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Underwater vehicle company plans to hire after closing a state loan

July 9, 2020 : Boston Business Journal, by Gintautas Dumcius

A company that designs and manufactures autonomous underwater vehicles hauled in a $1.3 million loan from MassDevelopment, a state economic development agency.

Dive Technologies Inc., which leases space in the Boston suburb of Quincy and Pittsfield’s Berkshire Innovation Center, plans to use the loan to hire 30 new full-time employees in both locations and buy equipment for manufacturing and testing.

The veteran-owned company, which currently has 12 employees, is also seeking to open a new manufacturing facility in Pittsfield in 2021. Dive Technologies says the vehicles are “low-cost” and can be “rapidly manufactured.”

Dive was founded in 2018 and focuses on developing autonomous underwater vehicles for commercial use. Its vehicles are aimed at serving oil and gas operators, offshore wind farms, the intelligence community and the military.

The loan helps “further our ability to quickly respond to market demands and grow Dive Technologies’ footprint in Massachusetts,” CEO Jerry Sgobbo, who previously served for 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, said in a statement.

Sgobbo has also worked for General Dynamics Mission Systems and Bluefin Robotics, according to his LinkedIn page.

The venture-backed company had its seed financing round led by Pittsfield’s Mill Town Capital, joined by Tanis Ventures, Cavalier Angels, and Virginia Tech Carilion Seed Fund, among others. The seed round closed in March 2020, and the total funds raised came to over $4 million, according to the company.

The company has also received backing from the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, the state’s Clean Energy Center, and the MassTech Collaborative, according to Sgobbo.

In June, the company announced it has built its first unmanned undersea vehicle platform, with at-sea testing scheduled to occur this summer.

MassDevelopment’s Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) loan, created in 2003, offers long-term venture debt at a low cost to early-stage tech companies. The agency has closed 60 loans and $89 million in guarantees through March 2020, according to MassDevelopment.

“Our Emerging Technology Fund offers innovative technology companies access to the capital they need to thrive in the Commonwealth,” Lauren Liss, MassDevelopment’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to offer loan financing to help Dive Technologies Inc. buy equipment and create jobs, both in Greater Boston and in Western Mass.