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BCBSRI Partners with Founders League to Support Healthcare Innovators

Rhode Island’s startup community is strong in the growing field of health and wellness, where new technologies, mobile solutions and an explosion of interest in wearable devices and health-related apps have opened tremendous opportunities for innovation. For this reason, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is partnering with Founders League to offer support to healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs in Rhode Island.

Working together, Founders League and BCBSRI will expand existing programs and introduce a few new ones to showcase startups in the health and wellness arena, increase mentorship opportunities, and leverage BCBSRI’s deep reach into the community to help rising star startups grow in Rhode Island. Supporting these companies is not only good for economic growth in Rhode Island--it’s a great way to accelerate the development of new solutions that build stronger, healthier communities.

The partnership kicked off at BCBSRI’s fall 2014 annual community meeting at Your Blue Store in Warwick, at which a group of exciting Founders League startups were featured. The event served as an opportunity to introduce the startups to the community allowing them to demonstrate their products and services for Rhode Islanders interested in learn more about the future of health and wellness. This spring, the partnership will run a showcase featuring nine amazing ventures creating important innovations across the industry--from technologies targeted at workplace wellness, to ergonomic furniture and wearable devices, to systems that help aging adults live longer, and more safely, in their own homes.

“At Blue Cross, we understand that improving healthcare delivery and bringing costs down requires working together and thinking outside-the-box,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. “We look forward to partnering closely with Founders League entrepreneurs to explore creative ideas about how we tackle some of the toughest issues in healthcare.”

The Founders League was created in 2013 to provide a spectrum of support and services to Rhode Island entrepreneurs. Founders League offers coworking, mentorship and programming, and recently launched a new effort focused on better integrating Rhode Island’s students and recent graduates into the startup community.

The three-year partnership between Founders League and BCBSRI aims to create a pipeline of talent and ideas between startups and the BCBSRI community. Founders League startups will offer larger enterprises, like BCBSRI, an important window into emerging technologies and consumer trends, insights that can be used to improve existing services and products and spark new, transformative offerings.

“Not only are startups important to our economic future, they play a vital role in pioneering new solutions that enable us to lead better, healthier lives,” said Founders League director Melissa Withers. “Having BCBSRI as a partner in the Founders League connects fledging ventures to a powerful portfolio of resources--mentorship, product development support, and an expansive reach into almost every corner of the health and wellness marketplace. We are grateful for BCBSRI’s support and look forward to working closely together in the months to come.”

For more information, or to join Founder League’s mailing list, visit foundersleague.co.

About Founders League

Founders League offers coworking, community and programming for Rhode Island entrepreneurs and startups. Find out more at foundersleague.co

About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 550,000 members. Our mission is to improve our members’ health and peace of mind by facilitating their access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. BCBSRI is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.com, follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI, and like us on Facebook at fb.com/bcbsri.

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