DURHAM, NC – December 10, 2013 – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding over $200,000 in grants to five North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $3.1M to 82 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 16thcycle of the program.

The five grant recipients were chosen after a four-month application and selection process which drew 117 applications from across the state. A committee comprised of experienced venture investors, industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs assisted NC IDEA in selecting 24 companies to submit full proposals, which was further narrowed down to 10 finalists who were given the opportunity to pitch their idea in person, ultimately resulting in five winners.

“We are sure to see some exciting developments from our recent grant winners over the coming months,” said David Rizzo, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “These five recipients emerged to the top of this cycle’s competitive applicant pool. Our final decisions came down to where our money will make the most impact, certainly for the companies, but ultimately for the state of North Carolina. We look forward to tracking the progress of our winners and working alongside them to become major contributors to the state’s business community.”

The following five companies are NC IDEA’s most recent grant recipients for the Fall 2013 cycle:

FokusLabs – Wake Forest, NC
FokusLabs has created a behavior intervention tool for children and adults to help remind users to listen and complete their work. It can be worn by anyone, but was designed with unique features to support individuals with autism and ADHD. FokusLabs’ tactile reminder wristband vibrates based on a proprietary algorithm. This vibration is paired with a simple reminder phrase to prompt users to listen or to get back on task. This patent-pending wristband discreetly fuses psychology with technology, to simulate the gentle reminder of a vigilant teacher or friend. Learn more at www.fokuslabs.com.

Guerrilla RF – Summerfield, NC
Guerrilla RF offers high performance RF microchips to improve high speed mobile data coverage.  Their products enable better coverage area and higher data rates for cellular and Wi-Fi data networks. Through patent pending technology and deep domain expertise, Guerrilla RF addresses the unmet performance and functionality needs of mobile data infrastructure equipment manufacturers and network providers. Learn more at www.guerrilla-rf.com.

NIRvana Sciences – Durham, NC
NIRvana Sciences is commercializing novel fluorescent dyes developed at NC State University to improve the performance of medical diagnostic and imaging tests used to identify and treat different types of cancers and infectious diseases. Learn more at www.nirvanasciences.com.

Panacea Solutions – RTP, NC
Panacea Solutions has created a data driven, robot compound printing delivery platform designed to adapt to an individual’s daily nutritional needs. They replace the need for multiple pills and compounds with a single, convenient good tasting daily packet. These personal packets are customized automatically using advanced robotic technology that is inherently hygienic, accurate and at low cost per packet. The patent pending high speed printing automation enables economic personalization of 30-day supplies that are then directly shipped to consumers. Learn more at www.panacea.me.

SnapYeti – Raleigh, NC
SnapYeti is the place to find photo contests to compete and win awesome prizes, deals and discounts. For businesses, SnapYeti is an effective marketing tool to incentivize customers and potential customers to actively promote their product/service with friends and family via photo sharing contests. Current photo contest campaign tools are costly, not mobile friendly, and only attract a business’ existing social media followers. SnapYeti is the first photo contest marketplace where businesses can create a free photo contest that reaches new and current audiences on any mobile, tablet or desktop device, while also enabling businesses to create a sales channel via their contest. Learn more at www.snapyeti.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 Fall 2013 grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open in mid-August. Learn more about NC IDEA’s grant application process, timeline and criteria at www.ncidea.org.

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.