And the NC Tech Madness winner is … Brilliant Sole. Here’s a look at the Wilmington startup who racked up the most NC Tech Madness votes in an event sponsored by ExitEvent. (For a recap of the contest, visit ExitEvent’s website.)

WILMINGTON, N.C. – When a two-time startup founder purchased his first virtual reality headset in 2015, he observed something about the device that both intrigued and annoyed him.

Though the headset provided the overall immersive VR gaming experience he’d expected, Jeff Guard was disappointed at how difficult it was to move his character through the game’s fictional world. Rather than being granted independent motion and the ability to freely roam through the terrain, he was restricted from controlling his own movements. It led to a dizzying, motion sickness-inducing experience.

As he shared this observation with other gamers and VR enthusiasts, he found it to be a common gripe. And it wasn’t long before it inspired his third venture, Brilliant Sole.

Fast forward to now, as the one-year-old Wilmington startup comes out of stealth mode to win the inaugural NC Tech Madness. The win is somewhat unexpected, given that Brilliant Sole was pitted against several startups at much more advanced stages, some with large amounts of funding and/or years since founding.

Guard, who bootstrapped the company so far, has spent nearly a year with a group of developers creating the product—a line of sensor-embedded footwear that wirelessly connect to VR devices that are used to play mobile or desktop games.

For the full story, see:

Through Sensors Embedded in Shoes, NC Tech Madness Champion Aims to Pioneer Locomotion for VR Gamers