Don’t blame Courtney Tellefsen if you’ve put on the Coronavirus 5 (or 10, or 15). Courtney is the Founder and CEO of Raleigh’s The Produce Box, which delivers fresh produce, meat, chicken, seafood and dairy from more than 70 farmers to 15,000 members across the state. She’s also the subject of the latest Download from Brooks Malone. And in fairness, if you’ve packed on a few pounds it’s almost certainly not due to the healthy fruits and veggies from The Produce Box, but more likely all those extra baked goods (homemade or not) or, in my case, absurd amounts of peanut butter. OK, now I’m hungry.
The pandemic forced this year’s NC TECH State of Technology Conference online last Thursday and Friday (July 23-24), with a focus on Big Data. But that didn’t keep them from attracting plenty of big names, including Gov. Roy Cooper and the man who is running against him (and suing him), Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Naturally both men tried to claim the tech-friendly mantle, but they don’t have the credentials of keynote speakers like Michael Capps (Diveplane CEO), Heidi Lanford (VP of Data & Analytics at Red Hat) and Kerri Patterson (Director of IT at Optum’s Raleigh site).
Our Elizabeth Moore stuck it out through both days to bring you a full report, including Michael’s extended riff comparing data to coffee, which holds up shockingly well. TechWire also provided some coverage of Michael’s keynote, while TBJ focused on a talk by IBM’s Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s former longtime CEO.
Durham’s American Tobacco Campus is about to be super-sized. Capitol Broadcasting Co. (CBC) and the Goodmon family announced today a three-building expansion on 11 acres adjacent to the current American Tobacco location in what used to be University Ford. The 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project includes two office buildings of six and seven stories apiece, plus a 14-story high-rise of multifamily residential units. The office buildings will feature innovative all-timber construction. TechWire (which is also owned by CBC) and TBJ have all the details.
Not sure if you heard, but President Trump was in the Triangle yesterday. He visited the FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Morrisville because it’s developing a Covid-19 vaccine and, well, because North Carolina is a swing state and there’s an election coming up. Still, it helped shine a spotlight on the Triangle as a life sciences and pharma hub. But come on, Donnie, you couldn’t swing by a tech startup or two? We would’ve thrown in a special GrepBeat mug in MAGA red!
The pandemic has proved to be boom times for ecommerce, and Morrisville’s ChannelAdvisor has been riding the wave. On Thursday it announced its acquisition of Paris-based BlueBoard, a provider of data analytics for clients such as L’Oreal and Logitech. ChannelAdvisor also released second-quarter results on revenue and earnings that were well above expectations, which made the stock pop. Here's more info from TechWire and TBJ.
Last Thursday we tweeted about Durham’s Spreedly making a few additions to its C-Suite. TBJ has more details on how two of those execs, new CTO Jillian Munro and new CMO Randy Guard, decamped for the fintech startup from corporate biggies Fidelity Investments (Jillian) and SAS (Randy). It’s an interesting look at how fast-growing Spreedly has hit the kind of critical mass to convince even quite senior execs from large, “stable” companies to take the plunge to startup life.
Also, TechWire and TBJ have more background on Jes Lipson and Levitate raising $6M and cracking 1,000 customers, which we wrote about on Thursday. The Levitate team even celebrated, in shifts, with some socially distant cupcakes and drinks. Hey, that’s 2020 for you.
Bandwidth is another Triangle tech company that’s really having a moment during the pandemic as the demand for remote office work and telecommuting increases the need for, well, bandwidth. Now the Raleigh-based company is introducing Duet, a product that helps companies migrate their telecom to Microsoft Team’s communication platform.
I’ve lived a lot of places and pretty much everywhere thinks it suffers from the worst commute. But at least according to a new study by Teletrac Navman, the Triangle actually has the third-best commute among the top 50 U.S. metros. Those who live in Raleigh but commute to Durham—or vice versa—might well disagree, but hey, take it up with the Teletrac folks. Only Salt Lake City and Las Vegas ranked better than the Triangle. For the record, I have lived in four of the 10 “worst” cities for commuting, including two of the top three, which might be one reason I have made every effort to live pretty close to the office. Because long commutes suck your soul.