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Happy Tuesday!

Keep those nominations coming for our second annual Startups To Watch list. We’re going to recognize 10 early-stage (<$3M in ARR) startups HQ’d in the Triangle, but we need your help to come up with the best list positive. You can nominate your own startup or one you know well that has really impressed you. Sorry, no agencies or consultancies, and no life sciences/biotech/medical devices. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Sept. 13 (two weeks from today) at 5 p.m. ET.

Director Diversity

Among North American companies, just 27% of board seats are occupied by a woman, and that figure plunges to 12.5% for underrepresented ethnic and racial groups. Under the aegis of UNC’s School of Law, the Director Diversity Initiative is purpose-built to change those numbers. DDI has developed a database of 670 qualified minority and women candidates for board seats that companies can use as a resource, and also runs boot camps for potential board candidates from underrepresented groups. Read our full story on DDI here.


Digital Uniters

In 2003, father-and-son duo Mark and Ned Dibner launched a project to refurbish used computers and donate them to middle school students who didn’t have a computer at home. That evolved into the Durham-based nonprofit The Kramden Institute—“Kramden” is “Mark” and “Ned” spelled backwards—which has now given away 47,000 refurbished computers and expanded into digital literacy classes in an effort to bridge the digital divide. Read our full story here.


Fundraise No. 1

Morrisville-based eMinor, the parent company of startup PlayMetrics—and the former parent of successful spinout ReverbNation and Adwerx—has raised $5.25M. eMinor CEO and former Download Q&A subject Mike Doernberg says that the funds are primarily to support the growth of PlayMetrics, a software platform for youth sports organizations to manage their teams. Mike is an awfully busy guys these days as he’s also serving as the interim CEO of Adwerx, which is searching for a permanent replacement for longtime leader Jed Carlson. See TechWire and Triangle Inno for more info on the eMinor fundraise.


Fundraise No. 2

A member of GrepBeat’s inaugural 2021 class of Startups To Watch honorees has hit another milestone on its rapid upward rise. Raleigh-based Green Places has raised $3M for its tech-driven solutions to help small- and medium-sized businesses reduce their carbon footprint. You can watch/listen to Founder and CEO Alex Lassiter fully explain the Green Places story on his Friday Nooner appearance in June or read our first feature on the startup from last summer.

And it’s a story that has enticed investors who are also boldface names in the Triangle tech scene like Levitate’s Jes Lipson—he’s Alex’s neighbor and led the startup’s previous round—and Spiffy’s Scot Wingo, both of whom are also Green Places customers. (Fun fact: Scot’s Triangle Tweener Fund participated in the Green Places round as well as in the eMinor fundraise in the previous item as part of its “index” approach to Triangle startup investing.) See Triangle Inno for more on the Green Places funder.


Keeping Faith

Raleigh-HQ’d investment firm Sovereign’s Capital has raised more than $14M. The firm was co-founded in 2012 by former Bandwidth Co-Founder and CEO Henry Kaestner to invest in growth-stage startups led by faith-driven entrepreneurs. A decade later, Sovereign’s invests in several more buckets, including publicly traded companies and as a fund-of-funds. See TBJ for more info.


Shared Space

The mass return to the office that seemed likely earlier in the pandemic—i.e. once it was officially “over”—seems to have fizzled as the pandemic never exactly ended and the changes in work culture it led to are proving more transformational than many first thought. But the fact that many companies aren’t demanding workers return to the office and the accompanying rise in virtual work have only increased demand for a different type of office space: coworking. TBJ’s Lauren Ohnesorge talks with multiple Triangle coworking spots about how bullish they are, while in Triangle Inno she wrote about Atlanta-based THRIVE coworking acquiring Holly Springs-based Coworking Station as part of its expansion into North Carolina and nationwide (which we discussed last Thursday).

Meanwhile TechWire is continuing its series on Triangle coworking sites with a spotlight on Frontier RTP.


Staying Engaged

As part of its 2022 Best Places to Work Awards, TBJ partnered with workplace solutions firm Quantum Workplace to survey Triangle employees. On the whole, the findings were pretty positive. Some 75% say they are “highly engaged” at work while 92% feel that their companies will be successful in the future, the same percentage that feel that their coworkers treat each other with respect and are committed to producing top-quality work. One red flag: 25% don’t feel like they’re being paid fairly. See TBJ for all the results.


Launch Pad

The application deadline for startups to present at The Launch Place’s Big Launch Challenge has been extended to Monday, Sept. 12. This year’s event will be held in RTP on Oct. 13. It will cap a multi-day event that includes ACA (Angel Capital Association) Angel University. The 10 startups chosen for the Big Launch Challenge will compete for $15K in prize money. You can apply here.


Build Great Software

Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Dualboot is a business and software development company. Their clients include tech and non-tech founders as well as Fortune 500 companies, so they can start small or scale fast depending on what you need. Every client is assigned a U.S.-based Product Director with at least 10 years experience bringing products to market, and they can manage the entire development process. They focus on how the software fits into your company to drive revenue and build the business. At Dualboot, they don’t just write your software—they help you grow your business. Intrigued? Email them here.


Because too much news is never enough.


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