Joules Accelerator

Joules Accelerator

Joules Accelerator enables the growth of high-potential clean energy startups by facilitating training, mentoring and access to utilities, customers and key industry players through the bi-annual catalyst program based in Charlotte, NC.

Since its 2013 founding, the Accelerator has supported the creation of 90 jobs, $15 million in investment and seven pilot project. Joules does not take equity in startups, and does not charge for the application process or participation in the program. Companies selected to participate in the catalyst program have all expenses covered during the events.

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Carolina Fintech Hub

Carolina Fintech Hub

What is Fintech?

We define Fintech, broadly, as companies or initiatives that seek to disrupt OR enhance financial services through the use of technology.

The Carolina Fintech Hub Vision

Fintech’s role in the financial industry will continue to grow over the next 10 years. As home of the 3rd largest banking center in the nation, the Carolina region has the opportunity to significantly benefit from this growth with a proactive strategy to attract and retain its most fundamental building block – new market talent.

What’s Unique About Our Approach?

Aside from being focused on the Fintech ecosystem of North and South Carolina, the CFH is focusing its programming and investments at the intersection of Fintech and incumbent financial institutions. With tens of thousands of startups and new workforce entrants deciding where they should put down roots, the CFH will make the case that choosing the Carolinas not only means there will be a complete support ecosystem at their disposal, but also the ability to partner with incumbent financial institutions – increasing their odds of success dramatically.


North Carolina Tech Association

2018 marks a milestone year for the North Carolina Technology Association – our 25th Anniversary. We have refreshed our logo, launched a new website, and even updated what we call ourselves:


As we look ahead, NC TECH has refined how we describe our purpose with a refreshed mission and vision, along with the association’s core pillars.


To foster growth and champion innovation in North Carolina’s tech sector, while providing a voice for the tech community.


North Carolina is a global leader for tech professionals, companies and organizations to thrive.

EO Charlotte Chapter

Entrepreneurs' Organization Charlotte Chapter

We are the Charlotte chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, EO Charlotte, and part of an amazing EO community of more than 11,000+ entrepreneurs worldwide, operating 153 chapters in more than 58 countries around the globe all of whom run companies that exceed $1 Million in revenue.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization members come from all walks of life, and member companies span a huge range of businesses. Regardless of their business profiles, EO members have three things in common: a passionate desire to grow their businesses, to learn from their peers, and to share their experiences with others.

Tech Works of Gaston County

The idea for TechWorks was inspired by recent data that shows Gaston County is among the most populated counties in North Carolina but has one of the lowest median incomes in the state. In 2016, led by the team from Gaston Innovation Group, Inc., we set out to change the story. We intentionally partnered with public and private organizations who shared our vision and were committed to a long-term, community-focused solution. Today, TechWorks is the only public-private project of its kind in North Carolina with an investment from the state, county and city totaling $2.1M.

Our goal is to help tech start-ups and entrepreneurs strive in the region and help community members thrive in the tech talent pipeline. We know it takes more than funding to support tech start-ups and small business on their journey toward success in the digital economy. That’s why our partners provide courses, tech training, resources, and mentorship along the way.

Together, we believe we can create a model for how an urban-rural county can become a hub for tech innovation, broadband expansion, and economic reinvention.

Fast Facts:

  • TechWorks is the only project of its kind in the State with an investment from the State, County and City totaling $2.1M.
  • City of Belmont was awarded a $1M State Grant in Dec. 2017 on behalf of TechWorks.
  • TechWorks is a model for how an urban-rural county can become a hub for tech innovation and broadband expansion which will foster “new collar” job creation.

TechWorks also offers Coding Courses in partnership with Gaston College, UNC Charlotte, Tech Talent South, and Goodwill University.

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Candidates for INCLT VMS Pilot Announced

On Monday, June 4th, 2018, we gathered companies and a few mentors at Innovate Charlotte's current home base at Advent Coworking to announce companies that passed the pre-qualification process. Here is the list of companies who made it to the final selection round:

Company Website Description
1 Cloosiv A merchant agnostic platform to make purchases and earn savings with a single app.
2 BovaMetrics LLC bovametrics An augmented intelligence platform for wealth managers.
3 Business of Healthcare A forum and information exchange for the 40,000 decision makers in healthcare.
4 Brew Zoom none An online craft beer concierge matching customers to a wide selection of curated craft beer based on their personal taste.
5 Gig COnnected A service that connects construction employers with construction workers.
6 Honeyfi A platform that helps couples integrate their finances and save for goals together.
7 HOURZ A job exchange for hourly workers and businesses.
8 Kanari A project management and customer relationship software for music professionals.
9 Musser & Company A company offering business development, service and retention campaigns through tangible gifts.
10 NuFloss The first customized floss that gives you the power to floss in seconds.
11 Quick Usability A platform to connect people building digital products with UX services and consultants for tactical UX on demand.


We are still accepting applications from interested companies until June 15th. You can apply for the pilot here.

Three Most Common Questions about InCLT VMS

On April 12, 2018, we conducted a morning and an evening session for potential mentors for Innovate Charlotte Mentor Venturing Service. A session for local startups took place on April 19th.

Participants were able to learn more details about the program that we are licensing from MIT and interact with each other. Here are the questions they asked.

1. How is the program different from other mentorship programs in Charlotte?

INCLT VMS has very clear guidelines that define every aspect of the program. These guidelines help to ensure that every mentorship relationship creates value for the entrepreneur. Here are the highlights of what makes this program different:

  1. 20 years of experience and MIT VMS Brand. Our program is licensed from MIT VMS, which allows us to take advantage of their experience
  2. Safe environment for companies. All mentors sign blanked NDAs. Soliciting business from mentees is prohibited. As a result, an environment is created where entrepreneurs can be sure that they are getting unbiased advice.
  3. Mentors don't have to worry about administrative issues. Most of the administrative burden of scheduling meetings and coordination is going to be conducted by the Office of the program. Thus, mentors can fully focus on mentoring.
  4. Consistent Quality Control. InCLT VMS uses a team of mentors, which helps to ensure that entrepreneurs are not getting one-sided guidance. There is a lead mentor role who ensures that the discussion is focused on the needs of the entrepreneur. There is also a strong feedback loop built for ongoing improvement of the program.
  5. Narrow focus. At the pilot stage, our focus is on companies that are innovation-driven, have some validation and potential for high impact. They must also be local and still relatively early stage. Our goal is to increase the number of fundable companies in Charlotte.

2. How exactly will the companies be selected?

All companies that apply on our website will be reviewed and contacted to see if they meet the criteria of the pilot (innovation-driven, have some validation and potential for high impact, local, early stage). Founders of shortlisted companies will be interviewed by Innovate Charlotte team. The final selection will be made by mentors who will be able to demonstrate their interest in working with this or that company.

3. Once my company gets into the program, what is going to happen next?

Here is the current timeline:

As one of the chosen companies, you will start with 2 mentors. The first meeting with them will be scheduled for late June / early July. This is the only meeting where the agenda is going to be prepared by the mentors in accordance with MIT VMS guidelines. After the meeting, you will submit notes from the meeting to InCLT Office with your feedback on the quality of the session.

It will be your responsibility to contact our office to say that you are ready for the next meeting with your mentors. You will also need to submit an agenda for that meeting.

As your relationship with the mentor team grows, it can be extended to include people with the expertise that you might need either for one session or on an ongoing basis.

The pilot program is going to last for 6 months. However, you will be able to continue your relationship with us as long as you are going to need it.

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to contact us. The next info session is going to be announced shortly for May 2, 2018. You can also apply for the program right away.

We'll keep you posted!

Community Feedback for the Innovate Charlotte Team

On February 24 and February 26 Innovate Charlotte presented its vision to a group of prominent business people and social activists. Our goal was to solicit feedback and gain support for our initiatives. We were so grateful for the strong participation and candid opinions. The idea of resource connectivity and the opportunity for stronger mentorship provided an overall sense of optimism, knowing that we are now taking steps to achieve our goals.

Our team spent the last few weeks organizing the comments and determining how we can best improve the vision, goals, and timelines so that we are in alignment with the suggestions from the community. After collecting all of this feedback, we traveled to MIT to explore the Venture Mentoring Service and prepare to launch this program in the Charlotte. We hope that the insights from the feedback along with the launch of our Venture Mentoring Service will result in an exciting year for Innovate Charlotte.

Below you will find the summary of our insights and the current direction of Innovate Charlotte based on the feedback we received.

The Good: Positive Impact

The audience found the following aspects to be the most impactful about Innovate Charlotte initiative:

  • Increasing awareness and transparency in the ecosystem for the entrepreneurs;
  • Some people found the idea of connectivity and pulling together various resources very exciting;
  • The participants liked the action-oriented approach and were even cautiously optimistic.


David Phillips (FasterGlass.Com) facilitated the feedback session

The Need: More Clarity

While the "execution arm" of Innovation Charlotte is still young and our first initiates will be pilot programs, many participants felt that more clarity on the goals and plans of Innovate Charlotte was needed. The following concerns were brought up in the discussion: 

  • The process of company selection: more clarity on the target companies, industry, defining the stage of company’s development;
  • There was also a lack of clarity on the execution process when it came to the pilot;
  • How could an organization become a partner and how can we make sure that partners are properly vetted?


Incorporating the Feedback and MIT VMS Trip into Innovate Charlotte Activities

Right after the second session, our team went to MIT to learn from their renowned venture mentoring service. The feedback and the experience of being in that program jumpstarted our thinking about having a greater focus as we move forward with our activities in Charlotte.

We decided that a venture mentoring program based on the MIT VMS methodology is going to become the core component of Innovate Charlotte. Having such a core focus will help us address a number of issues that were raised by participants in our original presentations:

  1. Will it work? As we are licensing a program with 20 years of experience, the chances of success are rather significant.
  2. How will it work? The implementation process for the pilot will be done on the basis of MIT VMS methodology.
  3. Will your small team be able to handle it? By focusing on a single core offering, we are going to be able to reduce the team workload and, at the same time, leverage partners in the community to help us implement the other components of the mandate. The Innovate Charlotte Venture Mentoring Service has the potential to become the unifying component of these activities.

We would like to thank all the participants for their time, engagement, and sincere willingness to be involved. A number of people offered help in the form of being a mentor, connector or source of potential companies and partners.

We’ll be providing updates on our current thinking shortly, as well as organizing informational sessions for people interested in becoming mentors, as well as for companies that seek unbiased advice.

MIT Venture Mentoring Immersion Program for Charlotte

On Monday, February 26, 2018, Innovate Charlotte team left for Boston to participate in the 2.5 Day MIT Venture Mentoring Immersion Program. Our team consisted of Walter Frye, Alfred Jackson, and Igor Gorlatov from Innovate Charlotte. We were also joined by our community partners Juan Garzón from StartCharlotte and Julie Goff from The Hub @ Davidson.


It has been an amazing experience to learn from a program with nearly 20 years of experience and incredible outcomes for the MIT Entrepreneurial Community.

We were the 80th group to complete this training! The lessons have been invaluable and we cannot wait to incorporate this program into the work of Innovate Charlotte in the Queen City!

Chris Heivly visits Charlotte

Chris Heivly is a serial entrepreneur (MapQuest co-founder) and early-stage investor with company-building experience from $0 to $25M. On Tuesday, February 13, he visited Charlotte. During his visit, he had a few engaging conversations with Charlotte entrepreneurs and shared his insights on improving our ecosystem.

Chris Heivly, Terry Cox, Carol A. Jegou, and Walt Frye


Walt Frye, Robert Ingalls, Chris Heivly, Kevin Giriunas, and Juan Garzon


Here are ideas he shared with Charlotte entrepreneurs regarding the attitudes that underpin success of any successful community:

  1. Create the Give First mentality. The more people are asking: "What can I do for you?", the healthier the ecosystem becomes.
  2. Nurture networks rather than hierarchies. People, and not organizations, are nodes in the ecosystem.  The number of meaningful connections that happen, and the viscosity of these connections are critical for progress.
  3. Don't ask for permission when making the introduction. Just make it happen.
  4. Have someone run the community. Things do not just get better without direction.