PROVIDENCE – More than 300 supporters, investors and Betaspring alumni crowded Betaspring headquarters on Thursday for an open house introducing the accelerator’s fall 2013 class of startups.
Since the start of the fall session six weeks ago, the 11 companies have undergone a rigorous entrepreneur bootcamp, refining their business plans, meeting with potential investors and customers from the Betaspring network, and learning the craft of growing a company.
“We’ve learned that building a critical mass of entrepreneurs is not about a building,” said Betaspring founder Allan Tear. “It’s about creating a community and a culture of entrepreneurship.”
Traveling from as near as College Hill and as far as Israel, and ranging in age from 22 to 50, the startup teams showcased what Betaspring organizers already knew – that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.
“Most people, when they hear the word ‘entrepreneur,’ they jump to the conclusion that they’re all young, recent grads, mostly men,” said Melissa Withers, Betaspring’s chief of staff.
While many of this session’s startup founders do fit that profile, she said, others – like Aurora Duque – break the mold.
Aurora, Betaspring’s “youngest founder,” was just two weeks old when her parents, Steven and Heather Duque, made the trip from Newbury, Mass., to join Betaspring’s seventh-season cohort.
Their year-old company, Momba, develops customized vending machines to provide tenants of large-scale residences such as college dorms with easy access to the items they need most.
“When I was an undergrad at Harvard, I needed things, and the CVS in Harvard Square seemed far away at two in the morning,” said Steven Duque about his motivation for founding Momba.