I will be out of town tomorrow on an annual trip with my college buddies (we’re going to the Ohio State-Wisconsin football game) but the Friday Nooner goes on. GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy will be joined by his Bronto co-founder Chaz Felix—who is filling my role as “host with shaved head”—while our own Jackie Sizing will be playing herself as another co-host. They'll be joined by guest Haley Huie, who leads NC State’s entrepreneurship efforts. You can watch live at noon tomorrow on LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, or catch it later on those platforms or in its podcast form.
Durham-based healthtech startup Pattern Health has banked a $3.3M Series A, the company announced today. We bring you all the details here. Some highlights: the round was led by the Connecticut-based family office of Dr. William H. Joyce, but it included participation from locals Cofounders Capital, The Launch Place and the Triangle Tweener Fund, all of which were already investors. We first profiled Pattern Health in 2019 for its no-code platform to enable medical researchers, healthcare providers and clinicians to build mobile apps.
Triangle Inno also wrote about the raise, a story you should read after you check out ours.
One positive spillover effect of compiling our annual Startups To Watch list—which we will reveal a week from tonight (Sept. 29) at an invite-only event—is that through the nominations process we learn about some cool startups that hadn’t been on our radar before. One such company is Certificial. The insurtech offers an API-driven platform to manage certificates of insurance (COIs), which provide proof that parties to a transaction are appropriately insured and are required in many common business transactions. Currently, COIs are frequently faxed and even sent as hard copies in snail mail. The horror!
One of the two co-founders has long been based in Holly Springs and the other in New Jersey, but recently the Cofounders Capital-backed startup has moved its legal HQ to NC. Read our full story here.
Staying On Track
Durham-based remote patient monitoring startup On Track Technologies has raised $800K from its two existing investors, one of which is Raleigh-based Oval Park Capital. On Track currently focuses on the remote monitoring of nephrology (kidney) patients, using software and other tech but also human care coordinators. See TechWire for more info.
No Freeze Here
While some national news items suggest that Google is considering layoffs or hiring freezes, it sounds like it’s still full speed ahead on hiring for Google’s growing engineering hub in Durham. That’s according to what a company spokesperson told TechWire. Google will be trimming some of the sails in its Area 120 division, an in-house incubator for new products. But its cloud business—which the Durham engineering hub falls under—is still actively growing, especially in the Bull City. Google Cloud said last year that the hub could eventually house 1,000 employees in the Triangle.
Durham-based Ablr Works has established a “first-of-its-kind” workforce development program to train the blind and visually impaired to become digital accessibility testers. The program is a classic two-birds, one-stone solution: it helps digital sites become more accessible to the disabled (good) while providing solid employment opportunities to the visually impaired (also good). Ablr Works is the successor to LCI Tech, the workforce development arm of Durham-based LCI, one of the nation’s leading employers of the visually impaired. We first wrote about LCI Tech in 2019 and separately profiled its leader, John Samuel, this June. You may also recall that John has partnered with Walk West on a joint venture called Ablr (minus the “Works”), which focuses more broadly on digital accessibility for the disabled. See TechWire for more.
Personal note: while writing this item my fingers repeatedly and involuntarily mis-typed “LCI” as “LSU.” Speaking of: Geaux Tigers!
Cary’s Epic Games has a new ally in its legal battle with Apple—the Department of Justice. DOJ has received permission to make a presentation during a hearing set for the case on Oct. 21. The government is expected to take Epic’s side that ruling for Apple would harm antitrust enforcement. The dispute is centered on the steep and mandatory fees that Apple charges for transactions made in its App Store, which takes a sizable bite out of the hundreds of millions of dollars that users funnel into Fortnite skins and whatever else the kids (and adults) are spending on these days.
In other local video game news, Cary-based gaming studio Red Storm Entertainment named longtime exec Elizabeth Loverso as managing director. She takes over the day-to-day leadership from co-founder Steve Reid, who is retiring after 20-plus years at the helm. See TechWire for more.
Public v Private
Spiffy CEO/Triangle Tweener Titan Scot Wingo has long been beating the drum for his belief that the most impactful trend that could lift the Triangle tech community would be one or more big IPOs of homegrown tech startups. One could quibble with just how impactful that might be compared to other positive developments, but nobody questions that it would be a benefit. And for as much as the Triangle tech community has grown in the last five years, IIRC there hasn’t been a local tech IPO since Bandwidth in 2017.
That ties into TBJ’s Lauren Ohnesorgedeeper dive this week on how the Triangle has “lost” multiple large public companies over the past decade or so. The main tech example is Red Hat, which became part of IBM in 2019 after Big Blue forked over $34B. In fact that’s how most of the public company HQs were lost—they were acquired by or merged into other companies.
Taking The Cake
We at GrepBeat are suckers for cake content, so we feel compelled to share the “cake resume” that Karly Pavlinic Blackburn had hand-delivered to Nike to get on the company’s radar for its in-house incubator, Valiant Labs. By “cake resume,” we literally mean an edible, legible resume on top of a cake. You may recall NC State grad Karly from her fitness app startup WAAM, which we first profiled in 2019; it was backed by Cofounders Capital and was acquired in 2021 by wellness brand The St. James. Karly’s LinkedIn post tells the whole tale, including the laudable hustle displayed by an Instacart driver to make sure the cake was hand-delivered to the right spot on Nike’s sprawling campus.
Build Great Software
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Back To Business is hosting its sixth annual return-to-work conference for women restarting their careers after a career break tomorrow (Friday). The virtual conference runs from 8:30-5 and features keynote speaker Vivian Howard from A Chef’s Life and speakers from Zapier, RTI, Credit Suisse, WRAL and more. Find more info and register here.
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