PRESS RELEASE: NC IDEA Awards Nearly $250,000 in Grants to Five Startups, Crossing $3.9 Million Total Funding Mark

Funds to Serve as Catalyst for Young, High-Growth Technology Startups

June 9, 2015

(DURHAM, NC) – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding nearly $250,000 in grants to five North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $3.9M to 98 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 19th cycle of the program.

The five grant recipients were chosen after a four-month application and selection process that drew nearly 150 applications from across the state. A committee comprised of experienced venture investors, industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs assisted NC IDEA in selecting 26 companies to submit full proposals, which was further narrowed down to 9 finalists who were given the opportunity to pitch their idea in person, ultimately resulting in five winners.

“This cycle saw several promising applications from entrepreneurs throughout North Carolina,” said David Rizzo, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “The five recipients emerged to the top of this cycle’s applicant pool. Our final decisions came down to where our money will make the most impact, not only for the companies, but also for the state of North Carolina. We look forward to working alongside the recipients to become major contributors to our state’s job growth and economic development.”

The following five companies are NC IDEA’s most recent grant recipients for the Spring 2015 cycle:

Akili Software – Raleigh, NC
Akili Software, launched in 2014 by two female entrepreneurs, is a team of workflow management experts. They are revolutionizing the way home care, independent and assisted living companies collaborate, communicate and coordinate care with the introduction of Savii Care, a workflow management platform for the private duty home care industry. Learn more at www.akilisoftware.co.

Essay Assay – Durham, NC
Essay Assay’s web-based software mirrors the mechanistic process that human writing instructors use when evaluating student essays. They provide a consistent, credible, and scalable way to assess any document on any topic, based on content, and provide substantive feedback to the student. The result is that students have access to a powerful learning resource that can help them improve their writing.

Luxury Shoe Club – Cary, NC
Luxury Shoe Club is the world’s largest on-line shoe club that offers women the opportunity to own unlimited pairs of luxury shoes at little to no-cost per pair. Club members have access to thousands of “pre-owned” luxury shoe brands and styles that other members no longer wear and every time a new member joins they automatically help disadvantaged women get back on their feet. Learn more at www.luxuryshoeclub.com.

Trinket – Raleigh, NC
Trinket is an all-in-one coding tool designed for education. Teachers and students around the world are using Trinket to bring coding into the classroom in math, science, and computing courses. The software works instantly in any browser and allows users to share programs or websites they make with anyone. Learn more at www.trinket.io.

Urban Offsets – Greensboro, NC
Carbon offsets should be more than just another expense. At Urban Offsets, they connect sustainable brands with locally- sourced carbon projects. This bolsters their brand because it invests in the places that matter most to their customers — the neighborhoods they call home. Learn more at www.urbanoffsets.co.

NC IDEA’s grant program is a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment. In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor and guide the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles that young companies encounter, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success.

The upcoming Fall 2015 grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open in mid-August with a deadline in early September. Learn more about NC IDEA’s grant application process, timeline and criteria at www.ncidea.org.

About NC IDEA
NC IDEA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants. NC IDEA further supports its grant winning companies by leveraging the organization’s solid partnerships and strategic alliances to assist companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. Learn more at www.ncidea.org.