Startups see an uptick in investment

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

The $20 million investment raised by e-commerce startup Teespring in December was a fitting end to 2013, even if the news broke early this year. More

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Startups see an uptick in investment

PBN PHOTO/CONNIE GROSCH
GOOD ENERGY: Smart-grid company Utilidata received $20 million in Series B-round financing in 2013. Above, Utilidata CEO Scott DePasquale, right, speaks with his software team. From left: Gautham Krishnamurthy, Miriam Vera-Cruz and Svetlan Bzenic.

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 3/3/14

The $20 million investment raised by e-commerce startup Teespring in December was a fitting end to 2013, even if the news broke early this year.

Last year was a good one for many startups in the Providence area, as they collectively raised at least $140 million in new funding, according to estimates from Betaspring co-founder and local startup guru Allan Tear.

“The Providence metro has seen an uptick in major financing events among our high-potential startups,” Tear wrote on his Founders League blog. “Just as impressive as the dollars invested are the blue-chip venture capitalists that have invested in Rhode Island companies.”

While leaders of the Providence startup ecosystem like Tear have worked to raise the city’s entrepreneurial profile, it’s not as if investors in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley are just discovering Providence. In 2012, East Providence medical-device startup IlluminOss raised what is believed to be a state record $28 million.

The rising deal volume is likely more the result of a greater number of innovation-based startups forming over the last several years with international ambitions.

“I think there is more flow between Boston and Providence and more awareness of what is happening in Providence, but the truth is if a company based in Providence exhibits early success and the ability to go to venture scale, they will attract capital from Tier 1 markets,” Tear said. “You are seeing a logical outcome of when you start more things with the intention to go national or global.”

Citing confidentiality, Tear wouldn’t list all of the companies that raised money in 2013 or the value of individual deals.

But he highlighted many of the large deals announced publicly throughout the year, including two other $20 million investments: one a Series B round in smart-grid company Utilidata Inc. and a Series D in DNA-sequencing firm Nabsys Inc.

Payment-analytics firm Swipely raised $12 million in a Series B round in May.

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