Durham hologram maker to compete at Google competition

PRSONAS, which was founded by Chuck Rinker, left, and David Rose, will compete in Google’s National Demo Day.
PRSONAS, which was founded by Chuck Rinker, left, and David Rose, will compete in Google’s National Demo Day. Special to The Herald-Sun

PRSONAS, a Durham-based company that builds interactive holograms, is set to represent the Bull City at Google’s National Demo Day next month in San Francisco.

PRSONAS will be one of 13 companies that will compete at the competition, which takes place in front of tech investors from across the country on June 8.

It’s a competition that Durham companies have done well in the past. The downtown tech incubator American Underground sends a representative to the annual competition as part of its membership in the Google for Entrepreneurs network, and two AU-based startups have won in the past.

This is the fifth year that the competition has been held.

Energy drink manufacturer Mati Energy won the competition in 2015 and marketing software company Windsor Circle won the competition in 2014. Both Mati Energy and Windsor Circle have gone on to raise millions more in investments following the exposure they received at the event, including $100,000 each from AOL co-founder Steve Case.

“We’re honored to be nominated and hope to represent Durham’s legacy at Google Demo Day,” PRSONAS CEO Dave Rose said in a statement.

Founded in 2013, PRSONAS makes customizable holograms that use artificial intelligence to interact with customers and collect data from customers. The company’s customers include Microsoft and Procter & Gamble as well as places such as as McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, which used the technology to guide travelers through the airport.

The company, which has six full-time employees, also has a distribution partnership with the Japanese firm Ricoh.

The company has raised more than $500,000 from investors, according to the database Crunchbase.

One of PRSONAS competitors in California will be Boston-based Care Academy, which is developing an online education platform that teaches caregivers to provide care to older adults.

Care Academy, which was founded by Helen Adeosun, won a pitch competition at American Underground last year when the co-working space hosted the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes