Forbes Magazine’s naming of Swipely Inc. and founder Angus Davis to two of its signature lists last week – America’s Most Promising Companies and America’s Most Promising CEOs Under 35, respectively – was not unexpected hereabouts.
Mr. Davis has been making news for years. The Rhode Island native joined Netscape’s staff in California as a teenager, founded a company that he sold to Microsoft for nearly a billion dollars, then came home and became a key part of the state’s Race To The Top effort for educational reform.
In 2009 he founded Swipely, and it has enjoyed significant success with its recently introduced “big-data”-driven marketing tool for small and medium-size businesses. Thanks to the new product, the company says it is growing by more than 50 percent each quarter.
The company and Mr. Davis are a bona fide, homegrown success story, started here in Rhode Island and attracting talent from across the country. And Swipely is not part of the “meds and eds” story that is viewed as the key to the state’s future.
Swipely in fact is just one story of many of local talent that is succeeding on the national, if not world, stage. Andera Inc. and IlluminOss Medical are two more, founded here by talented, creative people driven to succeed.
So what is there to be learned from their success? Rhode Island needs to support and invest in entrepreneurs across many industries. The Founders League is but one example of this support (Slater Technology Fund, Cherrystone Angel Group, Betaspring and Social Venture Partners Rhode Island also come to mind), but there should be more. Our future depends on it. •