The first grant under Richardson’s Research Award Match Program has been awarded to FirstThen, a startup company focused on addressing attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder in children.

The grant award, worth up to $50,000, is the first during the economic development program’s pilot phase, according to a city news release.

Two-minute impact

City Manager Don Magner said the company will receive funds at two stages: after signing a one-year lease for coworking space in Richardson and after signing a four-year long-term lease for a more permanent location. FirstThen will also be required to have one full-time employee working in Richardson during the initial year and at least five for the subsequent four years to receive both $25,000 installments, he added.

“The city's partnership with [The University of Texas at Dallas] provides a fertile ground for these early-stage companies to come in and further their research and development,” Magner said.

To qualify for the RAMP, a company must also receive federal funding. FirstThen was previously awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant worth $273,184 from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The context

Founded in 2020 by husband and wife Amanda and David Schnetzer, FirstThen provides digital psychosocial training, coaching and intervention insights for pediatric patients and their families.

“FirstThen is thrilled to receive the first RAMP award,” FirstThen CEO Amanda Schnetzer said in the release. “We look forward to contributing to Richardson’s continued growth as a vibrant innovation community.”

In November, FirstThen was awarded more the than $273,000 in Phase I SBIR funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation aimed at helping the company design an app-based tool that uses artificial intelligence and large-language models combined with virtual coaching to broaden access to ADHD care.

Looking ahead

Magner said he is hopeful other programs will apply for funding during the pilot phase. City staff will also continue analyzing the program for areas of improvement and evaluate any potential changes that need to be made in the future.

“The RAMP program is all about finding those companies that have been vetted by others like the National Science Foundation, attracting them here to Richardson, providing an ecosystem in which they can find partners to further their research and development, hopefully commercialize that research, and then grow their businesses here,” Magner said.

Kevin Cummings contributed to this report.