Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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March 04, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Incentives terminated due to remote work

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has launched its Navigate Mentoring program to support entrepreneurs in the Wiregrass region of Alabama.

From Raleigh, NC:

State officials have terminated at least 10 incentive deals in the first two months of this year, according to a report in WRAL TechWire. By comparison, North Carolina economic development officials had, on average, terminated fewer than one per month between 2005 and 2023. What’s the cause? In at least two of the three most recently announced, it is because of a rise in remote work.

The latest round includes Clorox Services Company, Syneos Health, and Service Offsite Solutions. The three companies had been poised to receive millions of dollars from state and local governments for expanding their North Carolina footprint. But they said they wouldn’t create as many local jobs as they had originally promised.

From Atlanta, GA:

The only metro region with a larger decline in funding to Black-founded start-ups than the San Francisco Bay Area last year was Atlanta. That’s according to this analysis as published by Crunchbase News that notes it is especially significant given that the Atlanta area is viewed as a growing venture market that has long strongly supported minority-led companies.

However, last year the Atlanta metro area saw the smallest amount of funding going to its Black-founded start-ups since 2017. The region logged only $23 million in venture spending for such start-ups, a staggering 79 percent decline from the $107 million invested in 2022 and even a wider gap from the $467 million raised in 2021.

In 2023, Atlanta start-ups overall raised a total of $1.3 billion, meaning Black-founded start-ups received 1.5 percent of the market — a slight drop from the 1.8 percent they saw in 2022. However, those numbers are a steep decline from the 8.9 percent Black-founded start-ups received in 2021.

Also from Atlanta:

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) has announced a $2 million grant from the Truist Foundation and two Truist Trusteed Foundations to advance RICE’s expansion efforts and elevate Atlanta-based Black entrepreneurs. The generous support from Truist will continue to increase mentorship, deliver essential business resources, and expand access to valuable opportunities for capital and financial education.

Positioned as a business generator, RICE serves as an economic mobility engine for the community: driving entrepreneurs and small business owners to innovate, grow, create jobs and build wealth. Inspired by the legacy of Herman J. Russell, one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Atlanta, RICE remains dedicated to its mission to Build. Black. Business. and stands as the largest center in the world dedicated to growing, scaling, and developing Black Entrepreneurs.

From Greensboro, NC:

A Greensboro medical device company is poised to launch a biopsy platform that includes a needle with a proprietary and patented design offering physicians a more thorough, accurate and efficient tissue sampling and retrieval method.

Earlier this month, URO-1 Inc. was awarded U.S. Patent #11,903,569 for the design of its SUREcore needle for soft tissue biopsy. The device provides physicians with higher tissue volume, improved quality and consistency compared to traditional needles used for tissue biopsy, the company said. URO-1 intends to introduce its products initially for use in prostate biopsies and then expand into other areas of cancer diagnostics.

“I underwent prostate biopsy and was treated for prostate cancer at the University of California, San Francisco,” Ted Belleza, URO-1 Chief Executive Officer,  said in an interview for this article from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. “My urologist admitted that the instruments and methods used to take samples from the prostate have not changed in decades. More tissue means a higher probability of finding tumor cells. And better-quality tissues facilitate interpretation by a pathologist.”

URO-1 plans to launch a suite of products named SUREcoreTM and coreCARETM at the annual conference of the American Urological Association in early May and begin volume production of the devices this year. These milestones would follow a series of steps that began with the company’s launch in 2017 in Winston-Salem and bringing on Belleza, a medical device industry veteran, that same year.

From Huntsville, AL:

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has launched its Navigate Mentoring program to support entrepreneurs in the Wiregrass region of Alabama. That’s the area of the state that includes the cities of Abbeville, Dothan, Ozark, Enterprise, Opp, and Luverne.

According to a recent news release, the Navigate Mentoring program is modeled after the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS). Navigate was first established in Huntsville in 2019 and now serves southeastern Alabama through HudsonAlpha Wiregrass. Navigate officially launched in early February with four entrepreneurs participating in the inaugural cohort.

Through Navigate, HudsonAlpha focuses on supporting the growth of agriculture and technology entrepreneurs using a team-based approach. This helps new and established entrepreneurs who want to sharpen their business plans and develop management skills. These entrepreneurs also receive confidential, unbiased advice on business strategy and growth. Navigate operates as an in-person program to best support entrepreneurs. New and established entrepreneurs are partnered with a team of mentors to sharpen their business plans, develop management skills, and receive confidential, unbiased advice on business strategy and growth.

From Cary, NC:

“With so much focus on driving revenue in early stage ventures, stay mindful of customer churn. It may not seem as important at first but in the long run, it will prove to be one of the most impactful metrics for your business,” writes David Gardner, Founder of Cofounders Capital, and a regular contributor to WRAL TechWire, in this recent column. “Churn is a metric that can sneak up on entrepreneurs and rob them of their next round of funding or the lifestyle they anticipated upon exiting their venture.”

From the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

The Kentucky Network for Innovation and Commercialization (KYNETIC) has selected eight teams from universities across the Commonwealth to receive $56,250 in Cycle 8 project funding. KYNETIC is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) and part of the national NIH Proof-of-Concept Network.

The program offers entrepreneurial education and proof-of-concept/product development grants to accelerate the translation of academic innovations into biomedical products by investigators throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The goal is to advance the most promising biomedical research innovations — including pharmaceuticals, devices and apps — from the states eight public universities and the 16 community and technical colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

Click here to learn more.


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