Two Rhode Island-based startups mentored by VMS win MassChallenge
Last month, MassChallenge announced the latest cohort of award winners, commending the companies for their groundbreaking, high-impact businesses. This year’s challenge included top startups from MassChallenge’s early-stage accelerators in Austin, Boston, Houston and Rhode Island. The two Rhode Island winners, who are VMS participants – Graphene Composites USA (GC USA) and Nautilus Defense LLC – were awarded a total of $100,000 in equity-free prizes.
Sandy Chen, Co-founder and CEO of Graphene Composites USA, said “The collaborative support from RIHub’s Venture Mentoring Service enabled us not only to accelerate the pace of our development significantly, but also to expand our business potential well beyond our expectations. The quality of the mentors and uniquely effective team-based mentoring process were outstanding.”
Of the six (6) RI-based MassChallenge finalists, five (5) of the companies are members of VMS, including bosWell, Mount and ResusciTech. The success of these companies shines a light on the measurable impact of RIHub’s mentoring program.
“The 2020 Rhode Island cohort was the first to pilot a mentoring program with VMS. It was a huge success for our entrepreneurs who gained tremendous value from the team mentoring approach VMS takes in guiding businesses,” said Hope Hopkins, Managing Director of MassChallenge. “We recognize this as a highly valuable program and will offer it to future MassChallenge cohorts.”
In December 2019, RIHub acquired Venture Mentoring Service of RI. Modeled after the 20-year-old MIT Venture Mentoring Service program, VMS incorporates proven principles and methodologies to deliver experienced, unbiased business guidance at no cost to entrepreneurs operating in Rhode Island. In 2020, VMS has partnered with 77 dynamic startups and continues to add to the roster regularly. To support the program, RIHub works with 68 mentors, who have clocked 1,167 volunteer hours since the start of the year. RIHub VMS continues to add experienced mentors to the program.
“Each of the VMS mentors brings a uniquely qualified background and generously shares their expertise and experiences to help RI entrepreneurs scale and shape their businesses,” said Mia Nolan, Program Director of RIHub’s Venture Mentoring Service. “Entrepreneurs involved in our program are very appreciative of the support and guidance they receive from their mentors and it is a pleasure watching everyone learn and grow.”
Since RIHub’s official launch in September 2020, the organization has seen great success across their startup-centric program offerings. Most recently, RIHub announced their Bridge to Israel Program, which provides incubation services, strategic introductions and mentoring to Israeli companies who want to establish a US presence. RIHub is excited to continue the momentum, with the goal of making entrepreneurship accessible to all of Rhode Island.
To learn more about RIHub, please visit RIHub.org.
If you’re launching a startup in Rhode Island, your first stop is RIHub. Started in 2019 under Governor Gina Raimondo, we enable and accelerate entrepreneurial ventures that have a high potential for growth. Through our incubation space, online community portal and numerous programs, we work to build an engine of entrepreneurship for Rhode Island by connecting entrepreneurs, inventors, students, investors, corporate leaders and two global accelerators: MassChallenge and IBM Alpha Zone. In addition, we provide free mentoring services via MIT-developed Venture Mentoring Service. Join us to find your pathway to growth and success. To learn more, please visit RIHub.org.
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