Five startups, including four from the Triangle, are the latest recipients of grants worth as much as $50,000 from economic development group NC IDEA.

More than 90 companies have now received such grants worth some $3.7 million.

The winners are being announced formally on Monday. Grants are non-dilutive.

Specific amounts for each grants are still to be determined, according to a spokesperson for NC IDEA.

The latest five:

  • Employus in Raleigh
  • Freeboosky in Carrboro
  • Mati Energy in Durham
  • RevBoss in Durham
  • Upswing in Raleigh

WRAL TechWire news partner ExitEvent is planning profiles on each of the five. The Mati Energy story is now available. (Note: This post will be updated as the profiles are published.)

NC IDEA’s judges selected the five from a field of nine finalists. Nearly 100 startups applied for the grants, and 19 were asked to submit more detailed proposals. 

“We are sure to see some exciting developments from our newest grant winners over the coming months,” said David Rizzo, NC IDEA’s CEO in the announcement. “These five recipients emerged to the top of this cycle’s applicant pool. Our final decisions came down to where our money will make the most impact, certainly for the companies, but ultimately for the state of North Carolina. We look forward to tracking the progress of our winners and working alongside them to become major contributors to our state’s job growth and economic development.”

Brief descriptions of the winners as provided by NC IDEA:


EMPLOYUS is “Hiring, Powered by Us” allowing anyone to earn money helping people they know get great jobs. Founded by serial social entrepreneur Ryan O’Donnell and human capital executive, Jeff Stocks, EMPLOYUS allows companies to hire better people faster for less. Learn more at

  • Freebooksy 

Freebooksy helps people who love to read find free and discounted books for their Kindle, Nook or iPad. Readers select their favorite genres (Romance, Mystery, Non-Fiction etc.) and receive notifications every time great books are available in those genres. provides this service for books that are free. provides this service for bestselling and popular eBooks priced under $5. Over 150,000 happy readers already use this service. Freebooksy also provides an advertising platform that enables authors and publishers to reach new readers. Learn more at

  • RevBoss

RevBoss provides sales acceleration software and services that help SaaS / B2B companies build their pipeline and increase revenue. The company’s core technology automates outbound sales development activities like prospect list building, email outreach and targeted advertising. RevBoss launched in February 2014, has 6 full-time employees and works with great clients around the world, including UserVoice, ListenLoop, Xpenditure, DriftRock and ArchiveSocial. Learn more at

  • Upswing 

Upswing is an online student retention service that partners with colleges to increase completion rates by 10% or more. Upswing offers colleges online tutoring, offline student tracking, retention analytics and engagement support. Learn more at

  • Mati Energy 

MATI is the first no compromise healthy energy drink. The product is all natural, nutrient rich, provides a slow caffeine release (lasting 6 hours), and is made without any bad stuff: no added sugars, no preservatives and no artificial ingredients. With more caffeine than a Red Bull and 30% fruit juice, it packs a delicious punch. More information can be found online at: 

Note:  A profile about Mati Energy from ExitEvent is now available.