How MainStreet gets you government $

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Okay, so my first sponsored post! Uhh this one is actually not a healthcare company but both useful for other healthcare startups and the concept has sparked some potential healthcare applications that might be worth exploring.

I’m doing this newsletter in partnership with MainStreet. I actually agree with the premise of this one so much that I only get paid if you go through the onboarding flow (or what you might know as “outcomes-based” lol I hate myself). I’m experimenting with a few different ad styles/formats, so let me know what you think/gimme a little leeway to be experimental plz.

Make sure you go through the links in this newsletter or, you’ll also get a cheaper rate.

TL:DR MainStreet will get your startup significant $$ back in the form of R&D tax breaks from the government, ESPECIALLY if you’re a healthcare company.

This is a sponsored post - you can read more about my rules/thoughts on sponsored posts here.

The problem

I did a short stint at the Small Business Administration once upon a time and worked specifically on the SBIR program that gave small businesses grants. I learned two things:

  1. There’s a lot of money out there for small businesses in the form of tax breaks, grants, etc.
  2. It is unnecessarily complex and arduous to actually apply for these things - there are a lot of shitty portals, paperwork that needs to be collected etc.

The thing is that the success and potential renewal of these programs depends on how many people actually use them. If they go underutilized, they’re more likely to get cut in some capacity.

However there’s an interesting development happening on the other side - the proliferation of business management tools (payroll, inventory, accounting, etc.) with open APIs has now made it easier than ever to actually get the necessary data together. So the data is easy to bring together, but what about the submission to the actual government?

MainStreet gets you government money that you’re qualified for

Enter MainStreet - the company is using software to make the submission process extremely easy by taking the data from payroll and accounting and matching it to relevant tax credits you’d qualify for both at a local and federal level.

If any of you have ever tried applying for these credits, it’s usually many personnel hours from legal and accounting. Or smaller businesses don’t know they actually qualify for these (when you’re trying to put out fires constantly, perusing through government portals is pretty low on the list of things to do).

Today, MainStreet gets you money in a few ways focusing on :

  • R&D Credits: up to $250k/year
  • Hiring and Company Expansion Credits: up to $1-$8K per new hire
  • Training and Workforce Development Credits: up to $5,000 per employee

They support 60+ credits right now, and are adding more credits every month.


  1. You sign up and connect your payroll system.
  2. MainStreet finds tax credits and incentives that apply to your business.
  3. MainStreet sends you money now. You don’t need to wait until April.
  4. MainStreet makes money by keeping 20% of the money the government pays you. If you don’t get anything, they don’t get anything. If you go through my link btw, they’ll actually drop it down to 15%.

This is an especially good deal for healthcare companies in particular because they tend to have way more personnel in the areas that qualify for these credits (engineering, scientists, compliance, etc.) and the credits scale up with the number of people on your payroll.

Here are the cons:

  1. You could potentially do this yourself and save more money vs. the 20% MainStreet takes. In labor hours spent this is unlikely and it would require you to stay up to date with any future credits.
  2. You could end up not qualifying for these credits, so you would have wasted the 20 minutes going through this process.
  3. There’s a tiny chance the IRS wants to double check you have all the people you said when you applied and can choose to audit you. MainStreet will pay for any fees associated with this audit.

I’m taking these sponsored posts pretty seriously and wouldn’t ever shill something I didn’t think would genuinely benefit readers. If you have a lot of people in R&D departments you can get back a ton of money (yo, engineers are expensive). MainStreet says on average it has gotten >$51K in credits to companies, and it’s free until they find you money.

Also you should do your civic duty to take this money so these programs stay intact for future entrepreneurs. Taking government money is the right thing to do.

IMO it’s worth checking out. There isn’t really much downside and you have the added bonus of helping me out if works! Wins all around. Apparently “thinkboi” does not count for credits :(

As a side note, I wonder how much of this you could replicate to match startups with Request For Proposals or grants that they would be applicable for. A frequent pain point I hear is around the RFP management process or grant submissions, but I wonder if there’s a way to at least build an easier way to surface the relevant ones to small companies and make the submission process easier. Hmmmm…

Some FAQs about MainStreet below, but if you’re interested fill out the form here or you can actually just chat with someone from the team directly here.

Let me know if you actually get money back from them, I’m very curious!

Other Frequently Asked Questions From MainStreet

Q: What payroll system do I have to use? We play nice with Gusto, Rippling, ADP, Paychex, Namely, QuickBooks, Sage, OnPay, and dozens more. Not listed here? Ask, we likely support it.

Q: How does the cash advance work? Every month, we'll advance you the credits you're earning in real-time, at 0% interest – the interest charges are baked into the processing fees that you were going to pay anyways. Withdraw the cash when it hits your account, or leave it in your MainStreet account to cover future fees – it's completely up to you.

Q: Doesn't my accountant do these for me? These credits are difficult to find and even more difficult to file for. Many accountants and firms don't bother to file for these credits because they're paid per filing, not by the amount of money they save for you.  It's free to have us qualify your startup, and we play nice with your CPA – come Tax Day, we'll send them the forms to include in your tax filing to get you back what you're owed and answer any of their questions.

Sign up, secure your bag, help me pay rent.

Thinkboi out,

Nikhil aka. “Government Cheese”

Twitter: @nikillinit

IG: @outofpockethealth

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