Facilitated by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Innovation Voucher program was created to increase research and development work in the Ocean State.

In its second year, the program provides enterprises employing less than 500 workers with grants of up to $50,000, to fund said research and development work with a Rhode Island research facility, university or medical center.

“Our Innovation Grants give startups the spark they need to turn their ideas into businesses,” Governor Gina Raimondo has said of the program. “Our state is on the move.”

Gov. Raimondo: Rhode Island is ‘On the Move’

This year, there have been more than 20 startups to receive these grants — and 2017 isn’t over yet. Yesterday, we covered half of those companies, industry-by-industry, and today we chronicle the rest.


Agriculture

  • Full Measure, LLC
    • HQ: Bristol
    • Mission: “Full Measure Industries, LLC manufactures and distributes a family of patented, environmentally friendly, and all natural agricultural products,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: Roger Williams University
    • Funding Amount: $43,868
    • Allocation of Funds: “Funding will be used to refine the company’s understanding of optimal application rates in the hatchery setting, to develop a stronger, more dense shell in fast growing commercially farmed shellfish,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “The company will also explore the potential use of calcium product in natural settings where ocean acidification has reduced the ability of small clams to successfully settle onto the sediment surface and survive.”

Design

  • Prisere
    • HQ: Warwick
    • Mission: “Prisere LLC aspires to develop sustainable communities, thriving ecosystems of dynamic small- and mid-sized enterprises,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: Rhode Island School of Design
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “With this funding, Prisere will work with the architecture department at the Rhode Island School of Design to quantify and refine the improved outcomes achieved with high-performance building technology for climate-resilient design,” a press release states. “The information will be used to inform data driven insurance underwriting and pricing models that will benefit smaller businesses and others that take climate-resilient measures.”

Defense

  • Rite Solutions, Inc.
    • HQ: Middletown
    • Mission: “Rite-Solutions designs, develops, and deploys mission-critical software and systems to help you convert complex data into a competitive edge,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: Professor Noah Daniels, University of Rhode Island
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “The focus of the project will be to develop the capability for a system to learn, in order to predict equipment failures, specifically within a submarine’s combat system network,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “This will provide the company with the ability to add artificial intelligence  solutions into existing software products for [the] Department of Defense and commercial customers to improve the readiness of operational systems.”

Health Care (Continued)

  • EpiVax, Inc.
    • HQ: Providence
    • Mission: “We are dedicated to applying our tools (in-silico, in-vitro and in-vivo) to re-engineering therapeutic proteins and to designing new vaccines,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: Rhode Island Hospital
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “Working with Sadhak Sengupta at Rhode Island Hospital, this project will accelerate the development of a computational pipeline for personalized cancer vaccine design that will enable the patient’s own immune system to recognize tumor-specific mutations to induce tumor control and rejection,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “Because every patient’s tumor carries a unique set of mutations, the Ancer approach will deliver personalized immunotherapies and realize the promise of precision medicine.”
  • Phoenix Medical Technologies
    • HQ: Providence
    • Mission: “Phoenix Technologies’ medical device is the first therapeutic intervention that has been clinically proven to restore the sense of touch for the 50 percent of diabetics who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a progressive loss of sensation in the extremities,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: Bradley Hospital
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “Working with a renowned expert in brain stimulation at Bradley Hospital, Phoenix Medical Technologies will collect important new clinical data and other information to guide the further development, design and commercialization of the company’s novel medical device, which uses sensory stimuli to non-invasively treat the symptoms of ADHD and similar medical conditions,” a press release states.
  • Tech Against Assault, PBC
    • HQ: Providence
    • Mission: “At TAA, we believe that scientific innovation can help to eradicate sexual assault and rape,” its website states. “With feedback from survivors, hospitals, advocates, and law enforcement, TAA is developing the next generation of rape kits to ensure that every survivor who receives the hospital examination leaves feeling more validated and in control of their evidence collection kit.”
    • Research Partnership: Cara Lupino, Rhode Island Department of Health
    • Funding Amount: $49,800
    • Allocation of Funds: “The company will collect data to validate a new diagnostic device for collection of forensic evidence of sexual assault,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “Once validated, the chemically modified swab can also be utilized for testing of the presence of alcohol, drugs, HIV, STI/STD and hazardous chemicals.”
  • Vitae Industries, Inc.
    • HQ: Providence
    • Mission: “Skip the tedious part of the compounding process with the push of a button,” its website states. “The AutoCompounder takes care of making the tablets (or gummies), verifing the dose, and even cleaning up, while you do more important things.”
    • Research Partnership: Dr. Bruce Becker and Dr. Alyson McGregor, Rhode Island Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “Clinical expertise from Rhode Island Hospital will further work to deploy and commercialize an innovative robotic hardware platform that quickly and cost effectively produces individually tailored doses of pharmaceutical tablets,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “Ambien, a popular sleep drug, can cause serious side-effects in women whose options are limited to the commercially available five and 10mg doses. This clinical study will demonstrate the patient medical benefits of taking individually tailored doses of zolpidem tartrate (brand name Ambien) produced using the company’s robotic platform.

Marine Tech (Continued)

  • FS Maritime
    • HQ: Portsmouth
    • Mission: “RI Maritime Solutions has established itself as a leader in the sales, service, and repairs of inflatable boats, their motors, and related equipment including Weaver Davits and Sea Wise Systems, marine electronics, re-powers, winter services, and storage,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: University of Rhode Island
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “With this funding, FS Maritime will tap into expertise in environmental hydrology and civil engineering at the University of Rhode Island to complete validation testing of a prototype of its PESTM (Precise Energy Separation) water treatment device,” a press release states. “This device generates light waves of appropriate wavelength and intensity to destroy a range of pollutants commonly present in water, including bacteria.”
  • Matunuck Oyster Farm, LLC
    • HQ: South Kingstown
    • Mission: “The concept for Matunuck Oyster Bar is ‘simple food, fairly priced, fresh products, and making sure everybody leaves happy,'” its website states. “Matunuck Oyster Farm supplies the pond-to-plate concept for the restaurant with fresh oysters harvested right off the waterfront patio in the pond.”
    • Research Partnership: Dr. Marta Gomez-Chiarri, Professor and Chair Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Rhode Island
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “The goal of this project is to transfer state-of-the-art knowledge in shellfish aquaculture from the University of Rhode Island to Matunuck Oyster Farm, leading to the development of a hatchery able to produce a diversity of species, including oysters, bay scallops, and seaweeds,” a press release sent to Rhode Island Inno states. “This will fill a gap in the local production of seafood by providing a new, reliable source for other RI farms through aquaculture and will diversify the line of seafood products served at Matunuck Oyster Bar that are locally produced.”
  • Siren Marine
    • HQ: Newport
    • Mission: “As we move toward a more connected world, Siren Marine’s innovative boat monitoring, tracking, and security system will revolutionize the boat ownership experience by providing boat owners with remote access to critical and timely information about their boats,” its website states.
    • Research Partnership: New England Institute of Technology
    • Funding Amount: $50,000
    • Allocation of Funds: “With this funding, and the New England Institute of Technology will collaborate to develop a wireless transceiver and sensors for the Siren Marine Internet of Things cellular gateway,” a press release states. “This new technology is being tailored to improve the company’s existing technology platform and to expand the capabilities of the system for use beyond the marine market.”

The 7 Companies with > 100K in 2017 Funding — So Far

Virtual Reality

  • Xmark Labs, LLC
    • HQ: Warren
    • Mission: “1. We help companies understand, evaluate and implement virtual technologies,” its website states. “2. We identify and/or build new technologies for companies already in the virtual technologies market. 3. We develop our own projects and intellectual property.”
    • Research Partnership: New England Institute of Technology
    • Funding Amount: $46,302
    • Allocation of Funds: “Xmark Labs is developing a low cost, low latency tracking technology for virtual reality and augmented reality applications,” a press release states. “With this funding, the company will access special equipment and expertise in locational tracking and analysis at the Gait Lab at the Providence VA. This will allow the company to integrate custom electronics with a VR system to update its existing software and produce interactive demonstration content for its product.”