Clynk, South Portland, Maine, has received a $22,500 one-year grant from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to commercialize investments made in its processing capacity, with the goal of increasing processing volume. The accelerator grant allows Clynk to better position itself to attract new bottle redemption states and partners within those states, according to the company. The technology used in its processing centers enables the company to target consumers within the 10 U.S. bottle bill states, or roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population.
Founded in 2006, Clynk is a bottle redemption service, using patented technology to process more than 900 million containers since its inception. Clynk says it offers a bag-drop system at retail that eliminates waiting in line, manual count and material separation and also reduces fraud. The company allows consumers to create a personal account, accumulate a balance and use funds at their discretion (for cash, groceries or electronic donations to local charities. The company currently operates in Hannaford Supermarkets in Maine and New York and has licensed technology in Oregon and in New Brunswick, California.
Clynk says it has doubled in size over the last two years and is poised to do so again. Enabled by a prior MTI Development Loan, it has instituted technology upgrades designed to improve capacity in advance of making a push for more volume.
Clayton Kyle, Clynk CEO, says “Since the early days of Clynk’s evolution, MTI has been a valuable partner, providing grants and loans that have been integral to our growth. Maine is lucky to have a resource like MTI.”
Through this expansion, Clynk says it will provide more Maine jobs and further encourage development of technical and operational skills at its South Portland headquarters. The company currently employees more than 100 processors, drivers and office personnel in South Portland. Customer acquisition outside of Maine will create advancement opportunities for Maine employees in the form of operations managerial roles, expert advisors to new locations, roving resources, additional customer service roles, and additions to sales, marketing and information technology (IT) functions all based in Maine.
MTI Accelerator Grants are intended for companies that have received development loan and/or federal R&D funding, including SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer), awards to support commercialization and business development capacity-building activities that are required to advance new technology to market. Eligible companies use these grant funds to support commercialization and business development (capacity) activities. Eligible project activities work to advance the new technology to market and to firmly establish or increase the scope and sustainability of the business enterprise. This MTI grant funding is intended to increase the competitiveness of the company by providing funds directed at products/services commercialization, business and management team development and company organization.