By Sean F. Driscoll
Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 2:00 AM Updated Aug 8, 2017 at 7:41 AM
Remote Sensing Solutions one of only 2 companies to win latest round of state funding.
BARNSTABLE — Remote Sensing Solutions has won its third grant from a state program designed to aid firms with a potential for high growth, bringing the local technology company closer to getting its cutting-edge radar-sensing technology to the commercial market.
The $500,000 award is from the MassVentures START program, which has awarded more than $15 million to 70 Massachusetts firms that have received funding from the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research program, according to a news release from the state. The program helps those firms bridge the gap between the innovation work funded by the federal government and commercialization of the products that result.
Only two companies in the state won funding for Stage III of the process, which is designed to provide higher financial rewards to companies that continue to demonstrate progress on their commercialization efforts, according to the release. A dozen companies win Stage I funding each year; up to six win a Stage II award.
“As you go from Stage I to Stage II to Stage III, they are looking for more emphasis on the commercialization,” said Remote Sensing Solutions CEO Michel Fernandes. “We brought our company from predominantly a research and development company to a product and service company. I think the state saw that we were doing all the things we said we were going to do and put together a plan that impressed them.”
The core of Remote Sensing Solutions’ work is a miniaturized radar-sensing and data collection and analysis system capable of scanning through dust, clouds and darkness with incredible accuracy. The technology has military applications but could find robust use in the private sector for applications including marine biology.
To get the tech on the market, Remote Sensing Solutions is going to use part of its START funding to build prototype systems that it can provide to potential customers, company president James Carswell said.
“It’s really important that we can go forward with a hands-on demonstration entering these new spaces,” he said. “This (grant) gives us the resources to go out and hire staff to work with potential customers on the sales and marketing side.”
Remote Sensing Solutions has 11 employees, CFO James Canniff said, and will add two to three people in the next year with plans to expand to 25 to 30 employees in the next five years as it opens a production facility, hopefully on the Cape. The company is also renovating its current site to better show off its technology to customers and turn it into a pilot production facility to keep pushing the company’s research and development forward, Carswell said.
The company is also working with Cape Cod Community College to develop engineering programs that will prepare would-be employees to do the highly technical assembly and test jobs at the company, Fernandes said.
“Last year we hired two students to help us on specific projects to support our product,” he wrote in an email. “We feel this is a very important part of our company’s future success.”