DURHAM, NC – December 4, 2014 – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it has appointed four new members to its Board of Directors.

Joining the NC IDEA Board of Directors are: Lee Buck, Chris Halligan, Karen LeVert and Sean O’Leary.

Lee Buck
Lee Buck is an experienced software executive, advisor and investor and is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. He serves as Partner and Advisor of LaunchBox Digital and is also the Founder at Blue Bright Ventures. Prior to his investment activities, over the past 20 years, he founded a series of innovative companies in the multimedia, enterprise software and web collaboration domains including, Near-Time and Extensibility which was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2000. Buck serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards.

Chris Halligan
Chris Halligan is an experienced and successful technology executive and entrepreneur. His track record includes IPOs and early stage exits at both large corporations and small venture-backed companies including Dell, WebMethods and getfeedback. Halligan co-founded Charlotte Regional Technology Executives, has served on the board of Ventureprise at UNC-Charlotte and is a member of Charlotte Angel Fund. He also serves as an Operating Partner with IDEA Fund Partners and is an advisor to and investor in several startups, including WedPics and NC IDEA grant recipient ProctorFree.

Karen LeVert
Karen LeVert is Co-Founder and CEO of Southeast TechInventures (STI) and also Co-Founder and COO of Ag TechInventures (AgTI), both technology accelerators focused on migrating promising technologies from university research labs to the commercial marketplace. Her business experience encompasses both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds and LeVert has launched several entrepreneurial ventures during her career. Just prior to founding STI, LeVert co-launched a Silicon Valley venture-funded software company and served as its Executive Vice President of Business Development. In addition to joining the NC IDEA board and serving on the boards of STI and AgTI, LeVert also serves on the boards of CED and the North Carolina School of Science and Math.

Sean O’Leary
Sean O’Leary has over twenty years of technology sales and operations related experience with a proven track record in building and leading global sales and marketing organizations for both Fortune 500 companies and venture-backed enterprises. Most recently, O’Leary was CEO and President of StrikeIron which sold to Informatica in June 2014. O’Leary was also responsible for transitioning Good Technology, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers backed company, from an early stage to high growth company resulting in an acquisition by Motorola in 2007. O’Leary has served on the boards of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and the Salvation Army of Durham.

“Lee, Chris, Karen and Sean embody the spirit of the entrepreneur and bring tremendous talent, expertise and energy to the table, said David Rizzo, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We are very fortunate to have such experienced business and technology leaders by our side as we continue to strengthen North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community.”

The newest board members join current directors: Board Chairman Randy Myer, Jeff Barber, Mitch Mumma, Joan Siefert Rose, Robert Tyler, Rich West and Stephen Wiehe. Recent outgoing directors include: Doug Ellis, Fred Hutchison and Lawson Rankin.

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. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $3.4M to 88 companies across the state. Learn more at www.ncidea.org.