Emerging Company Showcase presents 14 UNC startups

Fourteen startup companies based on innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present at the annual Emerging Company Showcase on April 18.

The lineup includes eight new scientific firms poised to market discoveries including devices for communication in the hospital, compounds for treating neuropathic pain and a variety of tools for areas such as supporting basic and neuroscience research, diagnosing and treating cancer, managing side effects of dialysis for end-stage kidney disease patients, training cardiothoracic surgeons and supporting clinical decisions.

The showcase also includes six new technology firms offer solutions for community banking, water testing, sound engineering, online commerce and lesson planning for K-12 educators.

The event is 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. Admission is free; however RSVPs are required by registering here.

It is hosted by the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network; Carolina KickStart; the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (TraCS) Institute; Innovate@Carolina; the UNC Kenan-Flagler Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; the UNC Office of Technology Development; and RENCI, the Renaissance Computing Institute.

“The showcase provides a unique opportunity to see UNC’s most promising startups,” said Don Rose, Ph.D., director of Carolina KickStart, which is part of the NC TraCS institute, home of UNC’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards from the National Institutes of Health. “For the firms, it provides an excellent forum for seeking capital, finding management and networking with the greater startup community. As in years past, we anticipate the event will result in fruitful connections and investment.”

Last year, more than 200 people attended the showcase, which featured 12 startups in two tracks for the first time: scientific and technology. Each company makes an eight-minute pitch, then a post-presentation session provides networking opportunities for all.


“The tremendous growth in attendance each year is a testament to the quality of the companies presenting,” added Rose.

Companies presenting in the scientific track are: Augment Medical, Cell Microsystems, Cortical Metrics, GeneCentric Diagnostics, Katharos, KindHeart, NeuroGate Therapeutics and RealTromins. Companies presenting in the technology track are: Directed Deposits, KM Water Solutions, Impulsonic, Gift Boogle, Prepped and Yardsprout.

“With information technology ventures included for the second year, Triangle investors will again see how Carolina is producing top-tier ventures, not just in the life sciences, but in several exciting IT fields as well,” said David A. Knowles, director of economic development and regional engagement at RENCI.

Co-hosting by the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network is new at this year’s event. The network, launched last year, is a collaboration between the region’s major universities, the entrepreneurial community and the private sector.

“We are excited by the potential of the Blackstone Entrepreneurial Network as a tool to build growth ventures out of these new, promising enterprises, assist in building strong C-level management teams and serve as a catalyst for capital formation to fuel their growth,” said Ted Zoller, Ph.D., director of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship.

Zoller is an instructor in Launching the Venture, a series of courses that help UNC faculty, students and staff to develop commercialization strategies for technologies, devices or ideas. Carolina KickStart’s Rose teaches the medical component of the course, which culminates in developing a business plan and puts startup companies on a path to seeking outside management or investors, such as through the Emerging Company Showcase. Many of the company founders presenting at the showcase have completed the course.

“The Office of Technology Development is working with these companies to identify and protect the intellectual property assets that form the basis of these new ventures,” said Cathy Innes, director of the UNC Office of Technology Development. “We work closely with Kenan-Flagler Business School, Carolina KickStart and RENCI to help them launch.”

The event supports 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 innovate.unc.edu.



NC TraCS Institute contact: Michelle Maclay, (919) 843-5365, Michelle_Maclay@med.unc.edu

News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu