Winston Salem, NC – December 9, 2019 – Three startups have earned the top seed-stage investment awards for creative uses of technology in the Center for Creative Economy’s Velocity Creative Accelerator.
In the organization’s fourth annual education and seed funding program, ten creative entrepreneurs completed a 9-week entrepreneur education program that refined their business plans and pitches to investors to be one of the top three startups to split a pool of $50,000 in seed-stage investment.
Live Furnish, Winston-Salem, NC, andNew Delhi, India,a technology innovation company that has reinvented how home furnishings and textile companies bring their products to life in photographs, took the top award of $25,000, presented by INMAR CEO, David Mounts. “Our technology has been in development for two years, so Velocity came along at just the right time to help us refine our presentations, allow us to work with mentors in our core industries, and kick-start our discussions with investors,” said the company’s CEO, Preet Singh. Started two years ago in India, Live Furnish was invited by Director Betsy Brown into Winston Starts Explore Program, a startup incubator that provides office space and supportive services to Winston-Salem entrepreneurs. They also received a $5,000 technology services award presented by CFO and Co-Founder, Balint Gaspar from Sightsource, a cutting-edge custom software development and consulting company in Winston-Salem.
Tokyn from Winston-Salem gamed their way to the second award of $15,000 with their startup that empowers board gamers to discover new games at wholesale prices and connects local like-minded players through the company’s app. The company’s co-founders, CEO Evan Kline and CFO, managing partner, Houston Goodwin, were active participants in Velocity. “This was a valuable program that helped us fine-tune our business concept and plan. We gave our final pitch to the investors and to over 200 people who came to Demo Night. We are looking forward to also joining Winston Starts.” Tokyn also received an award for legal counsel from Kilpatrick Townsend that provides pro bono legal services to all the Velocity seed funding winners. They also received a software development package for $2,000 from Sightsource to develop their app.
Running third, receiving $10,000, was Elevate, founded by Mike Schmid in Winston-Salem. The company helps orthotic practitioners provide the best care by using data, software and 3D printing to create hyper-customized orthotics that fit and keep athletes in the game. Elevate will also join the Winston Starts Explore Program.
Daryl Shaw with Royalty Marketing presented a marketing and social media award for $2,500 to Winston-Salem’s AstraHive, a cloud-based “dashboard app for bizzy creatives” that aggregates information and data from third-party applications into a platform that allows crafty creators to manage key statistics about their businesses.
Winston Starts also welcomed iScribble (Raleigh, NC) into the Explore Program to help relaunch its universal online drawing software where artists collaborate with one another in real time. This means the iScribble team will regularly work in Winston-Salem during the eight-week program. The company also received a $3,000 award from Sightsource to accelerate its development efforts.
42 companies from 11 countries applied to participate in this year’s program. Of the 10 companies selected for the program, 70 percent were run by female entrepreneurs and half of the teams have people of color in their leadership. The other companies that completed the Velocity program included:
- Audiciones Latinas (Mexico City, Mexico): A professional web-based service for music and entertainment artists where users can cast and contact the artists they need.
- Bloom Collective (Winston-Salem, NC): Promotes economic opportunity through environmentally and culturally sustainable handmade products that cultivate social good.
- The GINA Project (Columbia, MO): Developers of a gamified platform to help individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders lead empowered and balanced lives.
- Momtography Club (Lovettsville, VA): A community for moms who want to learn how to use photography and their creative skills to capture what matters and create a life they love.
- The Nexus Center (San Francisco, CA, Portland, OR): Offers an integrated approach to “fitness,” and provides classes that help manage stress, craft meaningful purpose in your life, and create authentic connections with others.
With the 2019 Velocity cohort, 40 companies have now participated in CCE’s accelerators and 87 percent are still thriving. “Our startups have raised $3.3 million in funding and generated $3.6 million in revenues” added CCE Director, Margaret Collins. “Our accelerator has proven its success in creating more than 66 jobs and helping creative entrepreneurs succeed. We’re especially proud of the fact that 70 percent of the founders of the companies in our program are women- or minority-owned.”
The Center for Creative Economy is a non-profit organization that helps launch, grow, and accelerate creative businesses.