News & Insights

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

Grant Recipients Selected from Diverse NC IDEA SEED Applicant Pool

DURHAM, NC – May 14, 2020 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded $300,000 in seed grants to six North Carolina startups from a diverse NC IDEA SEED applicant pool. Since its inception in 2006, the NC IDEA SEED program has awarded nearly $6.8M in non-dilutive grants to 154 innovative companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 29th cycle of the program.

“This group of companies demonstrates the vibrancy and resiliency of entrepreneurship across the state of North Carolina,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “We had an incredibly strong group of finalists participating in a grant cycle that concluded virtually for the first time ever. And despite these challenging times, we are confident that our recipients are well on the path to creating a lasting impact in their local communities while strengthening the state’s economy,” Ruhe concluded.

The following six Spring 2020 NC IDEA SEED grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 142 applications from across the state:

Arpio – Durham, NC
Arpio protects and restores your AWS environments so that your team will not spend time worrying about outages and ransomware.

Electronic Lab Logs – Wilmington, NC
Electronic Lab Logs helps labs ditch the paper logs. Labs can flawlessly track maintenance tasks for all lab instruments using a comprehensive solution for web, mobile and tablets.

Home Lending Pal – Durham, NC
Home Lending Pal is building the first AI-Powered mortgage advisor that simulates buying a home with multiple lenders to determine mortgage approval odds and affordability impact based on lifestyle.

Natrx, Inc. – Raleigh, NC
Natrx enables builders, architects and ecologists to incorporate nature directly into infrastructure by protecting communities from storm surge, flooding and hurricanes with modular waterfront protection.

ShyftAuto – Winterville, NC
ShyftAuto digitizes the consumer vehicle service experience by giving automotive service facilities a tool to offer and manage pick-up and return for vehicle service.

Unbox the Dress – Winston-Salem, NC
Unbox the Dress is the modern, sustainable and emotionally-rewarding solution enabling millions of women to redesign their wedding gowns into modern heirlooms.

NC IDEA SEED offers early stage companies the critical funding they need to scale faster. The $50,000 grants are awarded to innovative startups with a proven concept, even if they are not yet profitable. The funds, along with mentorship and guidance, push companies forward and reduce the risk associated with these nascent firms.

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