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Wilmington Startup Brilliant Sole Receives Local Funding

By Johanna Cano, posted Dec 6, 2018
Local startup Brilliant Sole received an investment from Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) to help the company develop products for potential clients.

The investment was announced Nov. 29 at a Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington meeting, according to a news release.
 
WALE founder Jim Roberts did not disclose how much the investment was but did say the group usually invests between $25,000 and $150,000 in companies.
 
Brilliant Sole creates wearable virtual reality technology with integrated sensors that allow users to move and see their feet in VR.
 
The technology can be put into insoles and footwear. The startup also has a mobile and a desktop application which enables movement control in VR and video games.
 
The footwear solves multiple problems around the use of feet in VR, which have prevented virtual reality from becoming more mainstream in the gaming, industrial and defense sectors, states the news release.
 
The startup was founded by Jeff Guard who is also the company’s CEO.
 
Roberts said WALE decided to invest in Brilliant Sole because of the growth the startup has shown.
 
“Jeff has been a very active member of our Network for Entrepreneurs organization where we put on events,” Roberts said. “We asked him to achieve certain milestones before our investors would invest, and he made progress on those milestones.”
 
Roberts met Guard when he was the director of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
 
“Jeff was one of our first tenants in the [CIE] incubator space, so I have known him for five years,” Roberts said. “The company is not five years old, but getting to know some over five years you build trust.”
 
WALE has invested in five Wilmington-based startups, according to the news release.

One company the group invested on is Petrics Inc., which developed an app, and is developing a Petrics ActivityTracker and a Petrics Smart Pet Bed that allows pet owners to track their pet’s health.
 
The group also invested in Wilmington startup Voice.tech, previously known as Ten8Tech.
 
The technology company automates phone calls, texts and other means of communication to service businesses. 
 
Voice.tech also introduced VictimLink, a platform that lets sexual assaults victims report to law enforcement and CaseService which filters out non-urgent 911 calls to provide faster response for emergencies. 

Roberts said it can be difficult for first-time entrepreneurs to get funding, but as more Wilmington-based startups put the area on the map, it can become easier.
 
There is also an important connection between the events held for entrepreneurs and investors and the startups that end up getting funding, he said.
 
“Those events are an important way to build the relationship between the investor and first-time entrepreneurs,” Roberts said. 
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