MassVentures Announces $3 Million Available in START Funding


CONTACT: Kate Anderson, (617) 773-4842,


MassVentures Announces $3 Million Available in START Funding

Program Supports Companies Ready to Commercialize Technology

Boston- MassVentures today announced a Request for Proposals for START (SBIR TARgeted Technologies) Program Stage I Grants. MassVentures will award $1 million in Stage I funding 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. Five new Stage II grants of $200,000 each will be awarded to the most promising Stage I winners from last year and up to $500,000 of seed capital will be awarded to two Stage III winners selected from the most successful Stage II companies from last year. The START program was created to assist high growth companies that will expand employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.

“The MassVentures START program ensures growing Massachusetts-based companies are able to commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts.   $250 million of research and development funds are funneled into Massachusetts through the SBIR / STTR programs each year.   We recognize that innovation, invention, and disruption take time, so the START program provides up to three additional years of funding,” said Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures.  “START arms these companies with the funding, experience, mentoring and networks they need to potentially transition to high-growth companies.”

Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth and Chairman of the Board for MassVentures commented, “The START program provides 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.” 

Previous START winners include: AddiLat, Inc. (Woburn); Agiltron (Woburn); Artaic (Boston); Barrett Technology (Newton); BioMimetic Systems (Cambridge); Boston Engineering (Waltham); Cambrian Innovation (Boston); Cambridge Electronics (Cambridge); CapeSym (Natick); CeraNova (Marlborough); ClearMotion (Woburn); Dynamo Micropower (Somerville); Energid (Cambridge); Eutropics (Cambridge); FloDesign (Wilbraham); Fluidity Software (Somerville); Ginkgo Bioworks (Boston); GVD (Cambridge); Hstar Technologies (Somerville); Incom (Charlton); Intrinsix (Marlborough); Locately (Boston); MetaMagnetics (Canton); Modular Genetics, Inc. (Woburn); MTPV Power Corporation (Medford); Muzzy Lane (Newburyport); mZeal (Littleton); NetBio (Waltham); NewGrid, Inc. (Somerville); Pendar Technologies (Cambridge); Persimmon Technologies (Wakefield); Pharyx (Woburn); Physical Sciences, Inc. (Andover); Primaira (Woburn); Radial Analytics (Cambridge); Reactive Innovation (Westford); Remote Sensing Solutions (Barnstable); RMD (Watertown); SimulConsult, Inc. (Chestnut Hill); Triton (Chelmsford); Visible Good (Newburyport); Xtalic (Marlborough)

More information on the START program and the MassVentures 5 Year START Report can be found at


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. Since the program’s founding in 2012, START has provided $12 million in grant funding to 50 deserving SBIR projects and helped winning companies raise additional capital of $278 million. The MassVentures’ START program received the prestigious 2015 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Four MV START Winners Recognized With Tibbetts Awards from the SBA

MassVentures is pleased to announce that four out of the five Massachusetts companies who were presented with the prestigious Tibbetts Awards for 2016 from the United States Small Business Administration are MassVentures START program alumni.

The four companies are: Ginkgo Bioworks (Boston), GVD (Cambridge), Physical Sciences, Inc. (Andover), and Triton Systems Inc. (Chelmsford).

The Tibbetts Awards, according to the SBA, “are presented annually to those who are beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology. Winners are selected based on the economic impact of their technological innovation, and the extent to which that innovation served federal R&D needs, encouraged diverse participation, and increased the commercialization of federal research.”

The MassVentures’ START program received the Tibbetts Award in 2015.

2017 START Program Launches

The MassVentures START program is kicking off its 2017 program!

  • Up to $3 million in funding is available for Massachusetts SBIR Phase II companies.
  • Join the growing ranks of successful MA companies who are a part of the START program. Past winners include Clear Motion (Levant Power), Boston Engineering, and Artaic. Full list here.
  • The RFP will be posted March 1 on the MassVentures website and applications are due April 3.
  • The START Program Phase I application is streamlined and user-friendly.


New this year – information session for potential applicants – 3/9/17

MassVentures START program will be hosting an information session for potential applicants.

  • 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.

Thursday March 9, 2017 from 10 – 11:30 am

Triton Systems, Inc., 200 Turnpike Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824

Please join us!



About the MassVentures START Program

The SBIR Targeted Technologies (START) program helps growing Massachusetts-based companies commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts. The START program plays an important role in powering Massachusetts’ Innovation Economy.


For more information, please see:

MassVentures Report Highlights START Success

MassVentures START Report

In 2012, MassVentures launched the SBIR Targeted Technologies program- START- to ensure growing Massachusetts-based companies would be able to commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts. Recognizing that innovation, invention, and disruption take time, the START program provides up to three additional years of funding for SBIR/STTR projects.

In just five years, START has provided $12 million in grant funding to 50 deserving SBIR projects. START companies have leveraged that state investment and gone on to raise $278 million in additional capital, proof of these companies’ potential for future growth and success. START companies generate $82 million in annual revenue and employ more than 1000 people.

“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,” 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.”

“The START Program help companies bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, supporting research, development, and manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Investments in revolutionary companies and products supports the continued growth of the Commonwealth’s creative and innovative sectors, and will help us maintain our position as a world leader in new technology.”

Click below to view the full report.  To download a PDF, please right click and choose “download file.”

Register for START 5 Year Celebration

Celebrating 5 Years of Success in SBIR “START”

MassVentures is celebrating 5 years of success of its nationally award-winning START program.  To celebrate, we are convening more than 250 members of the local innovation ecosystem who have played a vital role in awarding $12 million to 50 deserving SBIR projects resulting in $146 million in new capital.

Join us to learn more about the program, the funding options for SBIR-developed technologies, and to connect and learn from other innovators, funders and advisors involved in the program.

We anticipate a strong turnout from past winners of the START program as well as the judges, reviewers, venture capitalists and members of the State legislature who have been so critical to the program’s success.

Monday November 21, 2016 from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Microsoft Burlington
5 Wayside Road
Burlington, MA

For more information and to register, please click HERE

MassVentures backed Applause Raises $35 Million

Applause Closes $35 Million F Round Led by Credit Suisse and Accenture

Funding expedites the company’s expansion of its Digital Experience (DX) testing, feedback and research solutions

September 14, 2016 08:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applause, the in-the-wild digital testing leader, announced it has raised $35 Million in a Series F financing round. The largest new investor in this financing round was Credit Suisse, and the round also included an investment by strategic partner, Accenture. The funding will increase the company’s investment in its strategy as the go-to source for improving customers’ digital experiences. This round brings Applause’s total funding-to-date to more than $115 Million.

As the company formally launches its expanded Digital Experience solutions in the coming months, this funding enables Applause to:

  • Further expand its in-the-wild digital testing services. The company will invest heavily in its real-world testing services that enable omni-channel testing – from web to mobile to IoT to brick & mortar – on a global scale. The ability to test brands’ entire customer experience from virtual to physical worlds is already a selling point for Applause with large enterprises.
  • Invest in growing its digital usability feedback services. Applause will expand its usability and design feedback offerings – which are the company’s second largest revenue-producer today – enabling brands to rapidly collect and analyze feedback from crowdsourced user panels that demographically match customer’s end users.
  • Formally launch its digital research services. In the past year, dozens of big brands have come to Applause seeking to conduct fast, effective, crowd-powered research to learn what their customers want – across the intersection of digital and physical experiences. And while Applause has successfully fulfilled those requests with its current capabilities, in order to scale to meet market demand anywhere around the globe, the company will invest heavily to expand technology development and extend access to multiple crowds and user panels.

“Digital experiences – from web to mobile to IoT to brick and mortar – are the epicenter of competition in many industries, including retail, restaurants, travel, banking, insurance and manufacturing. Late-stage funding from leaders like Credit Suisse and Accenture, enables us to double down on expanding our solutions,” said Applause CEO, Doron Reuveni. “Applause is uniquely positioned as the de facto leader in Digital Experience testing, usability feedback and research.”

The round had full participation from all of Applause’s previous investors, including Goldman Sachs’s Merchant Banking Division, QuestMark Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners, Mesco Ltd and MassVentures. The company’s most recent funding was a $43 Million Series E round in January, 2014.

Today’s funding news comes as brands are recognizing how critical their digital experiences are to their commercial success. And as the experience economy matures, these digital experiences are now the front door to brands, to the companies behind them, and to their top-line results. The ability to research, test, and get user feedback about your digital experience from people who mirror your end user base – and to do it in a rapid, agile manner – is a major competitive advantage for Applause customers like Amazon, Ralph Lauren, HBO, USA Today, BMW and Concur.

“Our alliance with Applause and investment in the company is a powerful step forward in Accenture’s liquid workforce agenda,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer, Accenture. “Combining our global testing capabilities with Applause’s ‘in-the-wild’ crowdtesting platform will provide clients with a better digital testing solution for websites, mobile apps and IoT products. Together, we bring a unique ability to scale to meet the demands of enterprise clients around the world. That is what led us to forge this alliance relationship and invest in Applause through Accenture Ventures.”

With global headquarters near Boston, MA, Applause launched in August of 2008. Company milestones include:

  • Growing its footprint to 300+ employees in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris and London
  • Testing more than 100,000 new builds for 3,000 companies of all sizes – including Google, Microsoft, FOX, Rolex, Shutterfly, The American Red Cross and Runkeeper
  • Growing its global community of professional testers to more than 250,000
  • The acquisition of mobile SDK, Apphance in 2012
  • The acquisition of EU crowdtesting leader, Testhub in 2014
  • Dozens of awards, including wins from the Stevie Awards, Forbes, Gartner and Inc.

About Applause

Applause empowers companies to deliver great digital experiences – from web and mobile to wearables, IoT and beyond. By combining in-the-wild testing services, test automation and a global community, Applause helps the world’s most recognized brands achieve the digital quality they need across every device, operating system, carrier, location and other criteria that their customers value. Thousands of companies – including Google, FOX, Amazon, Concur and Runkeeper – rely on Applause to ensure great digital experiences for their users. Learn more at and follow @applause on Twitter.



Nick Lorenzen, 617-688-0525

From the Cape Cod Times: Barnstable startup on investors’ radar

Barnstable startup on investors’ radar

Remote Sensing Solutions wins second grant to bring technology to market

By Lorelei Stevens, Cape Cod Times, 8/30/2016

BARNSTABLE VILLAGE — A local technology company has earned recognition and critical funding from MassVentures, a quasi-public venture capital firm that invests in Massachusetts startups with high growth potential to help them progress from the development stage into the market.

Remote Sensing Solutions will use its $200,000 grant to commercialize technology that company President James Carswell described as “a game-changing solution for radar digital subsystems.”

Illuminated by the natural light streaming through the rooftop windows of their Route 6A office and workshop building, CFO James Canniff and CEO Michel Fernandes later offered a nuts-and-bolts explanation of what the scientist-engineers at Remote Sensing Solutions do.

“We work with remote sensing, acquiring information without contact,” Fernandes said. “Everything our company does, all our products and services, is around that field.”

At the heart of it is a miniaturized radar sensing and data collection and analysis system capable of “seeing” through dust and clouds and darkness with such accuracy that it can pinpoint the barrel of a gun before a shot has been fired, Canniff said.

The technology obviously can be of use to the military, but its small size and light weight means it could potentially enable safe operation of drones in U.S. airspace, allow researchers to locate, track and count whales and monitor marine debris, help Coast Guard search-and-rescue personnel find mariners in distress and change the way autonomous cars avoid collisions, he said.

The two key products in the system are called PathIn, which stands for Phased Array Terrain Hazard Interferometer, and ARENA, which stands for Advanced Reconfigurable Embedded Network Appliance. Basically, Canniff explained, PathIn collects the data and ARENA processes it.

The ARENA is about the size of a cellphone and weighs less than 2 pounds. That compares with an older-model radar unit in the workshop that resembles a computer tower and weighs about 40 pounds.

Remote Sensing Solutions, which currently employs nine people, has done much of its development work with funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey through the Small Business Innovation Research program.

While the small-business program provides seed money so entrepreneurs can fill out their concepts, it does not help with the next step, commercialization, meaning lots of funded product and service ideas end up on the shelf and never get to market.

Canniff said the phenomenon is well known in the tech startup world as the “SBIR valley of death.”

Now in its fifth year, MassVentures’ START program, which stands for SBIR Targeted Technologies, helps companies “bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash said in the statement announcing this year’s awards.

The START program is a three-year, highly competitive process that funds a select few Massachusetts companies that have received the awards, according to MassVentures.

The 2016 START grant is Remote Sensing Solution’s second. It received a $100,000 Stage I grant last year for its PathIn technology. This year, it was one of only five companies in the state to win a $200,000 Stage II grant.

Remote Sensing Solutions will use the money to hire additional engineers and sales staff, file patents and attend trade shows and the company expects to open a new manufacturing site in the next year or two, Fernandes said.

While the sales staff can work from anywhere and the company also has an office in Monrovia, California, the plan is to keep the engineering and manufacturing jobs on the Cape.

“The goal is to have that here,” Canniff said.

David Wiley, research coordinator for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, is enthusiastic about early discussions he has had with Remote Sensing Solutions about partnering for testing.

Because PathIn-ARENA systems can be installed on vessels and aircraft and detect minute differences in the heights of objects, they could allow researchers to detect, count and track whales without putting sound in the water that can harm marine life.

“A lot of testing still has to be done, but the possibilities are really exciting. It’s a very different way to gather information,” Wiley said. “And the fact that the lab is on the Cape is pretty amazing, too.”

From the Worcester T&G: Grant helps bring cutting-edge technology to market

Grant helps bring cutting-edge technology to market

By Amanda Roberge, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 9/4/2016

WEST BOYLSTON — Coventry Associates Inc. was one of the 17 Massachusetts companies to receive grant funding from the MassVentures START program, which recently announced more than $3 million in awards for a variety of cutting-edge concepts in order to bring them from creative idea to commercial market.

Founder and President Craig Gardner said that the $200,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant will be used to market his patented Eccentric Positioning System (EPS) to end-users and machine builders in order to raise the funds needed to grow the company.

The START Program is a federal program now in its fifth year that funds innovations in small companies, defined as any company with fewer than 500 employees.

The initial $100,000 grant Coventry Associates received in 2015 allowed Mr. Gardner to design, build and test the patented industrial robot, otherwise know as the EPS, by working with German research and development nonprofit Fraunhofer.

To date, he has secured private funding from local companies Timken and Saint-Gobain, in addition to SBIR contracts totaling $1.4 million from the Defense Logistics Agency, which is part for the federal government’s Department of Defense.

“It began as an idea,” he said of the technology, which allows for precision grinding of machinery used in ball-bearing technology to the millionth of an inch. That idea was actually born in 2003 of a collaboration between Mr. Gardner and his longtime friend and business associate Ed Camp, who upon his death in 2009 had yet to see the concept come to life in the form of the EPS.

Using a pivoting system involving three different axes, the EPS allows for grinding at angles — along with a tool-sharpening mechanism that occurs after each grind — that standard machinery cannot access in one pass, saving time and money.

“There were plenty of people who said ‘Once you get it working, give us a call,’ ” he said. “And that’s where we are.”

With more than 20,000 machines in the world devoted to the manufacturing of bearings and 10 percent of those machines wearing out annually, Mr. Gardner said, he expects the EPS to be the wave of the future in this specific domain. He estimates $200 million in sales in the coming years as he grows into full operating potential and hopes to set up factory space in the Central Massachusetts area.

“MassVentures helps companies capitalize on their SBIR funds and arm them with the capital, experience, mentoring and network they need to transition to high-growth companies,” said MassVentures President Jerry Bird.

From The Boston Globe: Nine local startups win MassVentures grants

Nine local startups win MassVentures grants

By Brenda J. Buote, The Boston Globe, 9/1/2016

MassVentures, which funds early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups, has announced the winners of its 2016 START program. Nine companies in the area were among this year’s winners: Physical Sciences Inc. in Andover; Triton Systems, Inc. in Chelmsford; MTPV Power Corp. in Medford; Visible Good in Newburyport; NewGrid, Inc. in Somerville; Persimmon Technologies Corp. in Wakefield; and Modular Genetics, Inc., Primaira, LLC, and Levant Power Corp., all in Woburn. Persimmon and Triton each received the top awards of $500,000. The grants will allow the companies to expand employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation. In all, $3 million in grant funding was awarded this year to 17 companies statewide.

Manufacturing Summit on September 27th at DCU Worcester

Tuesday, September 27

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts invites you to join the state’s leading manufacturers at the MA ADVANCED MANUFACTURING SUMMIT on Tuesday, September 27th.
This event will bring together hundreds of executives and managers from the manufacturing industry to share best practices, network, and discuss opportunities and challenges. Workshops and panels will include: sustainability, supply-chain strategies, advanced technologies, and best business practices to gain and maintain a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing global economy.


For more information, visit the website