Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

January 7, 2022

Roux Institute picks 5 startups for residency program

Roux Institute office exterior File Photo / Jim Neuger The Roux Institute is headquartered at 100 Fore St. on Portland’s East End.

Five startups in high-growth technology fields will soon take up residency at Northeastern University's Roux Institute in Portland or elsewhere in the state to build their ventures from scratch.

Out of 57 applications submitted, five companies from four states have been selected to participate in the 2022 Founder Residency run by the Portland institute, according to an announcement on Monday. The institute was launched in 2020 to transform Maine’s largest city into a regional innovation hub focused on technology and life sciences.

The year-long Founder Residency program is designed to support first-time founders and those from underrepresented groups with ideas that have the potential to fundamentally change how people live and work. All founders in this year's cohort are BIPOC or female, and represent states from Maine to Georgia. 

“If we want to diversify Maine’s startup ecosystem and reach Bounders that might not traditionally be included in the conversation, we need to think about the barriers that they face,” said Ben Chesler, associate director of entrepreneurship at the Roux Institute, in Monday's announcement.

Participating companies are developing solutions in the areas of women’s health, civic engagement, eco-friendly manufacturing, intelligent wireless charging, and sustainable fishing.

The companies are: Atlanta-based Election Bridge, a platform for households to connect and share feedback with government; North Yarmouth-based Tanbark Molded Fiber Products, a maker of molded fiber packaging; Cumberland-based women's digital health company Hey Freya; Boston-based DeepCharge Inc., an artificial intelligence-enabled wireless charging platform; and Philadelphia-based Shinkei Systems, which builds robotics to minimize fish waste.

All are relocating to Maine for the program. 

Financial and other support

Each founding team will receive a $25,000 grant to help get its venture off the ground. The funds are meant to lower barriers for entrepreneurs who might not otherwise have the means to support themselves while developing a product or technology. 

Participating founders will work out of the Roux Institute’s Portland campus or at a partner site across the state; each will also be paired with an innovation associate to guide them through their residency. 

Chesler told Mainebiz that this year's program will be much more intensive than last year, when six companies participated. This year's program includes eight to 10 hours of workshops a week and a renewed focus on social impact and diversity, equity and inclusion.

He said the program was reformatted to help founders earlier in their journey, and to support underrepresented founders who traditionally don't have as much access to capital. Struggles faced by female entrepreneurs in raising capital were detailed in a Mainebiz cover story published in November.

Two cohorts are chosen each year for the Roux Institute Founder Residency, starting either in January or July. 

"The first three months will be sort of a mini-accelerator followed by nine months of more public-facing programming and engagement with the Northeastern global campus network," Chesler said.

The Roux Institute plans a virtual kick-off event for the Founder Residency program on Jan. 20 at noon.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF