WILSON — Raleigh-based Internet of Things organization (RIoT), the North Carolina-based economic development nonprofit, has accepted seven early stage startups into their fourth cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), launching in Wilson, NC this spring.
“We were thrilled with the quality and enthusiasm of applicants we received to the RAP Wilson cohort. Startups from all over NC, and across the country, applied to participate in Wilson’s growing technology ecosystem,” said Rachael Meleney, Director of the RIoT Accelerator Program, in a statement.
The 12-week startup accelerator will launch on Feb.24. The program will be temporarily housed in a downtown Wilson space, before establishing a homebase at the Gig East Exchange after its grand opening.
It will culminate with RAP Wilson Pitch Night, where startups present their businesses on stage as part of the Gig East Summit on May 7.
“Our Gig East journey actually started nearly 20 years ago when city leaders made the bold decision to invest in community broadband,” said Will Aycock, Greenlight General Manager, in a statement. “The infrastructure that we’ve built makes this day possible, welcoming these seven young companies into the Wilson community. These entrepreneurs will be among the first occupants of the Gig East Exchange, opening in late spring. We are excited about their participation in our growing innovation economy and look forward to the amazing things we know are to come.”
The cohort includes startups representing diverse industries and stages of development. Across the board, this is RIoT’s most mature cohort, with the majority of companies already boasting paid pilots or an existing customer base.
Introducing the RAP Wilson cohort:
- Newsco — Raleigh-based enterprise media and communications venture led by Mario Mazzardo and Manal El-Ramly. Newsco offers a content management platform for large companies to leverage unused screens in their offices to disseminate relevant company information for improved employee engagement.
- Samora Naturals — Wilson-based natural hair care and beauty product business, founded by Shawna Moses, who developed and makes her products by hand with her chemistry background and personal journey to natural beauty. Shawna recently opened a joint retail space and manufacturing facility in downtown Wilson– the start of a new phase of her already successful e-commerce business.
- Shyft Auto — Co-founders Marcus Aman and Peter Seymour. This Greenville-based startup tackles car maintenance efficiency for dealerships and their customers. The team comes with deep experience in the automotive industry and is currently piloting their SAAS solution for easy scheduling, pick up, and delivery for car maintenance service.
- SuperCat Solutions — Wilson-based 9-year old business with an inventory management solution for the home furnishings market. Founder Steve Thrasher plans to leverage RAP to grow their team and expand to new markets.
- TraKid — Raleigh-based startup, led by Brandon Kashani, is bringing their safety tracking bracelet to the market to help amusement parks recover lost children more quickly.
- WebHearing– Greenville-based startup led by Gregg Givens, ECU professor emeritus with deep expertise in teleaudiology, is looking to bring hearing health into the digital age through a self-guided platform to help people transition to hearing aids.
- WorldTrack — California-based startup, co-founded by Dilip Adityan and Youssef Ben Mahmoud, helps retailers better understand their customers with in-store interactive advertising.
“We are excited to welcome these companies to the Gig East family as our first RAP Wilson cohort,” said Rebecca Agner, City of Wilson Communications Director. “It’s encouraging to see Gig East progress from humble beginnings just three years ago to attracting these promising companies to Wilson. We can’t wait to watch them grow and help tell their story of thriving in eastern North Carolina.”
Since 2014, RIoT has supported upwards of 50 startups that have gone on to collectively raise over $350 million and create more than 500 jobs.