Six finalists from R.I. cohort competing in 2020 MassChallenge Virtual U.S. Awards

PROVIDENCE – MassChallenge, a global network for innovators that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow new startups, will announce the winners from among its 48 top startup finalists across four accelerator cohorts, in Rhode Island, Boston, Houston and Austin, Texas, during its 2020 MassChallenge Virtual U.S. Awards on Thursday.

The Rhode Island accelerator features six finalists competing for $100,000 in equity-free cash prizes. The finalists include four startups from Providence, one from Pawtucket and one from Boston. Providence startups are: bosWell, in the health care and life sciences industry; Graphene Composites USA, in the energy and clean technology industry; ResusciTech, which provides first aid and CPR training via a smartphone application; and VISIT, which provides a monthly activity kit and app to support family and friends of those with dementia. Pawtucket-based Nautilus Defense LLC builds advanced textile and composite-integrated systems for monitoring structural assets and their environments, while Boston-based Mount is a business-to-business data analytics solution for last-mile transportation.

According to MassChallenge, the six finalists represent top trends in startups for 2020, with three in health care and life sciences, two in high tech and one in energy and clean tech. Four of the six startups have female founders.

“Over the last four months, I have witnessed a commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation from key stakeholders across the region like never before,” said Hope Hopkins, managing director, MassChallenge Rhode Island. “These stakeholders are the cornerstone of our community and their efforts advance startups from areas in and outside of New England by providing critical resources. … It’s been truly gratifying to see the strengthening of our own ecosystem right here in Rhode Island.”

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Hopkins continued, “Collectively, we are truly doing our part to make it a little bit easier for entrepreneurs to launch and grow businesses, particularly at a time when the world’s economy depends on them.”

The 2020 MassChallenge Virtual U.S. Awards will be livestreamed on the MassChallenge website.

MassChallenge Rhode Island held its first-ever virtual accelerator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for 30 early-stage global startups. Over four months, they leveraged expert mentorship, tailored curriculum, corporate partnerships and industry resources to help launch and grow their companies, according to program officials. Among the 30 startups, there were three countries represented, five states and 56% had female founders. Thirty-seven percent of the startups were in high tech, followed by 30% in health care and life sciences, 13% in general retail, 10% in energy and clean tech, and 10% in social impact.

According to MassChallenge, the Rhode Island program, now in its third year, has accelerated 53 startups; raised $16 million; awarded $150,000 in cash prizes; generated $2.3 million in revenue; and created 1,560 jobs.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.