Framingham's Virgin Pulse moves to Providence

BY Grant Welker

75 Fountain St. in Providence, the longtime home of the Providence Journal, where Virgin Pulse is moving its headquarters.

Virgin Pulse, a wellness technology company owned by billionaire Richard Branson, is moving its headquarters from Framingham to Providence, R.I., the company announced Monday.
The headquarters now has about 100 full-time workers, but Virgin Pulse said it expects to increase that number to 130 before the end of the year and to 300 by 2021.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled for Nov. 28. The offices are in downtown Providence in the same building as the Providence Journal, General Electric and Tufts Health Plan. Virgin's space totals an initial 29,000 square feet but the company expects to expand to 88,000 square feet, according to the Rhode Island Commerce Corp.
Virgin Pulse had offices in the city before, having bought a Providence-based wellness startup ShapeUp in 2016. The company was drawn to Rhode Island with a $6.1-million tax incentive program, according to the Rhode Island Commerce Corp.
The company will maintain offices in Framingham but didn't say how many workers would stay in MetroWest.
Virgin Pulse said in an announcement of the move it has access in Providence to a rich pipeline of highly qualified talent, with many top-tier universities nearby and a hip, artsy culture attracting Millennial and Generation Z residents.
The company started a program giving new eligible employees a career coach, monthly development meetings and preference for internal and cross-departmental promotions.
Virgin Pulse is owned by Branson, along with the rest of the Virgin Group company, which includes hotels, an airline, train operator, wireless phone network and others. 
Virgin Pulse says it has 2,200 clients in 185 countries, including 120 Fortune 500 companies. The company, which has offices in 11 countries, creates software for employee health programs, including a partnership with FitBit and an app for Apple Watch.
In June, Virgin Pulse named David Osborne, who was the company's president and COO, as the new CEO.