The Challenge: Bridging the Funding Gap
To support companies facing the so-called "commercialization valley of death,” a widely-recognized funding gap that exists between early-stage support offered by angel investors and later-stage support historically provided by venture capital and strategic investors.
The InnovateMass program provides up to $250,000 in grant funding and technical support to applicant teams deploying new clean energy technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. Successful applicants will propose projects that address important energy challenges within our four focus areas, help to grow the state’s clean energy economy, and contribute to Massachusetts’ continued clean energy leadership.
InnovateMass is a rolling funding program that operates under a quarterly deadline schedule. The next upcoming deadline will be June 1, 2023. All applications are reviewed until program funding is exhausted.
|Process Step||Approximate Timing|
Next application deadline
June 1, 2023
|Notification of finalist status||Within 6 weeks of deadline|
|Pitch coaching for finalists||1.5 to 3 months from deadline|
|Finalists pitch||2 to 4 months from deadline|
|Final award decisions||3 to 6 months from deadline|
|Contracting concludes; projects begin||5 to 8 months from deadline|
Eligible applicants include cleantech startup companies.
Projects must apply as an Applicant Team, which includes a “Lead Applicant” and one or more Demonstration Project Partner(s).
For full Program details, please refer to the InnovateMass Request For Proposals (RFP)
This Program invites participation in a two-part application process:
- Submit an application
- If invited, pitch proposal to a panel of program judges
For full Program details, please refer to the InnovateMass RFP.
How do I know if my technology qualifies as cleantech under this program?
“Clean Energy Companies” are companies that have “…advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy from non-renewable sources including, but not limited to: (i) energy efficiency; (ii) demand response; (iii) energy conservation; or (iv) technologies powered, in whole or in part, by the sun, wind, water, geothermal energy, including networked geothermal and deep geothermal energy, hydrogen produced by non-fossil fuel sources and methods, alcohol, fuel cells, fusion energy or any other renewable, nondepletable or recyclable fuel...” (See M.G.L. c. 23J § 1 as amended pursuant to Chapter 179 of the Acts of 2022 “An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind”).
What qualifies as a Massachusetts-based company?
Please refer to section IV. Eligibility of the RFP for complete eligibility requirements. To qualify as a Massachusetts-based company, the company must have a majority of its business operations in Massachusetts; whether that be an office, headquarters, incubator space, lab space, manufacturing, or sales and marketing.
May entities submit more than one Application and be part of more than one Applicant Team?
Yes, Applicants may submit multiple applications and participate in multiple Applicant Teams.
How many letters of support does a typical applicant have?
At least one letter from a committed Demonstration Partner is required. Applicants usually provide a total of 1 to 3 letters of support. These are typically from project partners, such as a manufacturing partner or investor.
What role does the third-party technical support from MassCEC play?
The InnovateMass Technical Assistant (TA) supports awardees through all phases of the project, from workplan development through the final report. They act as the day-to-day project managers representing MassCEC. MassCEC meets with the TA on a monthly basis to get a project status update on each awardee.
If a company has won an InnovateMass grant previously, is it eligible to apply again?
Please reach out to MassCEC to discuss eligibility if the company now has a new product, or a new application of an existing product, and there is a need to demonstrate again. Otherwise, it is unlikely that the company would be eligible for another InnovateMass grant.
What is a “Total Addressable Carbon” analysis?
The TAC is an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced, avoided, or remediated assuming wide adoption of a technology or practice. The TAC analysis is designed to give both the applicant and MassCEC a strong sense of what sources of greenhouse gas emissions the proposed project would impact, and how large those potential impacts could be.
Applicants are encouraged to use tools such as the CRANE tool, or other credible public data sources such as the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory (especially for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide), the EPA's Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculator, and others. Analyses may be based on a state-wide, national, or international framing. Applicants should seek primarily to identify the total carbon emissions currently associated with the sector targeted by their technology or practice (for example, transportation or residential heating). For example, a technology to reduce the cost of solar panels would impact the approximately 1,250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted every year from electricity generation in the United States.
To the greatest extent possible, applicants should also seek to estimate an “optimistically plausible” amount of those emissions that could be reduced, avoided, or remediated given widespread adoption of the proposed solution. Order-of-magnitude estimates are acceptable, as the goal of the analysis is primarily conceptual rather than precise. Applicants are encouraged to consider both direct and indirect effects as appropriate and to explicitly describe assumptions, especially assumptions related to cost reductions or barriers to adoption.
Acceptable alternatives to a TAC analysis include an avoided-energy analysis for energy efficiency technologies and LCOE reduction analyses for energy generation technologies.
2021 InnovateMass Awardees
Road Demonstration of Vehicle Lightweighting with Mechanical Metamaterials Manufactured at Scale
Awarded $250,000 with $265,158 total cost share
Multiscale Systems is developing lightweight and high-strength panels for deployment in semi-trailers.
Nth Cycle, Inc.
Li-ion Battery Recycling Pilot Demonstration
Awarded $250,000 with $1,166,156 total cost share
Nth Cycle, Inc. will be demonstrating its electrochemical filtration technology for Li-ion battery black mass recycling.
AeroShield Materials, Inc.
Standardized Testing and Demonstration of Aerogel Insulated Glass Units for High-Performance Windows
Awarded $244,329 with $127,731 total cost share.
Aeroshield Materials, Inc. will be demonstrating aerogel insulated glass units for high-performance windows.