News & Insights

NC IDEA FOUNDATION Awards Total of $160,000 to Sixteen North Carolina Startups

Grant Recipients Selected from Diverse NC IDEA MICRO Applicant Pool; NC IDEA SEED Finalists Also Announced


DURHAM, NC – April 27, 2020 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded $160,000 to sixteen North Carolina startups in its fourth ever NC IDEA MICRO grant cycle. Since the inaugural cycle in Spring 2018, NC IDEA MICRO has awarded nearly $610,000 to 61 young companies across the state.

Through small, project-based grants, NC IDEA MICRO awards funding up to $10,000 to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. The program piloted in Spring 2018, was created as an expansion of the Foundation’s long-standing SEED grant program to provide funding to younger, promising startups not yet positioned for the Foundation’s traditional $50,000 grants.

“Working with these young companies, we hope to support their entrepreneurial ambition, which will be desperately needed to rebuild our economy,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “This demographically and geographically diverse cohort of grantees embody equal parts of optimism and resilience, and are a great inspiration to others during these challenging times,” Ruhe concluded.

These sixteen NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 171 applications from across the state:

In addition to announcing the NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients, the finalists for the 29th cycle of the $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant were recently chosen from the 27 semi-finalists that had been selected out of the 142 competitive applications received earlier last month. These finalists will present virtually before a review panel and approximately five to seven grant recipients will be announced in early May. The twelve Spring 2020 NC IDEA SEED finalists are: Airlie Wedemeyer (Newport, NC); Arpio (Cary, NC); Electronic Lab Logs (Wilmington, NC); Home Lending Pal (Durham, NC); Keepsake (Raleigh, NC); Live Furnish (Winston-Salem, NC); NALA Systems (Chapel Hill, NC); NanoVest Platform (Durham, NC); Natrx, Inc. (Raleigh, NC); Ramona Optics (Durham, NC); ShyftAuto (Winterville, NC); and Unbox the Dress (Winston-Salem, NC).

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs, and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change. Learn more at