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 – November 14, 2019 – 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 $6.5M in non-dilutive grants to 148 innovative companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 28th cycle of the program.

“With yet another diverse cohort of companies spanning everything from advanced manufacturing, tech and SaaS to consumer products, I think we can now safely conclude that North Carolina is blessed with a deep bench of high-growth potential companies being led by very passionate entrepreneurs,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “Even though we just concluded this cycle, I look forward to seeing the types of companies we can help in the Spring 2020 cycle – which opens in early February,” Ruhe concluded.

The following six Fall 2019 NC IDEA SEED grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 182 applications from across the state:

Advanced Hydrogen Technologies Corporation – Hickory, NC
AHTC offers a superior, high-performance chisel for hydraulic breakers that retains its point with 100 times more wear resistance. The superior chisel will save customers thousands of dollars annually.

GoodRoads – Charlotte, NC
GoodRoads is building software, hardware and a community to help pavement managers and those responsible for scheduling road maintenance make better decisions, faster without needing a bigger budget.

Green Stream Technologies – Raleigh, NC
Green Stream Technologies is an environmental Internet of Things (eIoT) firm making it more affordable for government and commercial customers to monitor and report environmental conditions – in real time and in high-resolution detail not previously feasible. Better data is key to better response, better decisions and better predictions.

MUUKTEST – Raleigh, NC
Up to 50% of software development time is spent on testing. Using hybrid artificial intelligence models, MuukTest gives manual and automation testers superpowers that make them 26X faster and helps growing software companies build disruptive products faster, without armies of test engineers.

Pip & Grow – Davidson, NC
Every year 3,500 babies in the US die from SIDS and suffocation. Pip & Grow provides parents – who sometimes choose convenient, but unsafe sleep spaces like bouncy seats, boppies and swings for their babies – a portable, affordable option with their Smitten baby box to put baby to bed – safely – anywhere.

Protopia – Cary, NC
Protopia’s “Friendraising” AI helps universities activate donors by connecting their alumni, students and supporters – at scale and with ease.

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.

This announcement follows NC IDEA’s recent announcement of fifteen grant recipients receiving a total of $150,000 through its NC IDEA MICRO grant program; and comes less than one week before the organization hosts the inaugural North Carolina Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit. The Summit, scheduled for November 18-19 at the Hilton Raleigh North Hills, is intended to catalyze entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy for the state of North Carolina, and has been named the official opening event of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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