Founders League Hits the Ground Running

Getting a new business off the ground is exhilarating. It is also one of the most challenging things a person or team can do. There are many uncertainties about the obstacles and opportunities a high-growth startup will encounter and no surefire way to predict how a nascent venture will evolve. But ONE thing is certain in the world of startups: Community is king. Despite a cultural fascination with the “lone wolf” founder who defies the odds, startups can’t–and shouldn’t–go it alone. No matter how you slice it, basements just aren’t great places to run a startup.

Enter the Founders League. Created through a partnership between Betaspring, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the University of Rhode Island and Brown University, the Founders League offers community and programming where entrepreneurs can find camaraderie, resources and support.

Since launching in January, the Founders League has offered entrepreneur-led programming to more than 300 entrepreneurs and opened a coworking space at it’s 95 Chestnut Street headquarters that currently serves as a base of operations for more than 50 people from 30 different startups.

Coworking is an important component of the Founders League platform because it provides entrepreneurs with ongoing access to a community of peers who share share insights, resources, and the bond of knowing exactly what it’s like to be in the startup grind. The space, open 24/7, 365 days a year, include wireless networks, printers, whiteboards, conference rooms and break out space, soft seating, and a kitchenette. There are no long term commitments and different membership options to meet a variety of of needs and work habits.

“Being a member of a community of startups allows us to stay close to our roots and engage with developers and entrepreneurs firsthand.  Being in the Founders League provides a close-knit community, communication with other entrepreneurs and peers, and a powerful feedback mechanism that helps us to build services that let our customers be more productive and focused.  At a macro level, the Founders League is doing a great job of uniting the unique diversity of the Rhode Island startup community,” says Mike Rowan, VP of Research & Development for SendGrid and head of SendGrid Labs. SendGrid is based in Boulder, Colorado, but Mike, a native Rhode Islander, seized the opportunity to lead a new SendGrid office in Providence.

In addition to helping companies like SendGrid get rooted in Rhode Island, the Founders League is focused on six guiding principles for how the platform will evolve. They are:

  1. Create an iconic physical nexus. Place matters. Creating synergies and circulation are among the most important components of successful entrepreneurial communities and their support platforms.
  2. Create a Co-working community. Coworking communities provide entrepreneurs with access to a strong community of peers and a physical space to work that reinforces entrepreneurial success.
  3. Attract and connect students. Students represent an important asset in Rhode Island’s effort to build a strong entrepreneurial community.
  4. Deploy a self-sustaining business model. The Founders League must operate with a model that allows for sustainability and longterm growth.
  5. Enhanced programming. The Founders League is offering a continuum of programming and services to match the wide spectrum of needs within Rhode Island’s start-up community.
  6. Engage more entrepreneurs. The Founders League places strong emphasis on creating a dynamic and activated environment that attracts and meets the needs of a diverse community of high-growth entrepreneurs.

The Founders League launch has been led by the team at Betaspring, who are providing leadership to the platform as the consortium develops a long-term operating plan that seeks to ensure the Founders League is financially sustainable by year three of operations.

So don’t go it alone: find more information and register for events at


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