They’re former sex toy marketers, grade school buddies, travelers to 120 of the world’s 196 countries.

One is French, two Brazilian. Another has a form of chronic leukemia. Some moved to town from Washington D.C., Atlanta and Yosemite in California. And two teams in this spring’s Startup Factory class include husbands and wives.

A dozen men and women moved into American Underground this week with compelling enough ideas to earn $50,000 and three months of mentorship from Startup Factory partners Chris Heivly and Dave Neal and dozens of other experienced advisors. They’ve set to work building businesses tackling hostel travel, day care searches, podcast discovery and crowdfunding.

They join a network of 22 Startup Factory graduates, 18 of which are still in business and 10 of which have raised additional funds. A handful of those, Heivly considers ‘rock stars.’

There’s ArchiveSocial, now with more than 100 government, bank, healthcare, insurance and education customers of its social media archiving software. It graduated from the San Francisco civic tech accelerator Code for America last year.

Arcametrics Systems has been successful in its data-driven approach to helping clients target the most appropriate audiences with advertising campaigns. Heivly says it’s one of the top funds-raisers to have graduated from the program. And it has recruited as advisors local investors Bruce Boehm and Lee Buck and former executives Stein Kretsinger and Con Way Ling.

Tuee is working its way up the food chain, literally. Its restaurant customer management, marketing and analytics platform has been adopted by dozens of local restaurants and chains.

TabSprint is testing its drink-ordering mobile application with a Fortune 100 corporation, along with a bunch of local and Charlotte-area restaurants and bars. It’s also raised $250,000 in seed funds to grow the platform.

And VacationFutures raised $318,000 to help grow its vacation rental listing and auction site.

So who’s behind the four new businesses in the Triangle? And what’s so special about what they’re building? Click on the profiles below to learn more about the cast of characters behind the Factory’s four big bets.

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