RI Business Competition Winners Honored as 'On Fire' Award Winners

January 24, 2019 — Four previous winners in the Rhode Island Business Competition have been named among this year's 50 on Fire award winners by Rhode Island Inno. 

The second annual 50 on Fire awards celebrates early-stage businesses, enterprises, and innovators "who are doing special work to set the ecosystem ablaze." 

They will be publicly honored Feb. 6 at Hope & Main. 

Among the award winners are: 

Predictive Optics, MedTech/Life Sciences winner in the 2018 Rhode Island Business Competition, based in Providence, which is developing “a continuous imaging system to help surgeons better visualize brain vasculature.” Its founder, Vishnu Dantu, was named one of Rhode Island Inno’s 25 Under 25 last fall. 

TextUp, Student Track winner in the 2018 Rhode Island Business Competition, based in Providence, which is a “secure messaging and software platform that empowers social workers to be more efficient with their work and improve the professional quality of their life.” It was a finalist of last fall's Cox Get Started Pitch Competition and participated in MassChallenge Rhode Island’s inaugural cohort. 

Mighty Well, Student Track winner in the 2016 Rhode Island Business Competition, based in Boston, and its CEO Emily Levy are looking to “transform the patient experience” by creating a line of accessories meant to stylishly conceal treatment apparatuses. Last fall, the company won WORLDZ conference’s startup pitch competition in both the “social impact” category and the overall contest, and the company just recently debuted a new product, the “mighty pack.” 

Siren Marine, Technology winner in the 2012 Rhode Island Business Competition, based in Newport, brings the Internet of Things to the marine industry via its “Connected Boat” technology, a type that the company calls akin to Nest or OnStar for boats. Last year, the company received a $50,000 Innovation Voucher in April. It’s continued its successful streak in 2018 by being named one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Company in the Marine Industry by Soundings Trade Only. 

Also named a 50 on Fire award winner was Betsy Santarlasci, food initiative director at Social Enterprise Greenhouse, based in Providence, Entrepreneur Track winner in the 2012 Rhode Island Business Competition. She oversaw the graduation of 14 businesses from the SEG Food Accelerator in May and recruited a new class for 2019 with “a triple increase in entrepreneurs of color and a continuing majority of women.” 

More about this year's 50 on Fire award winners. 

April 1 is the deadline to apply to the 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition, the longest, continuously available, free resource that fosters very early stage businesses in Rhode Island. 

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded more than $2.6 million in prizes to developing companies across many industries. 

Sponsors of the 2019 Competition 

Lead sponsors of the 2019 Competition, which will culminate in May, are Bryant University, Cox Business, Envision Technology Advisors, Everhope Foundation, Hinckley Allen, Integrated Media Group, KLR, Locke Lord, and Sprout Coworking. 

Also sponsoring the 2019 Competition are Barlow, Josephs & Holmes, Ltd., Brown University Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Women and Enterprise, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Luminous, RevUp Capital, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, TD Bank, and Tech Collective. 

Additional sponsors include Bank of America, Bank Rhode Island, BankNewport, The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Bristol County Savings Bank, Business Development Company, Cherrystone Angel Group, CVS Health, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, EpiVax, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, The Idea Turbine, InsureMyTrip, Johnson & Wales University, The Moore Company, Navigant Credit Union, Newport Biodiesel, Pawtucket Credit Union, Richard Carriere, StormTree, Teknor Apex, Virgin Pulse, and The Washington Trust Company. 

Growth partners include MassChallenge and Venture Mentoring Service of Rhode Island.