DURHAM – On Monday at Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Bullpen, city and county officials announced the partners for this year’s Innovate Durham program. Here is a breakdown of each startup with a note about the city or county department where they will work:


Website: www.rownd.io

 Department: City Fleet

Year founded: 2018

Founder: Robert Thelen, 35

Current job: Project manager at tech firm.

Company mission: Rownd is an internet of things (IoT) platform, which makes every vehicle a smart vehicle. Using the OBD-II port on the dashboard they can monitor: engine performance and problems, location, acceleration and deceleration patterns, crashes and maintenance schedules.

“Rownd could make urban life safer and less polluted,” said Sarah Thelen, Rownd’s chief of Community Intiatives. “[Our] device and app will track engine and other vehicle component performance and maintenance needs, so the driver knows in very clear terms when a vehicle is unsafe to drive. [It] can help drivers set limits and notification preferences on hard braking and accelerations, miles per gallon makers, and other engine performance issues that could be affecting gas mileage and emissions.”

Number of employees: Eight, including founder.

Funding sources: Privately funded.

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Applyable’s Raymahl Sutton.


Website: www.applyable.io

Department: County Human Resources

Year founded: 2018

Founder: Raymahl Sutton, 31

Previous job: Project Manager

Company mission: Applyable is creating a job application system that allows companies and recruiters to review applicants anonymously, mitigating bias in hiring.

“That means underrepresented and underestimated professionals get further along in the application process,” said Sutton. “Our goal is to positively affect people in the environments they live in.”

Number of employees: 2, including founder.

Funding sources: Privately funded.

Deep Visual Insights

A screen shot of Deep Visual Insights website.

Deep Visual Insights

Website: www.deepvisualinsights.com

Department: City General Services

Year founded: 2018

Founders:  Joe Camilo, 26, Daniel Reichman, 26, Jordan Malof, 32

Previous job: Duke university researchers; software developed was part of a project initiated by the Duke University of Information Technology.

Company mission: Deep Visual Insights uses artificial intelligence to build more effective surveillance systems. “Our technology will help security officials by freeing up their time from inspecting cameras and allow them to focus on surveillance for improved security,” said Reichman. “The technology will additionally provide the peace-of-mind that they can rely on their cameras to work.”

Number of employees: 3, including founders.

Funding sources: Privately funded and the Duke Incubation Fund.

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Digital LinCS crew: Allison Matthews, Alexandria Anderson, Marcus Hawley.

Digital LinCS

Website: www.digitalincs.com

 Department: County Public Health

Year founded: 2017

Founders: Allison Mathews, 33, Marcus Hawley, 35, Alexandria Anderson, 31

Previous job: Medical researchers

Company mission: Digital LinCS, owned by Community Expert Solutions, is an online platform that matches, connects and manages eligible people to patient assistance programs for free and reduced cost HIV medications. “The current solutions in the healthcare landscape work but they are antiquated, slow and create large amounts of lag-time that could be reduced with a platform like Digital LinCS,” said Anderson. “ We believe we can save time and money through Digital LinCS and increase productive conversation and engagement between patients and providers.”

Number of employees: 4, including founders.

Funding sources: Privately funded, NC IDEA grant and profits earned from their joint consultancy firm, Community Expert Solutions.

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Hoverlay’s Nicolas Robbe.


Website: www.hoverlay.com

Department: County Library and Engineering Services

Year founded: 2016

Founders: Nicolas Robbe, 48, and Milan Kovacev

Previous jobs: Robbe was a former AI engineer and Kovacev was musican.

Company mission: Hoverlay is a location-based augmented reality (AR) application that can display information about development projects at the location of the project.

“AR channels will become like local radio channels: a non-intrusive way to share relevant information within cities. But instead of being experienced through a radio, AR channels are experienced through a phone camera, and can offer highly visual content,” said Robbe. “Citizens will be more informed, involved and ultimately, emotionally connected to their community.”

Number of employees: Six, including founders.

Funding sources: Privately funded.


State of Place photo

State of Place’s Mariela Alfonzo, Andy Likuski and Michelle Drouse Woodhouse

State of Place

Website: www.stateofplace.co

Department: City Transportation

Year founded: Has been a software company since 2016, but have been offering as a service via a consultancy company since 2011.

Founder: Mariela Alfonzo

Previous job: Urban Design Researcher and Consultant

Company mission: State of Place is a predictive analytics software that quantifies what people love about cities and automatically recommends ways to make them more walkable, livable and sustainable. “We help citymakers – planners, designers, developers, investors, and the community – use data to identify optimal urban design projects and developments that will be good for business’ pockets, people’s hearts, and this planet’s life,” said Alfonzo. “ [We] arm them with the data they need to get the approvals, funding, and buy-in needed to get these awesome places people love done – faster, more affordably, and effectively.”

Number of employees: five, including founder.

Funding sources: Grants and currently raising seed funds.

TRASHR photo

TRASHR’s Hartley LeRoy, Goutham Subramanian, Nick Conlon, and Nick Sischo.


Website: www.trashr.io

Department: City Solid Waste.

Year founded: 2017

Founders: Hartley LeRoy, Goutham Subramanian, Nick Conlon, and Nick Sischo – all aged 21.

Current job: Students at NC State University.

Company mission: TRASHR is an IoT technology that seeks to make the waste management industry more efficient, while promoting sustainable initiatives. “TRASHR’s technology hopes to change urban landscape by providing useful waste metrics, increasing the efficiency of waste collection truck use, and decreasing the wear on roads from the waste collection process,” said LeRoy. “[We] hope [it] will lead to a greener city.”

Number of employees: Four, including founders.

Funding sources: Privately funded and $5000 from NC State’s annual startup competition, Lulu eGames.