Posted by Bob Martin

Kay Aikin, Chief Executive Officer of Introspective Systems, joined us to talk about the state of entrepreneurship in Maine. Aikin pointed to a number of statistics to demonstrate her point that “tech-based startups support U.S. economic growth.”

Using her own company as an example, Aikin said that tech companies pay twice the national average in salaries and have a jobs multiplier of five. “Policy makers should focus on spurring high-growth technology-based startups,” she said.

But as she noted, the challenge for Maine is that the state ranks 37th in the country for tech-based jobs. New Hampshire sits at the number one position, with Massachusetts at number two. While the state has strong assets in the Maine Technology Institute, mentors, and Maine Angels, access to capital, a strong educational base, and venture capital backed accelerators are additional components for success that are lacking in Maine, but prevalent elsewhere. Pointing to the success of Vets First Choice, a startup backed by David Shaw that recently went public, Aikin said that there was no reason that Maine could not become more of a “startup state” to take advantage of its quality of life.

Aikin reviewed the high technology aspects of Introspective’s software platform and the sophisticated array of products it offers. “We solve the hardest enterprise problems by combining complexity and artificial intelligence,” she said. Introspective Systems was awarded a several million dollar grant to help the Department of Energy with its “Internet of Things” (IoT) software which is being used to develop a microgrid to manage energy. Isle au Haut has become a laboratory for Introspective where the company is using its fractal control software to create a microgrid that will help the island produce and store its own electrical energy using supercapacitor batteries. The project is designed to replace an aging cable system that is very expensive to operate and replace. The Introspective project will make the island’s electricity 45 percent less expensive. Had Isle au Haut not elected to work with Introspective, they faced a $1.5 million cost to replace their electrical cable which would have increased their electricity cost to 80 cents per kilowatt. With the new system, which includes renewable energy, the island can eventually reduce its costs to ten cents per kilowatt.


(Photo L-R: Justin Lamontagne, Kay Aikin and President John Curran.)