Business: How HOTTovation Helped Ed


Cary, NC — HOTTovation is a new Morrisville (aka the Heart-of-the-Triangle) based program designed to help entrepreneurs and start-up companies grow and succeed. I talked to Ed Burgard, who completed the program in 2013, to find out how it impacted his own company.

What is HOTTovation?

HOTTovation is a five month-long program designed to help start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Throughout its duration, participants receive points based on their completion of activities designed to give the entrepreneur’s business a solid foundation.

At the end of the course, the participants who have successfully completed the criteria attend a graduation event that provides them with connections to the business community.

HOTTovation participants can make use of free office space during the program’s five month period. They also receive a free Morrisville Chamber of Commerce membership for a year.

Meet Ed Burgard

I talked with Ed Burgard, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations at Dignify Therapeutics, LLC. Dignify is a drug development company focused on restoring voluntary control of bladder and bowel function in people with neurological impairment.

HOTTovation: A Success Story

Dignify was initially located in Morrisville as a member of the inaugural HOTTovation class of 2013. Now, their office is located in Research Triangle Park. Ed told me about how the program helped his company grow into what it is now.

Q: Why did you join HOTTovation? How did you hope it would help your business?

Prior to joining the HOTTovation program, our team spent the previous six years together as a unit within a multinational pharmaceutical company.

When we formed Dignify, we realized we needed to re-integrate into the local RTP entrepreneur and start-up communities. The HOTTovation program provided opportunities to network and build relationships with local organizations such as CED and TiE.

Q: What did you do in HOTTovation?

The HOTTovation program provided us with three essential items critical to our initial success:

  1. A physical location to conduct business: Prior to this, we were holding team meetings in kitchens, coffee shops and libraries.
  2. Mentorship: At least one HOTTovation mentor was assigned to each company and helped the company set business strategy. In addition, we participated in the Kauffman FastTrac program designed to foster entrepreneurship. Here, we were paired with additional mentors that had specific expertise related to pharmaceutical development.
  3. Exposure to other entrepreneurs: We formed close interactions with CED and TiE, and, through these interactions, were introduced to entrepreneurs with experience in fundraising, corporate strategy and business development.

Q: Looking back on your completion of HOTTovation, how did it help you?

Since completing the HOTTovation program, we have raised over $3MM in equity financing and $1MM in non-dilutive institutional grants and loans to continue our pharmaceutical development. I attribute much of our initial success to the foundation provided by the HOTTovation program.

Interested in HOTTovation?

Applications for a new HOTTovation class starting in January 2016 will be released in late September of this year. You can monitor the Morrisville Innovation website or contact Ian Henshaw by email for more information.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photo by Kevin Dooley.