Carolina Launch Pad invites applications from UNC entrepreneurs

Russell Taylor, Ricky Spero and Richard Superfine of Rheomics, a Carolina Launch Pad firm.

CHAPEL HILL, NC, March 14, 2011—Entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are encouraged to apply for a spot in the Carolina Launch Pad, the pre-commercial technology business accelerator located at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI).

The program, a partnership involving RENCI, the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Technology Development (OTD) and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, seeks faculty, students and staff looking to turn their technical innovations into viable businesses and who have not yet secured startup funding. The application form is available online at the Carolina Launch Pad website and must be submitted by April 11. Applicants must be active in the UNC-Chapel Hill community. Faculty, current students, staff, and alumni who have graduated within the past two years are eligible.

Now in its third year, Carolina Launch Pad already boasts a number of successful alumni and participants. Among the program’s successes are:

  • Dyzen, Inc., a company that develops web-based scientific lab management software, won a $40,000 NC Innovation Development for Economic Advancement (IDEA) grant in 2009 to help fully launch the business. The firm, formed by a team of faculty and staff from UNC’s McAllister Heart Institute, now leases office space in Research Triangle Park.
  • Altometrics, Inc., which is developing a performance monitoring system for cloud computing, won a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation in late 2010. The company, founded by recent UNC computer science Ph.D. recipient Jeff Terrell, also received $30,000 in matching funds from the North Carolina Office of Science and Technology.
  • Rheomics, Inc., develops instruments and analysis systems to measure clotting and  rheology and diagnose cancer using small samples. Ricky Spero, one of the company’s founders and a post doctoral associate in the physics and astronomy department, recently received a two-year Innovation Fellowship from Carolina Kickstart, the UNC School of Medicine’s entrepreneur support initiative.

“The idea behind Carolina Launch Pad is simple: give UNC’s technology entrepreneurs a place outside their campus offices or labs where they can concentrate on their business ideas, trade ideas with others who are launching new businesses, and learn from experts at RENCI, the business school and the local business community,” said David Knowles, RENCI’s director of economic development and engagement and manager of the Carolina Launch Pad program.

“Based on the feedback we’ve received from participants so far, it works. Just being able to talk to others who are dealing with the same business startup issues is a real boost, as is being immersed in an institute like RENCI with such strong technical expertise”

Up to three new participants will be selected to participate in the 2011-2012 Launch Pad class. Applications will be reviewed in late April and all applicants will be contacted by early May.

Carolina Launch Pad is supported by RENCI through funding from the UNC Chapel Hill Office of the Provost.


Carolina Launch Pad and RENCI support the Innovate@Carolina Roadmap, UNC’s plan to help Carolina become a world leader in launching university-born ideas for the good of society. To learn more about the roadmap, visit

RENCI applies advanced cyber technologies to university research initiatives and to complex problems identified by the state of North Carolina. Founded in 2004 as a major collaboration involving Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, RENCI is an institute of UNC Chapel Hill with facilities across the state. For more see