FAST 15:
Focus on the Future

NC State established the Fast 15 to help achieve our ambitious goal — doubling the number of startup companies launched by the campus research community.

Soon consumers likely will be using phones with powerful projection options, thanks to ImagineOptix, an NC State start-up. Anyone will be able to easily share presentations, photos and movies with crisp and clear resolution.

“We're now shifting from ‘research mode’ to ‘production and sales mode’ with the technology,” Erin Clark, president and CEO of the Cary-based company, explains.

The company is commercializing technology developed by Dr. Michael Escuti, head of the Opto-Electronics and Lightwave Engineering Group in the College of Engineering, who recently earned White House honors (see Presidential Award for Optics Breakthroughs).

The revolutionary projection technology, for phones and other uses, has earned ImagineOptix a spot on NC State's Fast 15 one step toward the university's ambitious goal of doubling the number of start-up companies launched by faculty and students.

The Fast 15 program is supported by the university's New Venture Services, which provides customized support for faculty and student projects, and startups. The goal is to create stronger, more viable early–stage companies that are poised for future success.

The group includes start-ups focusing on discoveries with great potential for commercialization, as well as young companies with new products needing assistance to reach their full potential.

Companies and products are vetted by key NC State staff, faculty, industry leaders and entrepreneurs. New Venture Services, within the Office of Technology Transfer, provides customized support for the Fast 15, including mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs, business launch planning and assistance building management teams.

“The designation also offers the start-up companies visibility that helps to attract interest from investors and prospective early stage stakeholders,” adds Russell Thomas, who leads New Ventures services.

Check out the NC State Fast 15,
listed in alphabetical order.


This e-publishing platform for short-form literature — serial novels, web fiction, poetry and short stories — enables authors and readers to engage with one another.

Galaxy Diagnostics

A spinout from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Galaxy offers the most sensitive diagnostic test for the detection of active Bartonella bacteria, which infects animals and humans.

Huffines Design

These tactical defense accessories can be used in police and defense applications.

Hypothermia Inducer

Small, highly transportable devices cool saline needed to induce hypothermia. With no refrigeration needed, they expand the situations where the saline may be used.


ImagineOptix is developing the world's smallest, lowest-cost, and most battery-efficient “personal projectors” for consumer electronics.


This filtration system removes blood phosphates during dialysis, extending the lives of those with chronic kidney disease. Katharos is a joint venture between NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


This social media application will help people better manage their online brand.

Leiva Strings

A music education start-up company, Leiva Strings uses a color–coded learning system that enables individuals to learn to play stringed instruments faster — and with less frustration.

Ligamar (recently acquired by Oryx Bio)

Based on Centennial Campus, Ligamar is a spin-out of the College of Engineering. Its bioseparations technology will enhance therapeutic biological products.


This nanoparticle-based therapy uses a plant virus to deliver therapeutics into a cell and its nucleus, technology developed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Polymer Braille

A book-size electronic reading device for the blind and visually impaired will convert pages to Braille dots that rise up through the screen.


An intelligent, electric supercharger will improve the performance of motorcycles and cars.

Spitter Spatter

Ecofriendly, antimicrobial children's clothing will ease parents’ lives.

Vapor Pulse

Using a new method for applying semiconductor materials developed in the College of Engineering, this initial market application will protect fabric from ultraviolet light.


Using unique advances developed in the College of Engineering, this team produces quality nanofibers for filters and medical uses.


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ImagineOptix, a member of the NC State Fast 15, has developed tiny projection systems for use in varied products.

In 2012, ImagineOptix is shifting from research to production mode.