Cofounders Capital Announces Investments

Cofounders Capital Announces 3rd and 4th Investments

Cary, NC – Early this week Cofounders Capital announced their 3rd and 4th investments. Unlike the first two investments that were follow on rounds, these are both new first round investments led by Cofounders.

Employus LogoEmployUS is a Raleigh based startup run by an NCSU graduate. It could become the Uber of the staffing industry by empowering employers to lessen their dependence on staffing agencies by offering referral bonuses to anyone who connects them to a great hire. Referrers can make thousands of dollars just by referring a friend for a new job. EmployUS was a Citrix Accelerator company and a winner of a $50K NC Idea grant. Cofouunders have lined up some solid beta customers and recruited a proven CTO.

Factivate LogoFactivate is a business intelligence tool for sales and marketing organizations providing data aggregation, visualizations and alerts. In sharp contrast to the complex and expensive Business Intelligence tools on the market today, if you know how to use Excel then you know 95% of what you need to know to use Factivate and pull your cloud-based data into a simple familiar interface for analysis and manipulation. Factivate is run by a Duke graduate who currently works out of our lab in Cary. Cofounders lined up several large beta customers before leading the round.

Cofounders Capital

Cofounders Capital is an early stage seed fund focused on software ventures in the Triangle. Created in 2015, Cofounders partnered with the Town of Cary to provide free lab space to entrepreneurs who receive expert help modeling and vetting their startup ideas. We help with prototyping, vetting and lining up beta customers.

The most promising of these ventures are then funded through Cofounders Capital’s $12M seed fund. Cofounders Capital is managed by serially successful entrepreneur, David Gardner with a team of over seventy advisers and volunteer mentors who are all investors in the fund, eager to support entrepreneurship in the Triangle and to help our portfolio companies and entrepreneurs succeed.

Wake Robotics Forging the Forge Downtown

Forging The Forge Downtown

Cary, NC – Here is a great opportunity to bring a maker community to the Triangle.

Wake Robotics is undertaking a Kickstarter campaign to bring the Forge Downtown. Wake Robotics is looking to:

Create a collaborative space to excite and engage families in our community in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

$75,000 Raised, Need $40,000

Wake Robotics has already raised $75,000 towards The Forge Downtown. The $40,000 target of this Kickstarter will close the deal. It will get Wake Robotics into the building for The Forge Downtown. Anything raised beyond the target, will be used towards movable whiteboards, maker supplies and additional tools.

Wake Robotics May 24, 2012

Forging The Forge Downtown Details

Wake Robotics May 24, 2012

Echos of the TTF

in 2012, The Technology Task Force (TTF) advised Cary on how the Town should use Technology to engage with citizens. The TTF final report was rather long, but “Forging The Forge Downtown” would help fulfill 2 of the major TTF recommendations:

  • Make Cary a Community Driven Technology Hub
  • Encourage Partners to Adopt Parking Lot Items: Technology Education

Lets help ‘Forging The Forge Downtown’ to get funded. The ‘Sorrell building’ could get a nice makeover and downtown Cary will get a lot of families coming downtown if this happens. The Val Fox mural might even need to have a robot added…

Pictures and graphics courtesy of Wake Robotics.

Civic Tech Image from Knight Foundation Report

Trends in Civic Tech

The Knight Foundation has just published an analysis of Civic Tech; The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field. The full report can be found on Slideshare.

Over the past few years, the Knight Foundation has seen a ‘groundswell of interest at the nexus of technology, civic innovation, open government and resident engagement’. The analysis identifies clusters of innovation and investment in the Civic Tech area. The Knight Foundation partnered with Quid, a company that specializes in data analytics and network analysis. This analysis is the first of its kind and the Knight Foundation admits that the report is not exhaustive.
The above figure is from page 6 of the report.  Titled Civic Tech: A Convergence of Fields, it illustrates the several Tech fields that are covered in the analysis.  Only those companies and projects that promote civic outcomes were used as the basis for the analysis.

The report is a summary of quite a lot of information. The detailed information used to develop the visualizations and analysis  is available on the Knight Foundation Website for those who wish to do their own analysis.

What follows is the Innovation Clusters that were developed in the course of the analysis and several of the findings that I found interesting from the report.   If you get a chance to study the report, let us and/or the Knight Foundation know what you think.

Innovation Clusters

Open Government

  1. Data Access & Transparency
  2. Data Utility
  3. Public Decision Making
  4. Resident Feedback
  5. Visualization & Mapping
  6. Voting

Community Action

  1. Civic Crowdfunding
  2. Community Organizing
  3. Information Crowdsourcing
  4. Neighborhood Forums
  5. Peer-to-Peer Sharing

Report Findings

  • From 2008 to 2012, the field of civic tech grew at an annual rate of 23%.
  • Community Action clusters are growing at a faster rate than those in Open Government.
  • Compared to the tech industry as a whole, civic tech organizations are relatively young.
  • While the number of grant investments and private investments was relatively even, the vast majority of total capital supporting civic tech came from private investments (84%).
  • Open Government innovation clusters are mostly supported through grant funding while Community Action clusters mostly attracted private capital.
  • Financial investors and individuals support a large share of Community Action investments and Foundations account for more than half of the number of investments in Open Government.

NC IDEA Grant Cycle to Open August 12

Durham, NC – On July 31, 2013, NC IDEA announced that their Fall 2013 grant cycle will open on August 12, 2013 (see Press Release). There are two pre-proposal deadlines for the Fall 2013 cycle: an early deadline on Friday, August 23, 2013 and a final deadline on Friday, September 6, 2013. Also for the first time, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to submit a two-minute video along with their grant application.

Who Should Apply?

Companies focused on software, information technology, medical devices or material sciences are encouraged to apply. Only NC-based entrepreneurs and companies, and those looking to locate to North Carolina can apply for NC IDEA grants.

What is an NC IDEA Grant?

NC IDEA grants are up to $50,000 per recipient. The grants support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment.

Where can I Apply?

Go to the home page of NC IDEA ( and follow the registration link. Remember the final deadline is September 6th, but try and make the early deadline of August 23rd for the possibility of receiving an early decision advancing you to the proposal round.

Why should I Apply?

  • Get detailed feedback about your business idea.
  • NC IDEA grant winners can utilize the knowledge of the NC IDEA team and their extensive network to connect to those that can help your company succeed.
  • Get on the radar of IDEA Fund Partners, one of the most active seed and early stage venture investors in NC. The partners work closely with NC IDEA grant winners and will see firsthand how your team uses your initial capital as they determine which companies have the prospect of generating excellent equity returns.


NC IDEA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants. NC IDEA further supports its grant winning companies by leveraging the organization’s solid partnerships and strategic alliances to assist companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded nearly $3.0M to 77 companies across the state.