Year in Review: Our top stories of 2017

2017 has been a banner year for startups in the Queen City, and as it comes to an end, there’s no better way to celebrate than to reminisce about the successes of our local entrepreneurs.

So we’re taking a look back at our top five startup profiles of the year. Enjoy, and here’s to an even more amazing 2018!

The Waggle Company brings technology to dog-walking

Over 40 percent of pet-owning families are dog owners. Among them are Meggie and Sebastian Williams, founders of The Waggle Company. They saw a need in the market for a better dog-walking service and launched a business to fill it. Through great technology and top-notch walkers to back it up, Waggle has expanded beyond Charlotte to a list of surrounding zip-codes as their market has continued to grow this year. Read more about The Waggle Company here.

Building Bella Tunno into the TOMS of baby products 

Bella Tunno, a Charlotte-based baby products company, was founded with the intent to honor the founder’s brother. Now, for every product sold, Bella Tunno donates one meal to a child in need. Bella Tunno’s business has grown substantially over the years, with a presence in major retailers across the country. Even better, the company has provided more than 1.1 million meals to children in America. And that number is continuing to grow. Read more about Bella Tunno here.

Open Broadband brings broadband Internet to underserved areas 

A significant portion of our nation’s counties and cities live without access to or options for broadband Internet services. Open Broadband is a fixed wireless solution to address this issue. Currently, Open Broadband has expanded to five projects in the state of North Carolina. For as low as $30/month, people are now able to gain broadband, quality Internet. Read more about Open Broadband here.

The tech startup helping people with disabilities get and keep jobs 

In an age when workplace diversity has become a business imperative, companies need a diverse pool of employees. And people with disabilities want the opportunity to work like everyone else. Advocations gives these individuals the opportunity to do just that. Advocations helps companies think strategically about disability inclusion in the workplace by using third-party staffing and recruiting to change the way companies source, hire and retain people with disabilities. For both job seekers and employers, Advocations has spread beyond the walls of North Carolina and currently has job postings for Virginia as well. Read more about Advocations here.

This app is out to change the way you buy everything 

Cloosiv is an app that simplifies the buying experience. Regardless of who you are, where you are or what you’re buying, Cloosiv allows you to shop through a single app. However, for an app like Cloosiv to be successful, it requires buy-in from both merchants and customers. That’s now the driving focus for founder Tim Griffin. And he’s headed in the right direction: Today, Cloosiv has a 4.5-star rating in the app store. Read more about Cloosiv here.