The Maine Technology Institute awarded $33,100 in grants to six Maine companies in November 2016.

MTI awarded five TechStart grants totaling $23,100 and two Phase 0 KickStarter grants totaling $10,000. In total, the grants leveraged $37,384 of matching funds from the award recipients.
Companies that received funds include a medical records software startup, a medical device company, and an existing marine biology lab developing a new commercial product.

“These small, yet foundational, investments will help these Maine companies acquire critically needed information about the economic potential of these innovative concepts and products,” Brian Whitney, MTI’s president, said in a statement. “Ideally, the research and analysis obtained will allow them to further scale their products and companies for future growth and success.”

Five companies received TechStart grants, which are designed to help defray startup costs such as developing a business plan, market research, and IP filing fees:

  • BlackTieGroup LLC, dba Jellux, in Saco received a $5,000 TechStart grant, which it matched with $7,015 from other sources. Jellux, a marine and outdoor lighting company, has developed a patent-pending LED dock bumper and lighting system for the marine industry, which has also found traction in various commercial and residential applications. The company will use the grant to fund market research that will help it improve its product marketing and sales.
  • SpinDoc Inc. in Augusta received a $4,500 TechStart grant, which it matched with $4,500 from other sources. SpinDoc is a four-months-old startup that is developing software that will use automation and natural language processing techniques to help physician offices better manage electronic medical records, thus reducing their overhead costs and improving quality of care. The grant will allow SpinDoc to do market research, specifically analyzing the size and specific issues of the top 20 electronic health records products. SpinDoc’s founder is Susan Thomas, a doctor who started Central Maine Family Practice in Lewiston. She recently won the inaugural Pitch York County business pitch contest.
  • SteriZign Precision Technologies LLC in Brunswick received a $5,000 TechStart grant, which it matched with $7,000 from other sources. SteriZign designs and manufactures customized sterilization containers for complex reusable medical devices. It is currently developing prototypes for its first proprietary product line. The MTI grant will allow the company to further develop its business plan, conduct market and patent research, and engage some consultants on the topics of accounting and marketing communications.
  • Sensory Eyesight for Education Inc. has received a $3,600 TechStart grant, which it matched with $3,800 from other sources. The Old Orchard Beach-based company has designed a therapeutic medical device that will enable individuals with cortical visual impairment who are under the age of 22 to build new brain cells around old damaged brain tissue.
  • MechArtisan LLC in Portland has received a $5,000 TechStart grant, which it matched with $5,000 from other sources. MechArtisan is creating a surgical device utilizing proprietary technology that assists in the positioning of patients for a specific heart surgery procedure. The MTI grant will provide the company with the necessary funding to confirm market demand before it continues its product development.

Two companies received Phase 0 KickStarter grants, which are offered to companies seeking to submit funding proposals to one of the 11 federal agencies participating in the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research and/or Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs.

  • SpinDoc Inc. also received a Phase 0 grant of $5,000 for the specific purpose of applying for a National Institutes of Health SBIR grant due Jan. 5, 2017.
  • Kennebec River Biosciences Inc., a marine sciences laboratory in Richmond, received a $5,000 Phase 0 grant, which it matched with $5,000 from other sources. The company is proposing to develop a novel approach to improve the health and survival of several key aquaculture marine species. It will use this grant to hire a grant writer to assist in the submission of a National Science Foundation SBIR Phase 1 grant to fund the technology development.

MTI, created by the Maine Legislature in 2000, provides funding to Maine entrepreneurs operating in one of seven target industries: aquaculture and marine technology, biotechnology, composite materials, environmental technologies, forestry and agriculture, precision manufacturing, and information technology.