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Happy Tuesday!

Before we get to the GrepBeat Holiday Gift Guide, here’s the Tweet that’s ruling the Internet right now that will forever change how you wrap presents.

Gift Guide

We know that some of you have fallen behind on your holiday shopping. Don't worry, we’ve got your back. We tracked down 19 boldface names in the Triangle tech startup ecosystem to get their gift suggestions, and now we’re sharing them with you. Don’t say we never gave you anything. Read it here.


VC Voice

You’ve surely heard and read some anecdotal evidence—perhaps in your favorite local tech newsletter—that entrepreneurs are more and more attracted to the Triangle as a place to set up shop, even if it means moving here. Well, Tim McLoughlin of Cofounders Capital puts some meat on those bones today. Tim shares the actual reasons given by real-life entrepreneurs as to why they’re considering a move to the Triangle, or have already pulled the trigger. One reason: simple math, aka how to magically improve key metrics virtually overnight. Read Tim’s full column here.


Bullish City

Inc. magazine has spoken, declaring Durham to be the third-best city in the country to start a new business in 2020. The Bull City was edged only by Austin (boo!) and Salt Lake City, while Raleigh checked in at No. 16. By our math, that means that the Triangle must clearly be No. 1 overall because it includes both cities. Nevertheless, even taking Durham separately, Inc. cites it for having one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship per capita in the nation and sends shout-outs to Bull City Venture Partners and American Underground.


Grow-ing Role

GrowPath, a legal case management software company that we profiled last October, has named Tara Williams as its new CEO. Tara had already been serving as the Durham-based startup’s VP of Customer Success. James Farrin, who had been serving as CEO—and still runs the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, which helped incubate and fund GrowPath—and Founder Eric Sanchez will move from day-to-day roles to advisory positions. Congrats, Tara!


Divide & Conquer

While most of our readers likely know what gerrymandering is in general, the specifics of how it’s done—and how easy it is to do with today’s tech—might be a different story. Durham-based app development studio CrossComm has developed a VR game called Gerrymander Madness to help bridge that gap. The game provides an immersive, hands-on experience in how redrawing electoral districts for the maximum political advantage is done. Gerrymander Madness will be a key part of a new exhibit at the Greensboro History Museum called Democracy 2020. WRAL TechWire has all the details.


Natural High

A few weeks back we mentioned Raleigh-based Murphy’s Naturals—which makes bug repellants with natural ingredients—getting an equity infusion from Raleigh’s One Better Ventures and Chicago’s CompanyFirst. Now TBJ has more color from One Better Ventures founding partner John Replogle, who says of Murphy’s: “This could become a $100 million business—this could be the next Burt’s Bees.” Given that Replogle is the former CEO of Burt’s Bees, that’s much more than idle chatter. TBJ also notes that the equity financing was for nearly $1M.


Goliath v Goliather

It might be hard these days to view Cary’s Epic Games as a plucky underdog, especially now that its founder Tim Sweeney is a certified billionaire. Then again, the maker of Fortnite is a bonafide minnow compared to the great, white whale that is Google. That’s why TechWire is casting Epic’s battle to push Google to slash the 30 percent cut it takes off app-related purchases in the Google Play store as a David vs. Goliath fight. From what I know about Fortnite a slingshot won’t take you very far in a battle royale, but hey, good luck to Epic.


Blast From Past

Mooresville-based PowerHome Solar has signed a deal to build a solar installation at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium. PowerHome has previously installed solar projects at four NFL stadiums, including the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, but this is its first deal with a college football stadium. Full disclosure: while this is a legitimately local and relatively tech-y tale, the main reason I’m including it is because the TBJ story includes the best correction I’ve read in a while. To wit: “Due to the advanced age of the reporter, the original version of this story identified the Pittsburgh Steelers' home as Three Rivers Stadium.” Big points for honesty!

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