Two Wilmington companies are award finalists
August 30, 2013By Jenny Callison
Two Wilmington-based companies are in the final round of a statewide technology awards competition. Cloudwyze and NextGlass are finalists in the NCTA 21 Awards in the categories of Most Innovative Small Company and Emerging Company, respectively. The announcement of category finalists appeared on the website of the Raleigh-based N.C. Technology Association (NCTA), which sponsors the annual awards program.
Cloudwyze, an Internet, phone and cloud computing provider, was founded in 1990 as BBX Computers by Shaun Olsen. In January 2012 it expanded its capabilities and services and rebranded itself as Cloudwyze.
When it relaunched, Olsen said that CloudWyze was the first company to bring exclusively cloud-based Internet, phone, virtual desktop infrastructure and data hosting to the Port City.
“CloudWyze’s services will provide local businesses and residences with affordable and easy connections without any confusing bundling options or associated contracts,” he said at the time of launch. “The Wilmington business community will now be able to utilize cloud-based services to manage their IT infrastructure in a way that is scalable and cost effective.”
Next Glass, the brainchild of Kurt Taylor and his father George, is less than a year old. In essence, the Taylors aim to bring the Pandora music concept to wine selection, given that there is no universal language to help people decide among unfamiliar vintages and labels.
“People know what they enjoy, but they don’t understand what to look for in wine selection,” Kurt Taylor said.
He explained that Next Glass uses technology to enter a subscriber’s “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on a particular wine into a data base that will give that wine drinker recommendations for other wines they might like, much the way that Pandora weaves scraps of information from a person’s musical choices into a fuller menu.
Kurt Taylor is excited about Next Glass’s status as an award finalist.
“For both us and Cloudwyze, the award will start to build awareness across the state about us,” he said. “We’re also excited to be involved with the CIE [Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of North Carolina Wilmington] and its new director, Jim Roberts. Jim has been very helpful to us.”
NCTA is the statewide membership association for the technology sector. Its awards program is designed to recognize companies and individuals who “demonstrate excellence, innovation and leadership in each of its 21 categories,” according to the NCTA website.
The awards process culminates with the NCTA 21 Awards Gala on November 7 in Durham where, according to the organization’s website, hundreds of leaders from across the state will gather to celebrate the tech sector and honor the winners and finalists in each category.