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!

RSVP: GCormier@mass-ventures.com

 

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: www.mass-ventures.com/start-program/

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

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160914005288/en

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 www.applause.com and follow @applause on Twitter.

Contact:

Applause

Nick Lorenzen, 617-688-0525

nlorenzen@applause.com

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.”

http://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20160830/barnstable-startup-on-investors-radar

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.

http://www.telegram.com/news/20160904/grant-helps-bring-cutting-edge-technology-to-market

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.

 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/north/2016/09/01/nine-local-startups-win-massventures-grants/0gbjGF3qS7AXNvkQ4mJZCI/story.html

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

2016 START Program Winners

 

MassVentures Awards 2016 START Program Winners

$3,000,000 to be awarded to 17 cutting edge Massachusetts companies

MassVentures today announced the 2016 START (SBIR Targeted Technologies) program
winners with $3,000,000 in grant funding to be awarded to 17 cutting edge Massachusetts companies. The grants will allow the companies, which had previously received SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grants from federal agencies and departments including the Army, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, NASA and the Navy, to grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.

Now in its fifth year, the START program has awarded $12 million to 50 Massachusetts SBIR Phase II companies. The 2016 START winners include companies in Andover, Barnstable, Boston, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Medford, Newburyport, Newton, Somerville, Wakefield, West Boylston and Woburn. Two additional Stage I winners remain to be announced.

“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 inMassachusetts,” 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.”

2016 START Program Stage I Winners ($100,000)

  • Cambrian Innovation
  • Levant Power CorporationDSC09936
  • Modular Genetics, Inc.
  • MTPV Power Corporation
  • NewGrid, Inc.
  • Pendar Technologies
  • Physical Sciences, Inc.
  • SimulConsult, Inc.

2016 START Program Stage II Winners ($200,000)

  • DSC09945Barrett Technology
  • Coventry Associates, LLC
  • Primaira, LLC
  • Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc.
  • Visible Good

 

2016 START Program Stage III Winners ($500,000)DSC09953

  • Persimmon Technologies Corp.
  • Triton Systems, Inc.

ANDOVER

Stage I – Physical Sciences Inc. – Andover

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) of Andover, MA has been awarded a Stage I START grant to further its work on the IDtector Radiation Portal Monitor (iRPM) for homeland security applications. According to William J. Marinelli, PSI’s Executive Vice President for Defense Systems, “START funding allows PSI to leverage our government technology development funding to produce the commercial first-article for customer acceptance testing.”

BARNSTABLE

Stage II -Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. – Barnstable

Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. (RSS) of Barnstable, MA has been named a START Stage II winner for their radar digital subsystems work. Dr. James Carswell, President of RSS, said, “START is providing us with essential funding and guidance to commercialize our ARENA technology – a game changing solution for radar digital subsystems. Through this program, not only will RSS bring its ARENA product to market which we believe will benefit our customers, but RSS will achieve significant growth allowing us to create high value jobs to our local communities here on Cape Cod and to Massachusetts.”

BOSTON

Stage I – Cambrian Innovation -Boston, MA

Stage I START winner Cambrian Innovation is developing simple distributed installations to extract resources like clean energy and clean water from wastewater. According to Matt Silver, Founder & CEO of Cambrian Innovation, “The START program allows us to take our flagship product, the EcoVolt® Reactor, through the next stage of development and accelerate progress on optimization and cost reduction for the second generation of EcoVolt.”

 

CAMBRIDGE

 

Stage I -Pendar Technologies – Cambridge

Pendar Technologies of Cambridge, MA has been awarded funding through the START Stage I competition for continuation of their work in Quantum Technologies for Aircraft Protection (Q-TAP). “For Pendar Technologies, the START program allows us to manufacture and deliver more than the one or two prototypes and grow our business.  Thanks to START, Pendar can now push to capture and grow a market that is sizable by leveraging these resources into real integrated products,” said CFO Seamus Fogarty.

CHELMSFORD

Stage III Triton Systems, Inc. – Chelmsford

Triton Systems, Inc. of Chelmsford, MA has been selected for the highly coveted START Stage III grant funding for their Traceptor technology that enables chemical sensors for threat and contraband detection. Said CEO Ross Haghighat, “the START program has been essential in helping Triton Systems Inc. progress a newly developed technology to a promising product platform. START Stages I and II enabled Triton to pursue trials leading to its adoption by a cornerstone customer, as well as allowing identification of key markets for our product. Stage III funding will provide the means to implement manufacturing infrastructure and quality systems critical for commercial success. START was a true partner in this journey, a unique supportive funding source that understands the development cycle for novel technology and allowed this Massachusetts company to shorten it’s product development cycle by at least 2 years in order to meet an immediate market need. “

MEDFORD

Stage I – MTPV Power Corp. – Medford

MTPV Power Corporation of Medford, MA is awarded funding for its project to produce electric power from industrial waste heat. “MTPV Power Corporation is excited and honored to be named a MassVentures 2016 START Program Stage I winner.   The START Program is an invaluable resource for high growth companies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts looking to commercialize innovative technologies,” said MTPV’s President & CEO David Mather. “The funding and support provided by the START Program is integral to the successful development and commercialization of our groundbreaking waste heat to electricity conversion technology. With the support of the START program we will help meet the world’s energy demands more effectively and efficiently while having a positive impact on our environment to stimulate economic growth and innovation across the Commonwealth.”

NEWBURYPORT

Stage II – Visible Good – Newburyport

Visible Good of Newburyport, MA has been awarded START Stage II funding for their Rapidly Deployable Lightweight Shelter. “The MA Ventures START program has afforded Visible Good multiple advantages that would not have been realized without this valuable opportunity.  The program has supported us financially while also creating valued relationships, ongoing mentoring opportunities and a real “think-tank” environment.  Visible Good will be demonstrating its Shelter System among the Best in Class at Quantico, VA this September due to the added resources the START program is providing.  In 2016, Visible Good expects to complete certification as a Women Owned company and achieve full commercialization,” said Founding Partner, Tina Newman.

NEWTON

 Stage II – Barrett Technology -Newton, MA

Barrett Technology of Newton, MA wins START Stage II Funding for its Puck® Ultraminiature Brushless-Motor Controller. “We won the START grant at an absolutely pivotal moment in which a multinational company was considering investing in Barrett,” said William Townsend, President & CEO. “The investment for several million dollars went through in no small part because MassVentures had essentially confirmed the due diligence for this investor.”

Stage I – SimulConsult, Inc. – Chestnut Hill

SimulConsult, Inc. of Chestnut Hill, MA has been awarded START Stage I funding for their work on the SimulConsult® Diagnose program. Lynn Feldman, CEO of SimulConsult, Inc. said “the START program fills a critical gap between the SBIR research program and achieving a revenue-producing product – investment in commercialization activities.  The START program will allow us to rework some of our programs which means we can price our product more competitively, improving our financial prospects and rate of growth.”

SOMERVILLE

Stage I – NewGrid, Inc. – Somerville

NewGrid, Inc. of Somerville, MA is winner of START Stage I funding for their transmission optimization tool for regional electric grids. “NewGrid develops decision support software for electric power transmission system operators to minimize congestion, resulting in reductions in the cost of electricity to consumers, improved reliability, and greater renewables integration,” said Pablo A. Ruiz, CEO & CTO. “The support of the MassVentures START program is critical to ensure that our technology, developed with federal and state support, transforms from a research project to a practical tool.”

WAKEFIELD

Stage III-Persimmon Technologies Corp. – Wakefield

Persimmon Technologies Corp. of Wakefield, MA has been named one of only two Massachusetts companies to receive the highly competitive START Stage III award.

“START funding enabled Persimmon on take the development of our Hybrid-Field Electric Motor technology form the proof of concept phase, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, to the working product phase. Our Hybrid-Field motors represent a significant breakthrough in electric motor technology. Persimmon’s progress with this technology would not have been possible without START Stage I, II, and III funding,” said Michael Pippins, President & CEO.

WEST BOYLSTON

Stage II – Coventry Associates, LLC – West Boylston

Coventry Associates of West Boylston, MA has been awarded a Stage II START grant for their highly specialized robotics work. Their President Craig Gardner said, “SBIR funding allowed us to design, build and test our patented industrial robot. However, this funding does not support commercialization. START Stage II funding will enable us to meet the terms of our supply agreement with a Fortune 1000 manufacturer and close orders totaling $6.5 million.”

WOBURN

Stage I – Modular Genetics, Inc. – Woburn, MA

Woburn based Modular Genetics has been awarded funding through the START Stage I program. Modular uses its proprietary automated gene engineering system to create new products. According to CEO Kevin Jarrell, “START funding will enable Modular to scale up our work on using synthetic biology to create surfactants for cleaning products without using oil as a raw material and without creating toxic by-products. After searching extensively for support for this critical phase of the project, Modular was thrilled to learn that the START program will provide the funding needed to launch the scale-up effort, which is the next step on the path to commercialization of these renewable chemicals.”

Stage II – Primaira, LLC – Woburn

Primaira, LLC of Woburn, MA has been awarded START Stage II funding for their Bluezone® Air Cleaning Technology. “The Mass Ventures START program has enabled us to launch our Bluezone(R) 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,” said Managing Partner Karen Benedek. “Not only has the START program provided us funding, it has given us access to a community of businesses in Massachusetts that supports and inspires innovation. 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.”

Stage I -Levant Power Corp. – Woburn

Levant Power Corp. of Woburn, MA awarded START Stage I funding for their work in expanding their unique automotive suspension systems sensors. “The START program grant is allowing Levant Power to make investments in building a pilot production line in Boston to produce our advanced automotive technology products for global customers. We are already aggressively hiring to staff the effort,” said Zackary Anderson, Chief Commercial Officer.

 

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. The MassVentures’ START program received the prestigious 2015 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Tibbetts Award recognized MassVenture’s critical role in research and development and for successfully driving innovation and creating new jobs through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

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.

 

MASSVENTURES PRESIDENT TESTIFIES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING, URGES REAUTHORIZATION OF SBIR/STTR PROGRAMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2016

CONTACT: Jerry Bird, 617-723-4920, jbird@mass-ventures.com

LYNN- MassVentures President Jerry Bird today offered testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. Appearing before the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce hearing on Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs, Bird urged the reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR programs:

“The SBIR/STTR programs have played a vital role in harnessing the immense human capital of Massachusetts’ higher education, medical and research institutions. The SBIR and STTR programs provide opportunities to small firms to create great ideas but are unable to attract traditional venture capital funding or need seed funding to pursue those projects that the private sector has decided are too high-risk or not lucrative enough. However, it’s exactly these high-risk, high-reward projects that truly drive innovation in Massachusetts.”

Bird also offered Massachusetts’ START program as a national model for how states can best leverage federal investment through the SBIR/STTR programs.

“We believe the START program should serve as a national model for how states can best leverage the federal government’s investment through the SBIR/STTR program. The SBIR/STTR programs are essential in order to allow American scientists and researchers to innovate, invent and discover the technologies of tomorrow. But states must also do their part to build on progress made through SBIR/STTR funding and ensure those technologies of tomorrow are not always a day away.”

Bird’s full testimony as prepared for delivery follow below.

***AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY***

Testimony of Jerry Bird, President of MassVentures

March 8, 2016

U.S. House Small Business Committee

Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce

Field Hearing- Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Part II

I want to thank Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member Velazquez, Chairman Hanna and Congressman Moulton for inviting me to testify today on the critical need to reauthorize the SBIR/STTR program.

My name is Jerry Bird and I am the President of 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. We were honored to receive the prestigious Tibbetts Award in 2015 from the U.S. Small Business Administration, recognizing our significant role in driving innovation and creating new jobs through the SBIR and STTR programs.

As is often the case here in Massachusetts, when MassVentures was formed 38 years ago, we were the first program of our kind in the country. Our model and our mission to provide start-ups with early funding; guidance in operational, finance and sales, and; position them for additional rounds of funding from the traditional venture capital community has now been replicated throughout the country and across the world.

In our 38 years, MassVentures’ portfolio companies have raised $1.1 billion in additional funding; directly created 7500 jobs in Massachusetts, and; 16 MassVentures backed companies have gone public. In many cases, the companies we’ve been able to invest in and help grow got their start through SBIR/STTR funding.

The SBIR/STTR programs have played a vital role in harnessing the immense human capital of Massachusetts’ higher education, medical and research institutions. The SBIR and STTR programs provide opportunities to small firms to create great ideas but are unable to attract traditional venture capital funding or need seed funding to pursue those projects that the private sector has decided are too high-risk or not lucrative enough. However, it’s exactly these high-risk, high-reward projects that truly drive innovation in Massachusetts.

There is no question SBIR/STTR has been effective in allowing concepts to begin the road to commercialization. But even after two years of funding, many companies weren’t ready. Research was still ongoing. Prototypes needed testing. Or often the company’s founders weren’t ready to juggle innovation with the everyday demands of operations, finance and sales. It’s hard to master your elevator pitch when you’re spending all your time in a lab trying to create something that’s never been created before, or attempting to solve a problem long thought un-solvable.

The federal government had played its role. SBIR/STTR had brought many companies to the verge of commercialization. But there were still too many instances where we were left asking “what could’ve been.”

A gap remained.

In 2012, we created the SBIR Targeted Technologies program- START- to bridge that gap and ensure growing Massachusetts-based companies would be able to commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts. Recognizing that innovation, invention, disruption take time, the START program provides up to three additional years of funding for SBIR/STTR projects. Stage I companies are awarded $100,000 grants. Stage II companies receive $200,000 and Stage III companies receive up to an additional $500,000. The most successful START applicants can receive a total of up to $800,000.

In just four years, START has provided $9 million in grant funding to 40 deserving SBIR projects. START companies have raised additional capital of $138 million and seen a 30% employee growth. MassVentures has created an ecosystem of more than 200 companies, reviewers, service providers and advisors.

Energid started as a robotic software company serving almost exclusively NASA and the Department of Defense. However, it was clear there was a broader application for their software and expertise in robotics. The company took the risk of creating small arm-sized robots to demonstrate the power and potential of its software. In 2013, MassVentures awarded Energid a Phase I START grant.

Energid sold their robots to early adaptors and is now in discussion with major global corporations and poised to sell thousands of units. Technology which had been developed to control lunar excavation for NASA is now being used to drill for oil in the North Sea, conduct surgery and even pick oranges. A Massachusetts-based software company, supported through MassVentures and START, Energid has emerged as one of the world’s leading robotic technology companies.

START has also proven that innovation can happen anywhere. While we evaluate START applicants through our prism as investment professionals, there is nonetheless a remarkable geographic diversity among START companies. Companies outside Boston and Cambridge that might have otherwise lacked the time, resources, support or network necessary for success now have it.

There are START companies in Barnstable, Canton, Charlton, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Littleton, Newburyport, Wakefield and Wilbraham. These companies have the potential to be economic anchors in their communities, spurring much needed revitalization and attracting new businesses and residents. Without SBIR/STTR, these companies likely never would have begun; without START these companies likely never would have survived.

Just as MassVentures was, we believe the START program should serve as a national model for how states can best leverage the federal government’s investment through the SBIR/STTR program. The SBIR/STTR programs are essential in order to allow American scientists and researchers to innovate, invent and discover the technologies of tomorrow. But states must also do their part to build on progress made through SBIR/STTR funding and ensure those technologies of tomorrow are not always a day away.

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