Human Capital

By Norman Boucher / March/April 2012
March 9th, 2012

As Providence struggles financially, the city hopes that a newly thriving downtown “Knowledge District” will attract start-ups and new ideas that together will help improve the city’s economic outlook. Thanks in part to the medical school’s new downtown headquarters and the incubator program at the RI Center for Innovation & Enrepreneurship at One Davol Square, Brown has been an anchor in the district and a magnet for alums who have stayed in Providence and founded businesses there. Less often noted, though, are the alums who have stayed in Providence and founded businesses in the Knowledge District. While it’s too soon to predict the future of these companies, they demonstrate that innovation and entrepreneurial ambition can sometimes sprout not far from the classrooms that first inspired them.      

Jacob Hinrichs
Providence hopes the downtown Knowledge District will be a kind of incubation zone for ideas that can help the city's future economy.
1 WHO An Son Leong ‘09 ScM-IMEE ‘10, Cofounder and Director of Technology and Business Development, Axena Technologies
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Produces a coating material for antimicrobial products.

2 WHO Abhishek Pruisken ‘10, Founder, Rip van Wafels
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT As a student homesick for his native Holland, Pruisken began making stroopwafels, Dutch wafer-and-caramel cookie-like treats. Seeing how much his friends liked the wafels, he began selling them on the College Green in 2010 and has since been selling them all over town.

3 WHO Adam K. Emrich ’08, ’09 ScM-IMEE, CEO; Hamzah A. Ansari ’09 ScM-IMEE, VP Business Development and Finance; Nate D. Webb ’09, VP Technology, Accelereach Technologies
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT A web service to foster and aid communication between health professionals and their clients, through text messaging.

4 WHO Andres Douglas ‘09, Founder, Bakodo
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Produces Bakodo Scanner, an iPhone app that scans a product’s barcode and shows its price at other nearby stores. Works with QR codes to capture information and send e-mails.

5 WHO Love Sarin ’05, ’10 PhD, CEO, Founder, and President; Ruben Spitz ’09 ’ScM, Research Engineer; Professor of Engineering Robert Hurt, cofounder and chief scientific adviser, Banyan Environmental
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT With Brown-licensed technology, devised process to capture and stabilize mercury in order to manage it more easily and safely. Developing ways to protect people and nature from mercury exposure originating at sources like coal-fired power plants.

6 WHO Adam Leonard ‘10, Cofounder, Diavibe
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Creates drug-free, vibration-based technology to reduce the pain of injections.

7 WHO Danny Warshay ’87, President; Daniel Wyner (master’s candidate), CEO; Lily Wray ’10, Director of Marketing and Finance; Jeremy Russell ’11, G-Form
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Products with advanced polymer technology to provide impact protection and vibration dampening for everything from athletes to laptops.

8 WHO Julie Sygiel ’09 and Eunice Png ’09, Founders, Sexy Period
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Fashionable women’s undies that protect against embarrassing menstrual leaks.

9 WHO Robert Aziz ’11, President and Founder Founder; William Do ’13, Executive Vice President and Founder, Premama
WHERE One Davol Square
WHAT Easy-to-swallow and digest prenatal vitamin. Also soothes such pregnancy side effects as nausea and constipation.

10 WHO Walker Williams ’11, Founder, Teespring
WHERE 3 Davol Square
WHAT Beta testing a new, social way to sell t-shirts on the internet: create a t-shirt design, set sales goals and prices, then share your design with friends on your social networks.

11 WHO Neuroscience professor Justin Fallon, Founding Scientist; John P. Nicholson ’72, Chairman, Tivorsan Pharmaceuticals
WHERE 3 Davol Square
WHAT Uses recombinant human biglycan technology to treat neuromuscular disorders.

12 WHO Andy Posner ’09 AM, Cofounder and Executive Director; Mona Li ’13, Financial Coach; Kuleen Nimkar ’14, Financial Coach; George Steele ’14, Financial Coach; Michael R. Clark ’09 AM, Chairman of the Board; Mollie West ’09, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Board; Sari Azout ‘10, Alumni Advisory Committee; Nabeel Gillani ’12, Alumni Advisory Board; Mustafa Safdar ’12, Alumni Advisory Board, Capital Good Fund
WHERE 127 Dorrance St., 5th Floor
WHAT A nonprofit that began in a class in 2008. A microfinance organization targeting the root causes of U.S. poverty.

13 WHO Former Brown professor Annie De Groot, Founder, CEO, and CSO; Lenny Moise ’93, ’02 PhD, Scientific Director of Vaccine Research; Leslie P. Cousens ’99 PhD, Scientific Director of Protein Therapeutics; Timothy Messitt ’09 PhD, Associate Director of Molecular Biology.
WHERE 146 Clifford Street
WHAT Computational immunology. Designs new vaccines and reengineers therapeutic proteins.

14 WHO Mark Hellendrung ‘90, President, Narragansett Brewing Company
WHERE 60 Ship Street
WHAT Founded in 1888, this New England staple and former sponsor of Boston Red Sox broadcasts, disappeared for thirty years, until Hellendrung bought the brand in 2006. He hopes to build a new brewery in Rhode Island this year.

15 WHO Barrett Bready ’99, ’03 MD, President and CEO, NABsys Inc.
WHERE 60 Clifford Street
WHAT Faster, cheaper, and more accurate whole-genome sequencing technology using electronic detection.

16 WHO Max Winograd ’09 and Ben Lux ’09, ScM ’10, Founders NuLabel Technologies
WHERE 349 Eddy Street
WHAT Adhesives and printer hardware technology to reduce waste associated with computer-generated labels.

17 WHO Rajiv Kumar ’05, ’11 MD and Brad Weinberg ’03, ’11 MD, Founders, ShapeUp the Nation
WHERE 111 Chestnut Street
WHAT Leverages existing social networks at companies to promote health and wellness of the employees. ShapeUp is being instituted at Brown this year.

18 WHO Spiros Elipoulos ’07, ’10 ScM, CEO; Chris Erway ’06 ScM, ’11 PhD, CTO; and Dan Keubrich ’08, Founders, Tracelytics
WHERE 171 Chestnut Street
WHAT Founded by self-described “web and systems hackers.” Collects and correlates information across layers and machines to help streamline businesses. 

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March/April 2012