SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

January 2, 2013

Helping startups find success

North Shore InnoVentures provides more than just lab and office space

BEVERLY — Early stage life sciences and “cleantech” companies that are part of the nonprofit business incubator North Shore InnoVentures are benefiting not only from reduced rates for lab and office space, but from the advice and networking it offers.

“To be successful, you can’t do it yourself,” said AdvaStim co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Barry Yomtov, whose medical device startup was one of the first to join North Shore InnoVentures.

“Networking is the biggest part,” said Martha Farmer, president and CEO of North Shore InnoVentures.

The high-tech incubator gives entrepreneurs the ability to rub elbows with CEOs from across disciplines who have dealt with similar problems in starting a company. It gives them advice on how to pitch to an investor, write a grant, protect intellectual property, get legal help or build an executive team.

“Working with mentors who are very strong, very experienced, ‘been there, done that,’ helps tremendously,” Farmer said.

Two years after North Shore InnoVentures settled into the Cummings Center, it has seen an explosion in the number of young companies it has incubated and graduated.

Seven are off doing business in the real world. In early December, it announced that four of its clients had “graduated and begun commercial operations,” allowing for three new cleantech and life sciences companies to move in, Farmer said.

All the companies that North Shore InnoVentures has worked with combined have attracted $26 million in equity investments, Farmer said. Another $22 million has come from grants from universities or governments to pay for such things as clinical trials.

One company, Atentiv of Cambridge, whose direct brain-to-computer interface is used to help provide a remedy for learning disorders, has raised approximately $12 million for clinical studies and development, Farmer said. The company doesn’t need office space in Beverly, but it takes advantage of the expertise that North Shore InnoVentures offers, she said.

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