Pictured: Thomas directing a mobile app commercial

CHAPEL HILL – UNC alum Nicholas Thomas is the owner and creator of Filmlab, a video production company operating out of the 1789 business incubator in Chapel Hill. He’s this week’s featured young entrepreneur as part of our weekly summer series on the ventures of 1789 and LaUNCh Chapel Hill.

Thomas has produced content for many organizations on UNC’s campus.  He’s working on a project currently for The CUBE, a program that’s a part of Innovate@Carolina.


The 1789 business incubator, which launched in May, is already generating local buzz, not only because of the innovative young entrepreneurs setting up shop there, but also because of it’s unique office design.

“The space is really cool. The view is the best on Franklin Street, and it helps you get work done because it’s hard to be cooped up,” he said. “When you have a space with arcade games and a ping-pong table, all that helps to build community because people can rally around that.”

And that community is one that Thomas says has helped him to thrive. He’s able to share ideas with other venturists coming from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“Just for an example yesterday, somebody who is doing a totally different venture—she had a question about Adobe Illustrator. She was like, ‘Hey Nick, how do you do this?” And I was able to just come over and help her for a few seconds.”

The former junior varsity basketball player majored in Management and Society with a business minor, but he always knew his passion was for telling other people’s stories. He has also produced the promotional video for company, Tripstr, a website where travelers can place to share travel experiences and recommendations.

“I’m passionate about working with start-ups, other entrepreneurs, and tech companies which in RTP, it’s become a huge trend for a lot of these companies to grow here.”

1789 participants hope to move on to the LaUNCh Chapel Hill incubator, which is geared toward the more developed businesses.

Before venturists can move to the next level, though, they have to complete the Joe Start Up initiative, an educational program which helps them to formulate a business plan and also network with other entrepreneurs. It was created by Chris Mumford, who also co-founded LaUNCh with Jim Kitchen.

Thomas says Mumford has helped him realize what he can achieve if he works hard.

“He said to us, ‘I hope that you guys are so successful that you skip LaUNCh and you go get your own office space. I think that would be really cool to get my own office space—not as big as this one [1789] obviously,’” Thomas said, laughing.