University-based research at MIT, Harvard and other schools drives a large volume of patents in Massachusetts.
"We're also seeing an explosion of independent startups, many formed by graduates from these schools," said Greg Bialecki, the state's secretary of housing and economic development. Early in that trend was iRobot Corporation (; it made the Roomba vacuum cleaning robot, which was established in 1990 by MIT scientists. )
More recently, biopharmaceutical company AesRx received an Accelerator loan for $660,000 for its experimental drug to treat Sickle Cell disease. And Harvest Automation is developing a category of robots designed for agricultural work.
In a lousy economy, startup ideas can be found in surprising places. We asked Thumbtack.com which opportunities are drawing the most interest from entrepreneurs and their customers.