The inaugural Tech Madness bracket has been released! Cast your votes for round one here.

Thanks to everybody who submitted a company. While we wanted to include everyone, we received more nominations than 64 and had to whittle down the list. In creating the bracket, we tried to stick to rising NC startups that shared characteristics like being private and relatively new. We then ranked companies based on amount of funding and employee count.

We’ll be the first to admit it’s an unscientific process—we hope you enjoy voting nonetheless!

The first voting round begins now and goes until midnight Friday. Results will be released on Saturday (the company with the most votes in each match-up moves on), and we’ll open the 2nd round then with the new match-ups.

As a reminder, for each of the match-ups you’ll be voting for the company you think has more growth potential over the next five years.

Bracket Highlights

Our #1 seeds, combining for nearly $200M in funding, are nCino, Pendo, Netsertive and Samanage, all innovative software brands. While no #16 team has ever beaten a #1 in the real tournament, who knows what’ll happen here as they play upstarts Voxelight, Counter Tools, People-First Tourism and Nugget, respectively.

While most of the companies on this list are software-related, we do have some hardware/consumer goods as well, including Mati Energy, BetaBox, Spoonflower and FilterEasy.

Beer lovers can also rejoice with both Untappd and BrewPublik on the list.

The 2017 Tech Madness Bracket

Click on the bracket below for a larger version—feel free to print and fill it out! And read on for descriptions of the 64 companies. Remember to vote here.


1: nCino (Wilmington): A cloud-based bank operating system
16: Voxelight (Chapel Hill): Maker of Sunscreenr, a device used to scan the body after sunscreen is applied to ensure full coverage.

8: Stealz (Raleigh): App that rewards customers for being brand ambassadors for restaurants and provides social media marketing material and analytics for restaurateurs and corporate franchises.
9: Cognistx (Winston Salem): Machine learning and data science tools that help companies understand consumers.

5: Untappd (Wilmington): App that helps beer lovers discover and share beers and retailers/breweries target them with deals and offers.
12: 2ULaundry (Charlotte): Laundry pick-up and delivery subscription service promised to eventually become the “Amazon of services”.

4: Plotwatt (Durham): Provides energy monitoring systems for restaurants, schools, utilities and other businesses.
13: Agingo (Charlotte): Guidance system for the Internet that simplifies website navigation and improves privacy.

6: Spreedly (Durham): Cloud-based API that makes it easy to accept and manage payments.
11: Retrium (Washington DC/Triangle): Software making agile retrospectives easier and more effective.

3: Spoonflower (Durham): Pioneer of 3D digital textile printing, selling fabrics and wallpapers designed by indie designers around the world to the sewer/maker community
14: The Produce Box (Raleigh): Produce and goods from North Carolina farmers and food makers delivered weekly to doorsteps across the state.

7: InMotionNow (Morrisville): SaaS platform for creative departments to automate workflows and get content proofed and approved.
10: Adwerx (Durham): Starting with real estate, Adwerx makes it easy for hyper-local verticals to take advantage of the latest targeted advertising tools.

2: Republic Wireless (Raleigh): Low cost mobile phone service that makes calls over wi-fi whenever possible.
15: Purcado (Durham): An ecommerce site for shoe shopping across the Internet in a single search.


1: Pendo (Raleigh): Product management software platform that collects and analyzes customer usage data to help companies prioritize development projects.
16: Counter Tools (Carrboro): Technology tools meant to advance public health initiatives through mobile data collection, surveys and mapping.

8: Reveal Mobile (Raleigh): Reveal uses location data collected through beacons to help advertisers segment their audience on mobile devices.
9: EmployUs (Raleigh): By empowering people to refer their friends for open technology jobs and earn cash for successful placements, EmployUs is working to democratize the recruiting process.

5: Teamworks (Durham): Software platform for managing professional and collegiate sports teams, from schedules to play books to rosters and other communication between coaches, players and leagues.
12: ProAxion (Raleigh): IoT device that is placed on machines and can predict when they require maintenance or replacement.

4: Patient Pay (Durham): Secure online patient payment tools for hospitals and medical groups.
13: Cultivate (Durham): Automated software that creates tailored marketing campaigns and content optimized for each social media platform’s algorithms, while spitting out data.

6: Spiffy (Morrisville): On-demand mobile car wash company with scheduling and payment handled via an app.
12: Betabox (Raleigh): Mobile tech labs outfitted with prototyping equipment and experiential programming for schools, corporations and other groups.

3: K4Connect (Raleigh): Connected home startup with solutions for senior living communities and their residents
14: My Happy Plates (Chapel Hill): Customized healthy meal plans delivered weekly via email.

7: Organic Transit (Durham): Maker of ELF solar and pedal-powered electric vehicles
10: RevBoss (Durham): Sales development software and services company

2: Commercetools (Durham, Germany): Software-as-a-service for enterprise e-commerce companies, providing online and mobile storefronts, point-of-sale technology and omnichannel opportunities.
15: Boostopia (Durham): Customer support and analytics for B2C companies.


1: Netsertive (Morrisville): Digital marketing intelligence platform for national brands and local businesses
16: People-First Tourism (Raleigh): Provider of authentic travel experiences hosted by experts at a destination.

8: Mati Energy (Durham): Tea-based healthy energy drink
9: First. (Durham): Marketing platform for real estate agents using analytics about their networks.

5: Highrise (Triangle and SF): Mobile game claiming to offer the biggest virtual world on iOS.
12: Freedom (Durham): An app that helps people stay focused by blocking apps, websites or the entire Internet on iPhones, iPads, Windows and Mac computers.

4: KnowledgeTree (Raleigh): Software that enables sales and marketing teams to find and deliver the best marketing material and content for each customer.
13: Arcato Laboratories (Durham): Oral healthcare products like OraWax, which lets orthodontists and patients treat discomfort from wearing braces.

6: CloudFactory (Durham): Workflow management software and an army of “cloudworkers” to handle data-related tasks like transcription, categorization, facial recognition and basic research.
11: Dor (SF and Raleigh): Foot traffic sensor and analytics platform that integrates with point-of-sale systems

3: Windsor Circle (Durham): Predictive marketing software for retailers
14: Brilliant Sole (Wilmington): Sensor-embedded footwear that allows for locomotion experience in virtual reality and video games

7: Dropsource (Raleigh): Drag and drop editor and platform for building mobile apps
10: iScribes (Durham): Software along with a network of virtual medical scribes providing real-time documentation and support for orthopaedics.

2: PrecisionHawk (Raleigh): A commercial drone and data company servicing the agriculture, construction, energy and insurance industries.
15: Sweeps (Chapel Hill): Putting college students to work across North Carolina to handle customers’ household chores, business tasks, errands, tutoring and more.


1: Samanage (Cary): Cloud-based IT asset management and help desk software
16: Nugget (Durham): Maker of light, portable and kid-friendly foam couches to replace the futon or beanbag chair

8: Tanjo (Carrboro): A variety of machine learning tools and services to empower businesses.
9: Archive Social (Durham): Social media archiving tool for governments, government agencies, banks and other regulated industries.

5: FilterEasy (Raleigh): Air filter subscription service serving homeowners and commercial property owners.
12: PURillume (Cary): Maker of the Orchid LED table lamp with programmable settings for brightness and color temperature.

4: Zaloni (RTP): Enterprise data lake management, governance and self-service data solutions to help companies organize and analyze the data in data lakes.
13: Brainbuild (Durham): Automated nutrition and health planning for performance, collegiate and professional athletes based on training, competition schedule.

6: Brewpublik (Charlotte): Subscription craft beer delivery service
11: Carusele (Cary): Content creation, aggregation, engagement and syndication across social media for brands.

3: Wedpics (Raleigh): Photo and video sharing app for weddings
14: Luxury Shoe Club (Raleigh): A private club for buying and trading designer shoes

7: GoldenKey (Durham & SF): Unbundling the real estate transaction with on-demand real estate services and no commissions.
10: Lea(R)n (Raleigh): EdTech management platform helping teachers and administrations vet new technologies faster and using a data driven approach.

2: Valencell (Raleigh): Biometric sensors that can be embedded in wearable, hearable and medical devices.
15: Tom & Jenny’s Candy (Durham): All-natural sugar free caramels and candies healthier for teeth.