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Happy Thursday!

It’s less than 24 hours until the inaugural Greppy Awards (aka The Greppys), brought to you by our friends at Dualboot Partners. The hour-ish-long show will kick off at 12 Noon ET; register here to get the viewing information to watch on Facebook Live or Youtube Live. The show will be hosted by Joe (the GrepBeat Godfather) and Pete and will pre-empt The Friday Nooner.
You can still vote for the Readers’ Choice winners through 5pm today, and here’s a handy cheat sheet with capsules on all the nominees. As of press time there have been 1,335 votes cast, and several races are still too close to call. (No, we won't tell you which ones.)
So go register and vote, and we’ll see you tomorrow at Noon!

Lux Libertas

College students interested in working in venture capital typically need to hustle to find a few relatively unmarked paths; maybe the school offers a class, or one can try to scare up a summer internship. The UNC students behind Lux Libertas Ventures decided to go with Door No. 3—launching their own, student-run VC fund. Managing Partner Sanjeev Musuvathy and his four co-founders are aiming to raise a first fund of $2.5M by August to be able to write pre-seed checks of $25-$50K, primarily in industries that target Gen Z. Read our full story on Lux Libertas here. (BTW Lux Libertas means “Light and Liberty” and is part of UNC’s official seal, which is something I learned this morning.)


Extra Foam

Before NC IDEA cuts down to the dozen finalists on Monday for the 5-7 $50K SEED grants it will hand out this funding cycle, we have one more feature on a semifinalist. NC State professor Afanseh Rabiei is the brains behind Raleigh-based Advanced Materials Manufacturing. The startup commercializes the tech she has developed for creating a lightweight, composite metal “foam” by incorporating air bubbles into metal. The result is a material that combines the cushion ability of foam and the strength of a composite. It has a slew of uses from car bumpers to body armor to medical devices. Read our full story on Afanseh and the company here.


Seeing Clearly

A product designed in a cooperative fashion among two Triangle companies and German optical products giant ZEISS has won two prestigious Red Dot Awards, a German international design prize. Chapel Hill-based Trig came up with the design that integrated tech from Raleigh-based UV light startup Voxelight (we wrote about its Sunscreenr last February) into a ZEISS-branded product called the UV Clean, which enables eye care professionals to clean and disinfect 6-10 pairs of glasses in only 40 seconds using UV light. Find more details here.


Going Global

Raleigh-based Vertical IQ, which we wrote about twice last year, has launched a new feature called Global Perspective. Global Perspective will be part of Vertical IQ’s cornerstone industry intelligence product, the Industry Profile, for those industries with a large international presence. Vertical IQ’s products are primarily geared toward sales professionals who want to brush up on an industry before meeting a potential client.


Bottoms Up

Durham-based Precision Fermentation—which we wrote about in November, 2018—has announced a partnership with San Diego-based The 5th Ingredient. Under the deal, Precision Fermentation’s real-time fermentation data provided by its IoT solutions will be integrated into The 5th Ingredient’s flagship brewery management software, Beer30. Sounds like something fit for a Greppys After-Party.


Trends In Eship

This morning, UNC’s Eship Center and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise released its 2021 Trends in Entrepreneurship report. One top-line takeaway: the pandemic especially impacted small businesses, but with tremendous variance—some industries like hospitality and travel were decimated, while others performed better than ever. It’s also led to the creation of more new ventures than ever before, though some of that increase is due to necessity because of losing a job. Here's some more detail from TechWire here and here.
In other UNC-related news, remember that the Demo Day for Cohort 15 of the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator is today at 5pm. You can sign up here.


Good Advice

Raleigh-based AdvisorEngine, which was acquired by Franklin Resources in 2020 and now operates as a subsidiary, has completed a “full platform integration” with Schwab Advisor Center. The integration allows financial advisors an end-to-end SaaS solution. Hopefully the software encourages advisors to point their clients to investments with truly explosive potential, like the “Pete.” (BTW: we now have 3x3-inch fridge magnets of the “Pete.” If you want one, just ask, and we’ll drop it in the mail. No, we’re not kidding.)


Tech Jobs

The global pandemic didn’t slow down the market for tech talent for very long, if at all, and in fact it’s now stronger than ever both in the Triangle and beyond. To wit: there was a 22% increase in tech job postings in the latest NC TECH jobs reports. And TBJ dives deeper into the battle for tech talent.


Build Better

Dualboot Partners is a software development firm that helps ventures at all stages build great software and great companies. Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Dualboot Partners comes to each project with deep expertise in technology and business, as well as a commitment to supporting its clients well beyond the development process. The team offers advice and perspective—built over the course of hundreds of projects—and leverages its vast network to connect clients with investors, future hires and other resources critical in turning a concept into a successful venture. Intrigued? Email them here!


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Guess where Pete is and (maybe) win a GrepBeat mug!

This week’s winner is David Shepley, who knew that I was at Dain’s Place in Durham. Sayeth he: “I’ve finally beat the RIoT team! A loyal GrepBeater from the start (I think I actually arranged one of the first company interviews at Smashing Boxes), I excitedly check my inbox every Tuesday around noon to see if Pete is somewhere in Durham. I won one of the first GB mugs due to my Jeopardy prowess at a Bull McCabe’s Happy Hour. As the picture illustrates, I mostly only know places in Durham.

"A downtown liver and worker since 2002, I moved to the greener streets of Hillsborough right as the pandemic began. DesignHammer, the web strategy, design, and development company that I work for now, is celebrating 20 years in the business this year. Can you imagine the web 20 years ago? Just imagine when Archie (pictured in lieu of a mug) is 20?!. Pete, I hope that you and Scot’s Tweeners don’t split and form a super league, and that I can have a scarf instead of another coffee mug (which is currently quarantined in the office). Sorry, we don't have any GrepBeat scarves, but maybe that's something to file away.

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