Posted by & filed under Innovators Prograam, Raleigh.

Editor’s Note: The Raleigh Innovators Program is a 3-month lean startup and design-thinking accelerator that aims to cultivate breakthrough mobile, cloud, and collaboration technologies. Supported by a coalition of organizations including Citrix Startup Accelerator, Red Hat, Cherokee McDonough, HQ Raleigh and the City of Raleigh, there are 12 teams participating in this year’s program. Of those teams, four are “intrapreneurial” teams from Red Hat and Citrix, three are clean tech teams supported by Cherokee McDonough, and the rest are early-stage startups. This blog series will take a closer look at the 2015 cohort. First up, TaskTorch and Duvtail.


Introducing TaskTorch and Duvtail, two productivity and collaboration software startups participating in this year’s Raleigh Innovators Program.


TaskTorch, led by husband and wife team Nate and Niki Kohari, is a social workflow platform that aims to make “coordinating work as easy as passing a torch.” By combining ideas from social networks and project management tools, the startup is making it simple for employees across various departments, from designers, developers, product managers, and customer support staff, to connect with each other and organize any kind of work in one central place.


Nate and Niki met when they were 15 and have worked together at five companies. TaskTorch is the second company they’ve co-founded (the first was AgileZen, a visual project management tool acquired by Rally Software). After AgileZen was acquired, the two took leadership roles at Durham-based adtech startup, Adzerk, where they were often handing work from one team to another across multiple channels.


“We started thinking about ways to make those handoffs seamless,” says Niki. “We knew that to do this, we had to get people using the same tool from the beginning of the product development process to the end. We used the idea of passing a torch as the inspiration for the product design, and of course, the name.”


Nate serves as the company’s CTO, product developer, software engineer, and graphic designer, while Niki is CEO, an industrial and organizational psychologist, teamwork expert, and professional “gap-filler.” Niki handles all customer communications and business operations.


The two applied to the Raleigh Innovators Program to better connect with smart people in the Raleigh area and get feedback on TaskTorch. Adds Nate, “We’re part of the broad work collaboration market, as is Citrix, so we felt like they would have interesting insights and would “get” what we are trying to do.”


The app is currently in private beta, and the team is adding a couple of features before opening the beta to the public (soon!).


Duvtail, co-founded by Matt Wheeler and Geeta Vemuri, provides productivity solutions for public accountants and auditors. While working as CPAs with Big Four and Top 10 firms, Matt and Geeta became frustrated with the inefficiencies in the audit and client interaction process, but neither could find a solution on the market. After witnessing a Big Four firm lose a $1M engagement due to poor management of client requests and documents, they decided to build Duvtail. The software combines client spreadsheets, word documents, emails, and file storage portals into a simple one-page real-time app.
Matt is the front-end developer and manages the product development at Duvtail, while Geeta focuses on the vision, strategy, and business development. Both co-founders work on sales and marketing.


The team understands the challenges associated with bringing an app like Duvtail to market. According to Matt, the accounting industry “is used to outdated software, and they value name brands in the accounting space. This has helped a couple of dinosaur vendors maintain their market share.” Additionally, Matt and Geeta have to deal with lengthy approval processes for their partnerships and must maintain high security standards when handling sensitive client information.


However, the pair feels ready for the challenge and excited to grow their venture during the Raleigh Innovators Program.


“We work together to solve all obstacles, and never lose confidence in ourselves to execute and get things done. We both bring different perspectives to every decision, which helps us make the right decision and not overlook anything,” says Geeta.


So far in the program, they’ve learned strategies to reach their target market and obtain customer feedback, working alongside a network of mentors, entrepreneurs, and executives to build connections.


These two teams will continue to refine their products and validate their business models over the remaining two months of the program. They will both pitch at the final Demo Day in December.


This post was authored by Allyson Sutton, Director of Marketing at HQ Raleigh, with assistance from the featured teams. For more information on the Innovators Program, please visit:

Posted by & filed under Innovators Program, Raleigh.

12 teams to participate in 12-week program kicking off today

The 2015 Raleigh Innovators Program today announced the 12 teams that will be participating in this year’s Raleigh Innovators Program.  The 3-month, cohort-driven, mentor-assisted accelerator program is powered by a coalition of organizations, including the Citrix Startup Accelerator, Red Hat, Cherokee, HQ Raleigh and the City of Raleigh, in an effort to make Raleigh a leading center of innovation.

The Citrix Startup Accelerator, which also hosts innovator programs in Bangalore, Santa Barbara, and Silicon Valley, is becoming a mainstay in Raleigh for startups looking to build and bring new products to market. The program prepares startups to raise their first significant round of funding through intensive design thinking and lean startup coaching.

The 12 teams chosen this year edged out a very strong pool of applicants, with submissions coming from across the U.S. including San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Denver, as well as countries like Brazil and India.

These finalists include a diverse set of teams tackling problems that range from repurposing harmful waste to challenges facing enterprise technology, healthcare, agriculture and beyond.

Below is a brief look at the teams that made it into the 12-week accelerator program:

  • Duvtail delivers productivity solutions to increase engagement profitability for public accounting firms.
  • MDBenchmark is a web-based subscription solution that provides optimized terms and real-time medical malpractice rates for physicians and administrators in healthcare.
  • Medicomcreates a peer-to-peer network for physicians, radiologists, and medical technicians to safely and efficiently share sensitive patient information.
  • Remedy aims to make managing pain easier for healthcare providers, while improving patient engagement and quality of care.
  • Rocktron Mineral Services uses its patented, zero-waste process to transform fresh or stored fly ash from an environmental and economic liability into valuable mineral additives for plastics manufacturing.
  • SeaChange Technologies will provide sustainable systems for water purification and desalination that significantly reduce energy requirements.
  • Smart Farm Systems delivers precision irrigation systems to help farmers optimize crop yields and minimize operating and environmental costs.
  • TaskTorch is a social workflow platform that helps teams coordinate their work. By combining ideas from project management systems and social networks, making employees less stressed, teams more productive, and companies more efficient.

Rounding out the 12 teams in the Innovators Program are 4 groups of Intrapreneurs from Red Hat and Citrix who are looking to build new lines of businesses to help keep these enterprise software companies at the forefront of technology innovation.

 The Innovators Program will conclude with a Demo Day in early December where the startups will present their businesses to the Raleigh innovation community. 

Supporting Quote:

John McIntyre, managing director, Citrix Startup Accelerator

“The startups that we’ve selected for this year’s Innovators Program are the strongest we’ve seen across all of our global locations. While the teams have a lot of hard work ahead of them over the next 3 months, we are confident that they will be in excellent shape come December.”

About Citrix Startup Accelerator

The Citrix Startup Accelerator cultivates breakthrough mobile, cloud and collaboration technologies and is focused on the ‘future of work’. The Innovator’s and Seed Funding Programs are focused on fostering early stage startups that bring a fresh approach to solving today’s greatest business challenges. For more information, visit

About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT. Learn more at

About Cherokee

Cherokee is an investment company that blends capital with creativity,  experience and resolve to provide superior financial, environmental and social returns for investors, partners and communities. As an environmentally focused investment company, Cherokee has raised over $2 billion in private equity funds focused on brownfield remediation and, separately, founded a number of environmental businesses and invested in over 80 startups and venture funds in the past 30 years. To learn more, visit 

About HQ Raleigh

HQ Raleigh is a shared workspace designed to provide an environment that empowers, fosters, and cultivates startups that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact. HQ Raleigh addresses two challenges that entrepreneurs face: building a trusted support community and gaining access to flexible, affordable office space. To learn more, visit

Posted by & filed under Innovartors Program.

I’m delighted to announce the teams and partners that have come together to launch our first Innovators Program in Santa Barbara.  This is our fourth  Innovators Program globally and we are continuing to applying our core principles of design thinking, lean startup, and modern leadership.  We’ve also rolled out some great new tools and and made other improvements with the goal of validating the teams business models and finding their first customers.

Each startup will receive a $20k grant.  The program will conclude on September 16th with a demo day at the Deckers Rotunda –  250 Coromar Drive, Santa Barbara , CA.  Please RSVP here

The fantastic partners that have come together to support the program are:

Five startups and three corporate teams comprise the first cohort in Santa Barbara.

The startups are:

222Labs is developing an internet of things (IoT) solution and platform that can be adapted to many possible environmental and event monitoring solutions.

Capyx is developing a beautiful & accurate Cap Table Management solution. They make it easy for entrepreneurs and investors to keep track of your company’s ownership and plan to extend this secure technology to other financial use cases.

Caugnate offers a natural and intuitive extension of video conferencing to support remote collaboration for field service work and other applications. Caugnate participated in the UCSB Technology Management Program New Venture Competition.

Milo  is developing the very first wearable alcohol sensor that actively monitors blood alcohol levels through perspiration. Their goal is to inspire people to make safe, education decisions while drinking. They recently won the UCSB New Venture Competition, receiving People’s Choice, 1st Place in Tech, and the Grand Prize.

Sanwood is bringing to market sensors that include a micro-USB re-chargeable battery that can last over 4 months with a full-charge. Their proprietary platform can be used as a basic foundation to develop more advanced IoT sensor technology, or as a turn-key solution for motion capture data transmission of an object or person.


The Citrix innovation teams are:

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Recapit: Why take notes by hand? Recapit will do it for you. Recapit is an iPhone app for your face-to-face meetings and interviews. Highlight action items, decisions, and noteworthy comments. Transcribe them to get written notes! Add photos of a whiteboard or other visual aids, and share it all with a link you can give anyone.

Voitrix helps Real Estate Agents gain more sales leads and save time by providing browser-based calling and texting capability and detailed information tracking of prospective and existing clients.

See you at the demo day!