Map highlights capital’s growing startup community

By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor

When fledgling startups emerge from Betaspring’s 12-week accelerator program, they face a critical choice – do they leave Providence or do they stay? More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.


Map highlights capital’s growing startup community

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."

By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor

Posted 12/30/13

When fledgling startups emerge from Betaspring’s 12-week accelerator program, they face a critical choice – do they leave Providence or do they stay?

For Jon Bittner, co-founder and CEO of Betaspring alumnus Splitwise, the decision hinged on access to affordable office space in the Founders League and the hidden charms of a city he calls a well-kept secret. “Providence has really low rent and really great culture,” said Bittner.

“Two years ago there weren’t nearly as many [startups] as there are now,” added Bittner. “People don’t even know how many there are, and perception can become reality.”

In an effort to alter that perception, the Founders League in December published the Providence Startup Map, a “snapshot” of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. Splitwise is among the companies featured on the map, demarcated by a red flag alongside 119 other startups, six universities and 20 startup-support organizations such as Betaspring and the Social Enterprise Greenhouse. Some of the companies no longer fit conventional definitions of a startup, in terms of size or age, but were included if their profile fit what Betaspring Chief of Staff Melissa Withers called “strong startup DNA.”

Ben Goldstein, program manager for the Founders League, said the map has already gained traction in the community as a visual representation of how far the Providence startup scene has come.

The Founders League is looking to establish a permanent online home for the map, which for now is displayed in a blog post on the Founders League website.

In the email release of the map, Withers wrote that Providence is “just at the beginning of our startup revolution.”

Bittner founded Splitwise in 2011 while pursuing a graduate degree in astrophysics at Harvard University. Recently, the bill-splitting app he designed earned a place on Time magazine’s list of the 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2013, but two years ago it was a simple formula called “Split the Rent,” designed as a drama-free way to split living expenses among roommates. In Cambridge, Bittner had lived 50 miles north of Providence for five years, but had no idea about the startup scene in the city until Splitwise joined Betaspring’s spring 2012 session.

Nick Kishfy, founder and CEO of Web and mobile-app developer Mojo Tech, has been around the Providence scene long enough to have watched it evolve. He started up MojoTech on his patio in Barrington in 2008, after his experience working in support roles at a number of other startups inspired him to build a company on the idea of bringing other people’s ideas to life. In 2010, MojoTech moved to Providence, joining a startup community already gaining in momentum.

Next Page
PBN Hosted

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot early!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News