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Betaspring Demo Day: A Glimpse At Rebuilding RI’s Economy

Friday, September 09, 2011

 

On Thursday, Betaspring, a seed accelerator program in Providence, unveiled 11 new startup companies as part of their annual Investor Demo Day event. All of the startups presented to a group of venture capitalists and angel investors for the first time; looking to generate interest in their products and funds to launch a business. This marks Betaspring’s third year of startups, with sixteen companies having completed the program in recent years.

A mentor-driven startup program for technology and design entrepreneurs, Betaspring helps groups who are ready to build a product, launch a company, and change the world. Demo Day 2011 is the culmination of a 12-week program in which entrepreneurial teams from around the globe come to Providence to hone their skills and products.

During the 12-weeks, which run from June through September, Betaspring helps teams transform their ideas into functional, fundable companies by providing mentorship, kickoff funding, and immersing participants in an intense startup community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Internet and Mobile

Many of the 11 companies presented internet and mobile application software; an industry working diligently to further strengthen its place as an economic driver within Rhode Island. Each company features two to six founders and all are between 3 months and a year old.

According to a recent report by the National Venture Capital Association, Rhode Island ranked 26th in the country last year for receiving venture capital investments. Overall, $59 million was invested in Rhode Island; 93% coming from out of state with investors from Massachusetts and New York leading the pack.

“I would call myself a technology optimist,” said Allan Tear, Founder and Managing Partner of Betaspring. “I don’t really see a ceiling in the technology world. In fact, we may not have seen all that technology can offer. This year there has been a shift among the entrepreneurs where they are going after traditional activities and needs such as real estate, food and family communication, and creating technology that has the potential to make a big impact.”

Revitalizing The Economy

Among the presenters, one of the most intriguing was TouchBase – a private family network that enables the secure sharing of things like location and status. Using a web and mobile location-based communication portal, families are able to engage in the private sharing of information that creates and new channel for communicating.

With the continuing emergence of technology-based opportunities, many consider this a crucial vehicle in helping to revitalize the state’s sluggish economy.

“The way we see things, entrepreneurship has always been the biggest driver of economic growth,” added Tear. “Here in Rhode Island, we’re getting back to this by making Providence a center for where startups begin. We focus on startups with high-growth potential that are able to reach beyond the label of a ‘small business’ to establish a global reach.”

Startups Have Had Success

In recent years, companies such as Green Goose – a group that created a lifestyle game platform enabled by wireless sensors that automatically measure personal behavior in the real-world and translate them to an online game platform - got their start thanks to help from Betaspring. Shortly after working with the Providence-based company, Green Goose raised $500,000 to further establish their efforts.

“What really stood out to us this year was how all of the groups hit the ground running by day one and day two; people were cranking out a lot of work,” added Jack Templin, Founder and Managing Partner of Betaspring. “It really showed us how young entrepreneurs are getting more and more familiar with our program to take full advantage of the opportunity. In doing so, we’re all able to run faster, and further.”

By taking the lead in fostering a new wave of technology-based startups, Betaspring is further positioning itself as a leader in strengthening Rhode Island’s economy. If they’re able to keep the momentum, it may be time to brand the Davol Square area as the Technology District.

Top Startups

Building Layer: An intuitive mapping and wayfinding solution for indoor spaces. (www.buildinglayer.com)

TouchBase: Keeping parents and children in touch over a private, mobile network. (www.touchbasehq.com)

Revenizer: Easy-to-use marketing scorecards to help companies grow faster. (www.revenizer.com)

Mosec Mobile Security: Speech to text software for mobile professionals that integrates directly with CRM systems. (www.getmosec.com)

Nest 4 Less: A relationship marketing platform for realtors and home owners. (www.nest4less.com)

Translate Abroad: Software that enables translating Chinese writing to English using your mobile phone. (www.translateabroad.com)

Inhabi: Helping to match landlords with prequalified renters. (http://www.inhabi.com)

Zoko: Enabling dinner groups to form, plan, and grow dinner parties. Enjoy good food with good people in real life. (www.yourzoko.com)

Study Egg: Increasing learning performance for college students with short smartphone activities. (www.studyegg.com)

FittedFashion: A custom clothing platform delivered through digital tailoring technology. (www.fittedfashiondesigns.com)

Gorb: An application that brings skill-based wagers to mobile gaming.
 

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