Message from the vtTA
Wrapping up the Tech Conference and Legislative Updates

We hosted our first virtual VTTA Tech Conference at the beginning of the month, featuring a dozen speakers and topics. Thank you to all those who attended, participated and made the event a success.

Attendees can view a replay of the presentations until April 3 here. We also hope to share many of the presentations later on our website.

The event was made possible thanks to the generous lead support from FirstLight Fiber, and many other sponsors and Job Fair participants, including Applied Research Associates, Bluehouse Group, C2, DealerPolicy, DominionTech, Faraday, OnLogic, ThinkMD, People’s United Bank, and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and VTTA’s annual member/sponsors, which we list at the end of this and every newsletter.


The Vermont Legislature is about at the half-way point for the session. Here are a few areas of note for the tech community and where the VTTA has been involved:

Cloud Computing Tax
We testified before the House Ways and Means Committee last month in opposition to bill H.261, which would apply the Vermont sales tax to vendor-hosted prewritten software, or software as a service (SaaS), commonly known as the “cloud tax.” I discussed the main concerns that were also outlined in this letter submitted to the committee, signed by the VTTA and other organizations and business owners, on the negative impact of this tax:

  • On the many Vermont businesses that use and depend on software services.
  • On the Vermont tech businesses that depend on software-as-a service and develop and sell software-as a service
  • On the businesses that are struggling to recover from the impacts of the pandemic
  • On Vermont’s reputation as a state that is friendly to tech businesses and remote workers.

The House Committee on Energy and Technology approved H.360, a bill intended to accelerate the work of Communication Union Districts to expand broadband in Vermont and create the Vermont Community Broadband Authority. The goal is to bring service to the last mile by having the districts partner with incumbent providers and utility distribution systems. There also is expected to be funding projected to be as much as $113 million that will come to the state from the federal stimulus bill for broadband expansion.

Economic Development Bill
the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development approved H.159, the omnibus economic development bill. Among a number of provisions, the bill includes $1 million in funding for the Vermont Entrepreneurs’ Seed Capital Fund and $1 million for technology-based economic development. 

The seed fund would provide risk stage seed capital to Vermont businesses that have experienced economic disruption either through reduced business, new business formation, or through an unmanageable increase in new business due to the COVID-19 crisis. The VTTA sent a letter to the committee expressing support for recapitalization of this fund.

The economic technology development funding includes:
  • Matching grants and technical support for companies applying for federal small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer (STTR) grants.
  • Grants for Vermont companies to purchase services and technical assistance from universities and research institutions, including R & D assistance, technology assessments, product prototyping, lab validation, and overcoming development hurdles.
  • A pass-through grant to UVM’s Office of Engagement to leverage the research services and data science capabilities of the University.

Vermont Relocation Incentive Program
The Senate Economic Development Committee is developing S.62, which creates at $1 million in new funding to provide grants to those who relocate to Vermont. A relocating employee may be eligible for a base grant up to $5,000 under the program for qualifying expenses. An enhanced grant may be awarded up to $7,500.00, for a relocating employee who moves to a Vermont community with a higher unemployment rate or lower average annual wage.

If you have a question or perspective on these or other issues, please reach out to If you believe in the work we are doing on behalf of Vermont’s tech community, whether it’s events like the Tech Conference, advocacy work or other outreach, then please consider joining Vermont Technology Alliance.

Jeff Couture
Executive Director
Vermont Technology Alliance

Upcoming Events
VCET Lunch & Learn: Positive Effects of Disruption - A conversation with Ethan Bechtel
(March 18, 2021)
Join VCET Vice President Sam Roach-Gerber as she chats with Ethan Bechtel, founder and CEO of OhMD, about the positive effects of disruption, thrivers guilt, and how paying it forward can actually be a wise business decision.
Read more here.
Microorganisms for Macro-Impact: Rethinking Agricultural ‘Waste'
(March 18, 2021)
The Vermont Biosciences Alliance is hosting an online talk, Microorganisms for Macro-Impact: Rethinking Agricultural ‘Waste', by Full Circle Microbes, which has developed a first-of-its-kind, proprietary co-culture of bacteria and fungi designed for sustainability and optimized for hemp.
Find more and register here.
VMEC Forum: Got COVID-19 fatigue in your workplace? We can help!
(March 23, 2021)
This free, hour-long forum presented by VMEC will look at how three Vermont-based manufacturing leaders have actively and continuously stayed connected to their employees. This includes making significant adjustments to everyday life in their work environments, supporting local eating establishments, giving credit for well-being initiatives, donating to local charities, and ongoing employee communications.
Find more and register here.
See Change Session on SNW
(March 24-25, 2021)
Hula presents a See Change Session focused on climate change through the lens of the winter mountain sports ecosystem. Tune-in to discover fresh content and connect with a network of founders, investors, scientists, artists, activists and climate-curious entrepreneurs.

Read more here.
Day in the Life: Digital Marketing
(March 25, 2021)
The Black River Innovation Campus in Springfield presents a free webinar featuring local digital marketing professionals discussing their journeys in Vermont working as freelancers, creative directors, and graphic designers.
Read more here.
VCET Lunch & Learn: Exploring Employee Ownership Models
(April 1, 2021)
In this session, Matt Cropp of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center will provide an overview of common, broad-based employee ownership models, how an exit to employee ownership works, and the strategies founders can employ
pre-exit to build a strong foundation for an ownership culture.
Read more here.
Featured Member – Mamava
Mamava, the leading expert in lactation space design, is dedicated to transforming the culture of breastfeeding in the United States by providing flexible lactation space solutions designed to meet the needs of breastfeeding families.

Mamava pods are linked into a proprietary smart technology system that empowers easy wayfinding and autonomous access. Moms can open them with Mamava’s free app (available for iOS and Android). The app also allows moms to see availability of pods, opt into vacancy alerts, adjust interior lighting and airflow, and leave digital notes of support for the next person. Best of all, the app helps moms find thousands of (Mamava-vetted) places to pump on the go —not just Mamava pods, and never a bathroom. To learn more, visit Mamava at, and follow Mamava on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Vermont Technology News
Vermont Electric Co-op and Green Mountain Power Announce New Broadband Deployment Program
(March 15, 2021 – GMP/VEC)

Vermont Electric Co-op and Green Mountain Power each launched a Broadband Deployment Program to help more Vermonters in some of the hardest-to-reach corners of Vermont get connected to broadband quickly and cost-effectively.

The plans, approved by the Vermont Public Utility Commission, lower the cost for broadband providers to connect the hardest-to-serve customers by offering up to $2,000 per unserved location for infrastructure connection costs. The program aims to create greater equity for customers to access the economic, educational and social benefits that come with connectivity, including the ability to choose innovative energy services that rely on broadband availability. If broadband companies fully enroll for the discounts, more than 10,000 customers who currently do not have broadband could be connected by the end of next year.

Read more here.
Testing of New Bosch Auto Radar Chips Will Take Place at GlobalFoundries VT Facility
(March 9, 2021 – Vermont Business Magazine)

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries and Bosch will partner to develop and manufacture next-generation automotive radar technology. The chip manufacturing will be undertaken in Germany and the testing will then be conducted in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Bosch chose GF as its partner to develop a mmWave automotive radar system-on-chip (SoC) for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) applications. ADAS applications help drivers stay safe by keeping a vehicle in the correct lane, warning of collisions, initiating emergency braking, assisting with parking, and more.

Read more here.
Burlington and South Burlington Rank High in Listing of “Happiest Cities in America" (March 8, 2021- WalletHub)

South Burlington, VT ranked # 6 and Burlington, VT # 5 in WalletHub’s ranking of the “Happiest Cities in America.” Of the three major categories assessed, Burlington ranked #1 in the report’s “Income and Employment” category and South Burlington ranked #8 for “Emotional and Physical Well-Being.” In further break-outs, South Burlington topped the category for “Highest Adequate-Sleep Rate,” and Burlington aced the “Fewest Work Hours” Category.

Read more here.
Park Burlington Launches New Interactive Parking Map in Partnership with Burlington Code Academy
(March 5, 2021- Burlington Business Association)

Park Burlington, a public-private partnership between the Burlington Business Association and the Department of Public Works, announced the release of a new interactive parking map covering downtown Burlington. The map was created by Lauren Grimley, Lee Peters, Jon Russell, and Michael Muzzy, as a capstone project at Burlington Code Academy. The interactive map shows over 7,500 publicly-accessible parking spaces in downtown Burlington. Prices range from less than a $1 for many on-street spaces to about $1 per hour at municipal lots and garages and $4 per hour at privately-owned facilities.

Read more here.

NRG Systems Opens North America's Service & Support Center for ZX Lidars
(March 3, 2021 – Vermont Business Magazine)

NRG Systems, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of smart technologies for a range of wind, solar, and meteorological applications, announced the opening of North America’s ZX Lidars service and support center at its headquarters in Vermont. NRG Systems introduced the UK-based Lidar OEM’s technology to North America in 2019, expanding distribution of ZX remote sensors to the global wind market through its Value-Added Reseller network less than a year later. Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

Read more here.
MBF Bioscience acquires Vidrio Technologies
(March 2, 2021 – Vermont Business Magazine)

MBF Bioscience, a leading provider of bioscience image analysis tools based in Williston, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Vidrio Technologies. Based in Ashburn, VA, Vidrio is a fast-growing provider of software and hardware components for laser scanning and two photon microscopes.

Read more here.
Virus in Vermont: Remote Work Explodes as Many Businesses Shut Down Offices
(March 1, 2021 – VTDigger)

A University of Vermont survey of 610 Vermonters conducted last May found that the majority of them would like to continue to work remotely after the pandemic is over, at least part-time. Many said they would like their employers to do more to support permanent remote work.
The employees VTDigger interviewed — at least, those who aren’t responsible for child care — said they love the flexibility and control of their workday, the lack of commuting and the quiet of their own office.
But many said they don’t know whether or how their employers will support remote work later on, leaving the future of working from home in doubt.

Read more here.
Virtual Venture Capital Deals are Shaping Vermont’s Startup Scene
(February 15, 2021 – VTDigger)

Last year’s forced transition to remote work and virtual meetings has altered how venture capital deals are done, and that might bode well for Vermont’s investment environment, a leader of the state’s largest venture capital firm said at a forum last month.

Vermont’s a small market with a correspondingly modest investment community, and entrepreneurs looking for $5 million in capital or more have typically needed to go outside of the state.

Working with out-of-state investors has become considerably easier now that people have become accustomed to communicating virtually, said Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital, at a Zoom event last month put on by the Vermont Community Foundation.

Read more here.

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 members: New members include individuals David Denu (Tek5 Systems) and Michael Inners (patent attorney),
Renewing members: Renewing members include VIP; and individuals Sergei Seyduk (Red Leaf Software) and Stan Ward (Inventory Technology Partners).

Not a vtTA member yet? Then why not join now? Find more information here, or sign up at our new member registration page here. You can also contact us at
Useful Information & Links
Comcast Offering Internet Support for Community Centers.
Comcast NBCUniversal recently launched a nationwide initiative called ‘Lift Zones’, whereby it is partnering with non-profit community centers throughout its footprint to establish an Internet connection at the facility. The goal is to further enhance the network capacity at these locations, so they are better equipped to serve their clients, students and others who are coming into the facility to access the Internet for remote learning and work, as well as healthcare information, job searches, and many other online resources. There is no cost for installation or a monthly service charge to the Lift Zone participant.

Some of the requirements to be a Lift Zone are:
  • The facility must be in a community that Comcast serves and where Comcast can easily install the service.
  • This WiFi connection with Comcast will be in addition to other Internet services you may already subscribe to; however, it is not required that you currently be a Comcast customer.
  • Minimum insurance, personnel, and safety requirements

If you or another organization you know of, would like to participate in this program, please email Jessica Forrest for more information and next steps. 

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 has 100+ tech and non-tech jobs with Vermont Technology Alliance member businesses and organizations. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
For more, visit the Career Center.
Are you looking for business services, meet-up groups, government information or funding sources? Find this and more at vtTA’s Resources page, including services provided by vtTA member businesses.

Find the resources page here.
The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors
Leadership Sponsors:

Partner Sponsors: