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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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Courtney: These nor’easters need to settle down. While another one coming down the pike isn’t the best (unless winter sports are your thing), this recent string of cold weather has produced my favorite non-tech story of the week: a Revolutionary War-era ship got whipped up from the sea in York, Maine during the last storm. Stay warm and safe, everyone, and enjoy this photo gallery of warm places you can fly to directly from T.F. Green.

The Big One

A breakdown on the week’s biggest Inno story.

For Keith Cooper, founder and executive director of Rhode Island startup Beautiful Day, his 10-year-old enterprise looks to help area refugees gain work experience making high-quality granola.

“The refugee resettlement system in the United States is in a difficult place right now,” Cooper told Rhode Island Inno contributor Bram Berkowitz. “The system is under siege in different ways as arrivals slow and funding and supports are being pulled away, but we have a model to equip those with the greatest barriers to enter the workforce.”

Beautiful Day connects with refugees via organizations like the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, and its typical workers have “extremely high barriers to entry,” like lacking English speaking ability or cultural literacy.

“Most lack English language, but they can still learn pretty quickly how to look someone in the eyes during an interview,” Cooper said. “The primary skill we teach is confidence … In a lot of work settings you may not need much English, but you absolutely have to be able to communicate when you do or you don’t understand something. That takes confidence.”

Ultimately, Beautiful Day provides 200 hours of work to refugees throughout the startup’s granola production, as well as a stipend.

While the team produces a product sold in 50 states, Cooper said that Beautiful Day’s granola is really just a way to address a larger issue.

“People can do something about refugee resettlement; it doesn’t have to be this problem on the other side of the world that is too big to be a part of,” he continued. “That’s why I want to be selling granola bars. You might think this problem is too big, but by making a small choice about what you eat for breakfast or for a snack, you can provide crucial on-the-job training for someone who otherwise can’t get a job.”

Read the full story here. Get all our Rhode Island Inno stories here.

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations shaking things up this week.

Sprout Coworking 

The Providence-based Sprout Coworking has completed the expansion of its flagship location. The move doubled its size, bringing the complex to 8,000 square feet. It includes seven new private offices, an eight-person meeting room and an additional hot desk space that doubles as an event space. Read the full story on Rhode Island Inno here.

Rhode Island Foundation 

“Together RI,” a series of community meetings throughout the state, is Rhode Island Foundation’s newest offering, reports. The free meetings, which will provide meals, offers an opportunity for attendees to discuss both the challenges and victories that Rhode Island is facing.


Providence-based Lifespan has announced that it will begin formal talks with Partners HealthCare and Care New England in an effort to “improve health care in Rhode Island,” The Brown Daily Herald reports. “By combining the talent, experience and resources of our like-minded, provider-based organizations, we envision creating a national model that fully leverages the integration and coordination of care,” the entities said in a joint statement.

Mahr Inc.

Providence-based dimensional metrology equipment company Mahr Inc. has promoted Don Foisy to Director of Operations. Foisy previously served as design engineering supervisor and more recently, engineering manager.

In The Know

The Inno stories (and more) you need to read today.

Ocean State Update: The Biggest Rhode Island Tech & Startup News from February — Rhode Island Inno

The Death of the Internet Cookie — Axios

Like It Or Not, Personal Health Technology Is Getting Smarter — RI NPR

Uber’s Self-Driving Truck Scheme Hinges on Logistics, Not Tech — Wired

New England Roundup

The week’s biggest news from the region.


Portland-based Coastal Realty Capital has submitted a new form D for $500K in debt financing, BZ Weekly reports. The financing reason was unspecified.


Boston-based wearable device maker WHOOP has completed a $25M Series C round, led by UAE71 Capital, BostInno reports. A host of backers participated in the round, including the National Football League Players Association and Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey


Middletown, Conn.-based military and law enforcement technical apparel designer and manufacturer Wild Things has been acquired by New York-based Asgard Partners, Axios’ Pro Rata newsletter reports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Rhody Innovator Spotlight

A space for an exceptional mover-and-shaker to shine.

Startup Speak Out: Joe Nagle

In this week’s edition of our our Startup Speak Out series, we speak with Delta Dental of RI President and CEO Joe Nagle to get his perspective as a long-time innovator and contributor to the startup and innovation ecosystem in Rhode Island. Enjoy a little preview below (do note I had to edit for length).

Rhode Island Inno: What role did you play in expanding MassChallenge to R.I.?  How big is this for the R.I. start-up scene? Do you expect to see R.I. and Providence become a destination for innovation and entrepreneurship in future years?

Nagle: MassChallenge is actively scouting opportunities that might make sense for Delta Dental to pursue, so it is a great partnership. And Delta Dental, like so many Rhode Island employers, can serve as a critical source of funding for startups here. It’s a different model than the one that relies predominantly on venture funds, but is has distinct advantages as well. So, yes, Rhode Island and Providence can certainly become a destination for innovation. All it will take is a more active role by many of the companies that are already here. If Delta Dental can serve as an example of how this can work, we are happy to do so.

Read the full interview here.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know this week and beyond.

Dr. DMV’s Troubleshooting ToolKit

The Rhode Island SQL Server User Group will host this remotely-led presentation by  Glenn Berry, titled, “Dr. DMV’s Troubleshooting Toolkit.” This event will run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on March 7 at the New England Institute of Technology’s East Greenwich campus. RSVP here

2018 Manufacturing Awards 

On March 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., join Providence Business News at the Waterfire Arts Center for this year’s Manufacturing Awards, with guest speaker Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. The awards will celebrate a host of companies, such as igus, AstroNova Inc. and Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. Buy tickets here.


It speaks for itself.


Democratic Rhode Island senators have introduced a bill to the General Assembly that would impose a $20 fee to access online porn in-state, among other provisions (think blocking child and revenge pornography).

The state would use these quarterly-collected funds from these fees to support its council on human trafficking.

There’s so much to unpack here; I could write a thesis on the nature of morality and the state and porn and tech and … **deep breath, Court**

Instead, I’ll encourage you, dear reader, to check out the full article here, and tweet us at Rhody Inno your take on this whole thing.

Until next week!

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on Rhode Island Inno’s new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Authors

Courtney Gabrielson

Will Flanagan

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