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Happy Thursday!

On this week’s Friday Nooner, Pete, Joe and Jackie welcome guest Lauren Romer, the Director of Raleigh Founded and a former Download Q&A subject. You can watch live at noon on LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, or catch afterward on those same platforms or in its podcast form.

Knotted Up

We probably could all use some coaching from time to time, but anyone who’s looked into booking a life coach knows that the cost is steep—an average of $120/hour according to one report. Topknot provides an affordable, online alternative to life coaching for women that pairs them with peers for one-on-one conversations that are guided by coach-curated questions and prompts—aka “Topknot Time.” Founded by Brook Osborne and Claire Shorall, Topknot is officially HQ’d in San Francisco (where Claire is based) but the majority of its remote-first staff—including Duke grad Brook and Topkot’s Head of Community Rae Williams—are in Durham.
Read our full story on Topknot here.



GrepBeat sister company Jurassic Capital—we’re related via GrepBeat Godfather/Jurassic General Partner Joe Colopy—has invested $3M into Durham startup Roobrik. The company’s tech platform helps aging adults and their caregivers navigate the complicated world of senior care. We first wrote about Roobrik quite early in GrepBeat history (September, 2018) after it had closed on a $1.4M seed round, and we used to be neighbors in the late, not-so-great South Bank building in downtown Durham. Roobrik turned the corner to profitability in August, 2020, to move it closer to Jurassic’s hit zone for its growth-equity model that targets software startups with between $1-$5M in ARR (annual recurring revenue).
I also want to give a shoutout to Roobrik Co-Founder and CEO Nate O’Keefe. Nate met me for a beer at Bull McCabe’s shortly after I moved to the Triangle—more than a month before I started at GrepBeat to oversee this immensely powerful influence machine. In other words, he took the time to talk to me when I wasn’t in any position to potentially help him. Which is why I told Joe and Kevin at Jurassic to invest in Roobrik. (Full disclosure: I just made that up; I had nothing to do with the investment and only found out after it was a done deal.) TechWire and Triangle Inno have more info, as does Jurassic itself.


Still Watching

Raleigh-based edtech startup Element451 has raised $3.5M in a round led by California-based Blueprint Equity. We first wrote about Element451 in February, 2020, and last fall we named it to our inaugural class of Startups To Watch. Element451 offers a student admissions and marketing platform designed to help colleges and universities better engage with students to improve enrollment and retention. The startup raised more than $3M last year and $1M in 2019. See Triangle Inno for more info.


Hearing Voices

Carrboro-based LabVoice, which we profiled in February, 2021, has raised $3M in equity according to a recent securities filing. LabVoice is essentially an Alexa for the lab—a personal voice assistant tailored to the needs of working scientists. Hey, as long as it can still play Olivia Rodrigo, we’re sold. See TechWire for more info.


Career Planning

Morrisville-based startup Whomi today announced the launch of its free online Whomi Career Planning Platform. From landing a promotion to finding more meaning from a career to switching industries entirely, Whomi is designed to help workers reach their personal career goals. Whomi Founder and CEO John Gordon was a former senior executive at IBM, GE, Bose and Lenovo. See here for more info.


UNC Innovation Hub

Our June profile of Sheryl Waddell, Innovate Carolina’s newish Director of Economic Development and Innovation Hubs, included plenty on UNC’s planned Innovation Hub that’s scheduled to open on East Rosemary Street in early 2023. In today’s TechWire, Innovate Carolina’s Shellie Edge dives deeper on those plans, including what you’ll find in Chapel Hill’s hub that you won’t find elsewhere.


Quickie Updates

Here are a few updates/stories on news items that we discussed in Tuesday’s newsletter: 1) Low testosterone levels? Raleigh startup launches therapy subscription service (WRAL TechWire); here’s our feature story on Base Healthcare from Tuesday. 2) Carolina Angel Network names UNC professor Ted Zoller as executive director (Innovate Carolina). 3) A ‘new downtown for RTP’ and ‘a brand new RTP:’ Horseshoe at the Hub project is underway (WRAL TechWire)


Top Dogs

So who is the richest person in North Carolina? (Hint: not me.) If you guessed Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, congratulations; both Forbes and Bloomberg say you are correct. At No. 2 is Tim’s fellow Cary-based CEO, Jim Goodnight of SAS. Forbes gives Sweeney a slight edge at $7.6B to $7.5B for Goodnight, while Bloomberg estimates the difference to be $9.5B to $8.25B.
Here’s a question: which figures do you think Goodnight would prefer to be correct? According to Bloomberg he’s 10% wealthier, which seems like a no-brainer—except Bloomberg also claims he’s much further from the top spot ($1.25B away vs. $100M). There are plenty of psychology experiments that suggest that many prefer to be closer to the top—or to their “rival”—even if that means having less yourself, just so long as it hurts your rival even more. Just a thought experiment; obviously they're both super-rich by any measure.


Build Great Software

Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Dualboot is a software and business 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 years of 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.


Extra Bit

While we’re honored that so many of you choose to spend your precious time engaged with GrepBeat—from the newsletter to to the Friday Nooner to podcasts to events—how would you like to spend 40 hours a week with us? If you have proven journalism chops (or know someone who does) please consider our fulltime Tech Reporter role. It would be especially fitting for a recent grad, even potentially a December 2022 grad. You can apply directly on LinkedIn or find more info in this Google doc. Feel free to share the position with anyone you think might be a fit.


Because too much news is never enough.


Here's some helpful content from our partners.

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Here are some great jobs at Triangle startups.
Associate Cloud Engineer - RapidScale
Posted October 12, 2022 by Rapid Scale
Digital Marketing Specialist
Posted October 12, 2022 by Kaleido
Senior Technical Success Engineer
Posted October 12, 2022 by Pendo
Scientist (US - Remote)
Posted October 12, 2022 by Tumult Labs

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