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Updated: September 14, 2023

Roux Institute picks 10 startups for its next Founder Residency

Kippy Smith seated, holding laptop that shows her app on the screen File Photo / Jim Neuger Kippy Smith is the Portland-based founder of the Small Wins Dashboard app for schools and education organizations. The Small Wins Dashboard is one of 10 companies selected for the next cohort of the Roux Institute's Founder Residency program.

From education to agriculture, 10 startups have been named to the next cohort of the Roux Institute’s Founder Residency Program.

The program, set to run at Northeastern University's Roux Institute in Portland from Sept. 18 through next August, is made up of five Maine-based companies and five from as far afield as Santiago, Chile. 

In addition to programming, mentorship and other benefits, participants receive a $25,000 grant in non-dilutive funding to take their business ventures to the next level. Founders will also have access to Northeastern's global network of students, researchers, academics and investors.

The Roux Institute was launched in 2020 with a $100 million gift from David and Barbara Roux, to transform the region into an "innovation hub" focused on technology and life sciences.

As part of the institute's mission to create a diverse and equitable startup ecosystem in Maine, the Founder Residency program focuses on serving founders who come from historically marginalized backgrounds, including women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.  

Founder Residency Director Santiago Zindel Mundet Cruz says that currently, less than 5% of venture capital funding in the U.S. goes to women, Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ founders. He emphasized the importance of an entrepreneurship program that focuses on underrepresented populations.

“There are so many inequities in access to entrepreneurship across the U.S.,” he noted. “This program aims to create opportunities for underrepresented founders so that we can build up the Maine startup ecosystem in a more equitable way.”

Through a combination of programs over the past few years, the Roux Institute has helped early-stage startups raise over $37 million in capital and has brought 55 new businesses to Maine, a majority of which have stayed on after their programs to maintain a presence in the state.

Cohort members

Chargely, Portland: Developer of, a a mobile-first application that aggregates data across disparate sources and helps new EV drivers navigate to public chargers by recommending the ones that best meet their immediate needs.  

EzOut, Boston: Developer of an AI-powered, low-cost smart shopping cart that increases grocers' profit margins and personalizes the shopping experience at brick-and-mortar stores. 

P3RD, Orono: Plant-based packaging to protect the ocean.

ReachMyTeach, Portland: App that connects teachers with students and families; 2023 Top Gun business-pitch contest winner.

Small Wins Dashboard, Portland: Web-based app for educators that converts individual team members’ small win reflections into team-wide evidence of progress. 

Sotira, San Francisco: Financial tracking tool for e-commerce platforms. 

Thola, San Francisco: Compliance automation for the agricultural supply chain. 

Trameter, Denver: Travel platform that plans a user’s entire vacation in 90 seconds or less. 

Videsk, Santiago, Chile: Plug-and-play video contact center for business-to-consumer communications., Old Orchard Beach:  Professional development tool.

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