$500,000 Awarded to NC RIoT Accelerator Program for Disruptive Technology through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. Click here for our media press release.


Anyone who has attended a RIoT has heard the question, “How many industrial revolutions have there been in our history?” The answer is three: mechanized production, electricity and the internet completely transformed how people live and work. Each resulted in significant quality of life improvement and enormous economic growth.

RIoT has been leading the charge into the 4th Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things (IoT), since 2014. Yesterday RIoT was recognized for those efforts by the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) award of a three year, $500,000 grant to launch a new startup accelerator program. EDA is part of the Department of Commerce and since 2014 has been giving grants to organizations with a proven record of stirring economic growth.

Official Press Release from NC RIoT
Full Announcement from EDA

“We are excited to have been selected from a deep pool of applicants,” said Larry Steffann, founder of RIoT and General Manager of the Wireless Research Center of NC. “It is a testament to the strong ecosystem in North Carolina and the corporate, government and university partners that have worked together with RIoT in our efforts.”

The RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) is designed to support disruptive technology startups across the entire value chain of IoT.

“To capture this opportunity requires a new kind of accelerator,” said Tom Snyder, Executive Director for RIoT. “RIoT Labs has all the tools and support resources to design, build and commercialize IoT.”

The grant enables RIoT to add staff, develop new programming and strengthen university ties. A key component of the program is to help local universities, HBCU’s and the community college system to pipeline students into startups. RAP will formally launch first quarter 2018 and startups can apply to the program later this year.

RIoT’s success in building a collaborative ecosystem in North Carolina was key to winning the award.  As examples, at the recent Smart Cities Summit in Austin, RIoT and the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster brought the largest delegation of government, academic and industry participants at the event.  Last week, with the Town of Cary and a number of startups and corporate partners, RIoT tackled how technology solutions can address the Opioid Crisis. In October, RIoT partners with All Things Open to host the largest collection of IoT demos on the East Coast. In December, RIoT will hold its annual showcase of NC State student projects.

Economic development partners in the community, including The Launch Place, NC IDEA, and corporate sponsors, have been vital to the growth of this ecosystem. “You cannot be successful without strong partners,” explained Snyder. “I’ve worked around the world and no know place with a better balance of talent, research and industry for IoT to thrive than North Carolina.”

Snyder is traveling to Munich today at the invitation of the German government to discuss international collaboration opportunities—a reflection of the global recognition RIoT is receiving. A growing list of companies are moving to the Raleigh area to leverage the RIoT community, and regularly, people travel from across the country to speak at RIoT events.

These industrial revolutions don’t come around very often. North Carolina for one, is not going to miss it.