DURHAM, NC – December 15, 2015 – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding $300,000 in grants to six North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $4.2 million to 104 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 20thcycle of the program.

The six grant recipients were chosen after a four-month application and selection process that drew 130 applications from across the state. A committee comprised of experienced venture investors, industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs assisted NC IDEA in selecting 22 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 six winners.

“This grant cycle was competitive and had a strong contingent of applicants, making our decisions incredibly difficult,” said Sean O’Leary, interim executive director of NC IDEA. “We were impressed with the pool of companies and so many were deserving of funding. In the end, we were convinced that our grant money would have the most significant impact on our six recipients. We look forward to tracking the progress of our winners and working alongside these companies to become major contributors to our state’s business community.”

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

Brand Assurance – Wilmington, NC
Brand Assurance helps apartment owners compete with a user-friendly software solution for managing and tracking reviews on review sites and social networks. Developed exclusively for the multifamily apartment industry, Brand Assurance allows apartment communities to turn resident feedback into actionable plans to quickly respond to competition and market demands, increase resident satisfaction and drive revenue. Unlike any other platform or service, Brand Assurance uses customer feedback surveys to proactively build and protect an apartment community’s reputation online.  Learn more at http://brandassurance.co.

Brim – Durham, NC
Brim is the world’s first productivity network, connecting people in remote locations to collaborate on files, hold online video conferences and webinars, manage tasks, share and organize data. Brim combines communication, productivity and storage technologies in an all-in-one platform for temporary and persistent collaborations. Learn more at http://br.im.

MV Trak (formerly Imvere) – Chapel Hill, NC
With about 25 million sports-related concussions going undetected every year, MV Trak measures head impact and rotation with 96.6% accuracy to give medical professionals and athletic trainers reliable, objective data to detect which athletes need to be further evaluated for concussion symptoms. MV Trak is an in-ear wearable technology, for both helmeted and non-helmeted athletes, allowing good decisions to be made about each athlete’s brain health.

Rheomics – Chapel Hill, NC
Rheomics develops tools to improve sensitivity of blood diagnostics. With the company’s patented ASAP technology, their products can efficiently and affordably process much larger volumes of blood. Learn more at http://www.rheomics.com.

SeaChange Technologies – Raleigh, NC
SeaChange Technologies is developing an innovative technology for water purification and desalination. The company’s systems address the key drawbacks of existing desalination technologies, including intensive energy requirements, polluting brine wastewater byproduct and high maintenance costs. Learn more at http://www.seachangetechnologies.com.

Tom & Jenny’s – Chapel Hill, NC
Founded by a dentist and her husband in their home kitchen, Tom & Jenny’s developed a new kind of candy that’s both delicious and great for teeth. The company’s unique formula and process results in an all-natural, sugar-free caramel that is preferred over sugar caramels by 60% of blind taste-testers and reduces cavity-causing bacteria on teeth. Tom & Jenny’s candies are distributed online and through local NC retailers and healthcare offices. Learn more at http://www.tomandjennys.com.

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 Spring 2016 grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open in mid-February with a deadline in early March. Learn more about NC IDEA’s grant application process, timeline and criteria at www.ncidea.org.

NC IDEA is a private foundation committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina. The organization serves as a catalyst for young, high-growth technology companies by promoting initiatives that foster growth and guides these companies to become major contributors to the state’s business community. Currently, NC IDEA works closely with these innovative startups mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $4.2 million to 104 companies across the state. Learn more at www.ncidea.org.