Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge winner gets funding boost from MassChallenge

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NORTH ADAMS A New York company that finished first in the Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge last winter is one of 12 firms that have been chosen to receive funding through the MassChallenge accelerator program.

United Aircraft Technologies Inc. of Troy, N.Y., is one of four startups that were awarded up to $50,000 in funding for being selected as gold-level winners in the competition. MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators that support high-potential startup companies from all industries anywhere in the world. MassChallenge, headquartered in the United States, has regional offices in Boston and Rhode Island.

In this competition, MassChallenge awarded more than $1 million to 12 startups through its 10th Boston accelerator and second Rhode Island accelerator programs. United Aircraft Technologies participated in the Boston program.

The company received the funding for developing a novel lightweight, smart fastener for aircraft that is designed to improve fuel economy and simplify maintenance. In February, United Aircraft Technologies' device received $25,000 for finishing first in the inaugural Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge that was conducted by North Adams-based business incubator Lever.

Daryian Rhysing, who developed the new part, was an an aircraft mechanic for 20 years and did two tours of duty with the Army in the Middle East. His company is developing a plastic clamp to replace a metal clamp on wiring harnesses on aircraft. The plastic clamps are one-fifth the weight of the metal ones and reduce the aircraft's weight by either hundreds or thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the craft. The clamps are used to harness the wires that run through an aircraft and keep them from tangling or breaking. Rhysing developed the clamp after enrolling at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. His wife, Evaguel, is the founder and CEO of United Aircraft Technologies.

More than 130 startups from five countries and 18 states participated in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island accelerator programs over a period of four months. All of the participants received access to expert mentorship, top corporate partners, co-working space and an evidence-based curriculum at no cost and zero equity.

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