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NC IDEA FOUNDATION Awards Total of $300,000 in Seed Grants to Six North Carolina Startups

Funds to serve as catalyst for young, high-growth startups

DURHAM, NC – November 20, 2017 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding a total of $300,000 in grants to six North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, the NC IDEA SEED grant program has awarded over $5 million to 126 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 24th cycle of the program.

“This cohort of grant recipients is a great representation of the diverse economic potential of the state,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We are encouraged to work alongside companies from the mountains and Piedmont regions to the Triangle that are poised to quickly grow, creating jobs and positively impacting the state’s economy,” added Ruhe.

The following six NC IDEA SEED grant recipients were chosen after a four-month competitive application and selection process that drew 155 applications from across the state:

Altis Biosystems – Chapel Hill, NC
Altis Biosystems is a biotech research tools company that has developed a stem cell technology called RepliGut, which recreates both the small or large human intestinal epithelium for drug testing and microbiome research. It is meant to replace Caco-2 cells and animal testing, for compound screening, during preclinical studies. Altis plans to manufacture and sell the RepliGut platform, in a variety of formats, to pharmaceutical companies and CROs. Learn more at

kēlaHealth – Durham, NC
KēlaHealth is a software-as-a-service company that enhances the surgical quality ecosystem in hospitals. The company uses machine learning to predict surgical complications before they occur, providing a platform for surgeons to evaluate which interventions are most impactful for each patient, and disseminate evidence-based interventions to all surgeons in a department or hospital. Learn more at

Loanable – Durham, NC
Loanable is a friends and family lending platform that helps borrowers pay less interest and enables their friends and family to earn that interest instead of the bank. Loanable guides borrowers through each step of the process, allowing users to set and negotiate their own terms, formalize those terms in a legal agreement and schedule auto-pay, a simple monthly payment that gives borrowers and lenders peace of mind. Learn more at

Neighborz – Winston-Salem, NC
Neighborz makes food selection and ordering from local restaurants fun by offering an aggregated menu of the best local restaurants with pictures of each dish, randomly organized. Users can swipe through the food offering of a community, disliking items and adding items to a personal wishlist. Learn more at

No Evil Foods – Weaverville, NC
No Evil Foods makes meat from nothin’ but plants, helping hungry mouths everywhere make the connection between food, kindness to self and others, and environmental impact. As leaders in the global gastronomic ecosystem, No Evil Foods creates Plant Meats that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional proteins, while using methods that are sustainable, simple, kind and always compromise free. Learn more at

Noteninja – Durham, NC
Noteninja is a b2b SaaS collaboration software used by large organizations to capture and utilize their sales conversations for the purposes of coaching, ongoing training and ramping new reps. Account executives, customer success teams and field reps record their conversations with Noteninja because it’s the easiest way to get better at talking to customers, communicate internally about customer needs and retain 100% accurate knowledge of all conversations. Learn more at

NC IDEA SEED is a catalyst for breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The $50,000 grants support a variety of activities for the growth of nascent firms. In addition to the funding, grant recipients will also benefit from mentoring by successful entrepreneurs and experienced investors; use of MBA fellows; in-kind services from attorneys, accountants and marketing consultants; public recognition and access to growth capital. 

NC IDEA is a private foundation committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina. Today, the organization fulfills this mission through multiple grant and mentoring programs. NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM funds organizations across the state that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs. Over the last decade, the NC IDEA SEED program has awarded over $5M in non-dilutive grants to 126 high-growth companies across the state. Since 2011, nearly 150 companies have participated in NC IDEA LABS, formerly Groundwork Labs, to guide founders developing an idea or product. NC IDEA SOAR, a program founded in 2012, supports female entrepreneurs leading scalable businesses in raising capital through mentorship, strategic advice and connections. NC IDEA LEAD, the Foundation’s newest program, provides leadership training for founders of high-growth companies. Learn more at