Founders League startup map champions growing ecosystem
THE FOUNDERS LEAGUE Providence Startup Map illustrates the companies in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts that Betaspring Chief of Staff Melissa Withers said share "strong startup DNA." The map is intended to be "an inspirational snapshot of a growing ecosystem," Withers said.
PROVIDENCE – The Founders League on Tuesday published the Providence Startup Map, a “snapshot” of the expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
Alongside flags demarcating companies like Swipely, Nulabel, FarSounder and BrainGate on the map are universities and startup-support organizations in the area such as the Business Innovation Factory, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center and the Steel Yard.
The map also includes a few companies that fall outside the conventional definition of a startup in terms of age and size – like medical-device maker Ximedica, founded in 1985, or jewelry retailer Alex and Ani, with its 338 current employees – but Betaspring Chief of Staff Melissa Withers said these companies share the high-growth, scalable business model that startups aspire to, as well as an unquantifiable trait she referred to as “strong startup DNA.”
“This map comes from 10 years of working here and having the opportunity to interact with the people that have made this growth possible,” said Withers. “If there was any question that a company fit that profile, we included them.”
In total, the map includes 120 startups, 20 startup-support organizations and six universities.
With the release of the map, the Founders League invited suggestions for alterations or additions, and will update the map as needed. Withers emphasized, though, that the map was not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the Rhode Island startup scene, but rather an inspirational snapshot of the community and its promise.
In the Tuesday email release of the Providence Startup Map, Withers cited a 2010 study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a national entrepreneurship and education nonprofit based in Missouri, which analyzed three decades of U.S. Census Bureau data to conclude that companies younger than 1 year old accounted for virtually all net job growth in the United States between 1977 and 2005.
Providence is “just at the beginning of our startup revolution,” Withers wrote. “So whether you are an entrepreneur, a leader in the business community, an investor, a mentor, or one of the many people who have helped over the years, we hope you look at this map and feel the same excitement and enthusiasm for the future that we do.”