Dirigo Labs Launches Inaugural Cohort, Spotlighting Emerging Technologies, Manufacturing, and Sustainable Aerospace

March 16th, 2022

Waterville, ME, 3/15/2022 –

Dirigo Labs has selected the 12 startup teams to participate in its inaugural accelerator class. Launching next week at Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space at the Hathaway Creative Center in downtown Waterville, the cohort will run through mid-June, culminating with a pitch event. 

Startup teams were selected based on the stage of development, founder experience, and potential to scale. Dirigo Labs strategically matches the startups with a temporary board of advisors from its diverse local and national mentor networks. Founders will also attend weekly seminars while engaging in customized curriculum to execute their project plans. Seminar topics will engage a wide range of subjects, including how to utilize public-private sector grants and economic incentives, customer acquisition strategies, capital planning, and intellectual property evaluation.

“Dirigo Labs exists because this community and region of our state want to embrace entrepreneurship,” said Susan Ruhlin, Dirigo Labs’ Managing Director. “From software to biotech to aerospace and legacy manufacturing, this unique cohort of incredible companies demonstrates the breadth of what’s possible to launch in Maine.”

The central Maine region is emerging as Maine’s newest startup ecosystem. With world-class academic institutions and a geographic location within 60-minutes of the state’s largest cities, Dirigo Labs is the primary entrepreneurship service provider between Bangor/Orono, the home of the University of Maine, and greater Portland, Maine’s hub of economic and startup activity. 

“Waterville’s robust entrepreneurial ecosystem can be attributed to the area’s secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, a growing tech and innovation hub, and a wealth of business development resources to support expansion and retention from ideation to inception,” states Garvan Donegan, Director of Planning, Innovation and Economic Development at Central Maine Growth Council. “Dirigo Labs is actively supporting high-growth potential startups which maximize value creation and develop innovative solutions to advance the region’s long-term economic development potential.”

The Dirigo Labs hybrid operating model accommodates both remote and in-person participation. Teams who need a base of operations will have designated workspace and full access to the Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space facilities. Workshop sessions will be conducted both in-person and remotely. 

“This group of entrepreneurs truly embodies the spirit of Maine with their hardworking, genuine, and thoughtful approaches to running their ventures,” said Emalee Couture, Growth Manager at Dirigo Labs. ”They’re hiring exceptional Mainers, attracting top-notch talent, investing back into their communities, contributing to Maine’s economic growth, and serving as inspiration for innovators and entrepreneurs across the state.” 

Below are the Dirigo Labs 2022 Cohort Companies:

Alfred, ME

An online community think tank open to anyone, built upon fun idea challenge tournaments, for creative, imaginative people to help solve problems big and small, and get better at innovating. Earn prize money and funding and start new projects together.

Brunswick, ME

Aerospace company reducing the environmental impacts of the space industry with their proprietary bio-fueled hybrid rockets and democratizing access to space with dedicated and frequent suborbital and orbital launches for small satellites.

Waterville, ME

Proprietary genetic testing and colony planning expertise providing clear guidance for the breeding, management and selection of laboratory animals used in academic and biomedical research.

Canaan, ME

Artisan pizza dough manufacturing using 100% freshly milled grains from Maine with a commitment to providing workforce development training to Mainers with unique needs.

Waterville, ME

Medical device company developing a product for ostomy bag patients using sensor technology to signal capacity limits.

Winthrop, ME

Patent-pending motorized and steerable floating picnic tables found across lakes and ponds in Maine and New England.

Brunswick, ME

Value add manufacturer of the Ocean Harvest Bag®, a bag woven from biodegradable, compostable fiber designed explicitly for the harvest and distribution of shellfish and produce.  

Rockland, ME

Luxury, cannabis confections for women by women, made with vegan, gluten-free, and ethically sourced ingredients from the U.S.

Waterville, ME

Software as a service (SaaS) platform using AI to synthesize public technical data into an organized and searchable interface to help users find potential mineral assets, analyze technical reports, and make informed decisions.

Dresden, ME

SaaS platform with patented solutions for businesses to transform static web images into unique, interactive pathways to multimedia stories, social sharing, and convenient purchasing options to increase engagement rates and revenue while personalizing experiences, ultimately building brand loyalty.

Milford, ME

SaaS platform improves tenant screening while building renter’s credit scores to help landlords and tenants work together to create closer communities.

Providence, RI & Waterville, ME

SaaS platform provides an immersive career platform that helps diverse youth find a career through rich, personal stories and helps companies drive racial and ethnic diversity in their talent pipelines.

About Dirigo Labs:

Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville, Maine. With a mission to grow mid-Maine’s digital economy by supporting entrepreneurs building innovation-based companies, the Dirigo Labs ecosystem brings together people, resources, and organizations to ensure the successful launch of new startups. Dirigo Labs operates under Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions, and investment firms.

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