My Top-Ten MTI Portfolio Company News Stories From 2022

Brian Whitney MTI President

As avid readers of the monthly MTI eNewsletter, I know that you are all aware that each newsletter ends with a monthly summary of MTI innovators that made a splash in the media over the past month.  You may also know that we compile all these stories on MTI’s website under a link on the homepage called news.  Kudos to MTI’s Media Manager, Wanda McNeil, for always finding these relevant and amazing stories in the news media and presenting them to all of you.

As 2022 comes to a close, I thought I would share my personal “top ten” favorite stories highlighting companies within the MTI portfolio.  Here goes, in no particular order (you can click on the titles to read the full stories):

Ceremony marks manufacturing’s return to former mill in Madison

(From Portland Press Herald) A ceremony marking the return of wood products manufacturing to the former Madison Paper Industries mill was held recently. GO Lab, Inc. expects to employ 120 workers at the mill, with more positions opening by the end of 2022. MTI has made several large funding awards to the company.

Growing Something New: How one woman is using seaweed to transform the American palate — and Maine’s oldest industry

(From Departures) Can seaweed save the planet? Atlantic Sea Farms is doing its part by fostering an underwater, regenerative crop that reduces the acidity of local waters and absorbs significant amounts of carbon. The company has a roster of 27 partner fishermen and anticipates growing 1.2 million pounds of kelp in 2022. The Saco-based company received SBIR support from the MTI Technical Assistance Program (TAP) team.

Eeling and Dealing: How a voracious market for Maine elvers inspired one aquaculture entrepreneur to start an eel farm

(From Founder & President of American Unagi, Sara Rademaker dreams of diversifying Maine’s marine economy. She currently aims to grow fish on land, at scale, with recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology. The success of the Waldoboro-based company has been made possible in part by MTI.

Using lobster to ease the itch from browntail moth

(From News Center Maine) Marin Skincare has developed a cream from lobster waste that helps repair the skin barrier affected by psoriasis, shingles, sunburns, and even the rash caused by the browntail moth caterpillar. MTI provided the startup with initial funding and support.

Vertical farm is on the rise in Westbrook

(From Portland Press Herald) Vertical Harvest Maine is under construction in Westbrook. This four-story urban hydroponic farm is designed to employ dozens of workers with intellectual disabilities and produce.

Summit & Peaks Renewables Break Ground on Maine’s First Community Renewable Natural Gas Dairy Digester

(From PR Newswire) MTI portfolio company, Peaks Renewables is focused on investing in innovative technologies to decarbonize thermal energy. The company is a subsidiary of Summit Utilities, Inc., and recently broke ground on Maine’s first renewable natural gas (RNG) dairy digester in Clinton.

Portland tech startup raises $5.3M for product development, expansion

(From Mainebiz) RockStep Solutions recently closed a $5.3M Series A equity financing round to further its growth. The Portland-based software developer has an international reach, and currently employs 23 people with plans to add 20 more positions in the coming months. MTI was an early investor in the company.

Elmet Technologies: Poised for New Growth

(From Sun Journal) Known for decades as the maker of light bulb filament, Elmet Technologies is now key to the defense, aerospace, and medical industries. Currently, Elmet has 170 employees and aims to grow to 225 quality jobs. Since 2015, MTI has made several vital awards to Elmet to help grow its R&D capacity, and preserve and grow its employment base and economic impact in Maine.

Watch this rocket ignite using fuel that you can eat

(From CNN Business) bluShift Aerospace is working on sending rockets to space using bioderived, carbon-neutral fuel. The company gave CNN exclusive camera access to its third rocket engine test to demonstrate that the future of suborbital launches can be bio-powered. bluShift has received ongoing support from MTI.

First 100% bio-based 3D-printed home unveiled at the University of Maine

(From AM Chronicle) The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center recently unveiled the first 3D-printed house made entirely with bio-based materials, BioHome3D. The fully recyclable, 600-square-foot prototype features 3D-printed floors, walls and roof of wood fibers and bio-resins. MTI provided funding to assist with the acquisition of the world’s largest 3D printer at UMaine that was utilized to print the home.

I hope you enjoyed the stories.  They are merely a microcosm of the many remarkable things that are occurring daily in Maine’s innovation ecosystem.  We at MTI are constantly amazed by our state’s incredible dreamers and doers and we relish the opportunity to keep you apprised of their awe-inspiring exploits.

My best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2023!