Introducing the Founder Residency

Supporting first-time and underrepresented Founders in high-growth technology fields

The Roux Institute has launched a Founder Residency platform, designed to engage with Founders at the earliest stages of their entrepreneurial journey. The program will combine a living stipend for each company along with a year-long program that gives Founders access to curated programming, mentorship, joint research opportunities, a network of expert advisors, and a peer community. Founders in the program will have access to the pre-eminent experts in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Computational Medicine, Data Visualization, and Advanced Manufacturing, who will work hand-in-hand with them to help them scale their ventures.

“We are so proud to be launching the Founder Residency to support, and invest in, a diverse group of entrepreneurs working in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Computational Medicine, Data Visualization, and Advanced Manufacturing. These founders are truly the future of Maine, and we are excited to do our part to help them succeed,” says Associate Director of Entrepreneurship, Ben Chesler.

The living stipend is intended to lower the barrier of entry for would-be entrepreneurs with a high-growth concept, who might not have the financial means to support themselves while they develop their product or technology.

If we want to diversify Maine’s startup ecosystem and reach Founders that might not traditionally be included in the conversation, we need to think about the barriers that they face. The Founder Residency is designed to help BIPOC, female, veteran, and rural founders in these fields launch and scale their ventures.

Ben Chesler

Associate Director of Entrepreneurship

The Roux Institute

Chesler goes on to say, “Maine has a strong history of entrepreneurship, but there are still barriers that prevent world-changing ideas from coming to market, especially when it comes to technology-based ventures.” He believes that the first is a lack of knowledge about what it takes to think big about an idea’s potential for scale. And the second is that would-be founders don’t have the funding they need to take the leap and work full-time on their venture.

These problems are especially prevalent amongst first-time, female, BIPOC, rural and other underrepresented Founders. Says Chesler, “There is nothing about having a good idea or developing a world-changing technology that prepares you for the challenges of being a Founder of a high-growth company; that’s where the Residency comes in.“

The Founder Residency works to solve these problems by providing Founders with the hands-on support and mentorship needed to help Founders turn ideas or technology into a product and, eventually, a successful company.

President and Chief Operating Officer of GWI, Kerem Durdag, says, “If we are to be a just and equal society, and if we are to anchor ourselves to a commitment of closing the economic divide and creating generational prosperity for all, we have to include underrepresented founders in our tables and break bread with them. It is my utmost belief that the future of the state of Maine, together with other important initiatives, lies in doing so.”

Co-location at the Roux Institute Campus  

The Founders will co-locate on the Roux Institute’s high-tech campus in downtown Portland (or at one of our partner sites across the state), ensuring that each Founder has access to the vast network of technical and business experts from both Northeastern University’s global campus as well as the Roux Institute’s corporate partners and in-house researchers. Founders will also be paired with an Innovation Associate to guide them through their residency. “From de-risking technical problems and patenting technology to finding product-market fit and raising capital, the Residency walks Founders through the steps needed to start a successful high-growth company,” says Chesler. “The program is designed to meet each Founder where they are and increase the likelihood of creating a long-lasting, world-changing venture.”

Applications for the January cohort opened September 7 and the selections for the Founder Residency will be announced in early November.