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Wilmington Entrepreneurs, Startups Among Nominees For Statewide Awards

By Jenny Callison, posted Mar 26, 2015
Several Wilmington individuals and companies in the technology and life sciences fields are on the list of nominees for WRAL TechWire’s (WTW) Full Steam Ahead awards, published Thursday. The Research Triangle Park-based technology media outlet announced that online voting can take place between now and April 10.

There are six categories for startup companies and six for “enterprise” or large companies, WTW stated in its announcement.

Fred Eshelman, founder of PPD and Furiex Pharmaceuticals, was the only nominee from Wilmington in the Enterprise Tycoon (founders/investors) category. Eshelman has sold his interest in both companies.

Jim Roberts, who left UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Thursday, was nominated in two categories: Startup Engineer (awarded to a top leader who can be a CEO, COO, CFO or CIO) and Startup Conductor (CEO or chairman). George Taylor, chairman of Next Glass, is also a nominee in the Startup Conductor category.

The CIE itself was nominated in the Startup Express (fastest-growing/most potential) and Startup Freight (delivering success consistently) categories.

Wilmington-based nCino, a banking software provider, is also among the nominees for Startup Express, Startup Freight and Startup Subway (fast-growing startup emerging from stealth mode) categories. Next Glass is also a nominee for Startup Express.

Joining nCino in the Startup Subway category are Wilmington nominees Surgilum, Elite Innovations LLC and EasyVote.

Chip Mahan, chairman of Live Oak Bank, is a nominee for Startup Tycoon (founders/investors) and Enterprise Conductor. Along with the bank’s president and COO Neil Underwood, he is also a nominee for Enterprise Engineer.

Live Oak Bank is in the running in three categories: Enterprise Subway, Enterprise Freight and Enterprise Express.

Nominations, according to WTW editor and co-founder Rick Smith, were open to anyone, but were then screened by his staff to verify and validate the entities and narrow the number of nominees.

“We have nominees from the Silicon Coast [Wilmington] to Asheville,” he said in an email Thursday. “Wilmington has for many years had a great talent pool. It’s impressive to see so many good, strong companies emerging. Next Glass and nCino are true rising stars.”

Voting takes place online and is open until April 10, Tech Wire stated in its announcement. Anyone can vote but site warns against "ballot box stuffing." The awards event takes place April 28 in Durham.
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