AccelerateMass provides up to $150,000 in convertible grants to cleantech graduates of accelerator programs to advance new clean technologies towards commercialization. AccelerateMass was launched as a Pilot Program in 2015, and four awards were completed under the program. Now in its second year, awards will again be available for up to five recipients, for a total budget not to exceed $750,000 across two phases.
Only Massachusetts-based applicants that fit the MassCEC definition of “clean energy” (defined in the MassCEC Enabling Legislation here) and that have successfully graduated within the current year from the following accelerator programs are eligible:
- CleanTech Open Northeast (and other Cleantech Open regional programs)
- Techstars Boston
- TiE ScaleUp
- Valley Venture Mentors
- VentureWell (ASPIRE Program)
- Village Capital (Energy Program)
Awards to applicants not currently located in Massachusetts will be contingent on proof of relocation to the Commonwealth.
If you are an accelerator program and are interested in becoming eligible so that your graduates may apply for the program please email email@example.com.
Phase 1 – Please check back in Fall 2017 for the next Phase 1 Solicitation.
Phase 2 (Note: Only companies who have received a Phase 1 award are eligible to apply for Phase 2. Applications for AccelerateMass Phase 2 are accepted on a rolling basis)
Step 1: Complete Phase 1 of AccelerateMass in accordance with the agreed-upon work plan and reporting requirements outlined in Step 6 of Phase 1 above.
Step 2: Submit a program application and required attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “AccelerateMass Phase 2 Application – [Company Name].”
Step 3: MassCEC staff will evaluate the progress the company has made during Phase 1 and the continuing merit of technology and business plan prior to company’s entrance into the Phase 2 program, and will notify Awardees if selected for a $100,000 Phase 2 convertible grant award.
Step 4: In addition to quarterly check-ins with MassCEC staff, awardees will be required to submit informal, monthly written updates, quarterly financials, and a semi-annual progress report during the Phase 2 milestone period.
What is a convertible grant?
A: A convertible grant is a financial instrument that is initially provided as a grant and, upon obtaining a Qualified Financing or other funding milestone, the grant converts into an equity stake in the company. If a Qualified Financing or other funding milestone is not reached, the convertible grant remains a grant until the term expires, at which point it may convert into equity at the then current fair market value, at MassCEC’s option.
If I am awarded a convertible grant under AccelerateMass, what happens when I raise a Qualified Financing?
Upon raising a Qualified Financing, the AccelerateMass convertible grant will convert into the same equity security issued in that Qualified Financing. The number of shares that the grant converts into will be based on the share price of that round and will also take into account a tiered, time-based discount. At that time, MassCEC becomes an equity holder in the company and has rights similar to other investors.
What is a Qualified Financing?
A Qualified Financing is any sale of the company’s capital stock or other equity interests in a single transaction or series of related transactions amounting to $750,000 or more.
What if I raise a Qualified Financing before I apply for or receive my Phase 2 Award?
A Qualified Financing is a significant milestone and may demonstrate investor/commercial traction. Therefore, if you raise a Qualified Financing before receiving a Phase 2 Award, MassCEC will consider awarding the Phase 2 Award at the time of the close of the Qualified Financing. Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Award would then convert into the securities issued in the Qualified Financing.
What does the “significant Massachusetts presence” requirement mean?
You must have a majority of the following offices based in Massachusetts (as applicable) in order to have a “significant Massachusetts presence”:
- Company headquarters
- Primary research and development operations
- Primary sales and marketing office
- Primary manufacturing operations
What if my company decides to move outside of Massachusetts after receiving an AccelerateMass award?
If your company no longer maintains a significant Massachusetts presence as defined above after receiving the AccelerateMass award, the award is subject to redemption by MassCEC.
What if my company is not currently located in Massachusetts, but is interested in relocating there?
Out-of-state companies are eligible to apply for AccelerateMass if they are seriously considering a move to Massachusetts, and part of our Phase 1 review process will be gauging the company’s commitment to relocating. Disbursal of a Phase 1 award will be contingent on proof that the company now meets the “significant Massachusetts presence” requirement. Following notification of award, companies will be given a 3-month grace period to provide proof of relocation.
Can MassCEC assist companies in relocating to Massachusetts?
Ultimately, companies are responsible for finding their own space in Massachusetts. However, there are numerous incubators in the Commonwealth that may be a good fit for companies at this stage, including:
- Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Fall River
- Chestnut Innovation Center - Amesbury
- Greentown Labs – Somerville
- North Shore InnoVentures – Beverly
- TechSandBox - Hopkinton
- Worcester Clean Tech Incubator – Worcester
For more information on clean energy incubators in Massachusetts, please visit our Massachusetts Clean Energy Incubators page.
My application contains sensitive materials. What is MassCEC’s policy on confidentiality?
As a public entity, MassCEC is subject to Massachusetts' Public Records Law, codified at Chapter 66 of the Massachusetts General Laws ("Public Records Law"). Any documentary material, data, or other information submitted to MassCEC are presumed to be public records. An exemption to the Public Records Law may apply to certain records, including materials that fall under certain categories under a statutory or common law exemption, including the limited exemption at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 23J, Section 2(k) regarding certain types of confidential information submitted to MassCEC by an applicant for any form of assistance.
In line with Public Records Law requirements and with regard to companies in which MassCEC makes equity and debt investments, MassCEC generally considers the following types of information as confidential:
- Board meeting minutes
- Capitalization Table
- Budgets and Financial Projections
- Current and Historical Financial Statements
- Confidential Information Contained in Pitch Deck
- Term Sheet(s)
- Investment transaction documents
- Details of strategic partnership or exclusivity agreements (if not already public)
- Customer contracts
- Supplier contracts
- Technical product drawings or descriptions
- Employee agreements
- Details of fundraising history (major investors, pre- and post-money valuations, etc.) (if not already public)
- Product pricing
- Sales pipeline
- R&D roadmap
- Profitability margins
If I have already received a Phase 1 award under AccelerateMass, and have since completed another accelerator program, am I eligible to apply again for Phase 1?
No, prior Phase 1 awardees are not eligible to receive additional Phase 1 awards.
Further, MassCEC shall have the right to disclose the name of any payee, the amount of the award and any other information it may deem reasonably necessary on Open Checkbook, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ online database of state spending.
AccelerateMass was created to serve as a resource for recent accelerator graduates to allow them to reach a stage where they can reach commercial milestones and successfully obtain private investment funding. The goals of the program are to:
- Provide additional funding opportunities for early stage companies to support commercial development;
- Help to build on a company’s momentum by providing a runway from the accelerators to an early stage financing round;
- Encourage cleantech startups to apply to accelerator programs;
- Improve the rate of success for cleantech companies graduating from accelerators;
- Assist out-of-state companies relocating to Massachusetts; and
- Attract private capital to earlier stage companies.