“GovCups” Event Seeks Innovative Ideas

The Town of Chapel Hill and Launch are teaming up to host an event called GovCups, to initiate creative ideas and services to help government.

GovCups is modeled after an event called 1 Million Cups, which promotes innovative ideas in business. Chapel Hill organizational effectiveness coordinator Rae Buckley says GovCups is designed to encourage local government employees to explore different ways of thinking and creating ideas.

“When I go to a 1 Million Cups event,” she says, “what I see is an entrepreneur who has identified a problem or a gap and is presenting a solution to it. And I think that’s a side of the brain we want our employees – and all of us – to be using as we go about our day-to-day business.”

Two pitches have been selected to present at the event. The Town invites members of the community to participate in the event by using the hashtage #GovCups, live tweeting the event and asking questions during the Q&A session.

The event will be Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 9 a.m. at Chapel Hill Residence Inn. Founder and CFO of 3-Birds Marketing, Len Wohaldo, will speak on being innovative, transparent and open in a startup company.

To learn more and to RSVP, contact Rae Buckley at 919-969-5007 or at rbuckley@townofchapelhill.org.

Launch and RTP also host 1 Million Cups events every Wednesday at 9 a.m.


LaUNCh Graduates 3 Ventures, Brings In New Class

CHAPEL HILL – The LaUNCh business incubator here in Chapel Hill has a reason to celebrate. Seven new ventures are moving into the space off Rosemary St., meaning that three start-ups have graduated from the program. One of those flourishing ventures is Keona Healtha business featured in our 2013 summer series spotlighting the companies of LaUNCh.

UNC graduate student Oakkar Oakkar, CEO of Keona Health, says LaUNCh was a “game changer” for the company which he helped start with UNC Professor Javed Mostafa.

“One of the best things we have done for the company was being a part of LaUNCh. It took us to the next level. They [the mentors] always make themselves available. You don’t even need to actually make an appointment. They drop in all the time to check on us and help with anything we need,” Oakkar says.

Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Keona Health is a software program that seeks to simplify the way patients communicate with their doctors.

LaUNCh Program Manager Dina Mills explains that the Impulsonic, Turnsmith and Keona Health have successfully completed the program by meeting funding and growth benchmarks. The ventures reached the revenue positive stage, and between the three companies, they have raised $1,000,000 in funding.

Keona Health, an all-star of the incubator, will be growing its staff in 2014. Oakkar says the company will double in size over the next several months and expects it will triple in size by the end of the year.

The graduated start-ups are moving into LaUNCh’s newly-acquired space at University Square with permission from UNC. The businesses will be those offices for the next six to eight months and operate independently after that point.

“They need another six to eight months to solidify the customers they have, increase their revenue bases, and for some of them, they are in the process of finding venture or strategic funding now, so they are going into the multi-million range,” Mills says.

For the seven teams entering the incubator, the program offers an opportunity for intensive business plan development, combined with mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs Jim Kitchen, Chris Mumford and Laura Zevelson, as well as a vast network of community business resources.

“Working in LaUNCh is definitely working in a very high-energy environment. People have these great ideas, and they are trying to turn them into a reality,” Mill says.

Another mission of LaUNCh is to build the entrepreneurial community in Chapel Hill.

“Our other two big successes were bringing a full day of Triangle Entrepreneurship Week activities to Chapel Hill. They had never had a single event in Chapel Hill, and we actually had five during the week. Then we also had the first Triangle Start-Up Weekend in Chapel Hill, which again was something that had been happening in the Triangle for years but not in Chapel Hill.”

Fifteen start-ups in total, Mills says, are currently participating in the 22-week LaUNCh program.

The incubator opened in the spring of 2013.


Launch Chapel Hill; Book Sale; Chapel Hill Transit

CHAPEL HILL – Launch Chapel Hill is accepting applications for the Winter 2014 Accelerator program through November 22.

The program, designed to build successful start-ups, runs 22 weeks from January 6 – June 6, and kicks off with a three day accelerator boot camp.  Two information sessions will take place to inform people about the applications process and tour the space.  The first will be held on Monday, October 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the second will be on Tuesday, November 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more information click here.


The Orange County Public Library has announced that Friends of the Carrboro Branch Libraries will host its annual book sale on November 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and November 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at McDougle Middle School.

Proceeds from the sale allow Friends of the Carrboro Branch Library to support library programs and purchase material.


Hardcover Books – $1

Trade and regular paperback books -$0.50

DVD’s and CD’s – $1

Coffee Table and Specialty books – as priced

VHS Tapes – FREE

Sunday Bag Sale – $3.00

For more information call Linda Browner at 919-969-8145.


During the evening of October 31, Chapel Hill Transit will end service early on the D, J, NS, and NU routes.

Due to the Franklin Street event on Halloween, safe ride buses will operate from 11:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. along detoured routes.  No buses will operate from the park and ride lots to the Halloween celebration.

For more information click here.