Dear Fellow Innovators:
We are happy to share the 2017 First Flight Venture Center Annual Impact Report. While 2017 may be a fading memory, it is worth reporting on an exciting year of dynamic growth and discovery for our organization and high-science high-impact clients!
First Flight is the ONLY resource in North Carolina and surrounding states that provides a turnkey approach to early-stage company growth for science-based startups. We are proud to provide affordable space, flexible infrastructure, mentoring, as well as business and technology support services.
Below are highlights of 2017 accomplishments and ways our one-of-a-kind science-based incubator supports start-up innovators:
• Hanger6 now open for members! Our new advanced prototyping facility opened with a start-up BANG. University spin-offs, medical device inventors, corporate entities, industrial design houses and others will benefit from a unique setting to design, build and model product prototypes. And most importantly, an economical place to perfect designs and create prototypes.
• LiftOff program soars! Not only did we quadruple the number of companies who participated in the LiftOff grant program, the amount of non-dilutive funding received increased from $1.3M in 2016 to $10.2M in 2017!
• WINGS pilot program successfully launched! Four STEM interns from NCCU were placed with companies at First Flight for the summer of 2017. One student was offered a full time contract at the end of the summer!
• Thriving Occupancy: For more than three consecutive years, First Flight has 90% occupancy…we’re helping a lot of science-based companies!
• Resource for the community: First Flight has opened its doors to invite science-related investor groups and non-profits to utilize our diverse meeting spaces to further bolster the innovation community.
We are not alone in our endeavors and are deeply grateful to the funders and partners who help sustain our mission “to support the development and growth of high-science, high-impact entrepreneurial companies by proving tailored resources, guidance, connections and support required for their commercial success.”
Here’s to the belief that entrepreneurs deserve a place like First Flight to manifest their dreams and ideas to better humanity through their individual businesses. We encourage and invite anyone to invest in ensuring that a place like First Flight remains a resource in perpetuity!
Andy Schwab Mary U. Musacchia
President Chair, Board of Directors