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Happy Tuesday!

If you were out of the office on Friday like I was, you’ll want to catch up with our The Week in 90 Seconds. We’re not even asking for two minutes of your time!

For Starters

Robbie Allen decided to leave it all on the field with the 10th and final episode of For Starters. (We hope it’s just the finale of the first season and not the series finale, but we’re still in intense negotiations with Robbie’s reps and show sponsor Robinson Bradshaw.) This blowout edition has no fewer than four guests: Kevel CEO James Avery, Momentum Learning CEO Jessica Mitsch, Reveal Mobile CEO Brian Handly and Netsertive Founder Brendan Morrisey. The topic was what they would—and wouldn’t—do if they were starting their company all over again. Read some show highlights here, then listen (and subscribe!) to the show here.


Startup Summit

Startup Summit is back in-person after almost two years of being all virtual with a half-day conference next Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Frontier RTP from 2-6 p.m. We’ve got all the details in today’s preview story, plus you can watch Startup Summit Co-Founder Keith Washo wax eloquent about what’s coming as the guest on the Sept. 3 Friday Nooner. Startup Summit will be taking full Covid precautions to keep everyone safe, including a mask requirement.
You can find our event preview story here. You can also register here; tickets are $25 for the full event and $15 if you just want to join for the happy hour that kicks off at 6 p.m.


Vegan Kibbles

We managed to sneak a last-minute mention into Thursday’s newsletter about the $23M fundraise by vegan pet food maker Wild Earth, news we’d received shortly before we hit “send.” (We also like to think that the fact that our newsletter was so outstanding is why Intuit just paid $12B for our newsletter platform, Mailchimp, and you’ll never convince us otherwise.) TBJ followed up with a more in-depth piece that included the fact that Wild Earth is going to move its HQ from the Bay Area to Durham. CEO Ryan Bethencourt had already moved to the Triangle during the pandemic, which we can only assume was because he didn’t want to miss the June 10 GrepBeat Happy Hour. Ryan and his wife, Mariliis Holm, also run Sustainable Food Ventures, which invests in food startups.
Wild Earth earned a deal on Shark Tank from Mark Cuban a few years back, and the Mavericks owner (that’s the NBA team, not the BBQ restaurant on Main Street in Durham) increased his stake as part of this new round. Another boldface investor: actor Paul Wesley from The Vampire Diaries, who reached out to the firm via Instagram because he uses the product and wanted to be involved.


Rownd And Rownd

Durham-based B2B privacy startup Rownd, which we profiled last November, has raised a pre-seed round of funding from New York-based Betaworks Ventures after recently completing Betaworks’ “Fix The Internet” accelerator, Betalab. The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but you can see some more info here.
In other funding news, Chapel Hill’s TrueBridge Capital has closed on a $170M fund with a focus on investments in other VC funds. Personally that kind of investing seems to take all the fun out of it; it’s like joining a fantasy sports league but letting someone else draft your team. Of course, TrueBridge has 170 million data points to show I don’t know what I’m talking about.
TechWire also has a general funding roundup for the first half of September, which includes raises by former GrepBeat story subject Medicom and the soon-to-launch HomeCloud, which a little birdie tells me will be a GrepBeat story subject in the relatively near future. (Me. I’m the birdie.)


Black Founders Exchange

Google For Startups has announced the 12 startups that will participate in the Black Founders Exchange virtual program from Oct. 3-8 that will be hosted by Durham’s American Underground. One of the dozen is from the Triangle: Durham-based Maverick Innovations, which isn’t to be confused with Durham’s Maverick's BBQ or the Dallas Mavericks. Rather, Maverick Innovations is a sports technology brand merging science and tech to create products that enhance skill development. TechWire has more info.


Epic Games v Apple

On Friday, federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued her long-awaited decision on this summer’s court battle between Cary’s Epic Games and Apple. The clear winner: neither. Indeed, both sides found some things they liked and others they loathed in the decision. The judge ruled that Apple doesn’t have a monopoly, but ordered it to allow developers to include links in their apps to other payment methods outside the App Store—thus avoiding Apple’s commissions on those payments. That was a big part of what Epic Games was fighting for, but Epic CEO Tim Sweeney felt it was a disappointing half-measure. And the judge ordered Epic to repay millions from its earlier workaround to Apple’s payments system.
Here’s a thorough NYT story on the case, as well as TechWire coverage with reaction from Tim Sweeney and Triangle startup lawyer Jim Verdonik.


Stick The Jab

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that all employers with more than 100 workers will need to mandate vaccinations, or weekly testing for those who still refuse to get the jab. But Raleigh’s Pendo was already there, confirming earlier on Thursday that it will require all employees who want to work from the office to be vaccinated. On the other hand, Pendo won’t require that employees return to the office. Meanwhile SAS is postponing the full reopening of its Cary world HQ until Nov. 1 at the earliest due to the uptick in Covid cases driven by the Delta variant.



Because the news never stops (at least this morning) here are some quick-hitters: 1) Chapel Hill startup Terra Dotta, which provides software and services to help universities manage their study-abroad programs, will partner with Denmark-based Riskline to deliver real-time Covid alerts and other travel alerts to students and administrators.

2) Wake Forest-based startup Timerack, which makes software for staffing agencies, has announced a new partnership with Virginia Beach-based COATS Staffing Software.

3) Vontier Coporation, a publicly traded tech firm based in Raleigh, has announced that it’s completed its nearly $1B purchase of Ohio-based DRB Systems, which was first announced in July. Vontier, which was spun-off in 2019 from Pacific Northwest-based Fortive Corporation, focuses on transportation and mobility solutions, while DRB provides software and services to car washes.


Bottled Up

If you’re looking for coworking space, you can always play it safe and glom on to a big chain like WeWork. And hey, they’re perfectly nice. But if you’re looking for something more local, gritty and—dare we say it—cool, then the soon-to-open Durham Bottling Company may be for you. Smashing Boxes CEO Nick Jordan bought the space at 506 Ramseur Street a few years back as a new company HQ but always had grander plans for the 16,000+ square feet. Enter Durham Bottling Company (DBC), which might sound like a new nightlife concept but is in fact a coworking and event space with a stated mission to create a more inclusive and diverse community. DBC offers all the usual amenities you’d expect (free coffee, hot desks, private offices, etc.) but also has a sister nonprofit entity that will help stage a monthly event series. You can get on the waitlist here.


Extra Bit

Colopy Ventures sister company Jurassic Capital is seeking a Talent Acquisition Manager to help find top-notch talent for its portfolio companies. Here’s the LinkedIn job posting, though it overlooks perhaps the most attractive element of the position: Jurassic shares space with GrepBeat at Colopy Ventures World HQ. We could be work neighbors!


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