FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Seven companies from four different states involved in high-tech research and development have been selected as the first tenants for the Defense and Security Technology Accelerator.

The new business incubator, or DSTA, formally opened its doors for business on Dec. 1 and is already more than 50 percent full, according to General Manager Scott Perry.

“We had 21 available offices for clients, and 12 are already committed,” Perry said, noting that some of the clients needed more than one space. “We have a couple of companies already operating here on a daily basis.”

Its backers envision the DSTA, which is supported by funding from the North Carolina General Assembly, as an essential ingredient in building a defense and security technology business cluster across the state. The DSTA plans to help companies develop technology that can be used by the military and also transferred to the private sector.

Among the new tenants is Virtual Heroes, a Cary-based software company focused on video game and training technology. Virtual Heroes is the developer of the very popular “America’s Army” video game.

“This is an expansion for Virtual Heroes,” Perry said. “They plan to hire five people locally to man the office.”

So far, the seven companies represent 26 full-time jobs plus another 19 part time and consulting positions.

The technology being created by the tenants is impressive, Perry added.

“The clients have a lot of potential,” he explained, “and they pretty much compliment each other. We expect there to be a lot of synergy among the clients and staff. Some of the clients are already working together and going after work together. Things are moving forward in a very positive manner.”

The DSTA considered applications from 15 companies. The seven were based on a competitive process. Other applications will be reviewed in the near future, Perry added.

All companies have products that are at least in the prototype stage. Factors considered in the selection process include: business potential, technical merit, commercial viability, quality of the management team, and potential economic impact for the state They are from North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.

The six firms other than Virtual Heroes are:

Horizontal Fusion: The company provides computer and Web-based training and services already to the Department of Defense, including Special Forces.

Immersion Media: The company uses 3D video and animation for teaching and training with a focus on providing multiple perspectives and developing precise execution of a particular skill.

K-3 Enterprises: Its expertise is in geospatial data management, communications solutions, information technology implementations, security and logistical support.

Net Centric Services: The company designs and manufactures data communications products that incorporate cryptography for secure, converged communications.

Olivia Tower: The firm has developed a rapidly erectable communications tower than stands 150 feet tall. It is very mobile and is designed to improve battlefield communications.

Signet Technologies: The company designs, installs and services integrated security solutions.

As tenants of the DSTA, the companies will receive coaching, introductions to potential customers plus use of on-site lab space and equipment. Congress recently approved more than $1 million in funding to create a lab focused on development of wireless fidelity (WiFi) technology.

In the future, the DSTA HOPES to offer grants to tenant companies.

DSTA: www.dstanc.org