Still, we thought it was important to look back at the track record of this important contributor to our startup community—one that drew in a third of its companies from outside the state, a third women and a third minority founders. So we did our best to get the scoop behind the companies that accelerated here. In some cases, we relied on Internet research. In others, we got information from The Startup Factory. And we also reached out to some local founders we know. If you have more information on any of these companies, feel free to email us!
There are some pretty cool stories in the notes below (organized by TSF class), and you can bet we’ll be diving in deeper to tell them in the weeks and months to come. For now, enjoy this quick recap of 35 new businesses launched (and sometimes sold or killed) over the last several years in North Carolina (and beyond).
4Soils, Fall 2013
Founded by Lusi Chien, 4Soils
is an app development company that specializes in biblically-based games and apps for children. The startup created and launched 30 iOS apps that have been downloaded 1.1 million times and translated in Chinese, Spanish and other languages. After selling the company, Chien joined Tenex Health as VP of marketing and strategy, and now is EIR of commercialization at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA.
Arcametrics, Spring 2012
This data science startup was acquired by Adroit,
a division of MediaMath, in 2014 for an undisclosed sum. Founded by Brad Davis
and John Turner
and also funded with an NC IDEA grant in 2012, its software used predictive analytics to create new audiences based on a retailer’s best customers. Davis is vice president of MediaMath Helix and Turner, vice president of engineering—both are still based in Raleigh, where the company has kept an office. Former CEO Paolo DiVincenzo
is now the COO at Windsor Circle.
Venture-backed and growing
Mira, Fall 2014
analytics platform tailors content in shopping malls, retail stores or taxicabs for an anonymous mobile audience, connecting marketers to larger customer bases. Co-founder Jon Frangakis,
partners in the business with his brother Gabe, represented Durham’s Google tech hub American Underground at Google Demo Day this year. Mira didn’t win
, but the experience was valuable for the team. While the technology is ready, according to The Startup Factory, they’re focused on establishing key partnerships before raising additional funding. To date, they’ve snagged about $1.5 million.
HomeWellness, Fall 2013
HomeWellness built software to help employers assist employees in eco-friendly home improvements like air quality, energy efficiency, solar panels, etc. The company went radio silent on Twitter in April 2014, but according to LinkedIn the company shut down earlier this year. One founder is running the music and video studio Blue Clay Studios in Saxapahaw, NC, another is working in construction in New York City, while the third is a sustainability consultant in Chile.
Brevado, Fall 2013
Brevado built a tool for creating interactive project timelines for freelancers, consultants, and small businesses, but shut down sometime in 2014. Founder Mike Perna is now a web developer at Active Web Group in New York City.
Tuee, Spring 2013
was in the process of shutting down when Raleigh startup Stealz
acquired its technology. The move makes sense. Tuee was a guest relationship portal for restaurants and Stealz rewards patrons for frequenting their favorite businesses. The pair of companies shared an common mission—to increase customer retention for small restaurants and businesses. One co-founder, Kunal Arora
, is now in DC working at Capitol One and the other, Vikram Rao
, is a financial analyst for Google X in Silicon Valley.
TabSprint, Spring 2013
A mobile application company, focused on streamlining payment processes at restaurants and bars, TabSprint’s founders worked on the product through 2015. Co-founder John Chipouras now works at MapQuest in Denver and his partner Grant Warman is a software engineer for Google in New York. Chipouras’s LinkedIn profile claims TabSprint is still available, but when we looked for it in the Apple store, it did not turn up.
Taggs, Spring 2013
Taggs specialized in assisting advertisers and marketers navigate and benefit from the “visual web.” Perhaps it was ahead of its time. Co-founder Mark Kelley describes the closure on his LinkedIn profile in the following way, “raised early VC money, generated some revenue, but wound it down when our market hypothesis didn’t validate. A great ride.” He since joined the founding team of iCiDigital in Raleigh, overseeing client services.
PopUp, Fall 2012
Co-founded by Motricity and Appia alum Dov Cohn
, PopUp raised $300,000 to build a location-based social communication tool. After 18 months of work on the product, Cohn shut it down and now serves as senior vice president of product at the fast-growing telemedicine startup TouchCare
Science Behind Sweat, Spring 2012
A product of RxAnalytics, this startup’s big data platform was designed to “find the critical behavioral drivers of athletic performance in individuals.” But social media accounts have been inactive since August 2014 and the website is down. According to LinkedIn, co-founder Deepak Gopalakrishna relocated to Silicon Valley and is a product lead at Boston Consulting Group. Dan Samarov, who never quit his day job as a Mathematical Statistician for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is still based in DC and consults on the side.
Entasso, Spring 2012
This platform that matched recent college grads with entry level positions was short lived. It died shortly after its founders participated in TSF’s first cohort. Co-founder Alison Dorsey
caught LinkedIn’s eye, and she now serves as senior manager for city and state programs in the Bay Area. And Paul Hiatt
, Dorsey’s co-founder, is building his second startup, Lockstep Labs
, from Bangkok, Thailand.
Berst, Spring 2012
Berst also died soon after the spring 2012 TSF cohort. A location-based app, it was a way to share photos, thoughts and moments with others close by. We found no information about the company or the founder(s).
Amy Huffman contributed to this piece.
Correction: Mira has raised $1.5 million, putting it in the funded category. We previously included this company in the bootstrapped section.