Maine’s entrepreneurial, technology-based companies are resilient and well-positioned to lead Maine’s economic recovery post-COVID-19

May 29, 2020 | President’s blog

Brian Whitney MTI PresidentIt’s hard to imagine that the month of May is nearly over and that June begins on Monday. Over the past 11 weeks of this pandemic, the Maine Technology Institute has been actively implementing measures to ensure that Maine’s innovators and startup businesses are getting the support and assistance they need to get through this challenging time.

We have spent a great deal of time speaking with, and listening to, the entrepreneurs and risk-takers in our portfolio to get a sense of their most pressing and future needs. Not surprisingly, they are anxious and worried but stand prepared to help lead Maine’s economic recovery. We recently completed our quarterly updates with our portfolio companies and while more than half of them face challenges with cash runway over the next six to twelve months, they are amazingly resilient. And, while it’s obviously not yet clear when sales, supply chains, and production will return to pre-COVID-19 levels, we were encouraged to find that nearly 40% of the MTI portfolio is doing satisfactorily or even thriving.

With the support of MTI’s impressive Board of Directors, we altered some of our processes in March to allow us to be more responsive and helpful to bolster the companies in MTI’s portfolio. We have liberally offered loan deferments and restructures and have infused new funding and investments to make up for the lack of available venture capital. We have also expedited decisioning related to COVID-19 mitigation solutions so that those innovations can get to market rapidly.

MTI companies have also made amazing operational pivots in response to the pandemic, shifting production to make personal protective gear, hand and surface sanitizer, face masks, and even toilet tissue. It’s been wonderful to witness Yankee ingenuity in action.

Again, Maine’s entrepreneurial, technology-based companies are resilient and well-positioned to lead Maine’s economic recovery post-COVID-19. Those technology-based companies make up approximately 20% of Maine’s $65 billion gross regional product.

With the support of MTI, the State of Maine, the angel investing community, and institutional lenders and investors, these tech-based ventures will help Maine regain its economic footing. These entrepreneurs and technology-based companies are powerful and innovative forces of nature that will help Maine sustain and grow its economy. I am honored and humbled to get an opportunity to work with them daily.

My best to you and yours during this challenging and uncertain time.