Entrepreneurs pitched subscription underwear delivery services, medical devices to alleviate the pain of being poked with a needle, and an iPhone app that could bring back the days of Fonzie and the jukebox this afternoon at the annual Betaspring Demo Day in Providence. Betaspring offers fledgling companies twelve weeks of free office space and mentorship, along with a small cash stipend/investment that ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. (Betaspring co-founder Allan Tear described it as “rent and Ramen money” for the summer.) At the end of the program, investors gather to see ten-minute demos from each company.
This summer’s crop of nine companies were looking to raise anywhere from $250,000 to $750,000 to continue building their products and bring on software developers, marketing staff, and business development executives.
A few quick impressions:
There was a big Boston contingent in the crowd, including Reed Sturtevant and Katie Rae of Project 11 Ventures; Lee Hower from NextView Ventures; Eric Hjerpe from Kepha Partners; and Tom Burgess, founder of Third Screen Media, now working on a new digital marketing start-up called Clovr Media. Also present was Ji Kim, founder of Dijipop, a 2009 Betaspring company that has subsequently attracted about $1 million in funding.
Richard Horan of the Slater Technology Fund with David Hibbitt, founder of ABAQUS.
The team from Tu.nr: Jamie Brim and Jack Gill.
Brian Krejcarek talks about SensibleSelf after the demos.
Betaspring co-founder Allan Tear.
BatchBlue CEO Pamela O'Hara with Annette Tonti, CEO of Mofuse.
Joe Caruso of Bantam Group with Tom Burgess of Clovr Media.
Forbes journo Maureen Farrell toted along her copy editor, Cecilia.
On my way out, Betaspring co-founder Owen Johnson told me that his team hopes to make the once-a-year program a biannual or triannual event, perhaps with a thematic focus for the added editions, such as medical devices. That’d be great news for the New England entrepreneurial scene. That's Johnson pictured above with Jon Pierce, a founder of Betahouse, the Cambridge co-working space.
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.