WILMINGTON — North Carolina’s coast has become a hotspot for startups, and now there’s a new website to help you keep tabs.
Wilmington’s Network for Entrepreneurs (NEW) has launched a new online resource for local, early-stage tech entrepreneurs called 91OMG.biz — a play on the 910 area code used in phone numbers in the Wilmington region of southeastern North Carolina.
NEW’s founder said the site aims to be a source for fresh local startup news, community and regional events, open jobs and a list of funding and investing sources. It will also include links to existing articles as well as original content such as startup, entrepreneur, investor, mentor profiles.
“As mainstream newspapers have had to change their business model, news articles about early stage startup entrepreneurs, who are the real job creators, have almost disappeared completely,” said Jim Roberts, founder of NEW, which developed the site in partnership with Dante Crescenzi of ImpactWorks Design of Wilmington, one of its members.
“Entrepreneurs depend on these articles in the mainstream media for a credible way to raise their profile in the community, attract new sales prospects and potential investors.”
One major difference, he added, is that NEW is not trying to monetize the 91OMG.biz site with subscriptions, paywalls, or local paid sponsors. Instead, the site is simply “an additional offering” from NEW to members and an “additional benefit of our existing sponsors like Adam Shay CPA and NC IDEA among others.”
Wilmington’s startup scene has been growing steadily, but in just the last few months there has been an explosion of big deals. Among them, Live Oak Bank launched its new $545-plus million venture fund for FinTech called Canapi. Local startup PlayerSpace.com got acquired by a larger player called Daxko; and UnTappd recently announced the acquisition of beer industry player called Beer Advocate.
“And there is more to come from Wilmington soon,” Roberts said.
Roberts started NEW in May of 2015 to improve the startup ecosystem events at the coast of North Carolina. Since then, it has hosted over 60 regional angel investors and venture capitalists. Roberts also started the Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) in November of 2015 that has now invested in 13 local and regional startups including 6 veteran founded companies.
WALE Angel Network members have now invested over $1 million and reinvested in several of the companies in the portfolio.