Article Co-Working Startup

A Leap of Faith: Greenhills Win Prestigious International SCALE Challenge

Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic temporarily closed The Hurt Hub’s doors in April and May, coworking members Judy and Zach Greenhill continue to find success. 

Earlier this month, their company Greenhill AntiBallistics—one of the 82 companies operating out of The Hurt Hub—won the International SCALE Challenge, an international contest for innovative, high-tech companies to “advance the supply chain and logistics industry.”

“[We’re] exhilarated!” The Greenhills wrote.“Each validation we get….is a big win. [But] this one is especially sweet because CAI [Center for Advancing Innovation] is an international competition judged by experts…The life of a startup like ours…is exhilarating peaks and the deepest of valleys. This is definitely one of the peaks.”

For the competition, the Greenhills submitted their product, Force Disruption Platform (FDP), a nanotechnological material designed “to reduce force of impact up to 50% in the thickness of a dime” by “disrupting kinetic energy and reduction platform.” Greenhill AntiBallistics designed FDP to protect children, athletes, and soldiers from traumatic brain injuries. For the CAI SCALE Challenge, the Greenhills proposed using FDP to protect packages during shipping, which would “enable size and weight reduction” which would not only facilitate package delivery but could increase the capability of drone delivery. 

“FDP was conceived by…standing on a subway platform staring at a 75-gallon bin and thinking about how to protect people from terrorists. [Our] goal evolved as we learned about the terrible toll on children, soldiers, and athletes of Traumatic Brain Injury and blunt trauma,” the Greenhills write. “Since the current solution isn’t working, i.e., tweaking macroscale technology, which is thicker and heavier, we decided the solution is to be thinner and lighter with better protection.”

The Greenhills, however, acknowledged that their success did not come without challenges. “There were a lot of obstacles, e.g., composition, production and cost… Another problem [was] skepticism that a material thinner and lighter can offer greater protection than thicker and heavier, macroscale materials…but we overcame these by having a great team and skilled DOD contractors for R&D, testing, etc. GABC solved that…by benchmarking FDP against those materials; but any invention requires a leap of faith.”

The Greenhills also recognized the support from The Hurt Hub and the Davidson community: “The Hurt Hub and the Davidson community have been tremendous for us.  The Hub is exactly that: a place where entrepreneurs gather, share their travails, learn of opportunities, interact with the community, and launch.” They recalled how The Hurt Hub connected them with Startup Grind, the world’s largest community of startups, founders, innovators, and creators. This past February, the Greenhill AntiBallistics was one of eight North Carolina companies to attend the Startup Grind Global Conference. 

As winners of the CAI SCALE Challenge, the Greenhills will be a featured technology at an invitation-only Investor Forum in Northwest Arkansas this fall. Attendees are companies which work and invest in the supply chain: “we hope to interest these companies in a strategic partnership and investment to complete the integration of FDP into the supply chain.” When they return, the Greenhills hope to “approach large big box retailers and package delivery services to use FDP.” 

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