Emerging company showcase presents 12 startups from UNC

Twelve startup companies based on innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present at the annual Emerging Company Showcase on May 3.

The new scientific and technology firms are poised to market discoveries such as devices for diagnosing and treating cancer, gaming that encourages more physical activity by children, and technologies for better managing academic research laboratories.

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

The showcase is hosted by Carolina KickStart in conjunction with the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC Office of Technology Development and RENCI, the Renaissance Computing Institute.

“This event engages the entrepreneurial community and provides exposure for early-stage companies coming out of UNC,” said Don Rose, Ph.D., director of Carolina KickStart. “A forum like this not only celebrates the great innovations at the University, but demonstrates our efforts to translate those innovations into companies with high impact.”

Last year, nearly 200 people attended the showcase held at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School that featured 10 startups, all in the life science sector. This year, with the addition of technology companies to the lineup and the event moving to the larger and more accessible Friday Center, attendance is expected to be higher.

Companies in the scientific track giving live presentations are Allotropica Technologies, Clinical Sensors, Enci Therapeutics, Ironwood Material Science, Qualiber Inc. and Rheomics Inc. Companies in the technology track giving live presentations are Action for Balance, Altometrics, Dyzen, Keona Health, Rascals and Windsor Circle.

Two of the companies—Altometrics and Dyzen—are former participants in the Carolina Launch Pad program and one—Rheomics—currently participates in the program. Carolina Launch Pad gives pre-commercial technology startups from UNC-Chapel Hill office space, technical and business advice and assistance with website development and marketing. The program is a collaboration among RENCI, the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the UNC Office of Technology Development and is based at RENCI. Three to five companies are chosen each year to participate in the Launch Pad.

“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, UNC Office of Technology Development, “We work closely with Kenan-Flagler Business School, Carolina KickStart and RENCI to help them launch.”

“The companies in the showcase represent the best of breed from our vital UNC innovation ecosystem, all with business models ready to scale,” said Ted Zoller, Ph.D., director of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. “The showcase is a way to make linkages with entrepreneurs and investors who can take these companies to the next level. There is no better single event at UNC to find game-changing deals.”

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 showcase highlights cutting edge technologies developed at UNC,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., M.B.A., associate dean for medical entrepreneurship, UNC School of Medicine, and executive director of Carolina KickStart. “The Innovate@Carolina initiative emphasizes that this is a core part of our institutional mandate. These are the companies that will drive innovation, improve quality of life, and drive economic growth in the state of North Carolina over the next decade.”

Carolina KickStart is a program of the NC TraCS Institute, home of UNC’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards from the National Institutes of Health. The program helps commercialize ideas and inventions to bring biomedical and technological discoveries to market for use by patients and other consumers. RENCI, a collaboration involving UNC, Duke, N.C. State and other universities, does cyberinfrastructure research and has programs to spur the development of technology infrastructure to move innovations into the marketplace.

This 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