Five start-ups get grants from NC IDEA

Jun. 13, 2013 @ 06:42 PM

Five start-up businesses, including four from the Triangle, were awarded grants out of a $220,000 total award from NC IDEA, a nonprofit that provides early-stage financing to technology companies in the state.

The list of recipients includes BaseTrace, a start-up spun out of Duke University that’s working on developing a tracer made with synthetic DNA. The company’s tracer would be used to identify fracking fluid if it ends up in well water.
“Fracking” is a term for hydraulic fracturing, which is a natural gas extraction process that involves the injection of fluid underground to break up rock and release gas.
The company is working out of the First Flight Venture Center, a hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Research Triangle Park.
Another recipient was Durham-based INRFOOD, a company behind a mobile application, or app, that allows users to scan the bar code on food products in order to get more information about the ingredients as well as personalized health recommendations.
The start-up Charlotte-based MyLearningID is a company with an identity verification solution that’s been pitched to help students deter cheating and academic fraud in online education.
NeuroSpire, a Durham-based start-up, is behind software designed to record the brainwaves of consumers to help track their emotional responses to advertisements or other media. The company is pitching the software as a marketing research tool to help with the testing of media campaigns using brain scans.
Chapel Hill-based Novocor Medical Systems is behind a patent-pending chilling device that would induce hypothermia to use as a therapeutic tool in the case of cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury, heat struck, and concussion.
The five start-ups were chosen following a four-month application and selection process that drew 159 applicants from 24 counties.
A committee including venture investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs helped choose 30 companies to submit full proposals.
That list was narrowed to 11 finalists who pitched their ideas in person.
“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, the nonprofit’s CEO and president, in a statement in a news release.