NC IDEA Newsletter – June 23, 2017

My friend and brilliant person, Robert E. Litan, recently co-authored a piece in Harvard Business Review reflecting on a thesis first proffered by another brilliant mind, William Baumol, about productive entrepreneurship vs. unproductive entrepreneurship.

The article serves as a great reminder to practitioners of economic development that not all entrepreneurship is created equal, or even of net benefit to society.

One could argue that in today’s hyper partisan environment, unproductive entrepreneurship (referred to as rent-seeking) is on full display. Need convincing? Just read through the House or Senate version of revised healthcare bills, and see how certain niche issues are being addressed to benefit narrow interest groups. Some might argue that those benefiting are merely being entrepreneurial in influencing the process, but the disproportionate remunerations extracted from this rent-seeking behavior is not in the interest of the greater good.

This is why NC IDEA carefully curates our programs and grants to encourage the right kind of (productive) entrepreneurship. It is also why we are working with a growing network of Ecosystem Partners to likewise promote productive entrepreneurship. In so doing, we expand the potential of greater economic participation throughout the state; rural, urban and everywhere in between.

I know it is a cliché to call this the rising tide approach to economic development, namely promoting entrepreneurial opportunity for all, but it’s accurate and better serves humanity.

To that end, we are thrilled to welcome our newest Ecosystem Partner, Venture Asheville. We now have eleven organizations working together, with many other groups also doing great work in the state, to promote the right kind of entrepreneurship in North Carolina. And this kind of entrepreneurship builds resilient economies, stronger communities, and better futures.

If you have bright ideas to share, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to call (919) 323-3053 or email

Entrepreneurially yours,

Thom Ruhe
President & CEO

Ecosystem Partner Updates


NC IDEA Announces Venture Asheville as Ecosystem Partner
NC IDEA announced today that it has awarded an eleventh grant in its Ecosystem Partner Program to Venture Asheville. The grant to Venture Asheville will directly support the organization’s Elevate program. Elevate, modeled after MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service, enables startup entrepreneurs to simultaneously navigate the practical day-to-day challenges of building great companies and develop their skills as effective managers, leaders and CEOs through monthly team mentoring sessions and office hours with specialized mentors. Read the full announcement.

Triangle Venture Alliance Makes First Investment of $2.1M

Triangle Venture Alliance (TVA), an NC IDEA Ecosystem Partner, announced its first investment of $2.1M in 410 Medical. TVA is an investment alliance among angel networks at NC State University, Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University. 410 Medical is an early-stage medical device company that has developed and is now commercializing a novel medical device that can rapidly infuse life-saving fluids during medical emergencies. Read More.

Company Updates


BruVue is RiOT Pitch Champ

2017 Seed Grant Recipient and current Groundwork Labs company, BruVue, won the RiOT Championship Belt in early June. BruVue is disrupting the beer distribution industry with a simple device that fits over a tap handle and tracks the beers poured. Read more. 

Sandbar Oyster Company Receives Funding From UNC KickStart 
Sandbar Oyster, a 2016 Seed Grant Recipient, is one of three faculty-led startups to receive funding from UNC’s KickStart Venture Services program. Sandbar Oyster Company is commercializing a novel biodegradable composite material designed to restore oyster habitats, reverse the decline in oyster populations, protect the shoreline and revitalize the oyster industry as part of the coastal marketplace.
Read more.

Clinical Sensors Receives $200K in Funding
Clinical Sensors, a 2011 Seed Grant Recipient, has raised $200,000. Clinical Sensors develops sensors that can potentially identify and monitor patients who are at risk for developing life-threatening diseases. In April, the company received two Small Business Research Grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Read more.

InHerSight Receives Funding from Charlotte Angel Group
InHerSight, a SoarTriangle company, recently received a $100,000 investment from Charlotte Angel Fund. The investment is part of a $750,000 equity round  for InHerSight. Read more.

DealCloud raises $4.5M in Growth Equity Investment

DealCloud, a 2012 Seed Grant Recipient, is a technology leader for deal management in the private capital markets. The company recently announced that it has closed on a $4.5M growth equity investment led by Cultivation Capital FinTech and Hamilton Lane. All existing investors in DealCloud also participated in the investment, which will be used to fuel DealCloud’s continued rapid growth. Read more.

Panaceutics Enters Agreement with Florida Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute
Panaceutics, a 2013 Seed Grant Recipient, announced a partnership with Florida’s Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) designed to explore an innovative solution to the ever-increasing problem of medication adherence, focusing on patients with cardiovascular disease. Read more.

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs 

Applications are open for Dan Ariely’s Startup Lab!

Are you insatiably curious about what drives decisions, shapes motivation, and influences behavior? Does your startup’s success hinge on the ability to affect positive behavior change that helps people live happier, healthier, and wealthier lives?We’re looking for startups that are eager to experiment, and demonstrate a passion for building research-backed solutions to health and finance challenges.

APPLY NOW. You only have until June 30th at 5pm EST.

Learn More:
Watch the Video 
See Program FAQs
About the Center for Advanced Hindsight