Happy Thursday!

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WeWrite Re:WeWork

WeWork has officially landed. The coworking giant opened its first Triangle location this week at downtown Durham’s new, 28-floor One City Center. The WeWork facility occupies 58K square feet on the fourth and fifth floors filled with desks, conference rooms, industrial-style phone booths, foosball tables, and enough free kombucha to float a unicorn.
WeWork is essentially across the street from American Underground @ Main and a few blocks from the American Tobacco Campus. In May, WeWork plans to open its first Raleigh location, which at least theoretically will compete with HQ Raleigh. Then there’s Spaces, another national coworking chain laying down extensive roots in the Triangle. Are we experiencing Peak Coworking? I’d answer that, except all the shared phone booths are full so I can’t talk now.

K4Connect Cash

Raleigh’s K4Connect and its CEO F. Scott Moody announced a $12M Series B round this week led by AXA Venture Partners, the venture arm of AXA, the world’s second-largest financial services company. All the other investors in the round were current K4Connect backers who re-upped, which is always a good sign. K4Connect primarily makes “smart” living technology for senior living centers and will use the funds to expand both nationally and internationally. As Moody told CNBC, “It's not that older people don't like tech. They just don't like tech that was made by a 25-year-old, with a large font slapped on it.” WE AGREE.

Story Time

Tim Oakley is probably the only former CFO with a certification in health coaching from Duke. He’s surely the only one who served as CFO for three Triangle startups with $100M+ exits. These days, Oakley mentors a half-dozen local startup execs through his Thrivers Integrative Mentoring Program, which encourages them to create and tell their own personal and professional “story.” And as you’ll see in our profile, Oakley can sure talk the talk.

Skin In The Game

How committed are you to innovation? Committed enough to get tattoos of your company’s patents on your forearm? No? Then Eric Sanchez—the Chief Product Officer of Durham’s GrowPath—has you beat. Click here to learn all about Sanchez and GrowPath, a legal tech company that’s grown out of the Law Offices of James Scott Ferrin, a bustling Durham-based personal injury law firm.

Trust The Process

Aesop has taught us that slow and steady wins the race. To which we say: A) To hell with Aesop—he was a dirty old man who wrote filthy stories; B) Brian Reale teaches us that fast, then a dead stop, then a deep sleep, and THEN slow and steady is what actually wins the race.
At least that’s what has worked for Reale and ProcessMaker, his Durham-based, business process management (BPM) software company that now has 130 employees (16 in the U.S.) and is nearing $10M in annual revenue. Check out our full interview with Reale, including his favorite TV show (which has Durham ties, natch) and his (unprintable) nickname.

Clap For SEAL

Raleigh’s SEAL Innovation has raised $1.8M for its swim monitors designed to prevent drowning. A swimmer wears a band around his or her neck to allow the device to detect if someone stays under the water surface for a set amount of time, which can be adjusted for non-swimmers through experienced ones. The product is available for personal use in family pools, but also for facilities such as public pools, water parks, and cruise lines.

No PLACE Like Home

In last Tuesday’s newsletter discussion of CED stacking its Tech and Life Sciences conferences next February, we mused aloud as to how large the overlap of the tech and life sciences universes were in the Triangle, especially from the perspective of investors. Well, our muse was answered, and it turns out there’s more overlap than we suspected. We received data from our friends at UNC’s PLACE project, which stands for PLatform for Advancing Community Economies and is part of the Kenan Institute’s CREATE Research Center. (You’re on your own with the second acronym.) In short, PLACE is a huge database of tech entrepreneurial activity in the Triangle going back more than 50 years.
Here’s what we learned. For the last decade for which data is available (2007-2016) from CB Insights for PLACE to crunch, among the 62 firms that made at least three investments in Triangle startups—whether the investors were local or not—61.3% of them made investments in at least one life sciences AND one non-life sciences company (essentially, all other tech companies), while 38.7% stuck entirely to one category or the other. Cutting the data from the broader range of 1997-2016 and setting the bar at five total investments, 74.5% (of the 47 firms) had overlap, while 25.5% did not. Takeaway: Maybe I need to start learning something about life sciences.

Calendar Corner

We mentioned the Carolina Challenge last week, which is a startup pitch competition for UNC undergrad teams that will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8. Well, they’re looking for judges. Maybe you? All told, UNC would like a few hundred judges from the Triangle startup community roaming the floor as 50-70 teams at tables make revolving one-minute pitches. If this sounds fun, sign up here by next Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Meanwhile, our friends at Fourscore Law (who can forget the beer we had with founder Jesse Jones?) are hosting a free Entrepreneurship 101 workshop next Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Frontier in RTP. No word if beer will be served.
Extra Bit

Have you also found it hard to get work done the last day or two given the troubling news headlines? We’re referring, of course, to the English beer robber (not a typo) who looks disturbingly like Ross Geller.
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Credit (or blame) Managing Editor Pete McEntegart.

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