WAKE FOREST – Green Stream Technologies, an environmental monitoring company originally founded in Norfolk, Virginia, is the latest startup to relocate its headquarters to the Wireless Research Center (WRC) in Wake Forest, quickly transforming the sleepy college town into another tech hub.
“As a tech firm, we’ve found our home at WRC,” said Karen Lindquist, chief operating officer of Green Stream in a statement. “My partner Jim Gray, our CEO, is an engineer and inventor, and he is in his element with the WRC engineers and the other startups.
Green Stream provides a real-time flood monitoring solution for state, county and municipal agencies, including the N.C. Department of Public Safety. The remote sensor network and software solutions produce real-time data for the state’s Flood Inundation Mapping System.
Green Stream’s automated flood sensor IoT network also alerts customers when and where roads are flooded along with data about the depth of water and when it recedes.
State and local government customers, including emergency and stormwater management as well as smart city IT departments, use the sensor data to improve response during flood events, and to make better decisions and predictions about localized flooding. The system includes remote sensors, real-time data transmission, distributed power, cloud computing and data science.
“We are already collaborating with the WRC on a few grant proposals,” added Lindquist, who moved to Green Stream moved to RTP in early 2019 to participate in the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) and decided to stay. “The spirit of collaboration, the expertise and the enthusiasm to help companies succeed creates the ideal environment,” she said. “On our first day at the WRC, the founder of Revibe Technologies, another tech company at the WRC, went out of his way to welcome us and offer to share experience from his journey as an NC IDEA seed grant recipient five years ago, and how the WRC community helped develop his business to what it is today.”
Green Stream won the 2019 RIoT Pitch Night competition, an NC IDEA seed grant and was named one of the N.C. Technology Association (NC Tech) Top 10 startups to watch.
Green Stream, RIoT and the Town of Cary are now leading regional communities and tech firms in a public-private partnership developing an architecture for sharing important data across agencies to coordinate response – starting with stormwater. “In just one year, so many good things have happened for us, thanks to RIoT, the WRC and NC IDEA,” says Lindquist. She and Gray have also bought a home in Wake Forest. “It’s a lot already, but I think it’s just the beginning of a great journey together. These organizations, their visionary leaders and devoted staff have helped us tremendously. We are looking forward to giving back as soon as we are able.”
A shared vision for expansion
More than 20 startup companies have taken advantage of the commercialization center office space at the WRC headquarters in Wake Forest. In addition, approximately 60 companies have been assisted with office space and development services in Raleigh through RIoT.
“This is what we envisioned, and more, when we made the investment to help get the WRC started in Wake Forest,” said Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones, in a statement. “Bringing together a team of experts, valuable equipment and a commercialization center that drives innovation for global companies and startups has made Wake Forest a technology hub and drives economic development for our town and the region.”
Revibe Technologies started out as a one-person startup formerly called FokusLabs when it opened an office at the WRC. The company was started by Rich Brancaccio, a school psychologist with a desire to leverage technology and data to improve outcomes for those with focus and learning challenges using wristbands that improve focus with quiet, gentle vibration reminders.
The WRC and other companies in the commercialization center have helped Revibe Technologies grow, Brancaccio said, from developing and testing the product to making key introductions to build his company. His product is now being worn in 20,000 schools in all 50 states and he is making plans to expand globally. The company recently launched its second product, a connected smart watch, Revibe Connect, using machine learning and vibration technology to help the wearer stay focused. The company, which has grown to 12 employees, has garnered funding support from the U.S. Department of Education, The Launch Place and NC IDEA.
“What makes the WRC unique is the expertise of the team and their industry knowledge,” Brancaccio said. “The team is extremely well connected in the region, across the nation and around the world. It is rare to meet such high caliber people in a non-profit setting where the goal is to advance technology, not make a profit.”