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  • Lou Killeffer

Carolina Accelerates Startups

Within a wave of wonderful news this summer, we learned last month that RoadAmico, the startup I’ve been advising in North Carolina since March, was accepted into the Research Triangle’s premier startup accelerator, Launch Chapel Hill.

A partnership of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, the Chancellor’s Innovate Carolina Initiative, the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, and the Eric Becker family, Launch Chapel Hill is an award-winning accelerator offering a bi-annual, structured program for entrepreneurs interested in launching businesses in Chapel Hill.

Launch, as it’s locally known, is recognized among the top five best performing university business accelerators in North America, based on the 2015 benchmark study by UBI Global, a thought leader in the performance analysis of business incubators worldwide.

Twice a year Launch accepts a new class of promising entrepreneurs committed to building their early-stage, high-potential businesses into self-sustaining enterprises. Program features include on-site business support and collaboration from entrepreneurs in residence; access to successful industry and function-specific mentors and entrepreneurs; lunch-and-learn sessions; entrepreneurs sharing their experiences through a speaker series; office hours with marketing experts, lawyers, accountants and others; and shared office space.

In the four years since inception, the startups at Launch have raised $20,000,000 in venture capital, employed 1,100 people and earned $8,000,000 in revenue. The next Launch Chapel Hill application cycle opens in October.


Road Amico is a pre-revenue startup founded and led by Lucia Binotti, PhD., a Professor of Romance Studies at UNC, and the Director of the Honors Carolina Summer Program in Rome. Lucia’s also serves as a Digital Innovation Fellow at the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and is a four time Fellow of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

RoadAmico is the first ever web, mobile and GPS enabled platform for curated, experiential learning. Narrative and visually rich, it incorporates text, images, video and audio to provide a comprehensive learning experience that is interactive, shareable and global. Road Amico shatters the classroom wall and opens up the curriculum, creating a sustainable educational community while freeing professors to teach in a way that engages students like never before.

Indeed, RoadAmico powers location-based learning and discovery that allows anyone to create an immersive educational experience and deliver it through any mobile device. Helping any teacher tie their content to real meaning in real places, and enabling students to learn interactively well beyond the conventional classroom.

Simply consider the Pokemon-Go phenomenon. Now imagine if a teacher could send her students to engage elements of their course content to any place, quite literally, anywhere in the world. Imagine if students had a way to unlock echoes, voices from the past, present, and future that provide a story for their learning through activities, games, and challenges that turn learning into a uniquely compelling journey of experience. Imagine creating an incredible user-generated library of “What it’s like to be here in this place as a geographer, as an historian, as a biologist, or as … a woman, a person of color, a child…”. Now imagine new ways to measure students’ skills in areas like critical thinking, self-awareness, open-mindedness, and risk taking.

When you use your imagination this way you begin to see the promise of RoadAmico.

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