Press Release: Launch Now Accepting Applications


Launch Chapel Hill Now Accepting Applications

Launch Chapel Hill is now accepting applications for their July 2016 cohort of ventures. This will be the sixth cohort in the startup accelerator program’s history. Launch opened in 2013 and 53 companies have participated in the program. Over the last three years, Launch companies have raised millions of dollars in funding and have created over 100 jobs. In 2015, Launch was named one of the top 5 university business accelerators in North America by UBI Global Index, an international benchmarking organization. The UBI rankings are based on economic impact, access to funding, and venture performance after program completion.

“We are happy about the positive economic and social impact Launch has had on Chapel Hill, Orange County and the Triangle over the past three years and we look forward to continuing that success with a new group of high potential startups,” said Dina Rousset, Associate Director at Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Director of Launch.

Launch Chapel Hill is a startup accelerator located in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Every year Launch accepts two cohorts of high-potential, high-impact startups to enter its 22-week program. Launch Chapel Hill does not take equity in any of its ventures. It is supported by the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, the University of North Carolina, and a private donor. Launch graduates include startups such as Keona Health, Impulsonic, Tom and Jenny’s, and Freedom.

Rousset says that Launch is looking for all types of high-impact startups to apply to the program.  “Launch does not focus on any specific industry, so we’re looking for startups that range from low-tech to high-tech, social to commercial, and everything in between. The primary things we look for are high potential to scale and a desire to create impact.”

Those interested can learn more and apply at The deadline to apply for the July 2016 cohort is Sunday, May 22.  Interested entrepreneurs who would like to tour the space and meet Launch staff and current Launch tenants should email Aaron Scarboro at

About Launch Chapel Hill:

The Launch Chapel Hill accelerator program helps entrepreneurs with high-potential, high-impact ideas off all types take their venture to the next level. Ventures accepted into the Launch Chapel Hill program receive personalized access to experts and mentors, broad networking opportunities, office space in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill and the opportunity to work side by side with other startups.

Launch ventures enjoy access to:

Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) – Each venture will work closely with one of three EIRs, Brett Nicol, Willy Hoos and Scott Maitland. All three are serial entrepreneurs who have founded multiple businesses over the span of their careers. Launch ventures will have the opportunity to meet with their EIR at least every two weeks and EIRs will connect ventures to mentors when there is a need for industry specific knowledge.

Resident Program Manager – All Launch Chapel Hill ventures have access to Launch’s Program Manager, Dina Rousset, who is able to provide immediate feedback and advice. Dina is also a serial entrepreneur with six startups under her belt.   She grew her most successful startup to 1500 employees and nearly $300 million in annual sales before exiting.

Mentors – Ventures have access to a network of over 250 mentors, the majority of whom have been involved in the entrepreneurial curriculum through the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Resource Partners – Launch ventures will have access to a growing list of resource partners, including but not limited to the following:

·      Accounting: Blackman & Sloop

·      Legal: Smith-Anderson, Hutchison Law

·      Marketing: ClearSketch

·      plus: The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC Career Services, Pitch coaching with Professor Tim Flood, etc.

Our resource partners offer seminars and workshops on the subjects every startup needs to know. Ventures can also meet one-on-one with these professionals on a pro bono basis.

Office space in Downtown Chapel Hill – all ventures accepted into the program are assigned private or shared office space in our 3,400 square foot location in the heart of Downtown Chapel Hill, adjacent to numerous restaurants, coffee shops and UNC’s campus. Ventures will also have access to free Wi-Fi, two conference rooms with telephones, unlimited coffee, kitchen facilities and a small event space.

Ability to work with UNC Students – Companies participating in the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator program have unique access to the Launching the Venture series of courses offered at the Kenan-Flagler Business School.  They also will have several opportunities to work with student teams in projects relevant to their ventures.

Easy Access to the Entrepreneurship Community – Launch hosts several events throughout the year designed to bring together the startup communities of Chapel Hill, the Triangle and beyond. Launch Chapel Hill members can easily become part of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem without ever leaving the building. Working out of a location with 10-15 other startups allows for great connections and collaborations.

Launch Chapel Hill officially opened for business in May 2013. It is a unique cooperative investment between UNC, the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, and the Becker Family, who provided initial funding in memory of their daughter, Cara. Triangle Office Equipment, Three Birds Marketing and New Media Campaigns have also provided support.

While generous support from UNC, the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, the Becker Family and others supports the majority of Launch Chapel Hill’s activities, it is important for venture founders to invest in Chapel Hill’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Unlike most other accelerator programs, Launch takes no equity stake its ventures, but charges a nominal $1,495 for the 22-week program. Full or partial scholarships are available based on a company’s need, social mission, or UNC affiliation.

Click here to apply to Launch today!