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PR: Dirigo Labs Announces Third Cohort, Highlighting Cleantech and Innovators in Software, AI, and Manufacturing

January 17, 2024

Cohort Kickoff Scheduled for February 29 at Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space

Dirigo Labs’ classroom, located in the Hathaway Creative Center at 10 Water Street in Waterville.

Waterville, ME 1/17/2024 – Dirigo Labs announced the 12 startups for its third cohort class. The accelerator program, hosted at the Hathaway Creative Center will offer a newly expanded curriculum with an emphasis on financial modeling.

“Being selected to participate in the cohort represents a significant milestone for SnoYak,” stated Oakland, ME-based Rob Thompson, founder of the innovative sit-ski product company. “It’s not just an opportunity for us to expand our business knowledge but also to collaborate with and learn from other entrepreneurs, industry experts, and mentors. I believe that the Dirigo Labs’ network will help us bring our vision of a more innovative future in outdoor recreation to life.”

Startup teams were carefully selected based on development stage, founder experience, potential to scale, and industry relevance. Participating founders are paired with a customized board of advisors drawn from Dirigo Labs’ extensive local and national mentor network. In addition to personalized mentorship, teams participate in topically relevant workshop sessions including state and municipal incentives, public-private sector grants, intellectual property, and capital strategy. 

Susan Ruhlin, Managing Director of Dirigo Labs, highlighted the potential of the selected startups: “We are thrilled to welcome these 12 dynamic startups into our third cohort. Each team brings a unique vision and innovative spirit that epitomizes the entrepreneurial drive we foster at Dirigo Labs. These startups represent not just the future of their respective industries, but also the vibrant potential of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region.”

The 2024 Dirigo Labs Cohort Companies are:

  • Aarabi Balasubramanian of EmTech Care Labs – Developers of Care-Wallet, an application for family caregivers to navigate the health and related financial needs of older adults receiving home-based care.
  • Bernard Hidier and Sunshine Mechtenberg of Finsulate – A sustainable and ecologically responsible foul release wrap to replace anti-fouling paint on boats, docks, buoys, and other objects in the ocean.
  • Brinn Flagg of Awen – An educational and counseling service for friends, partners, and parents of people with substance use disorder.
  • Jason Heinze of ClaimData – A pain and symptom journal software solution to support injury and disability claims.
  • Jessica Chalmers and Colin Hepburn of Everything Seaweed – Using seaweed nanofibers as a replacement for PFAS coatings on paper products and synthetics in many other products such as skincare.
  • Jim Paulette of New England Karting Challenge – Competitive go kart racing series developing electric engines suited for karts.
  • Hailey Lister and Max Meade of Alivo – An AI-powered platform to automate customer communications and help businesses deliver instant, personalized, and intelligent interactions.
  • Naman Gupta and Matthew Mo of EzOut – An AI-driven ecosystem that boosts revenue and profit margins for grocers, while personalizing their shopper’s experience in physical grocery stores.
  • Nick Lacasse and Ryan Coughlin of Perennial Renewables – Energy development and consulting firm that specializes in solar development and financing, renewable deal structuring, and risk management services for electricity, natural gas, and fuels procurement.
  • Bekah Giacomantonio and Jake Mahon of Lunadesk – Ergonomic laptop desk that transforms any surface into a workspace inspired by Yoga principles and crafted with care for the environment.
  • Rob Thompson of SnoYak – Patented sit-ski platform enhancing access to outdoor recreation for people of all abilities and means.
  • Uchenna Onyeachom of Health for Mankind – Digital health company utilizing AI to optimize Diabetes disease management in the underserved and minority population.

Startups who are interested in learning more about Dirigo Labs can visit www.dirigolabs.org.

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.

Last modified: January 19, 2024

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