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Entrepreneurs

Wilmington Entrepreneurs Win Awards, Capital

By Audrey Elsberry, posted May 31, 2024
Artemis Immersive co-founder and CEO Adam Isley presents at NC Tech's State of Tech Startup Showcase May 23. (Photo courtesy of Jim Roberts)
The greater Wilmington startup ecosystem gained some attention in recent statewide announcements, including a pitch challenge win, capital awards and a new global ranking.
 
Last week, the NC Tech Association hosted its State of Tech Exponential conference in Durham. Ocean Isle Beach-based medical imaging startup Artemis Immersive took home first prize in the event's Startup Showcase May 23.
 
Five startups from across the state were selected for the showcase. Artemis Immersive was the sole representative from the state's Southeast region. Each participant pitched and conducted a demonstration of their product to a virtual audience of business and technology leaders.

Adam Isley, co-founder and CEO of Artemis Immersive told the Business Journal he expects to receive award money from the competition, although he does not know how much. He added the startup gained the attention of a potential investor from the conference. He plans to begin the due diligence process next week, Isley wrote in an email.  
 
In another recent announcement, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center said Tuesday it invested $2.7 million in grants and loans in its latest quarter. Wilmington biotechnology startup OpiAID received a $150,000 loan and the University of North Carolina Wilmington received a total of $165,000 in grants from the organization.
 
Seven bioscience companies throughout the state received Small Business Research Loans through NC Biotech. The funds go toward furthering their research, product development and commercialization. OpiAID’s loan aims to “deploy a solution that provides timely and actionable data to support clinical decision-making for improved outcomes in people being treated for substance use disorder,” according to the announcement.
 
NC Biotech’s University Flash Grants go toward research innovations that have commercial potential. The grants can either be used to fund proof-of-concept or conduct final experiments needed to further research development.
 
UNCW received $27,000 in a Flash Grant for research on a novel brain-targeting drug for stroke treatment.
 
The university also received an NC Biotech Innovation Impact Grant to purchase shared-use research equipment. The $138,000 will go toward equipment to establish a Chemistry Biotech Hub.
 
This week also brought a new ranking for the city of Wilmington from research company StartupBlink. Wilmington ranked 61st in a global list of startup ecosystems, beating other notable Southeastern cities like Charlotte and Nashville.  Jumping 32 spots from last year’s ranking, Wilmington had the most significant move up the list, according to StartupBlink.
 
The ranking uses publicly assessable data to score an ecosystem based on the number of startups, investors, coworking spaces, accelerators and meetups. It also evaluates an ecosystem's quality — based on investment dollars, R&D centers and successful exits — and overall startup business environment.
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