NC IDEA, a non-profit economic development group and venture capital fund investor, has awarded five startups $215,000 in grants.

The funding is non-dilutive and is intended to help startups move their products and technology closer to commercialization as well as to make the firm more appealing to venture capital investors.

NC IDEA also is accepting applications for its next round of funding.

The grants handed out in January made up the fourth round of awards from NC IDEA since it launched the program in 2006.

The recipients, their respective focus and the amount of funding awarded:

Chiliport – Real-time, on-demand audio portal that plays user-defined web-based information over a cell phone line. Grant: $50,000

CorePrognostex – A tissue acquisition protocol, a patented stereotactic tissue-holding device, and designed custom kits to enable uniform collection of high quality human tumor samples. Grant: $42,000

CPS Biofuels – System that converts waste byproducts into high-energy, safe oxygenates and fuel additives that improve vehicle performance and reduce particulate emissions. Grant: $37,250

Filtara – Small, lightweight, long lasting portable oxygen concentrator. Grant: $37,497

Size Me Up – Sizing tool for online retail shoppers. Grant: $48,200

NC IDEA has now awarded some $810,000 in grants to 21 companies.
Companies also may receive mentoring, enrollment in the FastTrac entrepreneur development program at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, as well as consulting services and an intern.
The next deadline for grant applications is Feb. 8.