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These hot R.I. startups are getting lots of buzz

Some of the Providence skyline. Jonathan Wiggs/GlobeStaff

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m sad about the layoffs at Sports Illustrated. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

Who says Rhode Island doesn’t have a strong startup culture?

Six local businesses have advanced to the final round of startup accelerator MassChallenge’s annual competition, where they’ll have the chance to land a percentage of shares of $100,000 equity-free prizes.


Of the 268 companies that applied to be part of MassChallenge’s four-month program, 24 were accepted. The six finalists are now competing with 20 startups in Massachusetts, with winners to be selected later this month.

So who is behind the Rhode Island startups and what do they do? Here’s an overview.


Founders: Saron Mechale and Elizabeth Johnson

The company wants to market teff, an Ethiopian grain that is popular among endurance runners, in the United States. The founders say they reinvest the profits in farming communities to scale up production capacity.

Intus Care

Founders: John Felton, Samuel Prado, and Theodoros Tsivranidis

The company provides a mobile and online platform that connects home health care providers with the elderly and disabled.


Founders: Daniel Reilly and Bill Maya

Cofounded by former state representative Daniel Reilly, Legably attempts to connect freelance attorneys with law firms for short-term work. Lawyers can create a profile and then bid on work offered by firms or other attorneys.

Founders: Adam Alpert and John Tambunting

The company argues that today’s college students are underemployed and underutilized, so it tries to connect them with work opportunities without having to go through a university’s career center.


Q2Q Health

Founder: Roberta Powell

A digital platform that translates health results (like lab tests) for patients and then assists them in the decision-making process. It also helps patients understand the medications they’re taking.


Founders: Jacob Conway and Kevin Eve

The company’s goal is to make plant-based milks accessible to everyone. It produces all of its products out of Hope & Main in Warren.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at

• The state of Rhode Island will send Massachusetts about 22,500 new notifications about motorists who broke traffic laws but escaped scrutiny, widening the fallout from a deadly crash this summer that exposed a faulty system of sharing information among states about bad drivers.

• Rhode Island has its first test under a new statute of limitations law for sexual misconduct cases, with an attorney arguing the Diocese of Providence and its hierarchy can be held accountable as perpetrators in an alleged abuse case involving a priest who died more than a decade ago.

• Finally, Shepard Fairey is coming back to Providence.

• Big news on the innovation front: 401 Tech Bridge and Rhode Island Cell Therapy Training Institute are each getting more than $1 million as part of the second round of state Innovation Campus projects. Both companies are working with the University of Rhode Island and private partners to create hundreds of jobs.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What’s the best brewery in Rhode Island? Send answers to and I’ll report the winner on Monday.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at

• Don’t miss tonight’s launch party at the Cambridge Innovation Center’s Providence office at 225 Dyer St. It’s free, and there will be awesome Globe giveaways. RSVP here.

Governor Gina Raimondo is scheduled to tape David Axelrod’s popular podcast, “The Axe Files,” this afternoon in Chicago.

• Saturday is the Governor’s Cup football game between Brown and URI. You’ll find me tailgating.

• If you live in Providence, check out Oktoberfest at Mount Pleasant Park. Plus, they’re raising money for Mount Pleasant Little League, where I coach.

• Enjoying Rhode Map so far? Do us a favor and encourage your friends to sign up here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you on Monday.

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