Commercialization Center Expansion Supports Technology Entrepreneurs
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (Feb 4, 2020) – Green Stream Technologies, an environmental monitoring company, has relocated its headquarters to the Wireless Research Center in the expanded commercialization center in Wake Forest.
Green Stream provides a real-time flood monitoring solution for state, county and municipal agencies, including the N.C. Department of Public Safety. The remote sensor network and software solutions produce real-time data for the state’s Flood Inundation Mapping System. Green Stream’s automated flood sensor IoT network alerts customers when and where roads are flooded along with data about the depth of water and when it recedes.
State and local government customers, including emergency and stormwater management as well as smart city IT departments, use the sensor data to improve response during flood events, and to make better decisions and predictions about localized flooding. The system includes remote sensors, real-time data transmission, distributed power, cloud computing and data science.
Green Stream, founded in Norfolk, Va., was attracted to the Research Triangle Park region from in early 2019 to participate in the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) and decided to stay. RIoT is an economic development initiative of the WRC to facilitate entrepreneurship for the Internet of Things (IoT) – how devices connect, interact and exchange data. During the last 18 months, RIoT has worked with 25 companies through the accelerator program. The RAP companies have created 98 jobs, raised more than $5.7 million in equity capital and generated $10.7 million in revenue.
Green Stream won the 2019 RIoT Pitch Night competition, an NC IDEA seed grant and was named one of the N.C. Technology Association (NC Tech) Top 10 startups to watch. Karen Lindquist, chief operating officer of Green Stream, said relocating to Raleigh to share space with RIoT in 2019 and moving into an office and production space at the WRC has been a great development for the company. The accelerator was valuable for helping the startup hone its business model, and gain exposure to partners and customers in the Triangle. She said that the WRC provides technology development assistance, access to testing equipment and shared space for prototype production operations as well as deeper connections into the technology development community.
“As a tech firm, we’ve found our home at WRC. My partner Jim Gray, our CEO, is an engineer and inventor, and he is in his element with the WRC engineers and the other startups. We are already collaborating with the WRC on a few grant proposals. The spirit of collaboration, the expertise and the enthusiasm to help companies succeed creates the ideal environment,” she said. “On our first day at the WRC, the founder of Revibe Technologies, another tech company at the WRC, went out of his way to welcome us and offer to share experience from his journey as an NC IDEA seed grant recipient five years ago, and how the WRC community helped develop his business to what it is today.”
Green Stream, RIoT and the Town of Cary are leading regional communities and tech firms in a public-private partnership developing an architecture for sharing important data across agencies to coordinate response – starting with stormwater. “In just one year, so many good things have happened for us, thanks to RIoT, the WRC and NC IDEA,” says Lindquist. She and Gray have also bought a home in Wake Forest. “It’s a lot already, but I think it’s just the beginning of a great journey together. These organizations, their visionary leaders and devoted staff have helped us tremendously. We are looking forward to giving back as soon as we are able.”
Shared Vision a Catalyst for Commercialization Center Expansion
More than 20 start-up companies have taken advantage of the commercialization center office space at the WRC headquarters in Wake Forest. In addition, approximately 60 companies have been assisted with office space and development services in Raleigh through RIoT.
“This is what we envisioned, and more, when we made the investment to help get the WRC started in Wake Forest,” said Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones. “Bringing together a team of experts, valuable equipment and a commercialization center that drives innovation for global companies and start-ups has made Wake Forest a technology hub and drives economic development for our town and the region.”
Revibe Technologies started out as a one-person startup formerly called FokusLabs when it opened an office at the WRC. The company was started by Rich Brancaccio, a school psychologist with a desire to leverage technology and data to improve outcomes for those with focus and learning challenges using wristbands that improve focus with quiet, gentle vibration reminders.
The WRC and other companies in the commercialization center have helped Revibe Technologies grow, Brancaccio said, from developing and testing the product to making key introductions to build his company. His product is now being worn in 20,000 schools in all 50 states and he is making plans to expand globally. The company recently launched its second product, a connected smart watch, Revibe Connect, using machine learning and vibration technology to help the wearer stay focused. The company, which has grown to 12 employees, has garnered funding support from the U.S. Department of Education, The Launch Place and NC IDEA.
“What makes the WRC unique is the expertise of the team and their industry knowledge,” Brancaccio said. “The team is extremely well connected in the region, across the nation and around the world. It is rare to meet such high caliber people in a non-profit setting where the goal is to advance technology, not make a profit.”
Lindquist said the Town of Wake Forest and the proximity to Raleigh and Durham was also a compelling reason for relocating to North Carolina. Jason Cannon, president of the Wake Forest Business & Industry Partnership, said strategic planning is paying off.
“The Town of Wake Forest is a growing, vibrant community to live, work, and raise a family that is conveniently situated in the booming Research Triangle Park region known globally as a technology hub,” Cannon said. The shared vision of the Town and the WRC for the future of Wake Forest was a milestone in a strategic design that is continuing to birth new opportunities enhancing our community.”
About the Wireless Research Center
The Wireless Research Center (WRC) is a nonprofit organization supporting clients globally with engineering services and testing for communication technologies from in-body sensors and medical devices to satellites and space exploration. The WRC accelerates the rate of scientific innovation and is a network design and Internet of Things (IoT) consultant and certified testing facility for the CTIA and many wireless network providers. The WRC fosters collaboration among commercial partners, industry groups, academic institutions and research organizations. The WRC is leading the deployment and operation of advanced wireless 5G testbeds for the nation’s third advanced wireless research platform supported by an industry consortium and a $24 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The research is led by N.C. State University and the initial testbeds for wireless communications necessary for autonomous drone and mobility systems are planned for Raleigh and Cary.
For more information, visit www.wrc-nc.org
RIoT is an economic development initiative to facilitate entrepreneurship for the Internet of Things (IoT) – how devices connect, interact and exchange data. The RIoT community has grown to include more than 8,000 members and 80 company sponsors throughout the nation. The RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) supports early stage startups and provides consulting services for corporate innovation teams. In addition, RIoT helps connect entrepreneurs with the venture capital community to create and grow companies. As an economic development initiative of the Wireless Research Center and supported by sponsors and a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, RIoT is expanding in communities across the state and nation. For more information, please visit www.ncriot.org
Scott Yates (for the WRC)