Is Maine the next big innovation hub?

The Roux Institute at Northeastern University thinks so.

Last Friday, the institute announced the first cohort of the Roux Institute Startup Residency. Six resident companies have joined this immersive program, which grants them access to all the resources and expertise afforded by a global research university. The goal is to grow their businesses exponentially while adding vibrancy to Maine’s startup ecosystem.

Susanna Pho of resident company Forerunner says, “As a climate adaptation startup working with governments, we’re looking forward to building our presence in Portland, where so much govtech talent is based. The residency offers us a chance to do so while also accessing the Roux Institute’s extensive network of corporate partners and researchers.”

“We had over forty applicants for this first cohort,” says the Roux’s director of Entrepreneurship, Chris Wolfel, a veteran industry insider who’s started and run a handful of tech companies. “Our goal was to accept three resident companies, but the caliber was so strong that we ultimately selected six. When reviewing these applicants, we consider the team first. You can have the market and problem nailed down, and be in a really strong position, but a company with the wrong team will ultimately fail.”

“Maine has an incredible opportunity right now. Tremendous talent and entrepreneurs are leaving traditional hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston, and the industry is opening their eyes to opportunities in places they simply haven’t looked before."

Christopher Wolfel

Director of Entrepreneurship

The Startup Resident Companies

  • Forerunner

    Software that helps government agencies leverage per-property data to decrease community-wide flood risk and increase their capacity to adapt to climate change.

  • Hydronet

    Provides reliable, secure, and self-optimizing networks in contested environments enabling seamless integration of underwater assets without need for a pre-existing communication infrastructure.

  • KinoTek

    A movement analysis company providing actionable data and insights to clinicians, resulting in improved quality of care, insurance reimbursement, and increased revenue.

  • Lief

    A new model of childcare that leverages technology to match-like minded families and place quality, vetted providers in the home.

  • New England Marine Monitoring

    A fisheries technology company providing camera-based, modernized fisheries-monitoring services to New England fishermen.

  • UNAR Labs

    Software company building innovative digital tools and tech with the mission of empowering people with visual impairments by enabling information access in digital media.

Catalyst and connector

Earlier this month, the Roux Institute welcomed two Innovation Associates who are focused on supporting the Roux Institute’s residents and Maine entrepreneurs by developing programs and projects to help companies scale and thrive.

Innovation Associate Reilly Kons, shares, “Maine is the best place to do this work because of the people. The people who work in Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem take a collaborative approach to problem solving, and who wouldn’t want to work in Vacationland?”

Toward a thriving startup ecosystem

The Roux team has designed opportunities to support companies of all sizes and stages. Community and Engagement Manager, Obinna Okani believes that the Roux will “empower an ecosystem that includes all levels of enterprise to increase economic development for the state of Maine.”

Innovation Associate, Lucy Randl adds, “Enhancing the current entrepreneurial ecosystem will attract new high-growth technology companies to the area.”

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at the Roux Institute and how to get involved here.