Area Startups Among Winners, Finalists Of NC Tech Awards

By Johanna Cano, posted Sep 16, 2021
Wilmington reef builder Atlantic Reefmaker was announced a finalist in two categories of NC TECH Awards. HybridAF is one of the Top 10 Startups to Watch. (Screenshot of Atlantic Reefmaker website)
Local startups have been recognized for their innovation, excellence and growth as part of the 2021 NC TECH Awards, according to an announcement this week by NC TECH Association.

Wilmington-based Hybrid Athlete Foundation was named a winner of the Top 10 Startups to Watch category.

HybridAF has developed a mobile app that gyms providing 24/7 access can use to allow members and employees to enter the premises. Through the app, users request access and unlock the gym from their phones.

“No more key fobs or key codes to deal with,” its website states. “#HybridAF has created a platform that provides a one-stop-shop for 24/7/365 access to facilities.”

The company was founded by president Albert Steed who has a background in security and technology, and it has several gyms using its platforms throughout the U.S., including several in Wilmington such as FitMo Fitness and Training and CrossFit Carolina Beach.

It was also one of the finalists of this year's Coastal Entrepreneurs Awards.

Another Wilmington-based company, Atlantic Reefmaker, was named a finalist in two categories: Cleantech in the Technology Corporate Awards and Tech For Good in the Use of Technology awards.

Atlantic Reefmaker is a builder of artificial reefs which helps mitigate coastal erosion.

“These artificial reefs provide a habitat for all forms of marine life, from juveniles to adults. The reefs are durable enough to withstand hurricane 5 force winds and waves,” its website stated.

The company is currently overseen by Randy Boyd, who has been involved in the development and implementation of a number of shoreline erosion mitigation projects. Some of those include Atlantic Harbor and Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Phase 1, 2 and 3A.

Among its successes, the company lists reducing wave energy and reviving rich ecosystems around and near the shore’s edge which provides an ideal aquatic habitat and cover for fish, oysters, crabs and mussels.

“…the shore’s edge is critical to the broader coastal ecosystems that thrive in shallow water, abundant sunlight, plentiful terrestrial and marine nutrients, tidal and wave flushing environments and a wide range of habitat types,” the website stated.

The 2021 NC TECH Awards Selection Committee included Jim Roberts, founder of Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington, and Laura Primavera, director of programs and initiatives at Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

A full list of finalists can be found on the NC IDEA website.

NC IDEA announced the finalists in a live broadcast on Wednesday. Corporate winners will be announced at the awards gala event on Nov. 3. NC Tech Awards also include Individual Awards including categories for tech executive of the year, tech woman of the year and tech educator of the year, among others, which will be announced soon.
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