Three companies are winners of the latest iteration of the Southeastern North Carolina NC BIONEER Venture Challenge.
Renaissance Fiber was recognized with the first-place prize which includes a $20,000 investment from the NC Biotechnology Center and a one-year tenancy at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, according to a press release.
The company is a manufacturer of hemp fiber with the goal of providing a sustainable option in the textile industry. Founded by Michael Long, the company was also recently recognized as a Coastal Entrepreneurship Award winner
in the biotechnology category.
OpiAID, a company using technology to provide clinicians with actionable data to address opioid use relapse and overdoses, won second place. The company will receive $10,000 to support its efforts.
The third-place winner is MacroFormulation, which also received $10,000. The company has developed a proprietary formulation for shipping and storing mRNA pharmaceuticals at room temperature or in refrigeration.
This is the second round of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, which recently went statewide
after a pilot launch in the Southeast region in 2019.
“The venture applications for this second challenge were exceptional and showed a broad range of biotech-related commercialization activities and opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina,” said Randall Johnson, executive director of NCBiotech’s Southeastern Office, in the press release. “This initiative showcases and strengthens the region's impressive community of innovators and entrepreneurs and helps young companies progress toward attracting investment to boost commercialization of biotech innovations and create high-paying jobs across our region.”
Through the challenge, finalists went through two months of mentoring and assistance. The winners were selected during a pitch judging session in front of investors, entrepreneurial organizations, company leaders and tech innovators.
On Renaissance Fiber, Johnson said the startup represents the opportunity to employ the state’s historically strong regional assets in agriculture, manufacturing, and textiles to generate innovative products that benefit the environment, agricultural community and economy.
Up next, winners from each region in the state, including Eastern, Greater Charlotte, Piedmont Triad, and Western, will come together for a final pitch contest to declare the statewide winner.