PROVIDENCE – Betaspring hosted more than 300 community supporters, investors and Betaspring alumni Thursday for an open house introducing the accelerator’s spring 2014 class of startups.
This session’s cohort – comprised of seven startups and two “Betaspring Fellows” – was selected from a pool of roughly 300 applications, according to the accelerator. Over the past six weeks, the teams have worked with Betaspring mentors and experts to hone their businesses, which range from 3-D printing technology to a political app for lobbyists to a video training program to teach people how to build Web and mobile apps.
The spring 2014 class is smaller than previous Betaspring cohorts and is also the last that will be funded under the existing Betaspring Fund 100, which included $2 million from the State Small Business Credit Initiative and $2.1 million from a group of angel and corporate investors. After this session, Betaspring will have to raise more money in order to continue funding its biannual accelerator program.
To emphasize the breadth of Betaspring’s impact on the local economy and startup scene since its inception in 2009, several Betaspring alumni took the stage at Thursday’s event to share updates and to highlight the accelerator’s role in helping them achieve success.
One company, NuLabel Technologies, was among the first Betaspring cohort in 2009. At that time, NuLabel consisted of three employees in a 200-square-foot office and had no investors, according to CEO and Co-Founder Max Winograd. Today, the adhesives and packaging company occupies 16,000 square feet, employs 30 full-time employees and has raised $10 million in equity funding.
“If it wasn’t for Betaspring, we wouldn’t be standing on this stage today, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are today, and we wouldn’t be growing stronger every day,” said Winograd, who encouraged attendants of the open house to “pay it forward” by contributing to Betaspring in some way.
Melissa Withers, Betaspring’s chief of staff, said she hoped the audience took home the message that Betaspring can and will continue to make a positive impact on the Rhode Island community and economy if given the support to carry its momentum forward.