The Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator Announces 2021 Class

Sep 14, 2021

The Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator today announced its inaugural cohort of 10 early-stage companies that will spend the next 13 weeks in Portland, Maine, working with mentors and Roux Institute faculty to build their businesses. 

The new accelerator, a collaboration between Techstars and the Roux Institute at Northeastern University, selected early-stage companies that are building products and solutions in areas that will revolutionize how we live and work, including artificial intelligence, life sciences, and data and analytics. 

Companies in the inaugural cohort hail from Chile to Seattle, as well as Maine, and were selected in a competitive process from a field of hundreds of founding teams that applied.

“We’re excited to welcome these founders to Portland,“ said Lars Perkins, Managing Director for the Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator. “We looked for founding teams that are pursuing big opportunities and who would benefit from the talent that the Roux Institute, Techstars, and the wider Portland startup community can offer.”

During the next 13 weeks, the companies’ founding teams will work out of the Roux Institute’s waterfront campus and have access to Techstars’ extensive mentor network, as well as faculty, researchers, and mentors from the Roux Institute, as they refine their business models, craft their pitches, and network with other entrepreneurs and potential investors. The program will culminate on Dec. 9, 2021, with a Demo Day, where the founders will pitch their businesses to an audience (an in-person event will be held if feasible) of community members, mentors, and potential investors.

"We are excited to be in Portland and working alongside so many talented entrepreneurs that have also joined the accelerator, as well as the Techstars mentors and Roux faculty," said Leslie Hyman, CEO of Circa, a Connecticut-based company reinventing how people pay rent. "Ever since applying to the accelerator I've been scoping out Portland's startup community and can't wait to harness some of its energy as we grow our company."

The Roux Institute at Northeastern University, a new innovation hub devoted to deepening and expanding the digital economy of Maine, in February announced it was partnering with Techstars to launch an accelerator at its Portland campus to help startups grow their businesses, attract investors, build partnerships, and ultimately strengthen the regional economy. The Portland accelerator is one of more than two dozen that Techstars operates around the globe, and only the second in New England after the Boston accelerator.

“This collaboration with Techstars is another way the Roux Institute realized it could provide tremendous value to the local community,” said Chris Wolfel, the Roux Institute’s Director of Entrepreneurship. “Our goal is that these companies build a deeper relationship with the state, the Roux Institute, and Northeastern, and they keep a portion of their team here. At the end of the program, we look forward to having 10 more companies that are huge fans of Maine.”

Techstars in April hired Perkins, a technology industry veteran and former Google executive, to lead the accelerator program. He has since relocated to Portland and brings with him an extensive network of experienced entrepreneurs, many of whom, like Rich Miner, founder of Android, and Andy Palmer, CEO of Cambridge-based Tamr, are serving as mentors to the accelerator’s companies. The roster of mentors also includes several local business leaders, including Tate Ficker of Unum Ventures and Julia Trotman Brady, a partner at Valo Ventures. 

“There is a remarkable amount of local talent in the Portland ecosystem and the Roux Institute has done a good job of bringing us all together to assist these companies,” said Trotman Brady, who led strategy development at The VIA Agency before joining a venture capital firm. “I'm impressed with the calibre of the founding teams accepted into the accelerator and am looking forward to meeting them, introducing them to Portland, and helping them scale their businesses.”

Portland has emerged as one of New England’s most promising startup hubs. Founders are finding success starting and scaling their companies here, and outside investors are beginning to take notice. Venture capital firms such as Bessemer Venture Partners; Lowercarbon Capital; San Francisco-based Yes VC; Underscore VC and Founder Collective, both based in Boston; and New York Venture Partners have all recently invested in Maine-based startups. 

“Our community has grown significantly over the past several years and people around the country are beginning to take notice,” said Katie Shorey, president of Startup Maine, a nonprofit organization that supports local founders and early-stage companies. “The Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator is sure to attract even more attention to the state and our startup community, and we’re happy to support Lars and the team as they host their inaugural cohort.”

The accelerator’s Demo Day is currently scheduled for Dec. 9, 2021. 

Here are the members of The Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator’s inaugural 2021 cohort:

Attention Exchange, Inc.

A lean research platform that helps brands get honest feedback from real people so that they can make better decisions. integrates healthy habits into screen interactions via its patented browser extension.


Circa is reinventing rent using a powerful mix of payment flexibility, credit reporting, communications, arrears planning, and more.

Eskuad, Inc.

Eskuad simplifies teamwork for field operators by democratizing business intelligence and AI tools.

Group B Labs

Group B Labs creates technology that simplifies childcare in a way that nurtures both parent and child.


ListedB is the online booking choice for beauty & wellness services.

MCSquared Health

MCSquared Health simplifies the medical billing process so patients and providers can focus on what's most important: care.

Omnic Data

Omnic uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract data and provide advanced statistical analysis to esports organizations in numerous ways, from player performance enhancement to predictive analytics for betting platforms.

Phase Zero

Phase Zero empowers clinical researchers with data capture tools to improve patient outcomes.


Wishroute is a SMS platform that increases user engagement and conversion through motivating human conversations.

About Techstars

Techstars is the most active pre-seed investor in the world having invested through its accelerators in more than 4,000 companies. Founded in 2006, Techstars believes that entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to invest in an unprecedented number of startups per year enabling more capital to flow to more entrepreneurs around the world. We do this by operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, as well as by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities.