Only Massachusetts-based applicants who fit the MassCEC definition of “clean energy” and are applying for ARPA-E funding will be eligible for AmplifyMass. Applicants may be either cleantech companies or university teams. MassCEC’s definitions of “clean energy” and “a significant Massachusetts presence” can be found in the program solicitation for applications. Companies must be a small business as outlined by the United States Small Business Administration's "Table of Small Business Size Standards.”
AmplifyMass offers cost-share funding to Massachusetts-based awardees of ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), an agency of the United States Department of Energy. The program makes awards to companies in the form of convertible grants up to $300,000, and awards to universities in the form of grants up to $100,000.
Applications for AmplifyMass will be accepted on a rolling basis and will generally coincide with specific ARPA-E Funding Opportunity Announcements. Awards will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Step 1: After completing an ARPA-E concept paper and receiving feedback from ARPA-E, companies and university teams may complete the AmplifyMass Pre-Qualification Application.
Step 2: Upon confirming eligibility of the application, MassCEC will issue a pre-qualification letter indicating the intention to provide an up-front cost share of a specified amount should the applicant receive an ARPA-E award. This pre-qualification letter can be submitted as part of the applicant’s full application to ARPA-E.
Step 3: If selected for an ARPA-E award, the awardee must submit the AmplifyMass Final Application, which is subject to re-confirmation that the applicant meets all eligibility criteria.
Step 4: Upon re-confirming eligibility and funding availability, MassCEC will issue a firm commitment letter to provide cost share. A funding agreement will be provided for review at this time. Term sheets summarizing the funding agreements for both universities and companies are available for download.
Step 5: Upon execution of funding agreements with both MassCEC and ARPA-E, funds will be disbursed to awardees in a single, up-front payment.
Applications and required attachments should be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “AmplifyMass Pre-Qualification Application.”
What is the amount of an AmplifyMass award?
For university research teams: the lesser of 5% of the total project cost, or $100,000.
For small businesses: the lesser of 10% of the total project cost, or $300,000.
How long after submitting my AmplifyMass application should I expect a response from MassCEC?
Depending on the volume of applications, you should expect a response from MassCEC between 10 -30 days from the time of submission. Please keep this timeline in mind when applying to AmplifyMass in order to receive a pre-qualification letter from MassCEC to include as part of your full ARPA-E application. MassCEC may contact you sooner if there are questions on your application.
How long does the AmplifyMass application take to complete?
The AmplifyMass application is intentionally designed to leverage the ARPA-E application and is therefore very straightforward. The application is 2-3 pages and should take no more than 1-2 hours to complete.
If ARPA-E discouraged me from submitting a full application, am I still eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
Yes. As long as your concept paper was not deemed non-compliant or non-responsive by ARPA-E, you are eligible to apply.
If my ARPA-E concept paper was rejected as non-compliant or non-responsive, am I still eligible for AmplifyMass?
If I did not submit an application to AmplifyMass prior to receiving award notification from ARPA-E, can I still apply to AmplifyMass?
You are still eligible to apply, provided that you have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with ARPA-E. You should fill out the AmplifyMass Final Application and provide the required attachments, including the ARPA-E concept paper, the ARPA-E full application, responses from ARPA-E on both the concept paper and the full application, and resumes of team members. Bear in mind, however, that awards are subject to availability, so the sooner you are able to apply, the more likely you are of receiving a matching award.
I am currently conducting an ARPA-E project. Am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
No. Only applicants who have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with ARPA-E are eligible to apply. If you are considering applying for a plus-up award or a new ARPA-e award, however, you may be eligible. See question below.
If I received an AmplifyMass award in the past, am I eligible to apply again if I receive another ARPA-E award or an increased ARPA-E award?
Yes. If you have received a new ARPA-E award for a unique project, you are eligible to apply for AmplifyMass. Award selection will be subject to satisfactory performance under the previous AmplifyMass award.
If I am applying to ARPA-E for plus-up funds to an existing ARPA-E award, am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass? What if I received an AmplifyMass award for my original ARPA-E project?
You are eligible to apply, provided that you have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with ARPA-E specifically for the plus-up funds. You should follow the same application process as if you were applying for a new award, beginning with a pre-qualification application. You will only be eligible for AmplifyMass funds to support the plus-up project, not the portion of the project which has already been awarded.
If you received an AmplifyMass award for your original project and are now applying for a plus-up project, you may be eligible to apply to AmplifyMass again. However, the sum of your AmplifyMass awards for both the original award and the plus-up award may not exceed the cap of $100,000 for university teams and $300,000 for companies.
I am currently working under an SBIR grant for an energy-related project, not an ARPA-E project. Am I eligible for AmplifyMass?
At this time, AmplifyMass is only open to ARPA-E awardees. If you have a received an ARPA-E award as part of a joint FOA with another agency, you are eligible to apply.
If I receive a pre-qualification letter for AmplifyMass but am not selected by ARPA-E, am I still eligible to receive an AmplifyMass award?
No. Only applicants who have been notified that they have been selected for an ARPA-E award are eligible to receive an AmplifyMass award from MassCEC.
My company is not primarily a cleantech company, but my ARPA-E project is. Am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
No. If you are a company applying for AmplifyMass, your company must meet the MassCEC definition of “clean energy” or “clean energy research” referenced previously. See the “Eligibility” section for more details on what this definition encompasses.
I work for a non-profit research institution in MA and am applying for an ARPA-E award. Am I eligible for AmplifyMass?
Yes. Non-profit research institutions in MA can apply to AmplifyMass under the same rules as university research teams.
Can I apply for AmplifyMass prior to applying to a specific ARPA-E Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)?
No. All AmplifyMass applications must be tied to a specific ARPA-E FOA and you must have received a response from ARPA-E after submitting a concept paper.
How does MassCEC decide who receives AmplifyMass awards?
MassCEC first ensures that applicants meet the eligibility criteria described above. This means the applicants must fit the MassCEC definition of clean energy, have a significant presence in Massachusetts, and either meet the small business requirements or be a university research team. Then, the applicant must receive an ARPA-E award. The intent of the program is to provide all applicants who receive ARPA-E awards and meet the AmplifyMass eligibility criteria with AmplifyMass awards, subject to availability.
What does it mean that the AmplifyMass awards are “subject to availability?”
Each fiscal year, a specified dollar amount is budgeted for AmplifyMass. Once that budget has been spent, no further awards can be made. The current fiscal year budget is $900,000, which means that a total of $900,000 is available from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. This budget is subject to annual review and renewal. Awards will be made to eligible ARPA-E awardees on a first come, first served basis. In the case that a large number of MA-based ARPA-E awardees are awarded in the same application round, MassCEC reserves the right to reduce the amount of each individual award in order to provide awards to a larger number of awardees. Additional awards will become available in the following fiscal year.
Will feedback from ARPA-E be provided at the same time for all applicants?
Yes, they are released all at once after their Merit Review Board makes its selections. Please refer to ARPA-E’s Frequently Asked Questions page here for more information specifically related to ARPA-E’s process: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=faq
What is a convertible grant?
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 AmplifyMass, what happens when I raise a Qualified Financing?
Upon raising a Qualified Financing, the AmplifyMass 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 this time, MassCEC would become an equity holder in the company and will have 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 $1,000,000 or more.
What does the “significant Massachusetts presence” requirement mean?
If you are a company, 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.
Can I have partners on my ARPA-E application that are based outside Massachusetts?
Yes; however, the award will only be disbursed to the MA-based organization and all agreements will be signed with the MA-based organization. The MA-based organization must be playing a significant role in the ARPA-E project and MassCEC reserves the right to use its discretion in making this determination.
What if my company decides to move outside of Massachusetts after receiving an AmplifyMass award?
If your company no longer maintains a significant Massachusetts presence as defined above after receiving the AmplifyMass award, the award is subject to redemption by MassCEC.
I am planning on submitting an ARPA-E application which will be 50% completed by a company and 50% completed by a university. Which cost share percentages and funding caps apply to me?
MassCEC determines the cost share percentages and funding caps based on whichever applicant is the Prime Recipient, per the ARPA-E contract. If a Massachusetts university is the Prime Recipient, the project is eligible for 5% of the total project budget up to $100,000 in grant form, and if a Massachusetts company is the Prime Recipient, the project is eligible for 10% of the total project budget up to $300,000 in convertible grant form.
My Massachusetts-based university or company is currently working as a subcontractor under an ARPA-E award to a different entity. Am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
As of July 6, 2015, Massachusetts-based subcontractors that are responsible for a very significant portion of the project are eligible to apply to AmplifyMass. The eligibility requirements and award amounts for subcontractors are as follows:
- The subcontractor must meet all Massachusetts presence, cleantech definition, and (if a company) small business eligibility requirements previously outlined in the Solicitation.
- The subcontractor, or group of eligible Massachusetts-based subcontractors combined, must be responsible for at least 40% of the project budget.
- Cleantech company subcontractors are eligible up to 10% of their portion of the budget, up to a maximum of $300,000.
- For instance, if a MA-based cleantech company is allocated $2M of a $5M project, they would be eligible for 10% of their $2M, or $200,000.
- University subcontractors are eligible up to 5% of their portion of the budget, up to a maximum of $100,000.
- For instance, if a MA-based university is allocated $2M of a $5M project, they would be eligible for 5% of their $2M, or $100,000.
- The total cost share allotted to multiple awardees on a single project may not exceed the project’s total cost share requirement. The Prime Recipient will be given preference in situations where both the Prime Recipient and subcontractor are MA-based.
- For example, assume MA-based “Company A” is the Prime Recipient, allocated $2.5M of a $5M project, and MA-based “Company B” is the subcontractor, also allocated $2.5M of a $5M project. Assuming both are small businesses, the total cost share is $500,000. The Prime Recipient would be eligible for 10% of the total budget up to $300,000, so Company A would receive $300,000. Taken alone, Company B would be eligible for 10% of their portion of the budget, or $250,000; however, this amount, taken with the $300,000 awarded to Company A, would exceed the project’s total cost share of $500,000. Therefore, Company B would be eligible for $200,000.
- The total cost share allotted to multiple awardees on a single project may not exceed $600,000.
I am planning on submitting multiple concept papers to the ARPA-E OPEN FOA on different technologies. Am I eligible to apply to AmplifyMass for every concept paper?
Yes, provided that each concept paper is for a unique and distinct technology, and meets the clean energy definition, Massachusetts presence, and small business eligibility requirements described in the solicitation, individual entities may submit multiple applications to AmplifyMass.
I am an awardee of another MassCEC program, such as Catalyst or InnovateMass. Am I eligible to apply to AmplifyMass?
Yes, provided that the scope of work being proposed under the ARPA-E project is unique from that conducted under the other MassCEC award and does not replicate work that MassCEC has previously funded, you are eligible to apply. However, MassCEC reserves the right to disqualify applications which have not been compliant with previous MassCEC awards.
Would a recycling project that saves a lot of energy qualify for AmplifyMass?
Without knowing all of the details, yes. Energy efficiency is within the definition of clean energy at MassCEC, and as long as the project meets the other program requirements, the project is likely to qualify.
Who should I talk to if I have additional questions about AmplifyMass?
Please send any additional questions to email@example.com. Questions and answers will be publicly posted on a regular basis.
AmplifyMass provides awards to Massachusetts-based ARPA-E awardees to satisfy a portion of the cost share requirement of ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy with a mission to support energy technology innovations that will enhance the economic and energy security of the United States. Winners of ARPA-E awards are required to provide a portion of the total project budge in cost share via in-kind resources, cash contributions or a combination of both.
AmplifyMass was created to support promising Massachusetts-based clean technology companies and university research projects by:
- Serving as a resource for providing a portion of the ARPA-E cost share requirement;
- Providing predictability and consistency to Massachusetts-based ARPA-E applicants on matching funding availability;
- Increasing the competitiveness of Massachusetts-based teams applying for ARPA-E grants; and
- Developing relationships with leading revolutionary clean energy technology providers in Massachusetts.
MassCEC AmplifyMass Awards
Program Manager: Alison Ernst
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
63 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110