March 19, 2018

Worcester incubators combining, raising $2M

Grant Welker
The Printers Building is home to an incubator space now jointly run by Action! Worcester and the Worcester CleanTech Incubator.

Two Worcester incubators, Action! Worcester and the Worcester CleanTech Incubator, are joining efforts, combing their spaces and kicking off a $2-million fundraising effort.

The two entities will share WCTI's existing 6,000-square-foot space on Portland Street, a block south of the Worcester Common. Action! Worcester had been running an incubator space, the Worcester Idea Lab, around the corner at 20 Franklin St.

WCTI and Action! Worcester will combine forces in a new building home to other startup related spaces. The Printers Building includes the 8,000-square-foot maker space Technocopia and will be home to ArtsWorcester, a group for local artists.

"The Printers Building is such an exciting opportunity," Joshua Croke, the executive director of Action! Worcester, said Monday of the building where WCTI and his group now share space. "This building's ecosystem is really exciting for us."

Croke said he expects many of the roughly 13 member companies and 38 individuals who were members of the Idea Lab to make the move to Portland Street. Action! Worcester moved into the space earlier this month. There are about 10 member companies at WCTI, including two battery technology companies, Battery Resources and Kinetic Batteries, and Embue, a maker of smart home technology.

Action! Worcester will combine its staff of two full-time and one-part time employees with WCTI's lone full-time employee, Joe Bush, its executive director. The entities will remain separate.

Bush said he's admired the work of Action! Worcester during the two years WCTI has operated nearby.

"This partnership creates a unified effort to drive innovative ecosystem in Worcester," he said.

The two entities will begin a fundraising effort to help cover operations. The goal is $2 million to cover the next three to five years, Croke said.

The Idea Lab is one of a few tenants, along with startup companies, of a building owned by the Worcester Business Development Corp.

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