RALEIGH – Four startups, six judges, one prize.

In the end, BruVue, a platform that provides real-time tracking of inventory and beer keg levels for bar managers, came out on top at RIoT’s pitch night on Tuesday evening.

The reward: a small industry membership with Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC).

“We’re really excited to network more with the community,” said BruVue’s co-founder Chris Lorkowski upon receiving the award. “It’s going to open some doors for us.”

Boeing chief stategist David Nelson gives Chris Lorkowski, co-founder of BruVue, the prize at RIoTs pitch night on Tuesday evening.

More than 200 people packed into HQ Raleigh for the event, which showcased companies working in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, developing devices connected to the internet. The other startups included Trilliott, Aeva Labs and Proaxion.

It was held in partnership with IIC in timing with its Q1 Member Meeting, also taking place in Raleigh this week.

“We proposed it to them,” said Tom Snyder, executive director of RIoT.

Internet of Things startups shine at RIoT’s pitch night – here’s a look at each

“You’ve got all these people from out of town for an entire week, why don’t we do a fun evening just to introduce some local startups to potential national business partners. So this is our first time doing this kind of an event.”

The Triangle – an IoT hub?

Apart from giving local startups exposure, Snyder said the event also marked the rising status of the Triangle as an IoT hub.

“The roots go back 20 years, but it’s really been in the last four or five years that we have seen rapid acceleration,” he told WRAL TechWire.

“There is no doubt, as we continue to grow and do things, this is becoming and perhaps is the center of excellence in the U.S. for IoT.”

In part, he credits the Wireless Research Center by Dr. Gerald Hayes, a testing facility and research hub founded in 2010, for putting the area on the map.

The influx of telecom companies like Ericsson and Nortel to the area decades ago also helped, he said.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” he said. “When you have that combination of a lot of big, multinational technology and market application companies, that are combined with a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that started with launch of HQ Raleigh and American Underground, that’s accelerated it.”

Finally, he credits the influence of RIoT. Originally founded in 2014 as NC RIoT, the group aims to support all things IoT and disruptive technology industry growth, with more than 5000 members and counting. Its getting ready to celebrate its fifth anniversary in March.

“We’ve had national governments that have reached out to us and said, ‘how do we create the gravity that RIoT has created?’” he said.

“We have an incredible balance of industry. We’re not just dominated by healthcare or agriculture, or just by oil and gas, like a lot of other cities around the United States. That balance and diversity really pays off.”