05.10.14 | mwithers
Alum Quitbit is killing it on Kickstarter with the first smart lighter and app to track smoking for smokers who want to build new habits.   What is the Quitbit? Quitbit is a smart lighter and app that helps you understand your smoking. Quitbit has a display to provide feedback so you can make smarter decisions. Gradually cut back at your own pace, set custom plans, and personalize when and how the lighter works to help achieve your goals. The Quitbit lights cigarettes using a heating element, similar to car lighters. The electronics count each cigarette that is lit. The display on the Quitbit shows details about your smoking habits, like how many cigarettes you’ve smoked and how long it’s been since your last one. We’ve built some smarts into the Quitbit to keep track of only your smoking. Whether you’re just flicking your lighter or sharing it with friends, the Quitbit ensures...
05.05.14 | mwithers
Congrats to alumni CompNet for their recent win of the Entrepreneur track of Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, clinching a $20,000 cash prize and services valued at $19,250. CompNet has developed an online system that allows businesses to get immediate quotes on workers’ compensation insurance, thereby eliminating the need for an insurance broker.  Competition Co-chair Peggy Farrell, partner in the law of firm of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, said, “We had an especially strong group of contenders this year, which made the judging more difficult, but it’s a problem we’re happy to have.” CompNet was in good company with grand prize winner Nordic Technology Group, a Providence-based company that is making an intelligent monitoring system that uses 3D-sensing technology to identify and alert caregivers to changes in behavior in people at risk of falling.  ...
04.24.14 | mwithers
In a few hours we'll open our doors to 300+ guests who are gathering to meet and welcome the startups participating in our Spring 2014 accelerator. The house is buzzing as the companies polish their pitch and get ready to dominate the microphone.  This cohort brings the Betaspring portfolio to 90 startups accelerated. Each session is unique, and every founder brings something new to the community. Not every company will make it, but we've found that there's something to be learned in every success and every failure--even if all you learn is that the world doesn't need another social shopping company ;-)  This newest group is a pleasure to have in Providence. Coming from as far away as San Diego, the founders arrived at Betaspring last month rip roaring to go. Startup founders are by definition a little nuts, and this new crew is no exception. We're seeing some interesting...
04.24.14 | mwithers
Since 2013, Betaspring has expanded it's sessions to include a few cool entrepreneurs who shadow the accelerator and add value in unique ways. From first-time entrepreneurs building their initial product to seasoned veterans who like to pay it forward, the Fellows program is an easy way to bring exciting people into the fold while we are in session. For our Spring 2014 session we have two special people with us. It's a pleasure to introduce them: Meet Betaspring Fellow Paul Rolfe. A rising star entrepreneur from Providence, Paul is a Betaspring Fellow and the creator of CapitolBuddy, which helps advocates and lobbyists work smarter at their state capitols by putting legislators in the palm of their hands. Paul has been a great addition to the cohort, offering his help as a self-taught developer and bringing awesome energy to our pitch practices and meetups with mentors. Phillip...
04.10.14 | mwithers
  Join us on April 24 for Betaspring's Spring 2014 Open House at 5:30pm. Meet the Spring 2014 Betaspring companies and catch up with our alums, mentors, and the people & companies driving our entrepreneurial community. There will be snacks, delicious beer and wine, excitement and inspiration aplenty.  These newest arrivals to Betaspring have come to Providence to do in 12 weeks what might take others 12 months. Come welcome them to our community, hear their stories, and enjoy a night out with the startup community.  Open House is free, but we are limited to 300 people and usually end up with a wait list, so register to reserve your spot!  
03.12.14 | mwithers
Researchers from the MIT Sloan School of Management and the University of Richmond  took to the stage yesterday at SXSW to share results of a months-long review of U.S. startup accelerators. The researchers--MIT's Yael Hochberg and University of Richmond's Susan Cohen--combined publicly available information from Crunchbase with information on portfolio performance to evaluate dozens of program across the country. Evaluating factors such as maturity, portfolio performance and follow-on funding, Hochberg and Cohen winnowed down the field to create a list of the U.S.'s top 15 accelerators.  Betaspring was in good company, coming in at #11 on a list that included a mix of superstars in major metros, as well as solid performers from smaller cities.  The research was reported in TechCrunch late yesterday…and I wish it was cool to plagiarize, because TC's Jonathan Shieber...
03.12.14 | mwithers
If my life were a Disney movie, today would be “Lion King” day. I’d go to the highest rocky outcropping I could find and hold up to the world each of the founders who will join us this weekend for the start of our Spring 2014 session.  Eardrums would shatter as I belted out a heartfelt and off pitch rendition of Circle of Life...and in true cinematic style, these founders would be coronated as King. King of their startup destiny.   If you haven’t seen the movie, let me summarize: Simba, a lion cub prince, must grow into his destiny after his father dies in a wildebeast stampede, all thanks to a creepy uncle who plots to steal the throne.  Along the way, some hyenas, a meerkat and a warthog get involved. Turbulence and redemption ensue. At the end of the day (and the movie), the young prince comes to terms with his weaknesses and strengths, organizes his motley team into a...
03.12.14 | mwithers
Betapring alum WayGo had a good week in Austin, taking home the wining prize in SXSW's startup competition's top prize in the ‘Entertainment and Content Technologies’ category. WayGo offers a crazy-good mobile translating app that scans over Chinese and Japanese text and translates them on-screen. The company is run by Ryan Rogowski, Kevin Clark, and Huan-Yu Wu.  More than 500 web-based companies from across the globe participated in SXSW 2014′s Accelerator startup competition. Among them, 64 were selected as finalists in 12 categories. And yes, WayGo came out on top. No translation needed for this one: Nicely done, team WayGo! Seems like the team is on a winning streak. They participated in 500 Startups and last summer won the "Most Promising Start-up" prize at the Echelon Singapore conference. All of this news aside, I knew the team had made it big when, paging through my backlog...
03.12.14 | mwithers
It was cold in February, but alums Splitwise were on fire, with their newest app, Plates, ranked as  #1 Best New App in the Utilities section of the Apple App Store.  The team released version 1 of Plates in July 2013 to critical and popular success; both BusinessInsider and MSN Moneycovered the tool, and user reviews in the App Store have been overwhelmingly positive (average rating 4.5). This latest recognition from Apple is quite an accomplishment, affirming that Splitwise has indeed made a world class app to help friends avoid awkward conversations about money after enjoying a meal together.  Splitwise was quick to share credit with Liz Neu, who as an intern built Plates with only limited assistance from the larger Splitwise team.  Nicely done, team Splitwise!    
01.21.14 | mwithers
When Maker Media opened their new East Coast headquarters at 95 Chestnut Street, there were many reasons to celebrate. For me, the opportunity to talk Anna Kaziunas France into becoming an official mentor at Betaspring was chief among them.   Not  just because she's an accomplished writer, editor, fabricator and 3-D printing boss.  Not just because she's a great role model for a new generation of women entrepreneurs. And not just because of her super cool post as the Digital Fabrication Editor of Maker Media and Dean of Students for the global Fab Academy digital fabrication program. She's also just awesome and we LOVE having her on premise with us! As the Digital Fabrication Editor of Maker Media, Anna is responsible for organizing and conducting the consumer hardware testing for desktop digital fabrication equipment, including: 3D printers, 3D scanners, CNC...