NC IDEA Foundation Awards $250,000 in Grants to Five Startups

DURHAM, N.C. -- NC IDEA Foundation, an organization committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is awarding $250,000 in grants to five North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s seed grant program has awarded over $4.5 million to 109 companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 21st cycle of the program.

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The following five grant recipients were chosen after a four-month application and selection process that drew 173 applications from across the state:

Gryppers – Raleigh, NC
Gryppers creates cutting-edge solutions, which offer comprehensive protection and complete confidence to users across various sports and markets. With a flagship, multi-sport product designed to stabilize joints (like tape), maximize performance (like gloves), as well as increase grip strength, and reduce chance of injury, Gryppers inimitably protects the athlete’s most valuable (yet neglected) assets: their hands. Learn more at

microSiO – Durham, NC
microSiO produces revolutionary encapsulation and delivery systems to protect and control the release of active ingredients in product formulations. Using a proprietary synthesis process developed at Duke University, microSiO develops and supplies customized solutions for various applications with a specific focus in personal care.

ProAxion – Apex, NC
ProAxion is a technology startup that is helping define the Industrial Internet of Things. Their cloud-based wireless sensor system brings the benefits of predictive maintenance to the millions of machines that keep our society running. Learn more at

Roobrik – Durham, NC
Roobrik builds online tools that help older adults and their families make hard decisions about driving safety, living situations, and dementia. Roobrik partners with regional and national senior care providers and clinical research organizations that are committed to helping families find the options that work best. Learn more at

Sandbar Oyster Company – Morehead City, NC
Sandbar Oyster Company is using a patent-pending, fade-away material co-developed by a UNC scientist and a North Carolina commercial fisherman to deploy in coastal waters that promotes the settlement and growth of immense numbers of wild native oysters. Oysters growing on the materials are highly suitable for aquaculture, enhancing oyster stocks for commercial and recreational fisheries, restoring environmentally valuable oyster habitats, and creating reef structures to protect shorelines from erosion.

“These grantees reflect the diverse economic potential of the state,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “Some of our companies are building new products for very large markets, and some are defining new markets with their innovations,” concluded Ruhe.

NC IDEA’s grant program is a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment. In addition to the funding, winners will also benefit from mentoring by successful entrepreneurs and experienced investors; use of MBA interns; in-kind services from attorneys, accountants and marketing consultants; public recognition and access to growth capital.

NC IDEA is a private foundation committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina. The organization serves as a catalyst for young, high-growth technology companies by promoting initiatives that foster growth and guides these companies to become major contributors to the state’s business community. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s seed-stage grant program has awarded over $4.5M to 109 companies across the state. NC IDEA has supported over 100 additional companies through its Durham-based startup program Groundwork Labs. Learn more at

 David Menzies | 919-274-6862 | Writer and Public Relations Consultant  | Editor | |