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Happy Tuesday!

Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for nominations for our second annual Startups To Watch list, which we’ll reveal at an invite-only event on Sept. 29. We’re looking for early-stage (<$3M in ARR) tech or tech-enabled startups HQ’d in the Triangle. Sorry, no agencies or consultancies, and no life sciences/biotech/medical devices. We encourage startups to nominate themselves, but investors, advisers and others are also welcome to nominate startups they think are worthy of consideration. Here’s the nomination form—do it now!

Exit Stories

Our Exit Stories podcast is back today with the first of 10 episodes in its third season. Host Kevin Mosley of Jurassic Capital sits down with Brian Reale, the Co-Founder and CEO of Durham-based ProcessMaker, a BPM (business process management) software startup. Brian should be a familiar name to GrepBeat readers given that we profiled him in October, 2018; he was a guest on a Coffee & Conversation web panel in 2020; and he was a subject of a Download Q&A in 2021.
But you’ve likely never heard the full ProcessMaker story in Brian’s words, tracing from the startup’s bootstrapped origins in South America to its move to Durham to the $45M investment from Aldrich Capital Partners last February. Read highlights of the episode here, then listen (and subscribe!) here.


Taking Flight

Raleigh-based AI software startup Diveplane has raised a $25M Series A, the company announced yesterday. Diveplane Co-Founder and CEO Mike Capps—the former CEO of Cary’s Epic Games and a Download Q&A subject—says that the cash will provide rocket fuel to Diveplane’s mission of “putting humanity back into AI.” Indeed, you can’t spell “humanity” without “AI.” (Hey Mike, I’ll give you that one for free.) But the point is to keep human decision-making in automated systems. With the $25M, Diveplane has now raised about $35M total. See TechWire for more info.


Doubling Up

Durham-based ServiceTrade has made its first acquisition to mark a year of major growth. The startup acquired Colorado-based Asurio, which expands its software offerings for its fire and life safety customers. Because hey, those fire sprinklers, emergency signs and other safety features throughout commercial buildings don’t inspect themselves. ServiceTrade started 2022 at 112 employees—right after an $85M investment led by JMI Equity at the end of 2021—and is now a stone’s throw from 200 team members.
You might recall ServiceTrade CEO Billy Marshall (who is reputed to be GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy’s doppelgänger) as a very entertaining Friday Nooner guest or as a Download Q&A subject. You can read his blog post on the Asurio deal here, or see Triangle Inno for more. As you likely guessed, the size of the deal wasn’t announced.


Another Acquisition

Durham-based healthcare data and analytics startup Target RWE has acquired a division of Georgia-based Ciox Health. The deal adds about 35 employees, growing the combined company’s headcount to 158, of which 76 are based in the Triangle. Target RWU sifts through large amount of health care data—think clinical notes, electronic medical records and much more—to derive actionable insights. See TBJ for more info.


Chatham Boom

Durham’s Wolfspeed made it official on Friday that it’s going to pour $5B into a massive chip manufacturing plant—think semiconductors, not Lays or Ruffles, though now I’m hungry—in Chatham County’s Siler City. Predictably, there were plenty of sweeteners to induce Wolfspeed to build in/near its hometown rather than build (another) plant in upstate New York, to the tune of nearly $1B in state, city and county incentives. That doesn’t count any potential benefits from the recent federal CHIPs Act for the giant plant.
It's certainly been a big summer for Chatham County, which previously landed a $4B factory from electric vehicle maker VinFast. TechWire and TBJ were all over Friday’s announcement by Governor Roy Cooper and Wolfspeed CEO Gregg Lowe. Here’s TechWire’s original story, plus some follow-ups here, here and here. You can find TBJ’s initial story here, it’s second-day story here and its newest story from today here.


Layoffs Hit Home

Unfortunately not every local story these days is about growth and new jobs and arrows pointing up. In the latest indication that the Triangle isn’t immune from a shaky macroeconomic outlook, high-flying Pendo has laid off 5% of its workforce, which includes a few dozen workers in Raleigh. It’s likely a roughly similar story to recent cuts by Policygenius, another fast-growing startup fueled by major VC money that has a second HQ in Durham. To grow at the meteoric rates that the VCs funneling cash want to see typically means investing heavily in some new initiatives before they’re necessarily proven. But when the future gets cloudy—especially the future of a public market IPO or raising another major chunk of VC change at ever-higher valuations—the wings of those new efforts can get clipped awfully quick to focus on more proven revenue drivers.
While it always stinks to get laid off—I’ve been there, back in my days at Sports Illustrated—one silver lining is that the tech job market in the Triangle remains strong overall. Here’s more about the Pendo decision from TechWire and TBJ, and a broader “Layoff Watch” story from TechWire.



Big news today from Brooks Bell, a self-described colonoscopy enthusiast after her own bout with colon cancer (and both a Pete Meets... guest and former Download subject). She’s launching LEAD FROM BEHIND as the first consumer brand that focuses on colon cancer as “The Preventable Cancer.” She’s lined up some serious star power as Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny, who both turned 45 this year, each filmed their colonoscopies for LEAD FROM BEHIND. And they both found polyps, which means that they both prevented future colon cancer—which of course is the whole point of Brooks’ push for people to get colonoscopies. At current rates colon cancer is going to be the No. 1 cancer killer for people under 50 by 2030, but that’s a number we can positively impact if younger people start getting colonoscopies ASAP.
You can see Ryan and Rob’s full-length video here. Brooks would love for folks to share the video, which might be easiest to do by sharing Ryan’s social posts (his handle is @vancityreynolds). Feel free to tag Brooks too (@brooksbell and @LeadFromBehind). Full disclosure: I had a colonoscopy last year and it wasn’t that bad. Just do it!


Build Great Software

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