Award Will Boost Innovative Blockchain Companies in the Region
First Grant from New Commonwealth Program to Boost Tech Ecosystems Statewide
QUINCY, MASS. – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $1,961,375 grant to Quincy’s QUBIC Labs, an incubator that will work with startups and entrepreneurs interested in building blockchain apps, technologies that hold the potential to transform innovation-focused sectors including finance, healthcare, insurance, supply chain, and government. The grant is the first award made under the Commonwealth’s Technology & Innovation Ecosystem Awards program, a funding initiative launched earlier this year to provide capital support to innovative projects statewide.
The award will support infrastructure investments at QUBIC that will provide startups with access to hardware and custom software development tool kits developed by Boston-based Algorand. QUBIC will work with Algorand and other partners to develop the platform, helping grow transformative blockchain companies from early-stage research to scaling their business, helping contribute toward job creation in the Quincy-area and beyond. Blockchain was highlighted in the Baker-Polito Administration’s 2020 economic development bill joining other areas where Massachusetts can grow tech and innovation jobs, including robotics, fintech, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.
“We are pleased that this investment will bring new entrepreneurs and innovative companies to Quincy, adding to the existing community of tech startups and talented workers that call the city home,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “QUBIC’s track record of supporting startups, matched with Algorand’s technology expertise, will help these businesses grow and we look forward to their future success.”
“The Commonwealth’s continued investments across the state in research and development have provided access to cutting-edge infrastructure to help support small businesses and startups as they grow and develop,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Today’s award to QUBIC will help create a pipeline of talent, bringing entrepreneurs to Quincy who will utilize this blockchain-specific infrastructure to build and refine their business plans.”
“Massachusetts has a real opportunity when it comes to blockchain, given our broad base of talent in computer science, finance, health care, and beyond,” said Secretary Mike Kennealy. “We’ve launched specific efforts and investments to address key innovation sectors we identified in 2020, making investments to boost quantum computing, AI, and robotics. We’re excited to make this new investment in blockchain and eager to see how the project will help supercharge a growing industry in the Commonwealth.”
The Commonwealth’s grant from the Technology & Innovation Ecosystem Awards program will support an overall $4.5 million, three-year project. Funding will enable QUBIC to create an interface with the Algorand blockchain, a leading development platform that supports smart contracts and is carbon neutral. QUBIC’s background supporting businesses in financial, government, and civic technologies will be supported by a consortium of tech, capital, legal, real estate, and data analytics companies that are committed to advancing blockchain development and innovation.
“The Commonwealth’s investment is a clear and necessary indicator for the blockchain industry that Massachusetts intends to be supportive of this emerging sector,” said QUBIC Labs co-founders Ian Cain and John O’Keeffe in a joint statement. “There is tremendous excitement, optimism, and enthusiasm across the industry, and now is the time for Massachusetts to use its natural competitive advantages of talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and capital to make even greater contributions in blockchain technology and development. QUBIC Labs is humbled and proud to serve as a steward of this foundational investment that will yield great economic outcomes and technological advancements for the Commonwealth.”
The objective of the Technology & Innovation Ecosystem program is to advance technology and innovation sector projects or initiatives that will contribute to a competitive advantage for existing and emerging industry clusters in Massachusetts, helping drive job growth, business expansion, workforce development, and the development of new tech and innovation firms. The program is funded through the Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund (Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 40J, Sec. 4G) and was officially launched in late February 2022.
“In our reviews of these proposals and in the feedback from our advisory board, the opportunity to grow a regional hub for blockchain development was the key opportunity we identified,” said Pat Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech. “The partnership of organizations from around the region and the ability to quickly boost emerging startups in the near-term was also a positive. Unlike some R&D investments, which take years to build and take effect, with our investment in Quincy there’s real potential here to grow companies and jobs that will harness the global opportunity around blockchain.”
Under the proposal, the creation of a regional hub for blockchain technology and development for the Commonwealth identified potential near-term economic benefits that will grow from the investment, including the creation of 10 to 15 new companies and between 40 to 60 full-time employees, helping to address the economic impacts from the COVID-19 global health crisis in Quincy and the wider region.
“This grant is a great testament to Baker-Polito’s Administration’s commitment to energizing our innovation economy across the Commonwealth,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. “I’m incredibly proud of the work QUBIC Labs has done right here in Quincy in just a very short time, and this award is a firm recognition of its potential to grow, create good jobs, and make Quincy a hub for the tech economy in the years ahead.”
“As Speaker, I’m always proud of the tangible impact that the Legislature’s economic development appropriations have on the communities that we serve,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano. “It’s our responsibility as elected officials to invest in industries and technologies that will drive future economic growth, and I’m thrilled that my home city of Quincy will continue to serve as a hub for this critical innovation.”
“I am pleased that a business that has not only thrived in Quincy, but has expanded its capabilities to support businesses elsewhere has received recognition for its efforts,” said State Senator John F. Keenan. “I thank the employees of QUIBIC Labs for all their hard work and MassTech for its vital support of companies like QUBIC around the Commonwealth.”
"The Tech and Innovation grant shows the Commonwealth's continued commitment to innovation, advancement of technology, and job growth,” said State Representative Tackey Chan. “This investment in forward-thinking technologies has the potential to impact a wide range of sectors including government and healthcare. QUBIC Labs will be central in moving us into a technologically advanced future."
“Congratulations to the recipients of the Technology & Innovation Ecosystem Grant,” said State Senator Barry R. Finegold, Chair of the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity. “This program will bring together blockchain-focused startups, institutions, and businesses to further strengthen the Commonwealth’s technology ecosystem. A thriving ecosystem helps Massachusetts's innovative economy, and I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their efforts to keep our state ahead of the curve in emerging technologies.”
“We have the infrastructure and tools to foster a vibrant blockchain ecosystem here in Massachusetts. With this grant, QUIBIC, Algorand and their partners can continue to foster innovation in the blockchain space,” said State Representative Josh S. Cutler, co-chair of the House Blockchain Caucus. “As Co-chair of the House Blockchain Caucus, I am pleased to see this commitment from the state and our partners to help grow blockchain technology and its workforce.”
“I’m thrilled that QUBIC Labs has received a MassTech Collaborative state grant to support the blockchain technology ecosystem in Massachusetts,” said State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian, co-chair of the House Blockchain Caucus. “I’ve been pleased to work with MassTech, QUBIC Labs, and Algorand on my priority legislation to establish a special state commission on blockchain and cryptocurrency. In our innovation economy, blockchain has significant potential for economic and workforce returns and for improving the functions of government. This grant provides an exciting opportunity to help demonstrate this potential.”
In 2020, the Innovation Institute at MassTech funded a blockchain education series for government innovators, which launched three sessions that provided a high-level technical overview, covered the real-life applications of blockchain by governments around the world, and outlined how to identify new blockchain opportunities to help streamline government processes, create efficiencies, and generate new jobs. The sessions were supported by a $30,000 state grant and were run by Media Shower, a Boston-based media and communications company that worked closely with the Boston Blockchain Association, a community of innovators, collaborators, and entrepreneurs that are working to establish Greater Boston as an international blockchain hub.
Organizations interested in applying to the Technology & Innovation Ecosystem Awards program can learn more here.
About the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
The MassTech Collaborative is a quasi-public economic development agency that strengthens the competitiveness of the tech and innovation economy by driving strategic investments, partnerships, and insights that harness the talent of Massachusetts. The Innovation Institute is the division of MassTech that advances its core mission of innovation and cluster growth across the Commonwealth. Created in 2003, the Innovation Institute intervenes in the economy in the following four ways:
- Conducts research and analysis that improves the state’s understandings of unmet needs and opportunities in the innovation economy;
- Serves as convener and key strategic broker on the landscape;
- Manages high-value projects on behalf of the Commonwealth; and
- Makes strategic investments in support of innovation-based economic development.
For more information, visit https://innovation.masstech.org/.