At a panel discussion Tuesday hosted by University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), representatives of Next Glass talked about how the startup used social marketing to achieve a high level of success as it launched its app in November. Within a 48-hour period, the app was downloaded 100,000 times to individuals who plan to use the company's wine and beer taste profiles to help them choose beverages they are likely to enjoy.
Panelists were Robyn Deeley and Mandy Curtin from Next Glass; Jamie Mottram, who is with USA Today's For the Win and is a member of Next Glass’s board of advisors; and Josh Harcus of Huify, who worked with Next Glass on its social marketing campaign.
Tuesday’s program also included a presentation of year’s highlights at the CIE, as voted on by the center’s tenants. Among the 14 highlights were the CIE’s selection by the U.S. Small Business Administration as one of the top 50 incubators/accelerators in the nation; the making of a short film about the CIE that was shown at November’s Cucalorus Film Festival; a program at the CIE featuring Tom Fisher, the CIO of Oracle; the investment, by the principals of Raleigh-based EntreManureShip, in CIE tenant Cape Fear Commerce; and the “Who Has My Aspirin?” program in April, at which five of the area’s largest employers spoke to a capacity audience about the issues that give them headaches and asked for solutions.
Voted the top achievement of the year was CIE’s hosting of the all-day Coastal Connect conference Sept. 4 that attracted 300 attendees and featured Hugh Forrest, director of South by Southwest Interactive.
Through that relationship with Forrest, the CIE garnered five free passes to the 2015 SXSW Interactive for which 12 local startups competed through a “tough love” pitch event. The competition winners were Whittle Data, Music Atlas, Indigru, Snap Yeti and WaterPlay USA. The five will also split a gift of $1,000 from Austin, Texas-based Toler Law Group to help cover incidental expenses at the festival.
There was a charitable component to Tuesday’s program. The center invited Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) to be present at the event and speak to the attendees about issues facing people in sub-standard housing. From a standing-room-only crowd WARM raised more than $500, enough to purchase 12 house heaters to distribute to needy families this winter.
A reception followed the program, at which center tenants and program attendees alike celebrated what CIE executive director Jim Roberts termed “a great year” for the incubator.