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Happy Thursday!

This is Suzanne back with the first newsletter of the new month.

Entering the final days of summer means we are even closer to our Startups To Watch invite-only reveal event on Sept. 29. So be sure to send in your nominations for the second annual list, which recognizes 10 early-stage startups (<$3M ARR) based in the Triangle. You can nominate your own startup or one you admire. No agencies, consultancies or life sciences/biotech/medical devices, please.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. ET.

Demo Day

One of the best parts of any accelerator is when the startups can finally celebrate their accomplishments throughout the program and make their business pitch to the world. We got to attend the Andrews Launch Accelerator Demo Day on Tuesday, which saw five NC State startups share their stories with the Triangle tech community.

The startups included: kids activity platform ZuZuForKids, electric vehicle charging company Clean-E, women's medical device Cervu, DNA data storage startup DNAli Data Technologies and social media analytics company TSV Analytics. (Those links are to our earlier full feature stories on each startup.) Get our full rundown on Tuesday's event here.


More Metaverse

Chapel Hill-based startup Ultisim's founder Richard Boyd strongly believes one thing: the 3D internet is here. And with that, he hopes to make the Triangle the new center for the metaverse.

Through Ultisim, Richard (a former Download subject who also runs Carrboro-based Tanjo) is making progress on that goal. Ultisim has already crafted digital twins for the University of Arizona's campus and a Toyota dealership, among others. In just one use case, this type of digital simulation allows a college to monitor energy and water use and enhance facilities planning.

But the applications of Ultisim's technology are near endless. Get the full scoop here.


CEO Switch

If anything spotlighted the importance of live video application technology, it was the pandemic. LiveSwitch is a Canadian-born startup creating the tech that enables companies to engage via video with customers or employees with ultra-low latency. They are now headquartered in Raleigh.

And a familiar face has just taken on the CEO role: Brian Hamilton, the co-founder and former CEO of Raleigh-based fintech Sageworks and the driving force behind LiveSwitch's Raleigh presence. Brian made a hefty investment in the company last year, a few years after selling Sageworks to PE firm Accel-KKR. Hear his thoughts on where he hopes to take LiveSwitch in the next year in our feature story here.


California Dreamin'

One story that reflects the appeal of the Triangle as a growing tech hub lies in RapidScale's expansion since moving from California to Raleigh. RapidScale is a cloud computing firm that has more than doubled its employee base since 2019 and is looking to move into the entire 13th floor in the new 301 Hillsborough building in downtown Raleigh.

TBJ has the full details on the company's growth and plans to compete with other top downtown firms like Pendo and Red Hat for talent.


Raising Money

Cary-based Zift, a partner relationship management and through-channel marketing automation software company, raised $16.5 million in debt financing, TBJ reports. The round was led by AshGrove Capital, a London-based specialist credit firm. Some of Zift's top clients include Cisco, Oracle and Samsung. The ZiftONE platform manages marketing and lead generation from start to sale.


NC Investment

In what was thrilling news for the state economy, Toyota made headlines last year for pledging to build a $1.3 billion battery plant in the Triad. Now the carmaker has upped its North Carolina investment by nearly double. The new commitment is set at $2.5 billion. Which isn't quite the $4B that VinFast is plunking down for its upcoming EV and battery production facility in Chatham County, but it's a lot of money. Toyota also said it would add another 350 jobs. Altogether, this deal means a huge increase in tax incentives allotted to Toyota over time. Read WRAL TechWire for additional information.


Crowdfunding Success

Raleigh-based Offline is proving just how much a crowdfunding strategy can boost a company's growth. On Wednesday, the restaurant subscription service opened a Wefunder crowdfunding campaign. Already, nearly 400 people have jumped in on the campaign. Just a day past its launch, Offline raised more than $1.4 million. The money will be used to help get Offline into new markets, beyond just the Raleigh and Charlotte locations they currently operate out of. Read TechWire for more details.


Internet For All

Yesterday marked a big day for North Carolinians without reliable Internet access. Governor Roy Cooper announced a $200 million investment to bring broadband Internet to 69 counties. That equates to nearly 85,000 households and more than 2,4000 businesses across the state. Currently, more than a million North Carolinians don't have access to high speed Internet, meaning this investment could bridge a large piece of the digital divide within the state. WRAL has the full story here.


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.


Extra Bit

Momentum is holding its Presentation Day this Friday (tomorrow) at noon. It's a virtual event for graduating students to demo the web apps they built as part of their final project at Momentum. Dualboot's Wade Minter will be MCing the event, and the Triangle tech community will get a chance to look at some promising technology projects. RSVP here.


Because too much news is never enough.


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