Four emerging startups formed by staff, faculty and students at UNC-Chapel Hill have been selected to be mentored and housed at the Carolina Launch Pad over the next year.

The program, launched in 2009, is designed to help commercialize ideas developed at UNC. 

Each company will receive office space at the Renaissance Computing Institute.

Another firm, Impulsonic, is already housed at RENCI.

The five ventures, with detail provided by UNC:

  • Gift Boogle, which helps its customers find thoughtful and memorable gifts using a social media analytics-driven application. The system uses social media data, text analytics, and information from users to identify gift giving occasions and match users with the perfect gift. The application aims to make gift giving less stressful and more meaningful by matching users with the appropriate online retailers. Eric McAfee, a UNC graduate, serial entrepreneur, and UNC Information Technology Services staff member, and Scott Kleist, a recent Kenan-Flagler Business School graduate, lead the venture.
  • Prepped, a company that helps K-12 educators find the best online educational resources through a proprietary Web application. Prepped’s application enables teachers to save, rank and share educational videos, articles, podcasts, smart board lessons, lesson plans and other online content. Feedback and reviews from Prepped’s network of educators provides other educators with ranked resources and expert advice that matches their needs. Eduardo Garza, a recent Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA recipient, and Charlotte Garza, a former educator and graduate of the University of Texas education master’s program, lead the company.
  • Queue, a company that has created an analytics platform for restaurants. The system allows restaurant patrons to check in and monitor their wait list status in real time using a smart phone. Restaurants can track data points on their waiting patrons using an iPAD-based application, allowing them to gain insights into their customers’ experiences and to take actions to improve customer relations. Fitch Carrere, a recent UNC graduate in journalism and mass communication, leads the venture.
  • Students and Teachers Employing New Criteria in Learning (STENCIL), an educational, cloud-based software development firm. STENCIL’s cloud-based software analyzes student attendance, behavior, and course performance data and compares it to high school drop out warning signs. When a student is at risk, the software sends an alert to parents, teachers and administrators, giving them the chance to intervene at an early stage. The company is led by Julian Wooten, a UNC graduate who plans to enter the Kenan-Flagler MBA program in the fall, and Cameron Musler, a student in the entrepreneurship program at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • Impulsonic, Inc. provides software tools to synthesize and propagate sound in video games and for acoustics design. The company’s proprietary tools—including three patented sound technologies—are the result of six years of research and development by faculty and students in the UNC computer science department. Anish Chandak, a Ph.D. student in computer science, and Dinesh Manocha, Phi Delta Theta/Mason Distinguished Professor of computer science, lead the company.