STARTThe SBIR Targeted Technologies Program 

A program initiative of MassVentures

Massachusetts companies are awarded over 200 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contracts every year, equating to more funding to the SBIR program per capita than any other state. START  is a program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist Massachusetts-based companies, which have received SBIR/STTR Phase II funding, in turning their technologies into commercialized, promising technologies. The program helps high growth companies grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.  In addition to this funding, the START program has served an equally impactful purpose in Massachusetts, that of bringing together an ecosystem of companies, expert reviewers, service providers and advisers who have helped make the program a success.

In total, over the past three years MassVentures has awarded $6,000,000 of START funds to 27 technology companies.  The first two years’ companies have grown revenues by 20% and have or will soon leverage their START grants to secure an additional $24,000,000 in funding.

START Overview Presentation

The first three years of the program were completed in 2014, awarding three companies each a $400,000 grant to help spur company growth.

The winners of the 2014 Stage III awards are:


Artaic combines modern robotic technology and design software to make custom tile mosaics affordable and accessible for designers and architects. Boston, MA

Energid Technologies An ultra-lightweight robotic manipulator, trainable by anyone. With a humanoid structure and powerful control software, it provides large and small manufacturers with a turnkey cost-effective solution. Cambridge, MA
Ginkgo Bioworks Ginkgo Bioworks learns from nature to develop new organisms that produce natural ingredients for the fragrance, flavor, energy and pharmaceutical industries. Boston, MA

Program testimonials:

Ted Acworth

Ted Acworth, CEO Artaic

“It’s great to see MassVentures supporting some of the underserved industries in the technology sector in Massachusetts. We are honored to be selected as a START Stage III award winner from such a competitive field of applicants. ” said Ted Acworth, CEO and Founder of Artaic. “With the support of our START funds, Artaic has grown revenue 1,483% in the past three years, tripled our staff in the past 18 months, while designing and producing beautiful mosaics for clients at our home in Boston, as well as across Massachusetts, the US and abroad.”

Neil Tardella

Neil Tardella, CEO, Energid

“START funding has enabled Energid to secure high-profile strategic partners, add beta sites, accelerate marketing and refine our robot hardware and software,” adds Neil Tardella, CEO and Co-founder of Energid. “We are encouraged that MassVentures shares our vision for light, affordable, safe, and smart enough robots to be used by anyone. With the funding, we have recently added a critical, new employee in Massachusetts and are looking forward to growth in the new year as we launch our next generation of robots.”

Reshma Shetty

Reshma Shetty, Co-founder, Gingko Bioworks

“Ginkgo Bioworks has used START funds to accelerate our business development activities. In the short time since we received the funds, Ginkgo signed multiple new customers covering several new products,” stated Reshma Shetty, Co-founder, Ginkgo Bioworks.  “We’re very grateful for all the tremendous support from the MassVentures’ START program and look forward to growing our company here in Massachusetts.”