SBIR Targeted Technologies ("START") Program

For MA-based companies that have received

SBIR/STTR phase II funding.


The SBIR Targeted Technologies (START) program helps Massachusetts-based start-ups convert research developed under SBIR and STTR contracts into businesses and jobs in Massachusetts. The START program plays an important role in powering Massachusetts’ Innovation Economy. Since the program’s founding in 2012, START has:

  • Provided $28.2 million in grant funding to 100+ deserving SBIR projects
  • Helped winning companies raise additional capital of more than $3.5 billion
  • Catalyzed employment of over 2500 people in Massachusetts
  • Grown the state’s Innovation Economy by supporting companies in Barnstable, Canton, Charlton, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Littleton, Newburyport, Newton, Wakefield, Westford, Wilbraham and Woburn
  • Created an ecosystem of 200+ unique companies, reviewers, service providers and advisors to create the next generation of companies to drive Massachusetts’ economy

All START awards are contingent on state funding.  The state has fully funded the program each year since its inception in 2012.

How it works

The MassVentures START program helps Massachusetts-based companies commercialize technologies developed under SBIR and STTR contracts. Each year, the program awards:

  • Ten (10) “Stage I” grants of $100,000 each,
  • Five (5) “Stage II” grants of $200,000 each to the most promising “Stage I” winners from last year and
  • Two (2) “Stage III” opportunities: up to $500,000 each of seed capital in a commercial spinout (or other commercial arrangement intended to provide a return on investment to MassVentures) from the most successful Stage II companies.

A new crop of Stage I candidates every year perpetuates the cycle.


Massachusetts companies that have received a Phase II SBIR or STTR award within the past four years are eligible to apply for a Stage I START grant. For information about the SBIR/STTR program, please go to this website.

Download the START factsheet.

Key Dates 2022

Feb 1: RFP for Stage I applications posted

Feb 3: Stage I Information Session View The Recording

Feb 28: Stage I application deadline; Q&A Sessions for Stage II and III

Mar 1: RFP for Stage II and Stage III posted

April 4: Stage II pitch coaching

April 5: Stage III pitch coaching

April 10: Stage II and III application deadline

April 11: Stage I pitch day

April 12: Stage III pitch day

April 13: Stage II pitch day 

April 30: Winners notified

Jun 21: Class of 2022 Stage I, Stage II and Stage III awards meeting 

Past Winners

Read about START award winners.

Click here to see 2021 Awardees.

Through the MassVentures’ START program we have been able to take creative ideas and bring them through to commercialization. We are very thankful to MassVentures for this funding, recognition, and the expertise they have provided to help scale our technology during the past three years.

Mark Smithers

CTO, Boston Engineering

MassVentures has been with us from the start, arming us with the capital, experience, mentoring and network to help our transition to a high-growth company. The START program is critical for SBIR-funded companies that need this type of support to move from a research-driven company to commercialization.

Reshma Shetty

Co-founder, Ginkgo Bioworks

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