The Friday Nooner: NC IDEA’s Amy Bastian Plants SEEDs For Triangle Startups

This week’s Friday Nooner, a Jackie-less GrepBeat team reflected on last night’s Joe-less GrepBeat Happy Hour in Raleigh (don’t worry—both Joe and Jackie have excellent excuses). If you missed Pete’s “deconstructed chocolate chip cookies” at this month’s happy hour, don’t panic, there’s always next time! [Editor’s Note: Pete has promised no such thing.]

Speaking of next year, Pete mentioned that CED has announced its 2023 Venture Connect summit will be hosted on March 29-30 at GSK’s headquarters in RTP. Pete and Joe talked about the FTC suing to block Microsoft’s proposed $69B acquisition of Activision Blizzard, while Pete says he’s abstaining from talking about the Elon Musk-Twitter drama, at least for a week. 

Joe and Pete welcomed Amy Bastian, Senior Director at NC IDEA, to the podcast. Amy, who manages IDEA’s MICRO and SEED grant selection processes, has been working with NC IDEA since July 2018. Here are three key takeaways from their conversation: 

  • You may know NC IDEA for its MICRO and SEED grants to startups with high growth potential statewide, but Amy reminds viewers that NC IDEA also gives grants to local organizations across the state that are looking to uplift their own local startup communities. These inter-organizational partnerships don’t just mean more money spread across the state, they also mean more statewide companies taking the chance on applying for an IDEA grant.
  • Finding good qualifiers for NC IDEA grants is both “an art and a science,” Amy said, that doesn’t have hard-set criteria. There is no super-secret tip to qualifying for a grant, but Amy recommends that interested founders focus on their business. She also recommends that founders start on applications early and receive feedback on the applications from peers or mentors outside of their company, even from previous grant recipients, before hitting “send.”
  • When are you ready to apply for a SEED grant? Amy said that companies should have some kind of market traction, with the kind and degree of traction depending on the type of company. For example, consumer goods startups will typically have around $100K in annual revenue. But traction doesn’t necessarily have to be revenue, especially if it’s a SaaS business or a consumer internet company. Having good pilot programs, some letters of intent or committed usership can all be good signs that your startup is in a good place to apply for a SEED grant. 

You can watch the full episode on LinkedIn here, or on Facebook here.

Or on YouTube:

Auditory learners can listen (and subscribe!) to the podcast version:

About Suzannah Claire Perry 74 Articles
Suzannah "Claire" Perry is a senior Journalism and Peace, War and Defense major at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When she isn't at GrepBeat, you can find her in a coffeeshop, her hometown of Cary, N.C., or on Twitter @sclaire_perry.