WATERVILLE — Dirigo Labs announced that 10 startup companies and one Research and Development Fellow were selected to participate in its second cohort launching in late January. The application process included an online application and virtual interviews.

The highly immersive 12-week program deploys a hybrid model of both virtual and in-person sessions. The topically relevant curriculum is tailored to meet the unique needs of the participating startups and will include adjacent Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programming for qualified founders. 

“This group of companies truly represent the diversity of Maine’s startup landscape, and we’re thrilled that two are attractions to the state from New York and Massachusetts respectively,” said Dirigo Labs Managing Director Susan Ruhlin. 

Dirigo Labs provides founders with a temporary board of advisors pulled from their ever-growing national mentor pool. “We found that the deep mentor connections and in-person evening sessions were the standout features of the program for our inaugural cohort,” stated Dirigo Labs Program Manager Emalee Couture. 

Jeremy Barron, who was previously a mentor, will join the Dirigo Labs team as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the upcoming cohort. Previously, Barron was the founder of 3PlayMedia, a Boston-based startup from which he had a successful exit. Since then, Jeremy has taught as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Colby, and participated as a mentor in the TechStars program in Portland. For Dirigo Labs, he will coach founders, share his startup experience, and help connect startups with the right resources to foster their growth.

The cohort companies were chosen based on founder experience, stage of development, scalability, and potential for funded research and development projects. The Dirigo Labs 2023 cohort companies are:

Against the Grain a closed-loop composting and analytics company that repurposes waste products from breweries, distilleries, and cideries, for animal feed.

Black Travel Maine an experiential travel and tour service curating group trips for Black visitors to Maine using its proprietary booking platform.

Croft manufactures compact, prefabricated buildings using 100% bio-based materials that capture up to 60X more carbon than it takes to produce them.

FarmDrop an online network of farmer’s markets providing access to quality local food with convenient community pickup and delivery.

Home Grown Fuels is developing renewable energy facilities for Biochar, Graphene, Renewable Diesel, and Wood Vinegar for a cleaner energy future.

I-Tell Alert a medical device company developing a smart sensor for walkers to achieve better outcomes for seniors. 

Move Free a premiere New England running and outdoor brand with a social impact mission.

ReMo a web-based platform that helps students engage with books they love and allows educators to focus on instilling a life-long love of reading.

Real-Time Reality (R&D Fellow) is developing world-class custom VR experiences for enterprise and government clients to provide soft-skill training for a variety of industries.

SledTRX a statewide, interactive snowmobile map application enabling riders to explore new areas, plan trips and find destination points along the way.



Tardigrade Industries a protective products company building near helmet-level fragmentation protection eyewear for military and police personnel.

Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville. With a mission to grow the greater Waterville area’s digital economy by supporting entrepreneurs building innovation-based companies, the Dirigo Labs ecosystem brings together people, resources, and organizations to ensure the successful launch of new startups. Dirigo Labs operates under Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions, and investment firms. To learn more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org.