First and foremost, we are looking for great founders and teams. NC IDEA LABS is most impactful somewhere between the time you have your idea and the time you have a minimum viable product. However, if we can identify a gap that NC IDEA LABS can help the company fill, we will accept companies that are already shipping a product or are further along.

We look for a sizable and/or growing market, a unique idea that gives you a competitive advantage and a plausible revenue model. We do not accept consultancies or retail/small businesses, or companies that have limited opportunities to scale.

At least one founder must be full-time and have sufficient financial runway to give their company time to bootstrap or raise outside funding. We will accept individual founders and can be a valuable resource in helping find co-founders.

Founders who benefit most from NC IDEA LABS are:

  • An Expert in Their Field: whether that be in the particular sector the company is pursuing, the technology required for the company’s success, business or sales
  • Stubborn and Flexible: stubborn enough to persevere and hold onto building the company when everyone around is saying it won’t work, and flexible enough to pivot when needed and be coachable and challenged by mentors
  • Committed: no wantrepreneurs, only folks who are all in 100% despite the challenging road ahead
  • Looking to Fill a Gap: whether that be understanding a business model, finding product-market fit, finding a co-founder or numerous other needs

We are looking for founders who will be positively impacted by the program, and in turn will positively impact their fellow teams in the cohort. You must be open, ready to be challenged and want to engage with your peers and mentors. You should be willing to give up a bit of time helping your peers knowing that same person will reciprocate and help you when needed.

Back to NC IDEA LABS program page →

“I was initially worried about the demands on my time. Many of my days are packed with coaching sessions, speaker events, meetings with domain experts and other events, but I found that the relevancy and value of the program actually increased
my productivity and effectiveness.”

John Hawes, Founder and CEO, Taurus Math and Technologies
NC IDEA LABS Alumni