NC IDEA Newsletter – December 21, 2017

It’s that time of year when organizations send out a corporate version of a family Christmas letter, regaling readers with a highlight reel of accomplishments. And we certainly have been busy this year, a real yeoman’s effort to strengthen North Carolina’s startup ecosystem. If you are curious how we spent 2017, feel free to peruse our (new) website for a notion of what we’ve been doing.

Rather than filling your inbox with our vanity metrics, I wanted to share with you some of our ambitions for the year ahead. Spoiler alert: we want to do more, with more (partners and resources) for greater impact.

Specifically, through a strategic planning process we are currently undertaking, we are asking:

  • How do we help more North Carolinians start and grow companies?
  • What programs and resources best help people start and grow companies?
  • What are the right programs for our rural, suburban, and urban communities; because it isn’t a one-size-fits all scenario?
  • And finally, how do we engage others (lawmakers, foundations, corporations, universities, community colleges, economic development organizations, county and city governments) in supporting our effort to make North Carolina the best state in the nation to start and grow great companies?

If you have thoughts, suggestions, reports, data, or know people that may help us, please let me know. Ultimately, our goal is to produce a blueprint that we will share statewide, inviting the willing and able to join us in, or support, this vital work.

I can be reached at (919) 323-3053 or by email:

From the NC IDEA family, I wish you a blessed holiday season and please get some rest because 2018 will start with a sprint!

Entrepreneurially yours,

Thom Ruhe
President & CEO


NC IDEA LABS Application Deadline  January 1st
NC IDEA LABS is looking for great founder(s) to fill out our February cohort. Do you know a founder with a gap that NC IDEA could help fill? That gap might be customer discovery, understanding their business model, finding product-market fit, needing a co-founder, or helping to navigate decision-making. Program details can be found hereApplications are due by 5:00pm EST on January 1st to be considered for a February start date. The application deadline for March and April start dates is January 29

Applications for NC IDEA SOAR Open January 9th
Starting January 9th, we will begin accepting applications for NC IDEA SOAR. Through strategic mentorship, NC IDEA SOAR supports female-led scalable businesses currently facing the proven funding gap for women seeking equity-backed capital. NC IDEA SOAR provides dedicated mentorship and access to valuable resources providing the support needed to successfully achieve fundraising goals. Program details can be found here. Please share this opportunity with female entrepreneurs in your networks. Deadline to submit applications is January 29th at 5pm EST. We will be hosting an Information Session on January 10th at 1PM on the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham for those that want to learn more. More details and a link to register can be found here.

NC IDEA Company Updates


BruVue Wins Heineken’s Innovators Brewhouse Challenge
NC IDEA SEED recipient and NC IDEA LABS alumni, BruVue, won Heineken’s Connected SUB Challenge. The Innovators Brewhouse selected BruVue’s innovative draft monitoring system to connect its premium home draught system, THE SUB, to the internet of things. BruVue now has the opportunity to enter into a pilot contract to further develop their concept. Congratulations to the BruVue team!

MVTRAK Wins RTP TrailblazHER Contest, Frontier Office Space

Congratulations to NC IDEA SEED recipient and NC IDEA SOAR Alumni, MVTRAK, for winning the RTP TrailblazHER competition. The award was desgned by RTP to recognize a women-owned or woman-focused startup company by providing a physical office space for them to grow. MVTRAK is a female-led health and safety monitoring company whose technology is focused on concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries. Their winning contest submission explained the importance of early detection of these injuries in sports and military contexts, and the benefit that an office in RTP would have on their business. Read the full announcement.

Savii, Formerly Akili Software, Raises over $400K in Equity

NC IDEA SEED recipient and NC IDEA SOAR alumni, Savii, Inc., has raised $402,523 of a nearly $600,000 round. Savii is a home care management software and mobile app. The company has raised $2M since 2016. Read the full announcement.

Announcements and Events for NC Entrepreneurs 


Investment Crowdfunding Platform Launches in North Carolina 

Localstake NC enables startups and small businesses to conduct a cost effective and professional securities offering and get funding from a new source: their community.

Localstake NC is the first investment crowdfunding platform exclusively serving North Carolina. Startups and small businesses ranging from technology startups to retail shops and restaurants can use the platform to raise money to get a company started or to help it grow. A variety of equity and debt offerings can be made using various securities law exemptions, including the new NC PACES Act investment crowdfunding law, which provides a great new innovative option for raising money from all North Carolina residents. Read the full announcement.


Larger Than Life Science, January 4th 2018

Join LaunchBio on January 4th for Larger Than Life Science: History In The Making! Witness the transformation of a downtown Durham landmark from former cigarette plant to medical research and commercialization hub. Get tips for growing your company in the new year. Meet the region’s newest VC. And learn about the science of beer (tasting encouraged).

Larger Than Life Science is a free-of-charge monthly networking event for life science entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, executives, and industry partners. Each event offers multiple featured programs. Choose from a selection of practical workshops, industry partnering sessions, meetings with investors, panel discussions, office hours, and some fun activities. RSVP here.


Storytelling Workshop January 17th. 2018 at American Underground @Main

The story you present about your startup is all-important to your success. And the more limited your resources are, the more important it is that you get it right the first time. If not, your story will not be able to cut through the noise of today’s media landscape.

This is a workshop targeted at any startup that understands the value of PR and marketing, but whose time and budget do not allow for any detours. Naturally, a lot of startups tend to focus more on the work itself than how to communicate it. RSVP here.