Gig East is Wilson's home for technology and innovation. We bring eastern North Carolina and the Triangle together to explore emerging technology, expand entrepreneurship in the region, and encourage conversation around Wilson's innovation economy.
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FEBRUARY 2021 Newsletter

Gig East Exchange Opens Despite COVID Complications

Meet the Wilson RAP Cohort

RIoT’s seventh RAP (RIoT Accelerator Program) cohort – Wilson’s second – officially started Wednesday, February 17. This spring cohort is serving seven impressive startup teams from a variety of backgrounds and industries all throughout the triangle and Eastern North Carolina. This will be a hybrid virtual/in-person program based at the Exchange and we are thrilled for the opportunity to mingle with and support local entrepreneurs. Learn more about each of the awesome startups!

Pass the Coach

This father-daughter team has created a nationwide youth sports credentialing service. Coaches can be certified and have background checks all in one place. Perfect for recreation leagues, insurance providers, and coaches.

Fast QSR

Providing Quick Service Restaurants with two tools to help move the line, solving drive-through delays and indoor customer line delays. They can track drive through wait times, cars served, indoor wait times and wait times for curbside pickup.

Coach Next Door

Nazmi Albadawi is a professional soccer player and he created Coach Next Door to connect youth soccer players with professional players who provide training in the off-season as a supplemental income. Still in the early stages of the startup but essentially this is a membership app that would include coaching sessions and at-home drills.


AFROSPACE strives to create an environment where Black Women+ feel safe enough to let their hair down and be themselves. A hair care bar for women with natural hair, a place where hair baristas will create customized hair products based on hair type. Owner, Devanne Pena will be utilizing her time with the cohort to build funding and look towards franchise and delivery opportunities.


Rownd will radically change the way users and customers interact and manage their personal data. Their mission is to “add transparency” to privacy rules; meaning they focus son data privacy for the end user.

Keepsake Tales

They are creating the most personalized children’s books in the world to show every child that they matter. They do this by asking the customer to send in a picture of the child, and then a character is created to look just like them.

Off Duty Blue

Off Duty Blue is a cloud-based app that that tracks officer’s hours to avoid fatigue and stress, thereby avoiding on the job mistakes and ill judgement.

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Eastern North Carolina's Innovation Hub

If you live in Wilson, you’re no doubt familiar with the term Gig East. The Wilson-specific coinage refers to the town’s set of programming, community events, and networking that are focused on economic development, technology and innovation. Gig East is comprised of 3 main components – Gig East Exchange, Programs/Meetups, and Gig East Summit.

Gig East RIoT Launches 2nd Wilson RAP Cohort

Member Highlight – Shyft Auto

Our featured Exchange member for this month is Shyft Auto, owned and operated by Marcus Aman. Shyft Auto is a company out of the first Wilson RIoT Accelerator Program that moved their offices into the Exchange. Their technology assists auto repair businesses streamline and organize their operations, resulting in faster service times and higher customer satisfaction. Shyft Auto offers solutions for auto pickup and delivery, fleet management, appointment scheduling, messaging, and payment management. Their software helps automotive professionals increase revenue and retention, but also allows them to be more in touch with client’s needs and experiences.

Gig East Quotation Mark

“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Gig East Member Highlight - Larema Coffee House

Newest Team Member to the Exchange – Frank Dees

Our Gig East partner, RIoT, has hired a full time employee – Frank Dees - whose office is based out of the Exchange to lead efforts locally. Frank is a native of North Carolina; he received his MBA from East Carolina University and MA from SEBTS in Wake Forest. Additionally, he is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior to joining RIoT, Frank spent over twenty years in leadership roles in the hospitality and non-profit industries. Frank served as Executive Director at the Wilson Pregnancy Center from 2016-2018. He is passionate about serving and developing teams while focusing on leadership development.

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