NC IDEA Newsletter – April 10, 2018

As the Foundation’s strategic planning process continues to unfold, we have ambitions to do more with greater impact, specifically, help more North Carolinians start and grow companies.

NC IDEA SEED, our $50K seed grant program that has existed since the organization’s inception in 2006, has awarded over $5 million in grant funding to 125 companies. These companies have gone on to raise over $220 million in both equity and non-dilutive funding and have generated 1,000 jobs in the state. And nearly 70% of these companies are still operating today. However, we have seen an increasing demand of younger companies not yet positioned for these larger grants, where a small amount of funding would make a significant impact.

To that end, yesterday we announced a Micro-Grant Pilot Program, an expansion of our long-standing NC IDEA SEED grant program. This Summer’s pilot will award project-based grants in the amount of $1K to $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea or validate scalability. Read the full announcement here.

We are seeking applications from NC-based startups with innovative products or business models with the potential of becoming a $5M company in 5-7 years. We realize these companies will be earlier on in their life cycle than our traditional applicants. We are particularly interested in high-ambition startups and founders outside of our traditional software and hardware focus; and are also seeking companies existing in North Carolina’s rural and economically distressed counties. More information on our Micro-Grant Pilot Program, as well as upcoming info session dates and deadlines can be found here.

We hope you will join us in sharing this opportunity with ambitious entrepreneurs in your networks; or if you are a young entrepreneur yourself, consider applying to this program.

Many thanks and entrepreneurially yours,

Thom Ruhe
President & CEO

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs


RIoT Accelerator Program Now Accepting Applications
Application Open Through April 15th

The RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) facilitates entrepreneurship end-to-end from academic research and education through to rapid commercial growth. RAP increases the impact of traditional accelerator programming by partnering startups with an industry consortium of more than 60 companies across the IoT value chain. Industry seeds the accelerator with market-driven problems they are motivated to solve through entrepreneurial partnerships. Partners provide access to complimentary resources and seed investor capital necessary to launch new products and services to market. Learn more about eligibility for the program and apply here.


Creative Startups Winston-Salem
Applications open through June 3rd
Time to accelerate your creative business? Apply for Creative Startups Winston-Salem, an 8-week startup accelerator designed for creatives. The online accelerator begins July 31st, with a robust curriculum of concepts, tools and training customized for creative enterprises. Up to 10 startup teams are selected to critically focus on their business models over eight weeks. The online accelerator begins July 31st, with a robust curriculum of concepts, tools and training customized for creative enterprises. Up to 10 startup teams are selected to critically focus on their business models over eight weeks. Be sure to check out one of the upcoming information sessions in a city near you. Learn more.

Events for Entrepreneurs 


Queen City Fintech Class 8 Raleigh Demo Day 
April 12th 5:30pm-7:30pm

Please join Queen City Fintech as we hit the road and head to Raleigh for a mini Demo Day! Queen City Fintech is excited to provide Raleigh a look into the fintech innovation happening in the Queen City.

This is also serving as the April Meeting for the Triangle Chapter of the Carolina Fintech Hub!

Hear pitches from Queen City Fintech Class 8 and celebrate the fintech innovation happening all over North Carolina. RSVP here.


Big Top Launch Party
April 16th 6:30pm-8:30pm

Big Top events are designed for startups to make connections, share their stories and grow their teams. If you’re part of the startup ecosystem or looking to join a startup teamthis event is for you.

Big Top’s mission is three-fold. They…

  1. Simplify startup growth for the region

  2. Connect talent to opportunities

  3. Support companies in building healthy work environments

On April 16th, Join Big Top under the Lucky Strike Water Tower at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. RSVP now.


CED Exit Strategies for Tech CEOs
April 17th 3:30pm-7:30pm

Are you building your business with the end in the mind? Have you been thinking about selling? Join CED to learn how you make the decision and get your company ready. Two tech CEOs with recent acquisition announcements will offer up their best advice on how to drive a successful exit:

  • Doug Kaufman, CEO of TransLoc (acquired by Ford) and
  • Matt Williamson, CEO of Windsor Circle (acquired by Output Services Group)
Be sure to RSVP here.
Fund Your Startup or Existing Business Using Investment Crowdfunding
April 18th 12:00pm-1:00pm

NC IDEA presents an investment crowdfunding seminar at the American Underground training classroom at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. Mark Easley, the publisher and editor of will be the featured speaker, and he will be discussing how to use the new North Carolina Localstake NC investment crowdfunding platform to get funding for your startup or existing business. RSVP here.