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Maine Technology Institute Announces Awards totaling $1.66 million to 27 Companies

July 26, 2013

Maine Technology Institute Announces Awards totaling $1.66 million to 27 Companies

The Quarterly awards total is one of highest ever for MTI

 

Brunswick, Maine – The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) today announced it has awarded

twenty-seven (27) companies grants and loans totaling more than $1.66 million. These awards

include $1,400,403 in Development Loans, $214,936 in Seed Grants and $46,741 in TechStart

grants.

 

“We congratulate these entrepreneurs and businesses who are using innovative technologies to

develop their products or services,” said MTI President Bob Martin. “We look forward to helping

them along the path to success to grow profitable enterprises.” According to Martin, research

shows that investing in new technologies leads to a significant increase in long term economic

growth. “The unique combination of funding options available through MTI is unmatched

anywhere in the country and provides Maine companies with an opportunity to innovate and

grow,” said Martin.

 

TechStart grants are awarded in amounts up to $5,000 to companies who are investigating new

technologies. Seed Grants of up to $25,000 are given to companies for advanced product

design and development. Development Loans of up to $500,000 are awarded to companies to

help them commercialize their products and bring them to market. All grants and loans are

awarded on a competitive basis, require a 1:1 financial match and are subject to rigorous

technical and financial review. MTI invests funds and provides resources to companies in seven

technology sectors; Biotechnology, Advanced Composites and Materials, Environmental

Technology, Marine & Aquaculture, Forestry and Agriculture, Precision Manufacturing and

Information Technology. The companies awarded these funds represent all seven (7) of Maine’s

target technology sectors, ten (10) counties and twenty (20) towns. This represents a significant

increase in the number and amount of grants and loans awarded in the first quarter of the year.

For the second quarter of 2013 the following five (5) companies were awarded Development

Loans totaling $1,400,403.

 

Ecoshel, Ashland Amount: $249,500

Ecoshel, Inc. is a new company relocating to Maine from Georgia that manufactures an

innovative, patented cedar shingle panel, The Ecoshel Smart-Shingle™ System. The company

is currently completing a very successful Beta trial period and is preparing to launch the product.

During the trial period, the company produced over ¼ million square feet of the product, and

worked directly with hundreds of building industry professionals and homeowners. Product

performance and customer feedback has been extremely positive.

 

AboGen, Portland Amount: $250,000

AboGen is a Maine biotechnology company bringing to market 1) a proprietary non-invasive and

cost effective saliva blood cell isolation method, 2) a cell preservation solution, and 3) an

innovative sample collection device. AboGen has validated its blood cell isolation technology

and prototyped a novel saliva sample collection device.

 

Wentworth Technology, Saco Amount: $499,775

Wentworth Technology provides innovative wireless communications solutions for the

restaurant industry. Wentworth’s SpeedThru® headset system solves the leading problems in

drive-thru communications including sound quality, durability and total cost of ownership.

SpeedThru® systems can be found in leading quick service restaurants throughout the United

States, including Subway, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, and many others.

 

Introspective Systems, Peaks Island Amount: $151,128

Rising energy prices, an increasingly environmentally conscious public, new local and state

building codes and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program are all

driving the rapid growth in sustainable construction. The company has two products in

development: SIMplexity Launch and SIMplexity Informed Design that support architects and

builders in sustainable design and materials.

 

Aware Technologies, Portland Amount: $250,000

Aware Technologies is a software company that has developed and is commercializing a

streaming predictive analytics platform for the industrial automation market. Aware’s predictive

analytics technology continuously analyzes sensor and operational data from industrial

equipment in real-time. Aware Technology’s unique Process Data Monitor (PDM) is based on a

patented self-learning algorithm that allows it to be easily setup and maintained by plant

operators and engineers. The Development Loan from MTI will enable final product

development and commercialization.

The following ten (10) companies were awarded Seed Grants in the second quarter of 2013,

which totaled $214,936.

 

The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor Amount: $25,000

In the US 6.5 million people are affected by chronic wounds causing annual health care costs of

$25 billion. Jackson Laboratory has discovered a novel treatment using a soluble growth factor

 (GF), which has shown the ability to accelerate wound healing in mice. The Seed Grant funds

will be directed to: (1) identify the dose range in diabetic animal wound healing model; and, (2)

test formulations to establish preclinical data to support patent applications and to attract

commercial partners for further development.

 

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Franklin Amount: $19,842

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables (MCSV) harvests and sells wild-harvested seaweed products.

Growth in demand has outpaced supply for certain species including kelp, nori and dulse.

MCSV will take advantage of recent developments in technology, infrastructure and expertise to

scale up and demonstrate seeding systems for these species. Working with the UMaine CCAR

and Sea Grant Cooperative Extension, MCSV will develop seeded nets and ropes for

aquaculture production to help grow a sustainable sea vegetable industry in Maine.

 

McDermott Shapes LLC, Freeport Amount: $25,000

McDermott Shapes LLC is the largest surfboard manufacturer and repairer in the state of Maine.

The company will collaborate with the Composites Engineering Research Lab at the SMCC

Brunswick MATEC facility to produce a manufacturing process that is environmentally friendly,

with superior material characteristics and low cost. The Seed Grant will support analysis,

testing and development of materials and manufacturing processes.

 

Auburn Enterprises LLC, Greene Amount: $25,000

Auburn Enterprises’ High Performance Building Shell™ system will provide the residential,

professional and light commercial building sectors with a new modular construction concept that

delivers a unique array of financial, performance, quality of life and environmental benefits. This

building system assembles quickly into a very rugged structure, reduces building material

requirements, provides for totally open and flexible floor plans, reduces energy and

maintenance costs, and offers other benefits over comparable conventional buildings.

 

Ed Cote Sole Proprietor, Minot Amount: $3,953

This new company will manufacture pickup truck caps that are made using composite materials

and are modular. A unique cam system allows the sections to be stacked to allow the full use of

the pickup truck bed for large cargo. The Seed Grant will fund proof of concept development

and help prove the assumptions of the initial business plan.

 

Freeport Metrics, Portland Amount: $25,000

Freeport Metrics will create a web-based visual estimating tool to address the difficulty floral

designers have when collaborating remotely with their clients by offering the ability to integrate

estimates with images in an easy to use mobile interface. The Seed Grant will enable the

company to complete the design and development of the initial release of the web software,

partner with a wholesaler, and create a new business within Maine to manage the venture.

 

Globeco Maine LLC, Scarborough Amount: $25,000

Globeco Maine is evaluating an affordable, reusable antimicrobial cleansing tool that maintains

key consumer properties. This next-generation cleaning/cleansing tool will compete for a

funds will enable Globeco Maine to develop complementary products, strengthen the company’s

position in the market and help GlobeEco Maine acquire related federal funds.

 

Parent Technology Group, Windham Amount: $25,000

The pervasiveness of textiles and the growing need for electrical power from portable devices

creates a natural need for textiles that produce power. Parent Technology Group and the

University of Southern Maine have developed innovative technologies to improve the

performance of Photovoltaic textiles. A patent application is in process. This Seed Grant will

allow Parent Technology Group to acquire skilled resources to further develop key functional

features of this product.

 

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Brewer Amount: $24,154

EMHS’ Skunkworks Innovation Team has engineered a new product: a disposable blood

pressure cuff sleeve made from a non-woven material that provides a protective infection

control barrier between the cuff and the patient’s arm, which would improve patient safety. Seed

Grant funds will be used to conduct anti-microbial testing at a national reference laboratory with

full spectrum antimicrobial efficacy testing carried out by an FDA approved laboratory.

 

Cloud 9 LLC, Cape Elizabeth Amount: $16,987

Cloud 9’s Concepts Characterization Management System (CCMS) tackles previously

unaddressed, unclear language problems in software specifications and software engineering

development. Working with USM Campus Ventures (CV) student researchers, Cloud 9

established that unclear language, prevalent in software specifications, is a significant root

cause of defects in safety critical and other software. MTI Seed Grant funds will extend the

CCMS C9/CV collaboration and ongoing development of CCMS core technology to serve a

larger market.

The following twelve (12) companies were awarded TechStart grants in the second quarter of

2013 aggregating $46,741.

 

Portland Tool Works, Cape Elizabeth Amount: $2,000

Portland Tool Works is entering the hand tools and accessories market aimed at building

construction and remodeling professionals. The company’s entry product, the “Portland Reeler,”

is a hand-operated device that dispenses insulated wiring, and is intended for use by

electricians primarily engaged in residential remodeling projects. The company will partner with

the University of Southern Maine’s Department of External Programs who will review the

company’s business model and conduct market research leading to refinement of the

company’s prototype.

 

UgoOut Network, Lewiston Amount: $1,825

The UgoOut Network is a digital platform for restaurant and bar owners to create, manage and

deliver content to patrons via a dedicated channel displayed on a television monitor and via a

smartphone channel application. Utilizing an intuitive web-based application for creating

relevant content and messages such as daily specials or upcoming events, venues now have a

means to reach patrons via interactive platform. UgoOut Network will use these funds to launch

this platform in three primary markets: Lewiston/Auburn, Portland and Bangor.

 

Blue Ox Malt House, Old Town Amount: $1,116

Blue Ox Malt House will bring malting technology and capacity to Maine. Currently there are no

commercial malting operations in the state despite strong evidence of market demand from the

craft brewing and distilling industries and the potential with specialty food markets. TechStart

funds will enable completion of market analysis and business planning, to establish a limited

liability company, and will lay the foundation for R&D and commercialization.

 

Beltane Solar Inc., Topsham Amount: $2,900

Beltane Solar is commercializing technology that will create electricity and freshwater out of salt

water using only sunlight. The company’s patent-pending technology will provide rural and arid

regions of the world with electricity for lighting and water suitable for drinking. The solar module

has a total efficiency of >60% yet is simple, scalable, reliable and low cost. Beltane Solar will

utilize this TechStart award to evaluate thermal desalination module designs to be coupled with

the solar module, to research commercially available solutions and to evaluate market potential.

 

Maine Standard BioFuels, Portland Amount: $ 5,000

Maine Standard BioFuels has developed a powerful degreasing soap from a by-product of the

biodiesel process. The degreasing soap outperforms all known competitors. MSB must obtain

product certifications including NSF and “Clean Ingredients” Certifications for the use of

cleaners in food preparation environments. MSB expects these certifications will enable the

soap to displace the national brands that are commonly used in commercial kitchens. The

TechStart grant will be used for these certifications.

 

Furnace, Portland Amount: $5,000

Furnace is focused on developing a cold water equipment and apparel brand with the goal of

becoming the world’s leader in wetsuit innovation. Its first product is the Response Dry Glove.

The gloves offer significant benefits for cold water athletes and workers. They outperform and

outlast traditional neoprene gloves in addition to being less harmful to the environment. Furnace

will use the funds to develop a business plan, customer validation, preparing a Seed Grant

application, incorporation and a partnership agreement.

 

Bragdon Farm, LLC, Vassalboro Amount: $5,000

Bragdon Farms has developed an innovative product that converts waste hay into fire logs. The

company plans to manufacture and commercialize one or more renewable resource products

using this technology at its Waterville, Maine facility. This TechStart grant will enable

preparation of a Development Loan application for next-stage R&D, in-depth market research,

design for manufacturing, pilot production, and scale-up of manufacturing.

 

Bruce Brown, Jefferson Amount: $5,000

The technology developed is a uniquely designed shim screw, which will make the installation of

doors and windows easier, more accurate, less time consuming and more affordable. It can also

be used in other applications such as installing drawer slides, shimming floors and ceilings,

cabinet installation, etc. These funds will be used to obtain a design patent, finalize product

design and develop a commercialization plan.

 

Maine Aerospace Consulting, LLC, Falmouth Amount: $5,000

Maine Aerospace Consulting (MAC), LLC in partnership with Stillwater Supercomputing, Inc.,

will perform research and development for a generalized on-board intelligence solution for

small, high performance robots and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), customizable for specific

vehicle and mission characteristics. The product will include state-of-the-art guidance,

navigation and control (GN&C) capabilities and provide a powerful, affordable and adaptable

solution for autonomous intelligence to aid emergency responders, firefighters and rescue

personnel in gathering critical information. MAC will utilize TechStart funds to develop a National

Science Foundation SBIR Phase I proposal that will enable product R&D and prototype

development.

 

Fire Lane 17 LLC, Weld Amount: $5,000

Fire Lane 17 LLC and its collaborators are launching One-on-One Toolbox, a cloud-based

software-as-a-service product that will assist organizational leaders and managers to more

effectively use the management technique known as the One-on-One – a formalized process of

regular in-depth meetings between managers and their direct reports. MTI’s TechStart grant will

enable development of a detailed business plan and support an advisory group of One-on-One

practitioners. This will lead to an application for a Seed Grant for further development and

commercialization.

 

NBT Solutions LLC, Portland Amount: $4,900

NBT Solutions is focused on developing a web-based, geospatial fiber-optic planning and

management tool. The target market for this product is the growing list of small fiber-optic

companies in the US (and outside the US) who are expanding their fiber-optic footprint in the

wake of federal and state initiatives. NBT will utilize the TechStart grant to prepare a Product

Strategy that will include how the product will be positioned, the revenue model, and the

roadmap for its development.

 

4370 Labs, Portland Amount: $4,000

Goals-with-Friends is a mobile application that makes accomplishing personal goals fun and

achievable by helping users track their progress and challenging a buddy to join in the journey.

4370 Labs is completing an alpha version of the app for consumer marketplace testing, and is

beginning research on the possible extension of a white-label version of the application for the

$2 billion corporate wellness market. This TechStart grant will enable the company to conduct

further product development.

 

The Maine Technology Institute is the state’s industry-led, publicly-funded

technology venture fund. MTI invests in entrepreneurs and companies engaged

in developing innovative products in the sectors of Biotechnology, Advanced

Composites and Materials, Environmental Technology, Marine & Aquaculture,

Forestry and Agriculture, Precision Manufacturing and Information Technology.

Maine Technology Institute awards Development Loans and Seed Grants three

times a year. TechStart grants are awarded monthly. MTI encourages

entrepreneurs and businesses to talk with MTI about funding opportunities. Key

application dates and other information is available at www.mainetechnology.org.

 
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