START Program Manager
Purpose of Initiative
START is a program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist Massachusetts companies that have previously secured SBIR Phase II funding in turning their technologies into promising commercialized solutions. The program was created to assist high-growth companies that will grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth. The primary objective of the program is to provide funding to commercialization-ready technology companies that have received at least the equivalent of a Phase II SBIR/STTR grant from federal agencies.
Any Massachusetts applicant whose application to the program is not based on life sciences and has received a Phase II SBIR or STTR award within the last four years is eligible. It is expected that the qualifying Phase II SBIR would have been awarded by the Department of Defense or a federal agency other than the National Institutes of Health. A Massachusetts company is one that conducts its research, development, manufacturing and commercialization primarily in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and for the purposes of this program commits to continuing to do so. It is expected that START funds will be spent primarily in Massachusetts.
The application process includes the submission of several documents. These include:
- A completed 2016 START Stage I Application Cover Sheet
- A 2-page summary of the technology and its commercial potential, addressing the following criteria:
-A brief description of the technology and its commercial applications, with particular focus on why it is superior to existing solution.
-The size of the target commercial market(s), now and in the future.
-The key challenges to successful commercialization of the technology.
-Any other factors that the applicant deems relevant.
- A QUAD Chart highlighting the key information and proposing how the company will spend its grant in the next 12 months
- The cover page to the SBIR Phase II award contract
Additional information on the application process can be found here.
The Program typically awards grants as Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III. Awards include:
- 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.
Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center
Purpose of Initiative
The Catalyst Program is jointly administered by MassCEC and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) with the primary intent of stimulating the commercialization of clean energy and water innovation technologies developed in the Commonwealth. Awarded funds are used to demonstrate the feasibility of technologies in specific industry applications in order to obtain increased industry and investor interest. Recipients must use funding for projects that move their technologies towards commercialization. This includes gathering initial data to demonstrate proof of concept, how the technology compares to existing technologies and competitive advantages of the technology or to develop a prototype for the technology.
Eligible applicants must be either a principal Investigator (“PI”) at a Massachusetts-based nonprofit research institution or a Massachusetts-based early stage clean energy company with no more than $1 million in combined financing, grant funding and revenues within the past 5 years and have four or fewer full-time equivalent employees. Student teams are welcome to apply.
Completed proposals must be received by March 28, 2018. Proposals should be concise, yet complete in description. Reviewers with technical and business backgrounds will be carefully selected; however, they may not be familiar with your particular technology. Please provide information that will enable them to judge the technical feasibility and the commercial value of your technology. Do not disclose any proprietary information. Reply e-mail will confirm receipt of your completed proposal. Proposals should be submitted via email.
The Catalyst Program provides grants of up to $65,000 to researchers and early-stage companies looking to demonstrate initial prototypes of their clean energy and water technologies.
Ms. Marinna Teixeira
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Purpose of Initiative
The InnovateMass program provides up to $250,000 in grant funding and technical support to applicant teams deploying new clean energy technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. Successful applicants will propose projects that address important energy challenges, help to grow the state’s clean energy economy, and contribute to Massachusetts’ continued clean energy leadership. InnovateMass was specifically designed to provide targeted, strategic support to companies facing the so called “commercialization valley of death,” a widely-recognized funding gap that exists between early-stage support offered by angel investors and later-stage support historically provided by venture capital and strategic investors.
Eligible applicants include public and private entities (e.g., clean energy companies, R&D institutions, academic institutions, state, local, and quasi-government agencies, along with school districts and nonprofits). Applicants are expected to form teams comprised of several entities which will work together on the demonstration project, with the technology company designated as the lead. The Lead Applicant will contract directly with MassCEC. Application Teams can vary but must include at least one energy company and may include roles such as:
- One or more clean energy/robotics company(ies) with proprietary technology to be demonstrated;
- One or more potential clients who are able to provide a site for the demonstration project, funding and/or expertise;
- An organization that is not expected to be an immediate client but that is able to provide a site for the demonstration project funding and/or project relevant expertise.
The clean energy/robotics technology company must be based in Massachusetts. There is no requirement that the demonstration project site be in Massachusetts; however, Applications will be judged on the project’s projected clean energy and economic benefits to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Funding is made available once a year, typically in the fall. While most InnovateMass funding rounds accept applications covering a wide array of clean energy technologies, the program may issue specific energy challenges to foster innovation within particular sectors that are priority areas for the MassCEC, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sign up for our email updates to be notified when the program re-opens here.
InnovateMass provides up to $250,000 in grant funding for projects that deploy new clean energy and water innovation technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies that demonstrate a strong potential for commercialization while providing significant measurable clean energy, clean water and/or climate benefits to Massachusetts. Grant recipients are required to provide project cost share equivalent to 50% of the award. The InnovateMass program also provides no-cost third-party project management and technical support to all awardees to ensure successful projects.
Ms. Monica Anc
Sr. Program Associate
Purpose of Initiative
The MassNextGen Initiative was announced in November 2017 with the support of Governor Charlie Baker and Takeda. This public-private partnership, currently a 5-year, $1 million commitment, will focus on empowering women and diversity in the next generation of life sciences entrepreneurs. Takeda, our anchor sponsor, has committed to $250,000 for five years to improving diversity in the life sciences industry in Massachusetts. MassNextGen will identify promising women-led life sciences companies and provide critical funding and access to a robust network of executive coaches to ensure resources are available for women entrepreneurs to succeed.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must be located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and registered to do business in Massachusetts. The company must be a life science company with core technologies or services in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical diagnostics or imaging, bioinformatics, digital health, agricultural biotechnology, chemical synthesis and/or technology, genomics, marine biology or technology, nanotechnology, drug delivery, proteomics, regenerative medicine, and/or veterinary science. The company must have a least one full time equivalent employee and have a woman-lead on the team in the CEO position. The woman CEO must be open to executive coaching including receiving critique and feedback and must commit to attending all four executive coaching sessions in MA.
Applicants are allowed to submit only one application for the 2018 MassNextGen Initiative. Applications must be submitted through an online portal. Applications include information on the organization overview, specific technology, proposal, and business plan. An initial administrative screening of each application will be conducted by the Center’s staff. The Center reserves the right to ask the applicant to provide more information or clarification at any stage of the process. Members of the judging panel including sponsor delegates, members of the Center’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), Investment Committee (IC), and Executive Coaches will be assigned applications to evaluate based on their expertise and relevance to the Company’s technology. Upon invitation, selected Companies may be requested to meet with the judging panel to present their business plan and address questions or provide clarification. The Center will notify such Companies in advance and provide additional instructions. The judging panel will recommend awardees to the Center’s Board of Directors at the April 2018 Board Meeting.
Up to $100K in the form of grants and an additional $100K of in-kind donations of executive coaching is available for this year’s inaugural round.
Updated March 2018 by Rachel Werth