“Ready or Not,” Greentown Labs Startups to Move In This Week, With $75K for Retooling Boston Space

4/25/11Follow @xconomy

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wind turbines that are low-cost and operate higher off the ground to take advantage of stronger winds. AirVentions, a developer of collision avoidance systems for aircraft support equipment at airports, is not exactly cleantech, but it worked at the Cambridge space with the others and is thus grandfathered into Greentown, says Pitts. About 32 people in total will be working out of Greentown as it kicks off in the next month or so, but the space has room for between 50 and 55, Hanna says.

Greentown has raised about $75,000 in cash and in-kind services as a nonprofit, from sponsors Turnstone (the office furniture maker), green architectural firm Map-Lab, social development firm Invested Development, and the law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, Hanna says. The money will go toward renovations and getting the incubator off the ground, and not to subsidizing rent costs, Hanna says. Greentown will be running on a tiered sponsorship model, with what it calls megawatt, gigawatt, and terawatt sponsors.

“As this city recognizes Greentown, we want to turn this into a showcase,” says Hanna. “We’d really like to co-brand with some of these companies.”

The nonprofit is targeting a total of $350,000 to re-outfit the Summer Street space. Once renovations are complete, Greentown hopes that the money it raises as a nonprofit will go to hiring administrative staff to keep the space running, so the founder entrepreneurs can get back to their other jobs of, well, getting their products to market, Hanna says.

The move of the Greentown companies marks another shift of innovative Cambridge startups to Boston’s’ waterfront, but Hanna says the “city [of Cambridge] made their best effort” to help the cleantech companies find a new home. The abundance of Boston space was a draw, and it’s cheaper to fix, he says. “It’s not really a competition; when one wins, both win,” he says of the Cambridge-Boston dynamic. “Ideally, we’ll pull people from all over the region and outside the region. What can we do to strengthen the whole cluster?”

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