Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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December 13, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | It’s all about North Carolina

Other items range from a pre-seed stage fund to a $750 million fund and an examination of trends that can be discerned from a study of federal grant applications.

From Research Triangle Park, NC:

A newly released report from RTI International, better known as the Research Triangle Institute, examines the trends that can be discerned from two years of submissions by North Carolina organizations to the National Science Foundation’s “Regional Innovation Engines” program and the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” (BBBRC).

Titled “Federal Funding Applications and What They Tell Us About the Future of Economic Development in North Carolina,” the report notes that North Carolina-led coalitions submitted 39 applications to one of the two federal programs in 2022 and 2023. “North Carolina’s 39 applications represent nearly every region of the state,” the report found, although the highest number – 11 in total – came from the Research Triangle area.

Among the Tar Heel State’s applications, two received Type-1 “NSF Engines” awards (of 44 national winners) and two received BBBRC Phase 1 grants (of 60 national winners). In August 2023, two North Carolina coalitions were named among the 16 national finalists for “NSF Engines” Type-2 awards which are the big bucks opportunities.

The RTI study concluded that “cross-institution” partnerships rather than “go it alone” approaches by universities or other organizations produced the most success.

From Wilmington, NC:

Canapi Ventures, a fintech fund backed by nearly 70 financial institutions and strategic investors across the U.S., has announced the raise of a $750 million Fund II. Canapi is backed by the Canapi Alliance, the fund’s unique network of strategic banks and financial partners institutions across North America, as well as institutional investors. This latest raise brings Canapi’s total assets under management to over $1.4 billion and will allow the Fund to continue to support the most innovative entrepreneurs and companies looking to create a sounder, more inclusive and equitable financial ecosystem.

Core to Canapi’s value proposition is the delivery of best-in-class financial and strategic returns to its Alliance. In Fund I, Canapi made 20 investments across key verticals, including fraud and identity, financial infrastructure, lending and credit, payments, and real estate technology. In Fund II, Canapi will maintain its strategy and support these key industries, while broadening its investment aperture to include additional opportunities and challenges facing the financial industry and other industries. This includes the responsible use and governance of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and the intersection of financial services and climate technology.

Canapi Ventures has offices Washington, DC; New York City; and Wilmington.

From Belmont, NC:

Piedmont Lithium, which secured a $141 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a lithium hydroxide facility in McMinn County, has been granted more time to complete the state’s review of its application to start a mine in Gaston County. That’s according to a report from Reuters as reported by WRAL TechWire.

The proposed mine is expected to become a major source for lithium for electric vehicle batteries, although neighbors and the Gaston County Commission have expressed opposition to the company’s plans, alleging harmful environmental impacts.

From Durham, NC:

Primordial has launched a pre-seed fund to serve a gap for Research Triangle-area tech start-ups. The new fund, part of Colopy Ventures, focuses on start-ups below $1 million in annual revenue. 

According to the news release issued last week, Primordial created its rolling fund through AngelList. To make angel investing more widely accessible, the minimum investment commitment is $5,000 per quarter for four quarters.

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