Minnesota approved for $44 million in Capital Projects Fund

Broadband Breakfast reports…

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced the approval of broadband projects in an additional six states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah.

Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 180,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.

The Capital Projects Fund provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are using a portion of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds toward connecting to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

This is what is happening in Minnesota…

  • Minnesota is approved for $44 million for broadband infrastructure. Minnesota’s award will fund two additional broadband infrastructure programs: Minnesota’s Line Extension Program, a competitive grant program designed to address the needs of individuals who are located near infrastructure for high-quality broadband service but where the cost of the last mile connection is a barrier; and the Low-Density Pilot Program, a competitive grant program that provides financial resources for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure in low-density areas of the state that currently lack high-speed internet. Funding from CPF will help Minnesota continue its efforts to provide reliable internet access to predominately rural locations previously facing cost barriers. Both programs are designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100 * 100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. Minnesota submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these applications are currently under review by Treasury.

FCC to collect data on ACP recipients, subscriptions and offerings

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted an order creating the Affordable Connectivity Program Transparency Data Collection, a statutorily mandated annual data collection describing all internet service plans subscribed to by households enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).  Congress, through the Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act, required the Commission to collect this data for all service plans subscribed to by an ACP-enrolled household.  Providers must also submit plan characteristics including speed, latency, and bundle characteristics, and a unique identifier associated with a broadband label if applicable, as well as certain aggregated plan enrollment subscriber data.

“To find out whether this program is working as Congress intended, we need to know who is participating, and how they are using the benefit,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “So we’re doing just that.  The data we collect will help us know where we are, and where we need to go.  We’re also standardizing the way we collect data, and looking for other ways to paint a fuller picture of how many eligible households are participating in the ACP.  We want all eligible households to know about this important benefit for affordable internet service.”

The Order would require ACP providers to submit annually data on price, plan coverage, and plan characteristics of their broadband internet services subscribed to by ACP-enrolled households.  A Further Notice seeks comment on subscriber enrollment data, digital divide metrics, metrics related to low-income plan and connected device offerings, and on the merits and burdens associated with the collection of subscriber level information.  The Further Notice also seeks comment on whether the Commission should collect information related to the digital divide, including whether an ACP subscriber is a first-time or existing broadband subscriber or is subscribed to multiple plans.  In addition, the Further Notice seeks comment on the collecting information related to providers’ low-income broadband plan and connected device offerings.

It would be nice if there was a way to invite the household to also take a speed test. Then we’d know what they are paying for and what they are getting. It seems like with the public money being invested that both parties (provider and subscriber) could be enticed to provide as much info as requested, certainly in terms of the service.

Will BEAD fund unlicensed spectrum? Good question and it will matter in Minnesota!

So many posts about the FCC maps and funding and details because the details will impact how much money communities will receive for broadband in the next few years. The issue this post – unlicensed spectrum versus licensed spectrum. Telecompetitor reports

The BEAD program is designed to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to unserved rural areas. In establishing rules for the program, NTIA omitted fixed wireless service that relies totally on unlicensed spectrum for last mile connectivity from its definition of reliable service – a decision that impacts the BEAD program in two ways.

It makes FWA deployments using unlicensed spectrum ineligible for funding. And it makes areas that have high-speed broadband eligible for overbuilds if the only high-speed broadband available is FWA that relies on unlicensed spectrum.

But some folks want that changed…

Seven U.S. senators sent a letter to Alan Davidson, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, today urging NTIA to revise its definition of reliable broadband for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

So what’s the difference between licensed and unlicensed spectrums?

Here’s a definition from IotaComm. I was hoping for a less commercial perspective but also high level enough to take in easily.

Most of the radio spectrum is licensed by the FCC to certain users, for example, television and radio broadcasters. Individual companies pay a licensing fee for the exclusive right to transmit on an assigned frequency within a certain geographical area. In exchange, those users can be assured that nothing will interfere with their transmission.

Alternatively, organizations can still use the airwaves to transmit communications without getting permission from the FCC, but they must transmit within those parts of the spectrum that are designated for unlicensed users. The amount of spectrum that is available for public and unlicensed use is very small—only a few bands. Both the size of the area and the lack of exclusivity mean there’s greater potential for interference from other users located nearby. (It’s like the “wild west” of radio communication.)

The Telecompetitor article touches on it a little…

NTIA hasn’t said much about why it defined reliable broadband as it did. But David Zumwalt, CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) told Telecompetitor a few months ago that NTIA’s primary concern was the future availability of unlicensed spectrum.

WISPA is particularly concerned about whether areas that already have unlicensed high-speed FWA will be eligible for overbuilding through the BEAD program, as many WISPA members already have made high-speed FWA deployments that rely on unlicensed spectrum.

Folks in Minnesota may have a special interest in this issue. According to the FCC map, LTD Broadband is serving a large portion Southern Minnesota with unlicensed spectrum, as the map below indicates.

EVENT Nov 30: FCC maps – the devil and the money are in the detail – real time tutorial happening November 30

I’ve been talking about the new FCC maps a lot because future funding is going to depend on them. So, it’s important that they are right. It’s so important that the FCC is posting tools and offering tutorials…

By this Public Notice, the Broadband Data Task Force (Task Force) announces the availability of technical assistance resources, including an upcoming November 30th workshop, to assist entities in preparing to file bulk challenges to fixed broadband availability data as part of the Broadband Data Collection (BDC).

Challenging the Map by Household

It seems like the easiest way to report an error in the mapping is to report it from the address from the map itself. You can enter an address then there’s a map where you can toggle easily from Fixed Broadband (wired and fixed wireless) and Mobile (think cell phone, hot spot) Broadband. If you think the information they are reporting is wrong you can submit a Location Challenge. Now when I looked at the map the other day that option popped right up. This time I had to click on my address on the map and then it showed up – in that sidebar section. It’s a simple form asking for name, email address, phone (optional), challenge type and two places for more information. Inherent in the form is the idea that they might contact you.

Bulk Challenge of the Map

If you think that swaths of your community are not fairly represented, you can submit a bulk challenge. Bulk challenges are much more complicated. I’m not a GIS expert or even that great with maps but I watched the first tutorial (below) and realized if it were up to me to submit claims, I’d need to phone a friend. I gleaned a few things that are helpful to know before you dive in.

  • The data that you submit to challenge must have been collected after June 30, 2022.
  • They will ask for contact info for every address.
  • The data they collect will go to the provider that seems to represent the location. They will have 10 days to offer the service or the location status is corrected as unserved on the map.
  • Inherent here is that submitting an address is tantamount to ordering service from the provider, which is quite a leap. Also, the provider will see who has reported on the service.

The process to submit data seems arduous to me. To be fair the process may be less arduous to someone who is better with maps and I am open to correction if I have misunderstood aspects of the tutorial.

The maps are created using data supplied by the providers. I’ve heard the process for submitting the data is time consuming so I recognize that they have put in effort but it seems like the process to make any corrections rests solely on the households or communities. I know with the Minnesota maps, the process is a little more equal. Someone reports a questionable address and the Office of Broadband Development follows up. I think the process is pretty similar with “bulk” reporting. (Another example of Minnesota being well above average?)

Here’s more info on the tutorials and tools from the FCC…

To help state, local, and Tribal governments, ISPs, and other entities compile their data and file fixed availability challenges, the Task Force has released two video tutorials. The first video provides an overview of the fixed bulk availability challenge process, and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKL_p8ieFDo. The second video walks filers through the process of submitting bulk fixed availability challenge data in the BDC system, and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaOlwJN_1RY. The Task Force previously released its Specifications for Bulk Fixed Availability Challenge and Crowdsource Data on September 15, 2022, which provides guidance on the requirements for filing bulk challenges to fixed broadband availability data.3 We encourage parties interested in submitting bulk fixed availability challenges to review this document in conjunction with the tutorial video. Additionally, the Task Force will hold a virtual technical assistance workshop on November 30, starting at 4:00 p.m. EDT to assist potential bulk filers in submitting their data. To participate in the workshop, interested parties should register to attend at: https://fcc[1]gov.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_F37YX5hRQJCHrVmLZsnqAg. Questions about bulk fixed availability challenges may be submitted in advance of or during the workshop to BDCWebinar@fcc.gov.

MN Lower Sioux gets almost $2 million for broadband

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announces…

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today it has awarded 18 grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). These new grants, totaling $224,479,717.83, bring the total of the program to $1.5 billion awarded to 112 Tribal entities. …

The projects funded by these awards will directly connect 21,468 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions. Additionally, the 18 grants will create 137 new jobs.

Here’s the award in Minnesota:

  • Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota
  • Broadband Infrastructure Deployment
  •  $1,995,787.00
  • The Broadband Infrastructure Deployment project proposes to install fiber directly connecting 47 unserved Native American households, 3 businesses, and 13 community anchor institutions with fiber to home qualifying broadband service at speeds up to 10 Gbps symmetrical.

Update and/or another look at Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)

I feel like I just can’t read about IIJA and all the federal broadband funding enough. Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has a nice update on the Digital Equity Act, which in a piece of IIJA. Here are the highlights; you can check out the site for greater detail…

The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The programs focus on increasing broadband adoption and ensuring that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The three programs are:

  • State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program: A $60 million formula grant program for states, territories and Tribal governments to develop digital equity plans.
  • State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program: A $1.44 billion formula grant program for states, territories, and Tribal governments. It will fund an annual grant program for five years in support of digital equity projects and the implementation of digital equity plans.
  • Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program: A $1.25 billion grant program. It will fund annual grant programs for five years to implement digital equity projects.

Over the past year, the NTIA has focused on the planning grant program, encouraging states, territories and Tribal governments to develop digital equity plans in tandem with universal broadband access plans required for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

Need help closing the digital gaps? The Just Transition Fund supports MN and other areas

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has a series to help folks manage the opportunity coming in to support digital equity at the local level: Pathways to Digital Equity: How Communities Can Reach Their Broadband Goals—and How Philanthropy Can Help. They are manageable bits of information that you can run with right away. Today’s chapter is about the Just Transition Fund

JTF offers grants of up to $150,000 and technical assistance to help organizations access federal and state funds to expand broadband access. This program is designed to offer flexible support for what local organizations need. Grants and technical assistance can be used for:

  • Grant writing to put together a successful application
  • Identifying grant programs that are a good fit for a community project
  • The community’s portion of infrastructure project matching funds
  • Building internal staff capacity to further develop and refine a community broadband project
  • Feasibility studies and additional project planning

The Fund prioritizes communities in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Texas.

Recipients of broadband grants or technical assistance, which are provided on a rolling basis, are invited to join JTF’s community of practice. Through ongoing open calls and relationship-building, the JTF supports communities and connects them with one another to facilitate peer learning, mentorship, and the sharing of best practices.

FCC will unveil draft broadband maps and NTIA clock on BEAD allocation to start

Something to look forward to next week – new broadband maps – as the FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it will unveil a pre-production draft of new broadband maps on November 18, 2022. This version is the first release of the map required by the Broadband DATA Act and will begin an ongoing, iterative process that will improve the data submitted by providers by incorporating challenges from individuals and other stakeholders.

Broadband availability will be based on data submitted by providers during the initial Broadband Data Collection filing window and will reflect services available as of June 30, 2022. When published, the draft maps will display location level information on broadband availability throughout the country and will allow people to search for their address, and review and dispute the services reported by providers at their location.

The FCC will also accept bulk challenges to the reported availability data from state and Tribal governments and other entities. As a result, this map will continually improve and refine the broadband availability data relied upon by the FCC, other government agencies, and the public. The pre-production draft map release is an important first step forward in building more accurate, more granular broadband maps, which are long overdue and mandated by Congress. Historically, the FCC’s maps have been based on broadband availability data collected at just the census block level rather than the location level, which kept unserved locations hidden if they were in partially served census blocks.

To generate this version of the map, providers’ availability data has been matched to the location information contained in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric). The Fabric is a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband internet access service is or can be installed. To improve the accuracy of the FCC maps, the Commission began accepting challenges to Fabric information from providers, states, local and Tribal governments starting in September. Once the draft maps launch, individuals will also be able to submit challenges, or request corrections, to Fabric locations directly through the map interface. They will also be able to request missing locations be added. Information from those challenges will be incorporated in future versions of the Fabric.

For more information about the BDC, please visit the Broadband Data Collection website at https://www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData.

And once that happens, the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Association) reports…

Following the Federal Communications Commission’s announcement that on November 18 it will unveil an initial version of new broadband maps and open the mapping challenge process, NTIA expects to communicate Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment allocation levels to eligible entities by June 30th.

“The next eight weeks are critical for our federal efforts to connect the unconnected,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “The FCC’s upcoming challenge process is one of the best chances to ensure that we have accurate maps guiding us as we allocate major Internet for All awards in 2023. I urge every state and community that believes it can offer improvements to be part of this process so that we can deliver on the promise of affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service for everyone in America.”

The Biden-Harris Administration is required by law to allocate Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment funds according to a formula derived from the map data. NTIA coordinates closely with the FCC to ensure that this data is accurate and reliable and will continue to do so. NTIA’s efforts to date include:

  • Calling every single Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the United States to remind them of their obligations relating to the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) process, register any concerns or technical assistance requests, and relay those to the FCC;
  • Engaging in sustained outreach with Governors’ offices, state broadband offices, and stakeholder communities to share technical assistance resources, solicit feedback, and relay major areas of concern; and
  • Producing and sharing materials to break down the process with key dates and deadlines for affected stakeholders.

NTIA will engage in a comprehensive outreach effort to support the FCC in its efforts to ensure that every state that wishes to file a challenge can do so. This effort will include:

  • Technical assistance to state broadband officials and governors’ offices as they prepare challenges;
  • Webinars for members of the public wishing to learn more about how to participate in the challenge process;
  • Regular engagement with state officials to identify and resolve issues.

Internet for All

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward high-speed Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit getinternet.gov for more information.

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet programs as well as quotes from the awardees, please visit InternetforAll.gov.

OPPORTUNITY: Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program now open

If you are working to spread the word on Affordable Connectivity Program funding (ACP) in your community, this funding might be for you

The Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program (ACP Outreach Grant Program) is comprised of four complementary grant programs:

  • National Competitive Outreach Program (NCOP)
  • Tribal Competitive Outreach Program (TCOP)
  • Your Home, Your Internet (YHYI) Outreach Grants
  • Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Navigator Pilot Program (NPP) Outreach Grants

The FCC issues this NOFO to describe the requirements under which it will award grants for the NCOP and the TCOP. A separate NOFO will be issued for the ACP Outreach Grant Program – Pilot Programs, YHYI and NPP. The ACP Outreach Grant Program is one tool among a comprehensive set of measures authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021(Infrastructure Act) and implemented by the FCC to help bridge the digital divide. The ACP Outreach Grant Program will help increase awareness of and participation in the ACP among eligible households. The ACP Outreach Grant Program provides new federal funding for the FCC to grant eligible governmental and non-governmental entities with the funding and resources needed to increase awareness of and participation in the ACP among those households most in need of affordable connectivity. See Section IV – Program Description of this NOFO for the full Program Description.

How can you help your community or subscribers sign up for Affordable Connectivity (ACP) funds?

This example isn’t from Minnesota but it seems like something folks could replicate here. The SF Tech Council produced this 90 second video on how they got people signed up for ACP funds in their area.

I know folks around the state have been helping. I just thought the video was too good not to share. Thanks to the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s ACP dashboard, we can see that while we’re working on it, there’s progress to be made in Minnesota…

  • Number of Eligible Households Claimed: 87,113
  • Percentage of Eligible Households Claimed: 17.33%
  • Number of Eligible Households Enrolled: 157,322
  • Percentage of Eligible Households Enrolled: 31.3%
  • Total Spending in State: $4,837,651.50

Paul Bunyan Communications connects 600 homes in St Louis County

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports

Paul Bunyan Communications recently completed an expansion of high-speed broadband to nearly 600 homes, businesses and community institutions in rural areas of northeastern Minnesota.

The majority of the locations receiving new service are in St. Louis County, Minnesota’s largest county by area and the county with the most households in need of broadband access.

The $3.2 million project, which included nearly $600,000 in broadband infrastructure grants from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation as well as funds from the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, will bring broadband with speeds up to 10 gigabytes per second to rural areas near Ash River, Black Duck Lake and Elephant Lake as well as Kabetogama and Morcom townships.

“This is a huge service improvement for everyone in the project area and is a game changer for the residents and businesses,” Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications’ IT and development manager, said in a statement.

You can now apply for Minnesota Broadband Line Extension Funding

The Office of Broadband website now includes access to apply for the line extension connection program. There’s a little background…

In the 2022 Legislative Session, the Office of Broadband Development (OBD) was directed to create a new program, the Broadband Line Extension Connection Program. The purpose of the program is to award grants for the extension of existing broadband infrastructure to unserved locations. An unserved location is a location that does not have a wired broadband service of at least 25Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

Instructions…

People can report to OBD that a wired broadband service is unavailable at their residence or business by entering information on the online application below or by calling 651-259-7610 and requesting a paper application or by talking to someone at OBD who will complete the application on their behalf.

And what happens next…

Every six months, OBD will send the list of addresses to each broadband provider offering service in Minnesota. Providers then have ten days to notify OBD that they can provide service at any of the addresses on the list. OBD will then contact those people to let them know the name of the broadband provider that can offer them service and any discounted pricing plans available.

For those addresses that are not served by a provider or in an area that will be built with an already awarded Border-to-Border Broadband grant project, OBD will hold a 60-day reverse auction where broadband service providers can bid to extend service to one or more of the addresses on the list. In their bid, providers will identify the grant amount requested to extend the broadband service. Within 60 days of the auction closing, OBD will select the bids that request the least amount of financial support from the state and that are a cost-effective expenditure of state resources. OBD will then enter into line extension agreements with each winning bidder. Winning bidders will have one year from the date the contract is signed to complete the broadband line extension. The winning bidder must build broadband service that offers speeds of at least 100Mbps download and 100Mbps upload.

ReConnect awards of $759 Million go out – two in Minnesota

The USDA reports…

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $759 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working across 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. The investments include funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the US. The $759 million in loans and grants comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program, including:

Here are the awards in Minnesota:

Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative $3,788,680
This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network to connect 473 people, 15 farms and nine businesses to high-speed internet in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties in Minnesota. Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

Tekstar Communications $12,602,274
This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 3,113 people, 171 farms, 103 businesses and a school to high-speed internet in Douglas, Otter Tail, St. Louis, Stearns and Todd counties in Minnesota. Tekstar Communications Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by offering its “Gig Price for Life” promotion for new services. Tekstar Communications Inc. also will participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs.

Federal (BEAD) funding requires states, such as MN, to rethink anti-municipal broadband laws

Telecompetitor reports on research done by BroadbandNow

The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program has $42.5 billion available to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to unserved and underserved rural areas. States will administer the program but must first have a plan approved by the NTIA and, as new research from BroadbandNow shows, some states face an important hurdle as they prepare their plans – a hurdle that involves anti-municipal broadband laws.

Twenty-one states have laws in place that prohibit or restrict municipal broadband networks, BroadbandNow notes. And those laws are at odds with rules for the BEAD program, which say that states must disclose whether they will waive anti-municipal broadband laws, including laws that either prevent municipalities from applying for BEAD funding or that “impose specific requirements on public sector entities, such as limitations on the sources of financing, the required imputation of costs not actually incurred by the public sector entity, or restrictions on the service a public sector entity can offer.”

If a state does not plan to waive the laws, it must describe how the laws will be applied in connection with the application process. And, according to the researchers, the NTIA has included language in the BEAD rules that could enable municipalities to apply for funding directly if their state will not consider their applications.

Minnesota is one of the states with a restriction, BroadbandNow lists it…

Minnesota state laws require municipal governments proposing to offer telecommunications exchange to obtain a referendum “supermajority” of 65% of voters to proceed. Municipal governments are able to construct, extend, improve and maintain facilities for Internet access only if the city council finds that the proposed broadband network and service will not compete with existing services provided by private telecom companies, or if such services are not and will not be available through private telecom companies in the foreseeable future.

The rule is getting more antiquated every day but it’s still important. Some subscribers will want landline services and a barrier to offering that service is indeed a barrier.

 

Launch Minnesota Awards Over $1M in Innovation Grants to Startups

Always fun to see Minnesota innovation shared through a DEED email alert…

Today the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced $1,189,500 in Launch Minnesota Innovation Grant awards to startups across the state. The grants were awarded to 43 startups, over half of which are led by entrepreneurs of color, veterans, women, or located in Greater Minnesota.

Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants target the most promising, innovative and scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. The grants help reduce the risk for Minnesota technology startups and entrepreneurs who are solving problems and growing the state’s innovation ecosystem.

“The launch of new technology startups is central to Minnesota’s overall competitiveness, because our startup ecosystem has an outsized impact on our state,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “These grants encourage more Minnesotans to build the next big thing – creating jobs and opportunities in industries of the future.”

Since its inception during the 2019 legislative session, Launch Minnesota has awarded 245 Innovation Grants totaling $6M to 176 unique grantees – accelerating the growth of startups and amplifying Minnesota as a national leader in innovation.

The program has $3M this biennium, $1.5M each fiscal year to provide grants to high-growth startups. Launch Minnesota has $310,500 remaining this fiscal year, which ends June 2023.

“Putting capital in the hands of founders is making a difference,” said Launch Minnesota Executive Director Neela Mollgaard. “These businesses are growing and solving big problems that will define our state’s next chapter.”

Innovation Grants include business operations, which provide up to $35,000 for research and development, direct business expenses and technical assistance, and Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Matching Grants, for first time Phase I and Phase II awardees and that are based on sliding scales of their federal awards. Businesses are eligible to receive one of each grant over the two-year period.

The following companies received grants:

Adapt Design Works LLC (Business Operations): Developing an app-connected system that monitors and prevents pressure injuries for wheelchair users.

Agitated Solutions Inc (Business Operations): Provides agitated saline as contrast during ultrasound procedures.

Astrin Biosciences Inc (SBIR/STTR): Developing single-cell diagnostic tools and precision therapies to transform cancer mortality.

Binary Bridge SBC (Business Operations): Bringing health equity and clinic modernization to emerging economies with an innovative digital health records system.

Bus Stop Mamas LLC (Business Operations): Workforce engagement tool that provides businesses access to an untapped talent pool of educated stay-at-home moms.

C Drager LLC (Business Operations): Online platform for farmers and independent meat market producers to sell directly to consumers.

Canomiks Inc (SBIR/STTR): Developing an AI-based platform to test and certify biological efficacy and safety for the food, beverage and dietary supplement industry.

Carba Inc (Business Operations):  Permanently removes and buries large quantities of carbon monoxide from the atmosphere.

Cerovations LLC (SBIR/STTR): Medtech development focused on neurosurgical, urologic/gynecologic and cardiac inventions.

Clean Chickens and Co. LLC (Business Operations): Mobile Poultry Processing Unit that is both USDA inspected and Halal Certified.

CoraVie Medical: (Business Operations and SBIR/STTR) Developing a subcutaneous, continuous blood pressure monitor.  

Daynamica Inc (SBIR/STTR): Application for collecting, processing and understanding human activity and travel behavior data.

Detect Auto Inc (Business Operations): Computer vision-based analytics platform for auto repair shops providing analytics and insights on shop performance with AI. 

Empower Independence Company LLC (Business Operations): Developing a shower system that enables individuals with physical limitations to provide self-care, increase independence and enhance safety in the shower.

Exergi Predictive Inc (SBIR/STTR): Developing machine learning software products for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Frontline Biotechnologies Inc (Business Operations): Researching a novel eDNA sorbent kit for use as a diagnostic tool for aquatic disease and invasive species.

Hayaa LLC (Business Operations): Providing culturally appropriate sanitary wear for Muslim healthcare workers.

Heart Failure Solutions Inc (Business Operations): Assisting heart failure patients that have been diagnosed with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

Isola Therapeutics Inc: Business Operations and SBIR/STTR) Developing a local drug delivery platform to treat lung cancer and esophageal cancer.

Loon Medical LLC (SBIR/STTR): Developing a mobile application with a quality-controlled collection of clinical signs and outcome monitoring meant for infants and preschoolers with respiratory illnesses.

MarPam Pharma LLC (SBIR/STTR): Developing a one-time treatment for HIV that eliminates the need to take daily antiretroviral medications.

Morari Inc (Business Operations): Developed a chemical-free Bluetooth-enabled wearable patch for the treatment of premature ejaculation.

NeuraWorkx Medical Technologies Inc (Business Operations): Developing a non-invasive bioelectronic and digital health solution by enhancing the brain’s glymphatic system to slow its aging process.

Neurotype Inc (Business Operations): Researching and developing portable brain sensing tools to support the recovery of people who struggle with substance use disorders.

Nightware Inc (SBIR/STTR): Prescription digital therapeutic system for the reduction of sleep disturbance related to nightmare disorder or nightmares from post-traumatic stress disorder.

NovoClade Inc (SBIR/STTR): Working to bring chemical-free environmentally friendly insect control to market.

Nucleic Sensing Systems LLC (SBIR/STTR): Developing technology for the autonomous detection and verification of biological organisms.

Parkpoolr LLC (Business Operations): Offering modern parking management including property management, advertising, payment collection and more.

REMastered Sleep LLC: (Business Operations  and SBIR/STTR) Myofunctional therapy water bottle providing a simple solution to improve airway health and get better sleep.

Sasya Inc (SBIR/STTR): Developing low-cost, high-performing feed additives for the swine feed market.

Sarcio Inc (Business Operations): Developing an osteoarthritis regenerative cell therapy.

Shape Medical Systems Inc (SBIR/STTR): Validating new methods developed by Shape to detect early-stage pulmonary arterial hypertension.

SIID Technologies LLC (Business Operations): Applies principles of machine learning and data science to develop SaaS software products that mitigate algorithmic bias within legal practices.

Superior Nano LLC (SBIR/STTR): Developing nano-dosage forms of drug molecules and nano-drug delivery technology.

TearRestore Inc (Business Operations): At-home device replacing in-office treatment for dry eye sufferers.

Teqnizan Inc (Business Operations): Offers a patented music earring that connects to Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Tiumed LLC (Business Operations): Creating an electro-surgical device targeting benign prostatic hyperplasia surgeries.

TriOxLLC (Business Operations): Developing an at-home appliance that sterilizers a prosthetic sleeve.

TurnSignl Inc (Business Operations): On-demand legal guidance from an attorney to drivers.

 Weathervane Labs LLC (SBIR/STTR): App with personalized weather insights.

Visit LaunchMinnesota.org or the Launch Minnesota grants section of the DEED website to learn more about grant opportunities, see a listing of grant recipients and access application materials.