Three Durham-based companies named among NC IDEA grant winners

NC IDEA, the Durham-based foundation that provides funding and grants to startup companies, has awarded $300,000 in grants to six North Carolina startups, the foundation announced on Thursday.

Each of the six companies selected will receive $50,000 as part of NC IDEA’s seed grant program.

The latest cohort of six companies, which included three from the Durham area, is the 23rd cycle for the grant program, which is run from NC IDEA’s offices in the American Tobacco Campus.

The seed grant program has been in place since 2006 and has awarded more than $5 million to 120 companies in the state.

NC IDEA said 173 companies applied for the six grants.

“This cohort of grant companies illustrates the vibrancy of entrepreneurial interests in the state of North Carolina,” NC IDEA President Thom Ruhe said in a statement.

The seed grants are meant to help fledgling companies kickstart the process toward becoming commercially viable and high-growth companies. In addition to the funding, grant recipients also receive mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and investors and in-kind services from attorneys, accountants and marketing consultants.

The following companies each received a $50,000 grant:

▪  Connections for Autism: A Durham-based company creating an online education platform to provide support for teachers instructing students with autism.

▪  SiNON Therapeutics: A Research Triangle Park-based company focused on creating improved capsules for drugs treating neurological diseases. The company says its technology enables pharmaceutical companies to encapsulate drugs in a way that dramatically improves their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a membrane that separates circulating blood from the brain.

The platform could be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or brain tumors, the company says.

▪  Trio Labs: A manufacturing startup operating out of the First Flight Venture Center, Trio Labs is attempting to make the 3-D manufacturing process faster and more efficient.

▪  BruVue: Previously named Drrrip, the Apex-based BruVue makes a sales tracking system that tracks the amount of beer sold at taps in real time. The system keeps track of inventory, sales trends and loss patterns for bars and restaurant owners.

▪  The Wed Clique: An online platform that creates a network for wedding venues across the Southeast. The Charlotte-based company allows venues and couples to easily find vendors and services, while also offering contracting and payment solutions.

▪  PT Wired: A Greensboro-based company that offers an app that enables physical therapists to track patient progress and save time on documentation. Patients can also use the app to watch videos, read notes and get reminders for their physical therapy routine.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes