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Updated: June 22, 2022

Roux Institute picks next 5 entrepreneurs for residency program

5 portrait photos Courtesy / Roux Institute Members of the incoming Roux Institute Founder Residency program include (top row, from left) Michelle DeBlois, Michael Gizachew and Tamika Francis; and (from left, bottom row) Evelyn Hartz and Sangeeth Pradeep Kumar.

Another five entrepreneurs and their startups in high-growth technology fields will take up residency next month at the Roux Institute in Portland. Each will receive a $25,000 grant to get the businesses off the ground.

The institute, part of Northeastern University, announced the new lineup on Tuesday for the 2022 Founder Residency, which will overlap with the first group that started in January. That group includes packaging startup Tanbark, the winner of the latest Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad business-pitch contest.

The five leaders include people of different genders and racial and ethnic backgrounds. The entrepreneurs hail from four states, including Maine, although more details were not immediately available. Participating companies are developing solutions in the areas of food tech, fintech, health tech, e-commerce and literacy tech. 

"We had 48 applications from nine states and three countries and I continue to be blown away by the excitement of high-quality early-stage founders from diverse backgrounds to grow their ventures in Maine," Ben Chesler, the Roux Institute's associate director of entrepreneurship, told Mainebiz ahead of the announcement.

The July program will run from July 11, 2022, through June 2023.

Chesler noted that the five who were selected will bring cutting-edge technology to Maine, "from blockchain technologies that enable global remittances to classrooms technology that improves reading outcomes."

"There is so much work to be done to help create a thriving and equitable tech ecosystem in Maine," he added, "and we're humbled to play a very small part in that effort."

Chris Wolfel
File/ Tim Greenway
Chris Wolfel, director of entrepreneurship at the Roux Institute in Portland, shown working with the entrepreneurship team.

Chris Wolfel, the Roux Institute's director of entrepreneurship, noted that the incoming group is the first that will have significant overlap with other, ongoing Roux Institute programs.

"Having 20 companies concurrently in programs creates a new type of energy in the greater Portland area," he said. 

Founder Residency cohort members 

  • Sangeeth Pradeep Kumar, co-founder and CEO of JotLogs, a cloud-based platform that helps surgeons take notes and keep track of surgical cases, and makes that information more accessible for medical research and publications
  • Evelyn Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Meru, a startup that makes it easier for people to buy from people they trust and from brands that fit their values
  • Tamika Francis, co-Founder and CEO of DutchPot, a digital platform for culinary and business collaboration
  • Michael Gizachew, founder and CEO of EthioPay , an app–based platform for instant cash transfers to mobile money accounts as well as trading of stocks and exchange-traded funds
  • Michelle DeBlois, co-founder and CEO of ReMo, a web-based application created for students and literacy educators in grades four through 12, to inspire independent reading and create lifelong, engaged readers

Meet the founders

Those who are interested in learning more about the founders and their companies can register here for a kick-off event at the Roux Institute on July 21.

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