Print
Technology

With Closure Of Elite Innovations, Founder Seeks Other Ventures

By Johanna Cano, posted May 31, 2019
Andrew Williams with his product TacLace in 2015. (File photo)
Andrew Williams moved to Wilmington in 2014 and founded Elite Innovations with the vision of creating opportunities for technology designers and engineers in the area. But after four years of operations, Williams decided to close the company in October and is now pursuing other entrepreneurial efforts.

Elite Innovations, a product development company, had three years of solid growth, Williams said.

“We got up close to the seven-figure range. I've paid employees and local contractors roughly $700,000 in the past three years. I was really happy with everything that went down,” Williams said. “After a while, the lack of tech talent in the area became so difficult to keep positions filled and the turnover rates were so high.”

Other than Elite Innovation and New Potato Technologies, a technology and product development company, there were no opportunities in Wilmington for STEM-type occupations, Williams said, making it hard for the city to sustain tech talent.

“Software programmers come in all sorts of disciplines. So, there's plenty of folks around here that can do a website for you, but we're designing end-to-end internet of things solutions,” Williams said. “I needed folks that were good at back-end web services, user interface and user experience (UX) design, so that's who we hired. And aside from these projects, there were no other reasons for them to be here. So, they all moved to places where they can work like Raleigh, Durham, or anywhere else.”

Another reason that partially influenced Williams’ decision to close was Hurricane Florence in September of last year.

“When the hurricane came, my manufacturer inland was flooded and the post office in town shut down,” he said. “Half the orders that I placed from my manufacturer showed up; the rest didn't. I had a backlog of about 45 days’ worth of online sales I had to get through. I had stopped sales and at that point, I just gave up.”

The company, which had an office in the Murchison Building at 201 N. Front St., developed products for clients and had its own products, including TailGator, a truck bed extension system, and TacLace, a tactical boot lacing system which Williams said supported the company.

“My company was primarily funded by my products,” Williams said. “TacLace, for example, was a product I've had on the market since 2012. It's been my livelihood and it funded Elite Innovations all the way through the end.”

Williams will now be starting a new journey with a business in a new city.

“I just got recruited to CEO a new company in New York City, so I'll be out of here probably by the end of the year,” Williams said. “It’s a company called Convoyer, it's a service-based business in which we provide military veteran travel companions to elderly folks that face obstacles while they're in routes from point A to point B.”

He said the company plans on conducting a pilot in Q3 of 2019 and launching the full business by the first quarter of 2020.

Williams has been working on his side project and hobby -- making and selling accessories for Onewheels, self-balancing electric skateboards.

“It's a very small market. As I said, it's a hobby,” Williams said. “I do enjoy doing that and I'm still filling orders and making new products. But that's not intended to be a business by any means.”

Williams plans on continuing to sell Onewheel products after he ventures to New York City.

“We did a lot of really cool stuff, we did a lot of cool products, but after a while, it just boiled down to this is not the right fit,” he said about Elite Innovations. “It took five years for me to make that decision.”
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Covid-19 Pandemic: Implications For Managers And Human Resources

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington
Drewsmith copiersplus headshot

The “Science” Behind The Cost Of Your Copier Contract

Drew Smith - Copiers Plus
Aarp suzanneheadshot 300x300

Beware Of Work From Home Scams

Trending News

PAG Recommends Negotiating NHRMC Sale With Novant

Vicky Janowski - Jul 2, 2020

COVID-19 Prompts TekMountain Shift To Virtual Model For Startups

Johanna Cano - Jul 1, 2020

Local Leaders Show Support For Boosting Businesses Owned By Minorities, Women

Jenny Callison - Jul 1, 2020

In The New Fiscal Year, ILM Budgets For COVID Impacts

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jul 2, 2020

BIZTALK: Questions, Concerns On Potential NHRMC Sale

Vicky Janowski - Jul 2, 2020

In The Current Issue

What's Next For Next Glass

Next Glass CEO Trace Smith talks about his goals as the new CEO, how the company has been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s...


Info Junkie: Rob Campbell

Rob Campbell, who is a veteran, speaker and coach with Rob Campbell Leadership, shares his stop tech and info picks....


A New Way Of Work

Daily temperature checks and health screenings have become a regular part of the job for many employees heading back into the workplace....

Book On Business

The 2020 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2020 Leadership Accelerator: Virtual Workshops for Real Leaders
2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`