DURHAM, NC – June 4, 2014 – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding over $270,000 in grants to six North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded over $3.4M to 88 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 17th cycle of the program.

The six grant recipients were chosen after a four-month application and selection process that drew 133 applications from across the state. A committee comprised of experienced venture investors, industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs assisted NC IDEA in selecting 25 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.

“We are excited to have six grant recipients this cycle, and are sure to see some exciting developments from these companies over the coming months,” said Andrea Cook, Grant Program Manager at NC IDEA. “These six 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 six companies are NC IDEA’s most recent grant recipients for the Spring 2014 cycle:

AnyCloud – Durham, NC
AnyCloud turns your online chaos – personal and shared content scattered across multiple email, social, and cloud accounts – into a blissfully ordered universe. Learn more at www.anycloud.co.

CellBreaker – Durham, NC
CellBreaker gets consumers out of contracts and then refers them to new service providers. They do this with technology that automates the legal work necessary to get out of a breached contract, and the value proposition to consumers is clear: when your provider breaches, CellBreaker will detect it, and get you out of the contract in 7 days. Consumer service contracts are everywhere; we have a way to beat them; and CellBreaker’s goal is simple: let’s make it easy to switch. Learn more at www.cellbreaker.com.

CrowdTunes – Durham, NC
CrowdTunes is a mobile bidding platform and music management service that empowers patrons with the ability to affect the atmosphere by bidding on the music they want to hear. CrowdTunes provides a free, legal music solution to venues that can be setup in less than five minutes and improves the establishment’s bottom line through increased sales to a more engaged customer. CrowdTunes is currently the full-time solution for five venues in Durham and Chapel Hill and new locations are being added weekly. Learn more at www.crowdtunes.co.

Eighty Percent Solutions – Chapel Hill, NC
Eighty Percent Solutions develops software that helps people be more productive by reducing digital distractions. The software interrupts the habitual cycle of distraction associated with social media, streaming sites and games. A bootstrapped venture, Eighty Percent Solutions has sold its products to over 50,000 consumers. Learn more at www.80pct.com.

Lea(R)n – Raleigh, NC
Lea(R)n empowers educators by crowd sourcing their rapid feedback on learning tools to improve student learning, school purchasing and the tools themselves. Working with data scientists, technologists and national thought leaders, Lea(R)n is building a uniquely objective platform to bring quality control to a rapidly growing $90 billon market. Educators and others interested in signing up for the private beta can “Lea(R)n More” at our website. Learn more at www.learntrials.com.

Pack Purchase – Raleigh, NC
Pack Purchase is an online tool to help people manage their homes. Pack Purchase brings together residents and top home services providers to reduce many pain points typically associated with this area of life. The service has launched in private beta in select locations. Learn more at www.packpurchase.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 2014 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.

About NC IDEA
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.