The third quarter was a busy one for Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network companies, as six of the startups supported by the network hauled in $5.5 million in funding,
Two companies – e-Nicotine Technology and Novocor Medical Systems – closed on deals worth $4.7 million in the quarter.
The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network launched in 2011 as a collaborative effort bringing together Triangle universities and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development to support, launch and mentor new startups in the region. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, affiliated with the Blackstone private equity firm, committed about $3.6 million to the program.
“Our companies were able to capitalize on the expertise and connections of our team of seasoned entrepreneurs-in-residence and the network’s resources, resulting in successful fundraising efforts,” Bob Creeden, executive director of the Blackstone Entrepreneurial Network, said in a statement. “They raised both traditional and non-traditional funds that will help them reach meaningful milestones in their development.
Of the six startups that raised funds, six are based in the Triangle.Funding sources included angel investors, competition awards grands and a Small Business Innovation Research loan. The companies are:
- e-Nicotine Technology. The developer of an electronic nicotine inhaler to help with smoking cessation efforts closed on more than $3.8 million in a series A round that was oversubscribed. The company, which started in Chapel Hill, now has its corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah though its clinical development office remains in Chapel Hill.
- Novocor Medical Systems. The Raleigh startup, spun out of the joint University of North Carolina and N.C. State University biomedical engineering department, reached definitive agreements for $961,000 in its series A financing as the company pursues development of a therapeutic hypothermia device. The company also finished the summer with a $75,000 North Carolina Biotechnology Center SBIR loan and a $47,000 NC IDEA grant.
- Sqord. The social health startup raised $420,000 in the third quarter from angels, friends and family as the company develops its wristwatch-like device PowerPod to track and promote physical activity. Sqord also received $18,000 in seed capital in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake as part of TechStars Chicago’s inaugural class; it was one of 10 startups selected from more than 900 applicants.
- Keona Health. The Chapel Hill startup, which has developed online triage software for nurse advice lines, won $100,000 as the second runner-up in the 2013 Allscripts Open App Challenge. Keona had designed an app that integrate directly with AllScripts software. The company has also piloted its software at UNC and Tulane University Student Health Services.
- Gema Touch. The startup has developed touch-sensitive RFID technology that enables mobile communication capability for any printed surface. In September, Gema Touch joined Nashville-based accelerator Healthbox and received $50,000 in seed capital in exchange for a 7 percent equity stake.
- Augment Medical. The Raleigh company, another spinout from the UNC/NCSU biomedical engineering program, was awarded $30,000 in September for its PatientLink system, a wireless communication platform for disabled patients in hospitals.The award came from Carolina KickStart, a program of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, or NCTraCS.