13 R.I. entrepreneurs chosen for MassChallenge business accelerator

PROVIDENCE – Thirteen “high potential” Rhode Island entrepreneurs are among 25 startups chosen for having promising ideas in different industries and they soon will start a four-month program to take their fledgling businesses to a higher level.

The Boston-based nonprofit entrepreneurial initiative MassChallenge announced the list of winners Wednesday from a group of more than 250 applicants from 25 states and 39 countries for its Rhode Island program.

The 13 startups accepted into MassChallenge’s 2019 Rhode Island business “accelerator” program will have “unrivaled” access to expert mentors, tailored curriculum, free office space and corporate partners, the organization said.

One other Rhode Island startup was accepted into MassChallenge’s 2019 Boston program.

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The Rhode Island program runs from mid-June to mid-October. The entrepreneurs will participate in curriculum and events at MassChallenge’s flagship office in Boston. They will receive mentoring from industry experts in Rhode Island and Boston.

The entrepreneurs also will have access to corporate partners in those locations, in addition to the free use of office space during the program. At the end of the program, they will have an opportunity to win a portion of $100,000.

The organization’s Rhode Island office is in downtown Providence’s Jewelry District. It plans to move this summer to Wexford Science & Technology’s new Innovation Center, in the same neighborhood.

In addition to the 13 Rhode Island-based firms, there are six from Massachusetts, two each from New York and Ukraine, and one each from Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

“In partnership with major stakeholders across the state, we are unleashing a new model for economic and community transformation, which will help Rhode Island fortify its entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Hope Hopkins, program director for MassChallenge’s Rhode Island operation.

“These startups bring a tangible energy to that effort,” Hopkins said. “It is exciting that Rhode Island is becoming known as a destination for startups from around the world, in addition to helping homegrown startups scale [the ladder to success].”

John Hawthorne and Akhil Nigam, formerly two strategy consultants for Bain & Co., a Boston-based management consultancy company, launched MassChallenge in 2010. The organization’s goal is to create a global network supporting entrepreneurship.

In addition to Boston and Providence, the organization has operations in Texas, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, according to its website.

The nonprofit said it doesn’t take any equity from the startups it accelerates, rather it is supported by in-kind, corporate and grant-based contributions from its partner organizations.

The 13 Rhode Island startups by industry are:

High Tech

  • Artisans List: Connects people with traditional home restoration, craftsmanship and farm-to-table sources through an online niche directory.
  • IderaOS: Developing an e-commerce platform that allows anyone to easily create an online store, designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Legably: Connecting lawyers looking for jobs with law firms that are hiring, using an online platform.

Health Care/Life Science

  • BI Medical LLC: Developing medical devices that address bacterial/fungal issues, skin irritation and odor with orthotic and prosthetic users.
  • Quantitative to Qualitative Health: Converting health data into simple diagrams to empower its users to make better health decisions.
  • Intus Care: Providing on-demand in-home care, care coordination for the elderly and disabled.
  • Norka Health: Reinventing insurance coverage for fertility issues and treatments.

General/Retail/Consumer Goods

  • Buppy Pets: Creating four-ingredient dog treats inspired by the human snacks we love but recreating them to be healthier.
  • GoTeff: Using Teff, a so-called super food from Ethiopia, with a vision to sell Teff products in the United States while investing in Ethiopian farmers.
  • Uproot: Producing plant-based milk and milk dispensers.

Social Impact

  • Impact Everything: Creating a movement to educate consumers on sustainable purchases and build new generations of active global citizens.
  • Pangea.app: Building the resume of the 21st century, using a recruiting platform built on a freelance marketplace.

Clean Tech/Energy

  • H20k Innovations: Using artificial intelligence and new data-collection methods to empower communities with cost-saving decisions that ensure sustainable access to clean water.

The Rhode Island firm accepted into MassChallenge’s 2019 Boston program was GoPeer, which was selected in the high-tech category.

GoPeer involves an online platform and mobile app that connects students from kindergarten to high school seniors with nearby college undergraduates for in-person tutoring lessons.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.