MV Trak is one of six startups to win ~$50K in grant funding from the nonprofit Durham-based NC IDEA Foundation. Since 2006, the foundation has awarded nearly $4.2 million to 104 startups around the state. The six companies were narrowed from nine finalists, 22 semifinalists and 130 total applications for the Fall 2015 cycle. Profiles of the rest of the companies are linked below.
In his just-released movie Concussion, Will Smith portrays a doctor who discovers the lasting negative effects repeated concussions (or brain trauma) have on football players’ long-term health. Smith is nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his role in the film—he’s helping to bring awareness to an issue that has been sidelined in the sport for too long.
But football isn’t the only sport where concussions and brain trauma affect the game and its players. Soccer players—and especially female soccer players—are almost as likely to suffer concussions as football players.
Cindy Parlow Cone, the soccer star-turned esteemed coach-turned CEO and entrepreneur, suffered multiple concussions throughout her Olympic Gold-winning soccer career. Now the soccer star uses her personal story to bring awareness to the issue through the organization Concussion Legacy Foundation.
But she isn’t content with just awareness and advocacy. She’s also on a mission to deter the lasting impact concussions have on the sports community with a new technology designed to “detect which athletes need to be further evaluated for concussion symptoms” after a traumatic event (to the brain).
Users can wear the device in their ear with or without a helmet and it will measure the head impact and rotation with a 96.6% accuracy, sending the medical team and trainers reliable data to track whether an impact causes concussions.
Despite that’s she’s in the early stages of building her company, Cone has already attracted the attention of the Triangle startup community and investors. She was named a SoarTriangle mentee in August, and today NC IDEA announces her company will receive a coveted NC IDEA grant.
Both organizations were likely attracted to her drive and ability to get things done. Just in the last four months, she’s gotten the product almost ready to go to market. She will begin selling in the first quarter.
She also changed the company’s name from Imvere to MV Trak (the new name better fits the product) and has begun to raise a $500,000 seed round. That’s all while bootstrapping the venture and remaining its sole employee.
Cone says the SoarTriangle mentorship has been “unbelievable” and the mentors and advisors have helped her settle into her new role as CEO. She calls SoarTriangle mentors Lauren Whitehurst and John Austin “great connectors of people” and says the people they’ve connected her to in the Triangle and beyond have offered priceless advice and guidance.
With the NC IDEA funds, she will complete the front-end of the software used to detect the concussions and scale manufacturing at the California-based plant making the product.
Once she finishes raising her seed round, she also hopes to hire more employees in 2016.