Thursday, June 13, 2013

NC IDEA Awards $220,000 in Grants Bringing Total Funding Mark to Over $2.9 Million

Funds to serve as catalyst for young, high-growth technology startups

DURHAM, NC – June 13, 2013 - NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it has awarded $220,000 in grants to five North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded nearly $3M to 77 companies across the state, with these most recent awards resulting from the 15th cycle of the program.

The five grant recipients were chosen after a highly competitive four-month application and selection process which drew 159 applications from 24 counties across the state. A committee comprised of experienced venture investors, industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs assisted NC IDEA in selecting 30 companies to submit full proposals, which was further narrowed down to 11 finalists who were given the opportunity to pitch their idea in person, ultimately resulting in five winners.

"This grant cycle was extraordinarily competitive and had one of the strongest contingents of applicants in the history of NC IDEA’s grant program, making our decisions incredibly difficult,” said David Rizzo, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “We were impressed with the pool of companies and so many were deserving of funding. In the end, we were convinced that our grant money would have the most significant impact on our five recipients.”

The following five companies are NC IDEA’s most recent grant recipients for the Spring 2013 cycle:

BaseTrace – RTP, NC

BaseTrace designs DNA-based tracers that can establish liability, generate valuable information and reduce costs for oil and gas firms engaged in the highly-scrutinized ‘fracking’ industry. The well-specific tracers are added to hydraulic fracturing fluid used for oil and gas extraction. BaseTrace’s simple detection process can determine whether hydraulic fracturing fluid has migrated into drinking water, reducing litigation exposure for companies and improving relations with local communities. Although hydraulic fracturing is the primary focus of the venture, BaseTrace can employ the tracer in other future applications including leak detection, chemical tracing and hydrology. Learn more at

INRFOOD – Durham, NC

INRFOOD, a personalized “Food GPS”, is starting a revolution in personal nutrition by analyzing food's core components: the ingredients. Today’s food environment is full of misinformation, and has really become more chemistry than biology. You almost need a PhD to understand what is in your food. Society as a whole has tried to simplify these complexities by emphasizing counting calories. However not all calories are created equal. INRFOOD analyzes ingredients in your food and takes into account real time issues with your health and advises you toward an optimal personalized diet. INRFOOD is as convenient and simple as scanning the bar code of any of 250,000+ food products from your smartphone. Remember you are what you eat, know what's "in our food." Learn more at

MyLearningID – Charlotte, NC
MyLearningID is an identity verification and student authentication solution that deters cheating and academic fraud in online education. With the rapid proliferation of online course offerings, the potential for cheating has come into focus as a potential barrier to validation and accreditation for higher education. MyLearningID provides a low cost, high fidelity, effective and convenient solution that will transform online education, resulting in increased enrollments, higher integrity and improved public perception of the online education industry. Learn more at

NeuroSpire – Durham, NC
NeuroSpire brings neuromarketing technology to the mass market. Their software platform allows companies to record the brainwaves of consumers to uncover their subconscious emotional responses to media, making it easy to gather consumer insights and test media campaigns with brain scans. Though Fortune 500 companies have invested hundreds of millions in neuromarketing research, the widespread adoption of this technology has been limited by costs, timing and personnel requirements. The NeuroSpire platform makes neuromarketing studies simple to run and cost effective, while simultaneously cutting the time for completion and eliminating the need for personnel with neuroscience and programming expertise.  Learn more at

Novocor Medical Systems – Chapel Hill, NC
Novocor Medical Systems provides solutions that help Emergency Medical Service first responders save lives. Their patent pending product, HypoCore, is an innovative rapid chilling device for inducing therapeutic hypothermia in cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury, heat stroke and heavily concussed patients to markedly improve patient survival rate. HypoCore is ready on demand. It is easily stored in ambulances, fire trucks and helicopters. It does not require external power and is compatible with standard medical equipment. Learn more at

“Although 57% of our applicants were from the Triangle this cycle, we are seeing a steady increase in competitive applications from across the state. Some notable examples of companies to keep an eye on include CTASIT (Greensboro), MindsMesh (Charlotte) and Strubwerks (Cullowhee). North Carolina is home to an impressive entrepreneurial community and we hope to continue to see more statewide participation in future cycles,” Rizzo said.

NC IDEA’s grant program is a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment. In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor and guide the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles that young companies encounter, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success.

The upcoming Fall 2013 grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open in mid-August.


NC IDEA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants. NC IDEA further supports its grant winning companies by leveraging the organization’s solid partnerships and strategic alliances to assist companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. Learn more at

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