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Happy Thursday!

GrepBeat wishes everyone a great Labor Day Weekend. I personally plan to take it easy or (humblebrag alert!) I’ll be too tired to complete the 26.7 miles I’ll be running in next week’s Blue Ridge Relay.

Meet... Mary-Sara

Last fall, we wrote about GrowPath, a case management SaaS software startup that was spun out of the James Scott Farrin law firm. Today, our own Tricia Lucas dives deep with GrowPath’s new-ish COO, Mary-Sara Camerino, in the latest edition of her Meet... series. One nugget: Mary-Sara is a Virginia Tech Hokie fan, so we presume she’s very excited for the start of college football. The Hokies open Saturday at Boston College at 4 p.m. on the new ACC Network. (Sorry, but this LSU fan has college football on my pigskin-addled brain. Geaux Tigers!) Read the full Q&A here.


xEllent Idea

There’s a new angel network in town, and it’s all about women. A group of 15 female entrepreneurs and executives have launched xElle Ventures, the state’s first angel group focused solely on women-founded businesses. The group’s board chairperson is Robbie Hardy, the former CEO of CI Technologies (which sold to Seagate), and others members—or “xEllerateHers”—include Jennifer Turnage, the Co-Founder and CEO of MyBeeHyve; Triangle startup lawyer Benji Jones; and Grace Ueng, the Founder and CEO of the Triangle-based Savvy Growth. WRAL TechWire has bios of all 15 women here.
TechWire also has a Q&A with Hardy and Jones, which outlines the group’s investing philosophy. The emphasis on women founders isn’t the only thing distinctive—xElle will focus on debt investments, not equity, in the $20K-$100K range. By eschewing the more common equity model seeking potential 10x or better home runs (which, as in baseball, also means more strikeouts) for a more return-based debt model, xElle’s investment targets can more easily fit consumer products and service business beyond the usual tech and life sciences startups. Their website has more info, including how to apply.


Cool Breeze

Summer’s not quite over yet, and hopefully you can still squeeze in some beach time. If so, you might want to check out the new take on the old beach umbrella from Raleigh-based Shibumi Shade. Brothers Dane and Scott Barnes and their best friend Alex Sater are UNC grads who grew up spending every summer on the beach at North Carolina’s Emerald Isle.

In 2016 they built their first prototype of a new style of beach umbrella made of a lighter fabric that works with the wind more, enabling it to be both more secure and lighter to carry. They’ve been iterating and selling for three summers now and plan to transition to working on the company fulltime later this year. TechWire has the full story here.


Jolly Good

Pendo ain’t afraid of no Brexit. The high-flying, Raleigh-based software startup (if we can still call them a startup) plans to triple its U.K.-based workforce from 18 to 54 over the next 18 months. That’s compared to 256 employees currently in Raleigh and 362 worldwide, and Pendo is still hiring, well, everywhere. Here’s more details from TechWire and TBJ.

Now if only Pendo could figure out a tech solution to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, because as someone with extended family currently living in close proximity to both sides of said border, it looks increasingly likely that the Irish are about the get the “royal” shaft once again. Sorry, end of U.K. political rant.


Happy Days

While Pendo is going globe-trotting, German robotics manufacturer Schmalz Inc. is looking to triple its own Raleigh operation. The expansion is expected to result in 62 new jobs and nearly $20 million in local investment. Hey, isn’t Schmalz where Laverne and Shirley worked? (That’s right, I’m old!)


Angels Are Real

More angel investing news: the Angel Capital Association (ACA) Southeast Regional Meeting will be held in RTP on Sept. 10-11. (Registration info here.) The conference will be co-hosted by RTP Capital Associates and The Launch Place, with a keynote speech from Ted Zoller, the director of UNC’s Entrepreneurship Center. Immediately following the conference at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, The Launch Place will kick off its 6th Annual Big Launch Challenge featuring startups pitching for cash (up to $15K) and other rewards ranging from training to mentorship.


Fullsteam Ahead

Staying in RTP for a moment, the Boxyard RTP project had its groundbreaking on Tuesday. Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery will open its second location as the anchor tenant of the Boxyard, in which 38 shipping containers are being repurposed as retail and public space.


Women's PitchFest

The lineup has been set for Sept. 18’s TiE-RIoT Women’s PitchFest. The six finalists who will be pitching their startups are Tea Blumer of iScribble; Karen Tsang pitching a pediatric medical devise; Jasmine Miller of BatteryXchange; Emiley Joyce of X-Squared Health; Inirv’s Akshita Iyer; and Karly Pavlinac of WAAM. (We previously featured Karly and WAAM here). The newly named judges are Bull City Venture Partners’ Jason Caplain and Samantha Godfrey, the CEO of United Drug Supply. They join GrepBeat favorite Jan Davis, startup lawyer Chris Lynch of Wyrick Robbins, and Wendy Coulter of Hummingbird Creative Group as judges.


Help Is Here

These days, pretty much every company is a tech company. Or, at least, it needs to be. And even if it already knows it’s a tech company, it's hard to rapidly scale up a development team and/or do everything fully in-house all the time. That’s where RapidOps can help. RapidOps is a full-service, full-scale digital transformation and software innovation agency based in Charlotte and Ahmedebad, India. Its 150+ open-source technologists—employees, not outsourced contractors—can be your go-to partners for strategy, design, development, analytics and DevOps.
RapidOps works with everyone from venture-backed startups (psst, one of them is a N.C.-based unicorn) to middle-market companies to Fortune 500 heavyweights like Kroger’s Harris Teeter stores. So if you’re a non-tech company that needs tech help, a tech company that could use a turbocharge, or a startup that wants to be a unicorn (fingers crossed!), give RapidOps a click.

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

Cory Quammen is the lucky winner of this week’s “Where’s Pete?” contest by being randomly selected among those who correctly identified the spot as the Joe Van Gogh on Broad Street in Durham. One correct answer that was not eligible to win was from Ximena Colopy, the oldest daughter of GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy. Ximena is not the first (non-Joe) member of the Colopy family who failed to read the fine print that makes anyone from Colopy Ventures and their family members ineligible to win, yet still lobbed in (admittedly correct) guesses to win a mug that I happen to know they already have. (In fairness, they have factory rejects that feature a rogue blob of white paint.)
But we’re here to hear from Cory: “I am a Staff Research and Development Engineer at Kitware in Carrboro developing our open-source 3D visualization software platforms ParaView and the Visualization Toolkit. GrepBeat is my favorite way to find out what is happening in the Triangle tech scene. I recognized that Joe Van Gogh location by the layout and confirmed it by matching the blurry logo on the bags of coffee on the counter with the JVG logo on their website.”

Congrats, Cory!


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