Five early-stage ventures had the chance to pitch their startups to the broader Triangle entrepreneurial community Tuesday evening during the Andrews Launch Accelerator Demo Day at Raleigh Founded’s Warehouse location.
The NC State accelerator is a product of a $1 million donation from Lyn and Chip Andrews. Chip Andrews was the CEO of FMI Corporation for nearly 50 years and also is an alum of NC State. (We first wrote about the accelerator in June, 2019.)
The accelerator has helped NC State founders jump start their entrepreneurial journeys with funding, resources and guidance over a 14-week summer program.
Yesterday marked the conclusion of the 2022 accelerator as founders presented their startups to the public.
This year’s cohort of startups ranged from a social media analytics company to a team using DNA for data storage.
“Maybe you want to take your kid somewhere fun this weekend, and you don’t know where to go,” Co-Founder Mandi Biondi said. “Or maybe your kids have tons of energy, and you are scrambling to find a playground for them to run around. On top of this issue that every parent is running into, we have identified a market opportunity.”
The founders described ZuZu For Kids as essentially the best of both worlds of TripAdvisor and parenting blogs that give rundowns of local kid activities.
But now it is no longer the case that parents have to rely on either a specific, hyper-localized blog or on broad Google results. No matter the location, they now have access to hundreds of activities to keep their kids engaged over the weekend.
Next up was Max Burden, who has launched Clean-E, an electric vehicle charging company. So far, the team has targeted the commercial real estate industry, helping apartments and office properties become more competitive by offering charging stations to residents or office workers. (We wrote a full feature story on the startup here, when it was still called Sovereign Energy.)
Medical device company Cervu is on a mission to help female cancer survivors enjoy a healthy sex life. Many of these women experience chronic pelvic pain, which prevents them from having painless sex.
“I didn’t feel women were being served very well when they came into the clinic,” said OB/GYN Dr. Alan Rosenbaum, who also founded the company.
DNAli Data Technologies is bringing an innovative approach to data storage. By using DNA—which is extremely dense and thus can store large amounts of data in very little physical space—the startup will be able to save companies from having to store their data in large data centers, which are taking up more and more space across the globe. (Read our full feature story on DNAli).
Their first market verticals are finance, government, pharmaceutical and healthcare businesses.
“We are looking for partners and funding to be able to develop a product program to take our technology to the next level,” Co-Founder Kyle Tomek said. “We are looking for business advisors and partners to work through our development strategy.”
“The reality is there’s a huge shift happening right now in how information is being discovered online,” Co-Founder Trevor Ferree said.
No longer does search SEO reign supreme. Instead, young consumers are going to TikTok, Instagram or Reddit for search rather than Google or other traditional search engines, meaning social messaging is more important than ever.
Many of the startups were looking to begin fundraising soon in order to scale their businesses to the next level.
This made the question-and-answer portion of the Demo Day even more integral to the startups’ path forward.