Message from the vtTA
The 2020 session of the Legislature has begun, and the vtTA has been taking steps to best represent the interests of our members and the broader Vermont technology community at the statehouse.

The vtTA has engaged with Leonine Public Affairs to provide lobbying and government relations support for the Alliance and our members, in addition to the work by Executive Director Jeff Couture and Board Member Mark Heyman.

To ensure the continuity and success of this effort, we will be reaching out to members about being part of a core group of member sponsors for this policy initiative. If you recognize the value of this representation and advocacy, and are interested in learning more about the opportunity to support and engage in vtTA’s public policy efforts, contact Jeff Couture, .

Here are a few issues we’re watching and working on:

  • Cloud/Software as a Service Tax: The House Ways & Means Committee is again looking at taxing Software as a Service, commonly referred to as the “Cloud Tax.” The committee received an overview of the proposed tax here.  And a bill, H.756, to add the sales tax has been introduced by Rep. Mike Yantachka of Charlotte. The vtTA will testify in opposition to this tax. We would like to hear from you if this tax on “prewritten software” affects your business and the software and services you sell, or if it impacts the SaaS you buy and depend on, and the potential cost impact to your business. Please send any information to

  • Non-Compete Bill: The House Commerce Committee is considering bill H.1, designed to ban non-compete agreements. Most in the Vermont tech community do not rely on non-compete agreements, but there are some instances where these agreements are used, especially during start-up and early growth stages, or where there are unique skills involved. While we support an effort to prevent the abuse of non-competition agreements, an outright ban or the inclusion of overly strict limits could present problems for companies that use them appropriately. The vtTA has been working in cooperation with other groups on a more balanced, alternative proposal to address the concerns this bill seeks to address.

  • Auto-renewal Bill: The vtTA supports an amendment to a law requiring “double opt-in” agreements on annual contracts that contain automatic renewal provisions, which could impact some Vermont and other tech businesses that use and depend on automatic contracts. A language "fix" the vtTA is supporting is part of the House's proposed amendment to S.110, a bill focused on data privacy and consumer protection. We would welcome feedback from our members and others as to how or if this auto-renewal bill has affected their business and the services they provide, or the auto-renewal contacts they use, such as for software and services. If you have any feedback or specific details on the impact or lack thereof, please email

  • Technology-Based Economic Development: The vtTA supports bill H.641, which proposes to expand Vermont economic Growth Incentive (VEGI) awards and "ThinkVermont Innovation Initiatives,” such as tech R&D grants and support that could benefit the tech sector and our membership. 

These are a few key highlights, but we will be monitoring a number of other bills and issues that could impact Vermont’s tech sector.

The vtTA also is looking forward to presenting a number of events and activities during the year.  Keep an eye on our calendar, this newsletter, and social media. As always, if you or your business are not a member, please consider joining. Register to be a member here .

Jeff Couture
Executive Director
Vermont Technology Alliance

Upcoming Events

Meetup - DevOps: AWS Cloud Computing Open Forum
(January 22, 2020 – Main Street Landing, Burlington)
This meetup features a brief presentation by Dan Eyer, founder of Green Mountain Cloud, on cloud computing, followed by a discussion of services and resources in Amazon Web Services.
Read more here .

Vermont Economic Conference
 (January 23, 2010 – Doubletree Hilton, Burlington)
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce presents its annual Vermont Economic Conference, featuring speakers providing national, global and state perspectives on economic trends impacting the year ahead.
Read more here .

JumpStart: How to Customer Fund Your Business
(January 28, 2020 – Generator, Burlington)
In this first session of Generator’s JumpStart series, entrepreneur Steve Arms will discuss how he built MicroStrain without taking outside capital by developing partnerships with customers, and how to utilize available components to keep costs down.
Read more here .

Investor Meetup at BRIC
(January 28, 2020 – Black River Innovation Campus, Springfield)
New and veteran investors are invited to participate in this networking and discussion at the Black River Campus, focused on Springfield’s growing tech ecosystem.
Read more here .
JumpStart: How to Manage the Modern Startup
(February 4, 2020 – Generator, Burlington)
Byron Batres will discuss the tools and tactics he uses to keep
EZ-Probate running smoothly, while he builds products and adds customers and staff.
Read more here .

Website Design Workshop With Indelible at BRIC
(February 5, 2020 – Black River Innovation Campus, Springfield)
The Black River Innovation Campus hosts Indelible, a Springfield, Vermont-based web designer, for the first workshop in a series of evenings designed to engage and educate entrepreneurs.

Read more here .
Pitch Night at BRIC
(February 11, 2020 – Black River Innovation Campus, Springfield)
Pitch nights at the Black River Innovation Campus are designed to give entrepreneurs and business owners an opportunity to receive feedback on their technology, digital or web-enabled business and product ideas.
Read more here.

Rutland Event - Basics of Search Engine Optimization
(February 12, 2020 – CTCI, Rutland)
CTCI in Rutland is hosting a free community luncheon and workshop on the basics of Search Engine Optimization.
Read more here .

Vermont Technology News
Vermont Tech Companies Named to Best Places to Work List
(January 16, 2020 – Vermont Business Magazine)

Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced the top 51 Best Places to Work in Vermont 2020.The list includes 16 technology and tech/digital/web-enabled Vermont businesses in small, medium and large business categories.

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Vermont, benefiting the state's economy, its workforce and businesses.

The final rankings for each category will be announced at a awards presentation on March 30.
Read more here.
VEDA Announces Over $9 Million in Financing, Including for Broadband and a Business Accelerator
(January 15, 2020 – VEDA)

The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) approved over $9 million in new financing for Vermont businesses and farms this past quarter, a $4 million increase in volume over the same quarter last year. The new financing includes continued investment in Vermont’s small business sector, the first approval for VEDA’s Broadband Expansion Loan Program, and an exciting new business accelerator project in the Northeast Kingdom.

Read more here .

Hula partners with LaunchVT to fuel growth of Vermont innovators
(January 14,2020 – Vermont Business Magazine)

Hula, a collaborative innovation campus on the shores of Lake Champlain, will partner with LaunchVT in a series of initiatives designed to identify, support and grow Vermont businesses. In 2020, Hula will host all LaunchVT events, including their flagship business accelerator program. The partnership will increase support for startups as they continue to grow after the program.

Read more here .

UVM and Tufts Team Builds the First Living Robots
(January 13, 2020 – UVM)

A team of scientists from UVM and Tufts University has repurposed living cells – scraped from frog embryos – and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. These millimeter-wide "xenobots" can move toward a target, perhaps pick up a payload (like a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific place inside a patient) – and heal themselves after being cut.

"These are novel living machines," says Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont who co-led the new research. "They're neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It's a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism."

The new creatures were designed on a supercomputer at UVM – and then assembled and tested by biologists at Tufts .

Read more here .

$1 Million Google Grant Will Support Open Source Software Research at UVM
(January 10, 2020 – UVM)

The Google Open Source Programs Office has provided the UVM Complex Systems Center a $1 million unrestricted gift to support open source research. The goal of the UVM project is to deepen understanding of how people, teams and organizations thrive in technology-rich settings, especially in open-source projects and communities.
Read more here .

Lawmakers Seeking to Limit Non-Compete Clauses
(January 10, 2020 – VTDigger)

Lawmakers are taking another run this year at a bill that would limit how much employers can control what their workers do when they leave for another job.

The House Commerce Committee took testimony on H.1 last year, seeking to balance the needs of workers who didn’t want to be unfairly restricted with those of business owners who didn’t want their trade secrets, customer lists or other property to be used by a competitor.
Several states are examining legislation to limit non-compete agreements. Workers have complained that the agreements effectively block them from seeking a new job in their area.

The Vermont Technology Alliance supports their use, said Jeff Couture, the group’s executive director. He said they’re not common among his group’s members. “However, there are some instances where these agreements are used and make sense, especially during start-up and early growth stages where there are unique skills involved,” Couture said. “While we support an effort to prevent the abuse of non-competition agreements, an outright ban could present problems for companies that use them appropriately.”

Read more here .

FreshTracks Capital Named Top VC in Vermont Investing in Tech
(January 9, 2020 – VTDigger)

CBInsights created a map listing the top venture capital firms investing in tech companies in each state, and selected vtTA member FreshTracks Capital for Vermont. The research firm says although startups based in California, New York, and Massachusetts have traditionally accounted for the majority of VC tech investment in the US, VCs are spurring other hotbeds of innovation across the country.

Read more here .

Despite Population Decline, Two Moving Companies Rank Vermont High as a Move-to Destination
(January 6, 2020 – Vermont Business Magazine)

Although the U.S. Census Bureau's recent population estimates show that Vermont has lost population, two moving companies report that Vermont ranks as a top relocation destination for its customers. After ranking Number 1 in moving in a United Van Lines survey, Vermont fell three spots to rank Number 10 in the U-Haul survey. Florida greeted the largest number of U-Haul moving trucks entering its borders versus exiting them. 

The United Van Lines migration report noted that Vermont had a large percentage of higher-income movers, which might account for the difference in the rankings with the do-it-yourself moving nature of U-Haul. In both surveys, Vermont was the top state in the Northeast for in-bound migration, which it also was last year.

Read more here .

Dozens Of Towns To Hold Town Meeting Votes On Forming Broadband Districts
(January 6, 2020 – Vermont Public Radio)

After lawmakers approved a bill last year that encourages towns to work together to expand broadband coverage, more than 35 municipalities are expected to vote to form communications union districts at town meeting in March.

Communications union districts, or CUDs, are municipal organizations, like a water district or a school district, that allow the groups to borrow money on the municipal bond market and apply for grants and loans that can help deliver fiber networks into underserved rural areas.

The broadband bill that Gov. Phil Scott signed in June created a new "Broadband Expansion Loan Program" to provide capital to start-up broadband providers. The bill also put more than $1 million into the "Connectivity Initiative," which provides grants to groups working to improve internet service

Read more here .

Broadband Expansion Via Utility Infrastructure Would Cost $300M
(January 6, 2020 – VTDigger)

Expanding high speed internet service to the state’s underserved areas would cost almost $300 million, according to a study that looked at whether electric companies could help fill the gap. The report found providing internet service to unconnected areas could be done more cost effectively if utilities partnered with existing internet service providers. The study was required as part of a package of broadband legislation passed last year.

Read more here .

Localvore Keeps the Faith in Vermont's Tech Future, Despite Struggles
(January 2,2020 – Burlington Free Press)

If, as co-founder Dan White expects, Localvore becomes Burlington's next unicorn — a term coined for privately held startups valued at more than $1 billion — it won't be labeled an overnight success.

White and Michael Nedell have been at it for seven years, persevering through ups and downs that included letting go of their entire staff of 12 and moving into a single room alongside other Burlington startups at Karma Bird House on Maple Street. 

In October, a third partner, Gage Griffing, and another of White's college friends, Devin Vander Schaaf, helped Localvore raise $1 million in seed capital, which included significant investments from Minnesota angels as well as Vermont investors.

Read more here .
New Program Offers Incentive to Relocate to Vermont for Tech and Other Jobs
(December 30, 2019)

Vermont tech and other businesses will have an additional incentive to help with their efforts to recruit employees to Vermont with the launch of the New Worker Relocation Grant Program January 1 2020.

The program offers new residents who move to Vermont to work full-time for a Vermont employer on or after January 1 an opportunity to receive reimbursement for relocation and job-related expenses of up to $5000 for those in Chittenden County and greater Barre-Montpelier area, or up to $7,500 if working in other areas of the state.

This new program is in addition to the Remote Worker Grant Program , which provides funding to help pay the relocation expanses of people who move to Vermont with full-time jobs with out-of-state businesses.

Both programs are supported by the Vermont Technology Alliance as a way to help draw the attention of tech professionals to the jobs, lifestyle and communities of Vermont.

Read more here .
Featured Member – Data Innovations

Data Innovations believes that when they enable clinical labs of every size to harness innovation and optimize performance across all disciplines, they empower them to focus on what matters most: their patients. Data Innovations’ leading solutions, world-class service, and support for an open ecosystem transform lab enterprise management.

Data Innovations has been the industry leader for more than 30 years.They are a global software company, serving 6,000+ hospitals and laboratories in 85+ countries.

For more information, visit

Vermont Technology Alliance Membership Update
The Vermont Technology Alliance works on behalf of its members and is able to carry out its mission through the support of its membership.
New business members include: Amazon .
New individual members include: Anne Bentley, Jim Bernegger, Jim Maffessant, Bruce Wheeler.
Renewing business members include: Creative Microsystems , FreshTracks Capital . NRG Systems .
Renewing Individual Members include: Andrea Kokolis, Richard Gliech
Join the Vermont Technology Alliance
Join the Vermont Technology Alliance and support and be part of our growing tech community. The Vermont Technology Alliance welcomes all businesses, organizations and individuals who make up and support Vermont's diverse, tech-based economy to join our non-profit business association. Members benefit from vtTA's advocacy, programs, events, communications, and services – including job postings in our Career Center – and networking and business opportunities. 
We are happy to tell you more about our organization – contact . You also can find more information here , or sign up today to be a new member here .

Useful Information & Links
Participate in Davis & Hodgdon Annual Vermont Business Economic Survey

Davis & Hodgdon has teamed up with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce to once again offer a 5-minute annual VT economic survey of small- to medium-sized businesses. Since launching this survey in 2013, they’ve been able to collect some valuable feedback from Vermont’s businesses, which is shared with state media and legislators.    
The survey is available until Monday, January 27. Find the link to the survey here:

If you copy and paste, or share the link, be sure that it ends with the word “start” as it does in the link. Once this link is clicked and opened in a browser it becomes its own unique url and cannot be shared. 

See the January 2019 survey results here .

Upcoming Workshops from VMEC

The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) is offering a number of workshops in February:

Fundamentals of Lean Office 101 , Tuesday, Feb. 11

Root Cause Analysis , Wednesday, Feb. 26

Essex High School STEM Academy Seeks Intern Hosts

The Essex High School STEM Academy is looking for businesses and organizations that are willing to host students for internships or job shadowing. The EHS STEM Academy supports students in grades 10 through 12 who are interested in building a strong foundation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) content areas. It provides its 135 students with the opportunity to explore connections across different disciplines through additional experiences such as lectures, field trips, internships, and projects.
If you are interested in hosting a student contact Lea Ann Smith , and identify:
  1. Organization
  2. Contact person
  3. A general description of the opportunity
Find more here .
vtTA Career Center
Vermont Technology Alliance member companies are hiring, and when you visit the Career Center  on the Vermont Technology Alliance website you can browse and search for these job openings and subscribe to updates. The Career Center on average features 150+ tech and non-tech jobs with Vermont Technology Alliance member businesses. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
For more, visit the Career Center .

The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors
Leadership Sponsors:
Sustaining Sponsor:
Partner Sponsors: