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2 Charlotte startups make cut for incubator program

Kaitlin Krogh hopes 12 weeks of workshops, classes and lectures will make her restaurant marketing startup investor-ready. Gregory Baker wants to add financial services to his business, which connects freight brokers with vetted motor carriers.

Their fledgling companies – Phyrefly and VeriFreight – are the only two Charlotte startups that will be part of Packard Place’s latest class of QueenCity FinTech and RevTech Labs, incubator programs that help tech startups refine their business models and connect with investors.

Ten companies were selected in an application process that included sifting through their business models, revenues and traction in the market, said Dan Roselli, founder of Packard Place. More than 115 startups from 22 countries, 23 states and five continents applied this year – making it “the most competitive class in terms of caliber” since the programs’ start three years ago, he said. About 20 percent of this year’s applicants came from Charlotte.

Other startups selected this year come from San Francisco; Los Angeles; Miami; Portland; Knoxville, Tenn.; and the European country Romania.

Each startup’s creators will participate in workshops and lectures while gaining exposure to Fortune 500 company executives and CEOs of other technology startups. QC FinTech focuses on financial technologies, while RevTech Labs targets early-stage mobile, software and Web-based companies, offering entrepreneurs free work space and mentoring inside Packard Place.

The program starts March 2, with a Demo Day May 20 when the startups will showcase their companies and pitch to investors. The program then resumes for nine more months, during which the companies can use space in Packard Place for free and receive help establishing advisory boards, Roselli said.

The aim, he said, is to whip each company into top-tier funding shape.

“If over half receives angel funding within six months of leaving the program, that’s success for us,” he said.

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