GREENSBORO – At last week’s Capital Connects pitch contest in Greensboro, local company Fluree PBC took home top honors and the $10,000 prize. Five of the seven companies selected to compete in the pitch contest are based in North Carolina.

Screenshot of a Fluree app

Its HQ in Winston-Salem, Fluree PBC is public benefit corporation that currently has more than 300 customers beta testing their FlureeDB blockchain database, including Fortune 500 companies and bootstrapped startups.

“Every business collaborates with other businesses,” said Brian Platz, co-founder and co-CEO, “Blockchain will be at the core of every business.” (Triad serial entrepreneur Flip Filipowski is the co-CEO and co-founder.)

There’s a lot of interest in blockchain technology, said Platz, but investor curiosity is typically focused on cryptocurrency applications. Fluree has a different focus: to disrupt and enhance how businesses work with each other and build trust through the sharing of information.

“This is going to be a really transformational technology,” said Platz, “We made the case why blockchain technology will be so disruptive in the way businesses interact with each other.”

The company took top honors and $10,000 in prize money. Fluree PBC is actively seeking investors, said Platz, and is particularly interested in identifying angel investors based in North Carolina that are interested in helping the company continue to grow locally as it develops products that help them achieve their mission.

Bobbie Shrivastav, co-founder and CEO of Docsmore, is among one of Fluree’s beta users. Docsmore and Fluree PBC both operate out of Flywheel in Winston-Salem, and both were selected to pitch to investors at the Capital Connects event.

Docsmore, a cloud-based end-to-end document management platform, recently won a local 2017 Better Business Bureau Innovation Award and has more than 40 clients, doubling in the past three months.

Shrivastav plans to raise as much as $1.1 million to fuel the growth of the company. “There were several investors that came and talked to us,” said Shrivastav. “Events like Capital Connects do that.”

Tim McLoughlin, partner of Cofounders Capital, was among the investors that spoke with Shrivastav after the pitches concluded.
“The company presentations were extremely well done,” said McLoughlin, “A majority of the companies were interesting to us, and we have already followed up with several of them.”

Making pitches

The other companies that presented to investors, entrepreneurs, and community members from across the region during the event, held at the Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, were:

  • Caarmo, based in McLean, Virginia, which has developed a wireless “health tracker” for vehicles;

  • Foosye, based in Garner, North Carolina, which aims to connect anyone that buys from, sells to, hires, inspects, builds, or loves food trucks;

  • Freeman Capital, based in Charlotte, a FinTech company that lets anyone make currency investments;

  • PermitZone, based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which provides a platform to quickly apply for and get approval for building permits; and

  • Purillume, based in Cary, which makes LED lamps that seek to change how light is experienced in the home and in the office.

The companies that delivered two-minute pitches for judges were:
  • ARxCHITECT, based in Winston-Salem, is a process automation platform designed for healthcare leaders, which won the two-minute pitch contest;
  • Logistimatics, based in Greensboro, which provides cloud-based GPS tracking hardware and software;
  • MicMag by Me, based in Greensboro, which offers heirloom quality, personalized upholstered furniture designed and handmade in North Carolina shipped to your home
  • Neighborz, launched in Winston-Salem out of Wake Forest University, which seeks to disrupt how online food ordering and delivery is done.
  • UR01 Medical,

Capital Connects is the signature showcase event for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Launch Greensboro program, and has now run for more than 15 years. According to the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce the startups that have presented at past events have gone on to raise more than $9.5 million from local investors, including $3.5 million raised by Greensboro startup GuerillaRF.

 Capital Connects is the signature showcase event for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Launch Greensboro program, and has now run for more than 15 years, says Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, executive vice president of entrepreneurship at Launch Greensboro, an initiative of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

“This was the first event focused on capital in our region,” said Flanders-Stec, “And has continued to have a great impact in connecting entrepreneurs to resources and capital in and around the community.”