Swipely’s Angus Davis, one of Forbes’ most promising CEOs under 35, shares secret — and what makes Rhode Island great

Providence, which is Swipely’s home base of operations.
Providence, which is Swipely’s home base of operations. –File Photo

Angus Davis was an early  employee at Netscape and an entrepreneur who co-founded Tellme Networks, which sold to Microsoft for $800 million. Now he’s at it again with payment processing start-up Swipely, and he offered to share his secret — and why he loves being located in a city (Providence) not often touted as a tech epicenter.

“Rhode Island is a great place to live, but isn’t known for having many high growth tech companies,’’ he told me in an email. “I hope to change that. I am originally from Rhode Island, and a after spending over a decade in the tech field in Silicon Valley, when I returned to Rhode Island I wanted to bring back a bit of the Silicon Valley spark. Providence is ideally located between Boston and New York, and we have some great institutions of higher ed here.’’


As for what’s made him so successful, Davis shared a number of thoughts.

“I am fond of the phrase, ‘If you don’t ask, the answer is always no,’’’ he wrote. “I was lucky to begin my career as the youngest employee at Netscape in 1996 and learn from wonderful mentors.’’

Surrounding yourself with those kinds of smart people makes it easier to continue learning.

Of course, a little old-fashioned attitude doesn’t hurt either.

“At Tellme, which I co-founded in 1999, it took us eight years to build a billion-dollar company. I learned that building a real business that is more than just a vogue flash in the pan takes perseverance and determination, a near bottomless pit of optimism, and grit,’’ he wrote. “I am hoping to build an even bigger business with Swipely!’’

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