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Happy Thursday!

TBJ’s Lauren Ohnesorge is back for her second week in the co-host chair on tomorrow’s Friday Nooner alongside Joe and Pete. They’ll be joined by guest Fred Stutzman, the Founder and CEO of Freedom, which helps you put down your tech so you can focus on deeper work and a less-stressed life. Though we recommend you only get off social media after watching the show on LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube. And does the podcast version of the show even count as tech?

Exit Stories

We here at GrepBeat believe in UPOD: under-promising and over-delivering. We know that we said that Exit Stories’ second season—sponsored by Vaco—would consist of 10 episodes. But host Kevin Mosley’s interview with Bronto Co-Founder Chaz Felix had so much great material that it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to smush it all into one episode. So we’ve made it a two-parter. Today, we’re dropping Part I. Next week will bring Part II, a bonus 11th episode.
It’s just possible that GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy’s name might come up this week or next, considering that he was the one who brought Chaz into Bronto as his co-founder and also led the company as its CEO until the $200M exit to Netsuite in 2015—all without taking a dime of outside investment. Kevin is also a Bronto alum, natch. But this week (and next), the stage belongs to Chaz.
You can read highlights of this week’s episode here, then listen (and subscribe!) here. And don’t forget about next week’s Part II, which really will wrap up the season.


Helping Hands

Software developer Andrew Shirk woke up one morning in April, 2019, with numbness in his hand—including two totally numb fingers. We’re talking about his coding fingers, people! That led to a circuitous and painful (in more ways than one) path through the healthcare system that ultimately led to a quality physical therapist who helped him set his body right. The experience inspired Andrew to launch CityPT, a Durham-based startup that provides on-demand physical therapists via a telehealth platform. Read our full story on CityPT here.


Spinning Gold

Tomorrow’s Friday Nooner co-host—you should recall who that is from above—wrote a very interesting follow-up story on something that we mentioned in Tuesday’s newsletter: ReverbNation’s sale to Singapore-based BandLab. You’ll likely recall that ReverbNation CEO Mike Doernberg is also the CEO if its parent company, eMinor. The parent company has long been an incubator of sorts. In 2014, eMinor spun out Durham-based adtech Adzerk. It has also stood up another software startup, Playmetrics, a platform for youth sports, which is still under the eMinor umbrella. The way Mike explained it to Lauren, the BandLab deal allowed eMinor to kill multiple birds with one stone. ReverbNation gets to spread its full wings as part of BandLab, while eMinor can use part of the proceeds to fund the growth of Playmetrics, while also looking toward the next idea.
Lauren also wrote a companion piece that dropped this morning on Triangle Inno with even more color on ReverbNation, eMinor, Playmetrics and Mike’s general approach to building startups. And because we're nothing if not self-referential, here's our Download Q&A that featured Mike from late 2019.


Measuring Stick

Raleigh-based Allstacks—a startup that provides tools to improve the software development process that we first profiled in 2019—has released a free, real-time industry benchmark dashboard for software teams that Allstacks calls the first of its kind. The goal is to help companies improve their development process by comparing their own software teams to industry benchmarks across a series of metrics. TechWire has more details.


Platform Booster

When many of us think of Cary’s Epic Games, the first thing that comes to mind is Fortnite. And with good reason—it’s one of the biggest and most profitable video games in the world. But Epic Games’ less splashy but arguably equally important driver is Unreal Engine, its platform on which other producers build games of their own. One of Unreal Engine’s main competitors is Unity Software, which this week announced that it will buy Weta Digital, the visual-effects studio co-founded by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, for $1.6B. The goal is to bring some of those cutting-edge effects to the game developers who use Unity’s game-building platform, especially as the Metaverse beckons.
Rest assured that Epic Games is watching this one very closely. You can school yourself with these stories on CNN and in the Wall Street Journal.



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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Guess where Pete is and (maybe) win a GrepBeat mug!

This week’s winner is Homayoon Ershadi, who correctly guessed that I was at the Wake Zone in Apex. Let’s give him the floor: “I’m a big cyclist and runner spending as much time as I can at Umstead Park, but always looking for cool routes to ride/run! I’m also working on a beverage startup called Jabin, which is bringing my family’s twist on an ancient Persian recipe to market.” No spoilers, but my sources tell me that GrepBeat may score a story on Jabin sometime soon. And congrats, Homayoon!

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