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Blackstone Firms Raise $48 M in 2013

A young Triangle medical device company started with the help of a North Carolina Biotechnology Center loan, and another helped with an NC IDEA grant, are among eight members of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN) that raised nearly $48 million in funding during 2013.

LotusBioEFx of Chapel Hill, which develops venous catheters impregnated with nanoscale clusters of metal alloys to inhibit formation of bacterial biofilms, received a $50,000 Company Inception Loan from NCBiotech last October.

Using metal alloy microparticles in antimicrobial coatings on medical devices and other products, the company wants to develop a range of products that prevent the spread of infection in hospitals and health care facilities

The other startup, NIRvana Sciences, develops fluorescent dyes with ultra-narrow spectrums for use in medical diagnostics and imaging. The North Carolina State University spinout was a Fall 2013 NC IDEA Grant recipient and was awarded $50,000 in December.

NIRvana was also an Early Stage Presenting Company at the 2013 SEBIO Partner & Investor Forum in Richmond, Virginia, an event co-hosted by NCBiotech.

BEN was launched in North Carolina with a gift from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation in 2011. The Network draws from a regional pool of veteran entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs) who help identify marketable innovations out of area universities and regional startups with the greatest potential to become high-growth companies.

EIRs work as a team to mentor entrepreneurs in company-building and to make connections with experts and funders. Network partners include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NCSU, Duke and North Carolina Central Universities and CED.

All told in 2013, BEN companies raised $47.9 million.

The other six BEN companies are:

  • Phononic, a high-efficiency refrigeration developer in Research Triangle Park;
  • COPE Today, a Raleigh firm offering online and telephonic counseling from licensed therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists;
  • Impulsonic, a UNC-Chapel Hill spinout that develops audio and acoustics technology for architecture, film, video games, and virtual reality applications;
  • Offline Media, a Raleigh-based NCSU spinout building a personalized recommendations engine that allows members to discover and complete local experiences, and allows businesses to target, convert, and retain the right customers;
  • Sanitation Creations, another UNC-Chapel Hill spinout that created the Dungaroo, a waterless, odorless, portable toilet developed for initial use in boats and recreational vehicles, but with sanitation applications for use in developing countries;
  • Gema Touch, a Raleigh mobile health care company that uses touch-sensitive technology to develop healthcare engagement products.

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