, Inc. – Stage I

Metamagnetics is a leading provider of RF and microwave components to enhance the performance and effectiveness of mission-critical security, surveillance and communication systems. Their agile, customer oriented team offers unparalleled knowledge and expertise in electromagnetism and materials science. With multiple product offerings and a wide range of consulting services, Metamagnetics can help design and deploy innovative solutions for radar, sensing and related systems. “We are delighted to once again partner with MassVentures to accelerate the commercialization of our Autotune Filter technology. We’ve experienced steady commercial revenue growth from our previous MassVentures supported project and are looking forward to further building that momentum with a new Stage 1 start this year.”

Woburn

Optodot Corporation – Stage I

Optodot Corporation has been awarded START funding for its NPORE ® heat-resistant separator for lithium ion batteries. The NPORE ® separator is a flexible, all-ceramic, nanoporous membrane that improves the safety of lithium ion batteries because it does not shrink or melt until temperatures reach well above 220ºC. Optodot is a product development company that commercializes technologies primarily through licensing and strategic partnerships. “The START program funding will support Optodot’s transition from technology development to customer qualification and sales. We are honored to receive this competitive award which will help propel the next stage of growth for our company.” – Steve Carlson, Founder and CEO, Optodot

Primaira, LLC – Stage III

Founded in 2006, Primaira LLC has established a track-record of innovation in appliance, medical device, and consumer product development. Primaira, LLC is owned and managed by Phil Carbone and Karen Benedek who bring over 50 years of experience providing product development and technical consulting services to corporate and government clients. Primaira, LLC developed the Bluezone® air cleaning technology for the US Army through the SBIR program. Subsequent to SBIR funding, Primaira launched a multi-industry Bluezone business with product sales, technology licensing, and Bluezone technology integration contracts. “The MassVentures START program has enabled us to launch our Bluezone residential air cleaning business, by funding the transition of the technology we developed for the US military into a best-in-class consumer product. The START program has allowed us to turn a well established business model on its head: we will manufacture a world class product in Massachusetts and sell it to Chinese consumers who need better technology and a trustworthy brand to protect their health from their infamous air pollution. With START Stage III funding, we will implement our product manufacturing plan creating the private and government partnerships to export our product globally. This critical program has provided us the funding and credibility we need to attract the further investment and financing to create a robust manufacturing business in Massachusetts.”

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MassVentures is a quasi-public venture capital firm focused on fueling the Commonwealth’s innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups as they move from concept to commercialization. The MassVentures’ START program received the prestigious 2015 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  More information on the START program and the MassVentures 5 Year START Report can be found at www.mass-ventures.com/start-program/.

5/18/17 Inaugural MassVentures $5K Business Pitch Competition & Community Forum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; May 16, 2017

CONTACT: Kate Anderson, kate@cwconsulting.co//617.773.4842

Inaugural MassVentures $5K Business Pitch Competition & Community Forum

 MassVentures and the UMass Lowell Office of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development will host a gathering of entrepreneurs, business leaders, faculty, students and other members of the innovation ecosystem from across the Merrimack Valley

The event begins with the Technology Venture Pitch Contest with five local teams competing for a chance to win $5K in grant funding from MassVentures and access to the broader advisory, mentor, educational and community resources of MassVentures and UMass Lowell.  Following the contest, there will be a Community Forum on Funding Sources & Strategies in the Massachusetts Innovation Ecosystem.

 WHAT:              Inaugural MassVentures $5K Business Pitch Competition & Community Forum

WHEN:            Thursday May 18, 2017

10:00 am – 11:30 am Business Pitch Competition

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Community Forum on Funding Sources & Strategies

WHERE:          UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, 110 Canal St., Lowell, MA

WHO:              State Senator Eileen Donoghue (~11:30am); Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures

Teams competing for funding:

  • Horsepower Technologies Inc. (Lowell, MA)
  • invisaWear Technologies, LLC (Nashua, NH)
  • InVitroMetrix Corporation (Lowell, MA)
  • Lavoie Industries (Lowell, MA)
  • Nonspec (Lowell, MA)

Community Forum:

  • Jennifer Daloisio, Chief Financial Officer, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • Abi Barrow, Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) at the University of Massachusetts & Founding Director, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC)
  • Jim Kenney, VP Commercial Lending, The Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), MassDevelopment
  • Tom O’Donnell, Director, UMass Lowell iHub

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MassVentures is quasi-public venture capital firm focused on fueling the Commonwealth’s innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups as they move from concept to commercialization.

 

 

5/18 Inaugural MV $5K Business Pitch Competition & Community Forum

Please join MassVentures and the UMass Lowell Office of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development for a gathering of entrepreneurs, business leaders, faculty, students and other members of the innovation ecosystem from across the Merrimack Valley.
Inaugural MV $5K Business Pitch Competition & Community Forum
Thursday May 18, 2017
10:00 am – 1:30 pm
The UMass Lowell Innovation Hub
 110 Canal St., Lowell
10:00 am: Technology Venture Pitch Contest
Come see five finalist teams pitch their ventures for a chance to win $5K in grant funding from MassVentures and access to the broader advisory, mentor, educational and community resources of MassVentures and UMass Lowell. Finalists will be announced May 5th.
11:30 am: Community Forum on Funding Sources & Strategies in the MA Innovation Ecosystem
Come meet some of the best minds in funding strategies. Representatives from MassVentures, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC), MassDevelopment, Mass Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and other early stage funders will discuss early-stage venture funding sources and strategies. 
12:30 pm: Lunch & Networking
The event is free, but registration is requested:

MassVentures Invests in ClearGov – Leader in Gov’t Transparency/Efficiency Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2017

CONTACT: Kate Anderson, 617.773.4842, kate@cwconsulting.co

 MassVentures Invests in ClearGov, Participates in $1.2 Million Seed Round

Boston, MA – MassVentures announced today that it has participated in the latest round of funding for ClearGov, a leading provider of local government transparency and benchmarking solutions. The seed round was led by Kepha Partners.

Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Chris Bullock and Bryan Burdick, ClearGov helps local governments operate more effectively by transforming large, complex public data sets into actionable fiscal insights. The company has built a network of over 20,000 financial infographic-style profiles of local governments across 20 states.  Their extensive benchmarking database contains detailed analytics on over $1.8 trillion of government expenditures.

Local governments use ClearGov’s enterprise SaaS solution to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions, and improve communication with citizens. Taxpayers use ClearGov to better understand how their local government operates, see how their tax dollars are put to work, and how their local government’s financial performance compares to other cities and towns.

The company’s premium InsightsTM service allows local governments across the country, from Brookline, MA to Decatur, GA, to enhance their basic ClearGov profiles with more granular financials and commentary on fiscal trends. Through InsightsTM, local governments can provide residents with a clear picture of the city/town’s financial health. The dashboard can include a full breakdown of revenues, expenses, debts, and reserve funds, as well as demographics and information on schools. All of the information is presented in easily understood graphics and is contextualized with comparison figures from similar towns.

“ClearGov has created an invaluable tool not only for citizens, but also for government officials to access and, more importantly, utilize public spending, taxation and budgeting information,” said Jennifer Jordan, vice president at MassVentures.

“This investment is an important step in our vision to make democracy work better.  ClearGov is much more than financial transparency; we are providing insights to taxpayers and officials that can help improve the effectiveness of their local government” said Chris Bullock, CEO and founder of ClearGov.  “Ultimately, we believe our platform has the potential to positively impact millions of people through more a more informed and efficient democracy.”

“ClearGov’s team has a proven entrepreneurial track record and the company’s traction with local governments in Massachusetts speaks for itself,” said Eric Hjerpe, partner at Kepha Partners.  “The company’s solution is incredibly topical as governments are increasing battling misinformation, making the need to improve transparency and build public trust ever more important,” he continued.

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MassVentures is a quasi-public venture capital firm focused on fueling the Commonwealth’s innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups as they move from concept to commercialization.

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments and school districts use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions, and improve communication with citizens.