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Happy Tuesday!

Do you wish it were Friday already? Well, you can get a taste of that the-weekend’s-all-but-here frisson by watching the latest Friday Nooner, in which Joe pulls a knife on guest Tina Cochrane of loyal sponsor Dualboot Partners. Oh, if only we were joking.

The Download

Longtime readers of The Download may recall Brooks Bell explaining in early 2019 that women’s clothing—especially of the “fancier” variety—is often designed without pockets, and even pointed to an intriguing podcast episode on the history of pockets. Well, in the latest edition of The Download, Tracy Doakes lets us in on one of the hidden benefits of the pandemic: women are more likely to be working from home and therefore wearing comfier clothes designed with pockets.
Tracy is the President and CEO of RTP-based MCNC, the tech nonprofit that owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), which oversees internet connectivity for schools and other institutions across the state. With connectivity such a huge focus with remote schooling, Tracy does plenty of remote talking every day, leading to dry lips. That necessitates “lip therapy” at the ready, so she’s thankful to have those pockets. You can read the full Q&A here.


Exit Story

Raleigh-based Republic Wireless, a spin-out of Raleigh’s Bandwidth, has been acquired by Colorado-based DISH Network. (The financial terms weren’t disclosed, alas.) DISH will assume the approximately 200K customer relationships of Republic Wireless as part of its increasing mobile portfolio that began when it snapped up Sprint’s Boost Mobile as part of Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile last year. But while the wireless side of Republic Wireless is getting rolled into DISH, Republic’s new-ish Relay division will operate as a standalone company that will remain headquartered in Raleigh—with plans to expand further.
Republic’s CEO Chris Chuang will remain as CEO of Relay, which makes a walkie-talkie-type device geared lately toward corporate clients—picture, for instance, workers at a stadium or convention center trying to stay in contact. The Relay unit has about 100 employees and, Chris told both TechWire and TBJ, has grown its revenue about 1,600%. And if you don’t favor “percentage gain over a very small base” stats, consider that monthly sales have increased by 7x over the past six months. Thus, the plans to continue expanding right here in the Triangle.


New Beginnings

When we wrote about Raleigh-based IdeaBlock in October, 2019, Founder/CEO Eli Sheets and team had launched a beta of its platform to protect intellectual property (IP) using blockchain technology. Now IdeaBlock is officially public with a re-launched marketing site touting an enterprise offering that Eli describes as a “double-headed monster” in that it allows companies to not only protect their IP but also gives them the tools to manage the process of creating and exploiting said IP.

The startup has hit other key milestones in the past year: 1) Last August, IdeaBlock raised a friends and family round of $1.25M that helped power the new offering(s); 2) Last April, IdeaBlock won GrepBeat’s Triangle Startup Trivia Tournament, even though Eli competed as a one-man team in the championship game vs. StrongKey. We’ll let you judge which of those two is more important.


Getting On Board

Fathom Realty, a publicly traded, tech-driven real estate company HQ’d in Dallas but with a significant presence in Cary, has added the former CEO of CED, Ravila Gupta, to its board. Fathom’s intelliAgent software platform is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering for real estate agents. Fathom also employs more than 5,000 real estate agents across 27 U.S. states, but it’s intelliAgent that sends the hearts of tech investors aflutter.


Body Heat

If you have been holding off an an Apple Watch because you don’t want to have to charge it every night, then NC State researchers may be scratching your itch. Wolfpack scientists have improved the efficiency of a flexible “heat harvesting device” that could help turn body heat into power for wearable devices such as smart watches so they don’t need to be recharged. This is potentially big news for the wearable industry.

And not that you asked, but I prefer my watches to be as dumb as possible so I’m not forever getting notifications on my wrist to distract my increasingly addled mind; I save my smart GPS watch solely for running. But hey, there are other cool wearables out there, and they’d be even more, well, “wearable” with this tech.


Launch Time

Let’s stick with the Wolfpack theme to announce that applications are open for the 2021 edition of the Andrews Launch Accelerator. The ALA is a summer accelerator (we first wrote about it in 2019) funded by a gift made by Chip and Lyn Andrews that kicks off this year on May 18 and runs through a Demo Day on Aug. 27. Past participants include GrepBeat story subjects WAAM, Sani, Tennisbloc, Aeva Labs, Freshspire, Medicom, Simpliworks, and Sol.

At least one team member must be an NC state undergrad (junior or senior), grad student or recent grad within the past five years. Teams can receive between $5-50K in grants. Here’s a blog post with more info from program manager Gabe Gonzalez, and you can apply here by April 16.


Still Magic

For the eighth straight year, SAS has been recognized as a “Leader” in the “Magic Quadrant” of Gartner’s report on Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms. The two axes of the report are “completeness of vision” and “ability to execute,” and high scores on both metrics are what get you to the promised land of the magic quadrant.


That's Genius

On Thursday, we’re going to run a story about the upcoming book Genius Makers: The Mavericks That Brought AI To Google, Facebook and the World. The author is Cade Metz, a Raleigh native and Duke grad who covers Silicon Valley for the New York Times. He’s also, not incidentally, a friend of Levitate Founder/CEO Jes Lipson. Why we’re mentioning this now: on Thursday at Noon, Jes is hosting a virtual launch party for the book in conjunction with Raleigh Founded, of which Jes and the aforementioned (way back in Item 1) Brooks Bell are co-founders. You can register here.


Make It Legal

Hutchison is a boutique law firm that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and steers technology and life sciences entrepreneurs to success through all stages of their company’s life. Hutchison partners with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial-minded organizations to enable business solutions that make the law work for them, and advises angel investors and venture capital firms to support their investment selections to maximize their potential for success. Hutchison takes the time to learn your business and understand what’s behind the deal.


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