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Launch Minnesota Awards over $376,000 in Innovation Grants to Startups

15 startups received funding; $3.2M in biennium funding is now fully allocated


St. Paul – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced that it has awarded $376,075 in Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants to startup businesses. With these awards, the full $3.2 million in biennium funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 has now been allocated.

In this latest round, DEED awarded innovation grants to 15 startups. Of those, nine are targeted businesses, which include BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), woman-owned, and businesses located in Greater Minnesota.

Grants are awarded through a competitive application process to the most promising innovative and scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. Since Launch Minnesota’s creation in 2019, it has awarded 140 grants totaling $3.2 million to 104 startups statewide – 60% of which have been in targeted categories.

There has been significant interest in the program; Launch MN received 365 applications, totaling more than $11 million in requested funds. The 140 grants awarded account for 38% of those applications and 29% of requested funding.

“As Minnesota’s economy recovers from the pandemic, it’s vital that the state continues to support technology startups and foster the growth of our innovation ecosystem,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development Kevin McKinnon. “These are investments in Minnesota’s present and its future.”

“Those who’ve received grants tell us that this funding makes a big difference in creating opportunities to grow their businesses and in leveling the playing field,” said Launch Minnesota Executive Director Neela Mollgaard. “Demand for these grants has far exceeded available funding, and in fact this latest round of grants means our program has fully disbursed its funding with months still to go in our fiscal year.”

The grants were designed to reduce the risk for Minnesota technology startups and entrepreneurs who are solving problems and growing our state’s innovation ecosystem by providing capital for business operations as well as smaller grants for housing and child care.

Launch Minnesota was created with bipartisan support during the 2019 legislative session as a statewide collaborative effort to accelerate the growth of startups and amplify Minnesota as a national leader in innovation.

Award recipients since February and their locations are listed below:

Alcaris Medical, St. Paul

Providing physiologic markers to psychotherapists to guide PTSD treatment

ArteMedics, St. Paul

Adapting medical device technology for veterinary community

Brevity, Minneapolis

Developing a platform for seed funders to connect with startup businesses

Kinetic, Minneapolis

Developing a social network with hand-curated introductions, making “who you know” equitable

MK1 Engineering, Sauk Rapids

Using seed orientation planter technology

Oncodea, St. Paul

Developing a multi-cancer diagnostic system for early cancer detection using blood biopsies

Peach Mindfulness, St. Paul

Developing technology-enabled meditation and mindfulness practices using a coaching relationship through a conversational virtual assistant

ProsperStack, Minneapolis Developing tools for implementing automated retention strategies to reduce subscription churn

See A Star Labs, Minneapolis

Marketing its SAAS platform for live 2-way communications for businesses; digital sports

Simply Paws Design, St. Paul

Making eco-friendly cat liter

TearRestore, New Brighton

Offering an at-home device that replaces in-office treatment for people with dry eye

Vessyll, Twin Cities

Developing an energy storage device for large power delivery to customers with unreliable supply

VisionX, Edina

Developing a dental device to capture anatomic measurements of a patient’s mandible

ViruTech Systems Inc., Minneapolis

Developing a diagnostic device to instantaneously detect the Sars-2 virus using millimeter wave technology and advances in signal processing

XDot Medical, Maple Grove

Developing an X-cinch access system for catheter-based therapies

You can find a full list of all Innovation Grants on the Launch Minnesota website Innovation Grants page.

Launch Minnesota, spearheaded by DEED, is aimed at growing Minnesota’s startup ecosystem. The Launch Minnesota Network, which started in March 2020, includes eight hubs and over 80 partner organizations statewide in a hub-and-spoke model designed to help startups access resources and education wherever they are based.

For more information, visit Follow Launch Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook.

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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