Many of these companies founded within the last 10 years are maturing into well-established organizations, but still have the undeniable grit of a startup. A few have even been spotted in Coworx offices!
1. Half United
Founded in 2010 by siblings Carmin and Christian Black, Half United was built around the idea of using recycled bullet casings as a symbol for fighting against world hunger. Using locally sourced materials, Half United creates unique and gorgeous jewelry designs. Their bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other accessories are available nationwide, and can be found in both large department stores and small boutiques. Half of all their proceeds go toward fighting hunger across the globe.
Justin Beard, a 2005 UNCW graduate, founded SnapYeti as a way to allow businesses and organizations to create photo contests and “Snapfests” in order to promote their brand, product, or cause. Beard describes recognizing the potential for his business when he was approached by someone interested in using his photos to promote their brand. Today, this Raleigh-based company boasts over 11,000 users and continues to grow.
3. Topsee Tulip
Gluten free, all natural, no preservatives…frosting. What more could you ask for? Created by the founders of Coastal Cupcakes, Topsee Tulip Frosting creates delectable cream cheese frosting that can be found in over 20 stores including Whole Foods, Lowes Foods, Harris Teeter, and Tidal Creek. Founders Kristen Beckmeyer and Meredith Sullivan are UNCW graduates and opened Coastal Cupcakes in 2008 using family recipes. After a brief shut down earlier this year, Wilmington is excited to have Coastal Cupcakes back open for business. Topsee Tulip Frosting is great for baking and dipping, or just eating with a spoon!
4. Next Glass (pictured)
Winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Next Glass founder Kurt Taylor describes getting the idea for his revolutionary app when he found himself hating a wine that had been highly recommended. Often referred to as “Pandora for wine,” Next Glass is a mobile app that makes choosing your “next glass” or wine or beer an easy decision. Science and wine, a mix no one should turn down, come together as tens of thousands of bottles of wine and beer are analyzed in their Wilmington-based lab. The molecular profiles of these beverages are then added to the Genome Cellar, and are used to offer recommendations to Next Glass users based on their personal preferences.
Striving to meet the challenges of today’s technologies, Neil Underwood, president of Wilmington-based Live Oak Bank, launched nCino’s cloud based Bank Operating System in 2010. Today, Live Oak Bank is now ranked #3 in small business loans nationwide. The idea behind the Bank Operating System was to create a streamlined, paperless system that increased the efficiency of lending and other banking processes. Today nCino, a play on the Spanish word “encino” which means “live oak,” has helped an ever-growing client base streamline their banking systems.
Here at Coworx we’ve had the wonderful chance to play home to both Half United and Next Glass. We love having local startups fill our desks and offices!