The Maine Technology Institute awarded $117,824 in grants to nine Maine companies in September 2016.

MTI awarded three TechStart grants totaling $12,500, four Business Accelerator grants totaling $89,474, and four Phase 0 KickStarter grants totaling $15,850. In total, the grants leveraged $259,163 of matching funds from the award recipients.

“These investments illustrate the diversity of MTI-funded projects and range from monumental advancements in breast cancer detection, to functional improvements in thermal insulation and boomboxes, to modular hydroelectric systems and the development of kelp-based food additives,” Brian Whitney, MTI’s president, said in a statement. “We are inspired by these inventors and doers and MTI is happy to play a role in furthering their innovations.”

Three organizations received TechStart grants, which are designed to help defray startup costs such as developing a business plan and IP filing fees:

  • Introspective Systems in Portland received a $4,500 TechStart grant, which it matched with $4,500 from other sources. Introspective Systems has developed a technology, called its xGraph platform, that can be used to scale collaborative analytics for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and scientific analysis. In order to access the defense sector, it will use this grant to purchase a software product that provides year-round market intelligence on government contracting.
  • Revolution Research in Orono received a $3,000 grant, which it matched with $3,000 from other sources. The company, founded by UMaine students, is developing an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based foam boards and will use the funding to protect its intellectual property and file two provisional patents.
  • The University of New England in Biddeford received a $5,000 grant, which it is matching with $14,000 from other sources, to help it fund the necessary patent applications related to its breast cancer research.

Four companies received Business Accelerator grants, which are provided on a monthly basis to companies seeking up to $50,000 to commercialize new technology or help a business increase its scope and sustainability.

  • DemerBox in Portland received a $25,000 Business Accelerator grant in September, which it matched with $25,000 from other sources. The company, which manufactures rugged, waterproof, Bluetooth boomboxes, which also double as storage containers, will use the funds to update its manufacturing process and implement consumer-requested design changes.
  • Introspective Systems (referenced above) received an additional Business Accelerator grant of $14,994, which it’s matching with $146,163 from other sources, in order to focus on its business strategy to secure additional equity funding that will enable it to build out its xGraph platform.
  • Invisible Intelligence received $25,000, which it will match with the same amount from other sources. The Augusta-based company will use the grant funds for research and development on its “General Audio Recording Device,” which captures all radio communications at general aviation airports.
  • Wassail LLC (dba Maine Mead Works) received a grant of $24,480, which it’s matching with the same amount from other sources, to conduct research and development into a continuous fermentation technology that will improve the efficiency of the company’s production cycle.

Four companies received Phase 0 KickStarter grants, which help companies prepare Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) federal funding proposals.

  • Introspective Systems makes its third appearance, having received a $1,250 Phase 0 grant to provide additional market research and analysis supporting company’s commercialization plan submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.
  • Seaborn in Portland received a $4,800 grant, which it’s marching with $5,250 from other sources, to fund its application for a SBIR grant to research the nutrient composition of four species of Maine seaweed.
  • Surge Hydro in Belfast, which is developing a modular hydroelectric system to electrify non-electricity-generating dams, received a $4,800 grant. The company will use the grant, which it’s matching with $5,000 from other sources, to help it apply for a U.S. Department of Energy grant that will fund the design and prototyping of the company’s product.
  • VitaminSea in Buxton received a $5,000 grant, which it’s matching with the same amount from other sources, to allow it to apply for a USDA SBIR grant that will help it commercialize its kelp for the food market.

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.