Congrats to Baylor University for winning the second most important competition with “March” in the title. Yes, obviously we’re talking about Durham’s Cocoa Cinnamon easing past fellow Bull City coffeeshop Guglhupf in the inaugural March Mugness competition, sponsored by Fourscore Law. Read all about Cocoa Cinnamon's historic victory here.
You should also watch the latest Friday Nooner, in which Pete and guest co-host Kevin Mosley blew the lid off a voter fraud scandal in March Mugness’ Final Four(score) round. We're not going to say any more; you need to tune in. Of course, you should always watch The Friday Nooner because it’s awesome.
And we have an entirely new twist on “Where’s Pete?” this week—“Pete” is now a work of digital art that you can own, with the proceeds from the winning bidder benefiting the North Carolina Museum of Art. Wondering what the heck we’re talking about? See below!
Do you like to be at the forefront of the latest tech trend? Can you not get enough of GrepBeat? Do you like art? Do you want to make a great investment? Do you support the Triangle arts scene? Do you just want the questions to stop?
If you answered yes to any of the above, we have just the opportunity for you. We’re honored to be able to offer an exclusive piece of digital art called “Pete,” a breathtaking work created by the mysterious artist known only as Grepo. “Pete” is an NFT—a non-fungible token—that we are auctioning off through this Friday at 11a.m. The proceeds from acquiring this priceless piece of art will go to the North Carolina Museum of Art, which can certainly use the support after a tough pandemic year.
We’ve written a helpful primer on NFTs and this particular offering here. You should read it. There’s also more info down in the “Where’s Pete?” section. And now, let the bidding begin!
JouleBug, which was founded by Triangle-based serial entrepreneur Grant Williard, has been acquired by Raleigh-based dev agency Carimus. (Terms were not disclosed, sadly.) The JouleBug app is used by enterprise clients to enable employees to use a private social network on which gamification encourages actions that promote civic engagement, sustainability, wellness or personal growth. Grant founded JouleBug in 2009, some 25 years after he founded I-Cubed, which became Navisware. TechWire has more details.
Loyal readers will surely recall that last Thursday, we ran a story on former Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton’s new TV show on ABC, Free Enterprise, in which he helps former inmates launch new businesses. That same day, TechWire ran a story that had some new information on news that originally broke a few months ago: Brian has acquired a Canadian videoconferencing startup called Frozen Mountain and is moving its HQ to the Triangle.
The update is that the company has been renamed LiveSwitch and has raised $15.9M to focus on a videoconferencing solution for the corporate market. Zoom, of course, has become ubiquitous during the pandemic, but the fact that it’s being used by everyone from your book club to grandma talking to the grandkids could certainly mean that there’s an opening for more narrowly targeted offerings like LiveSwitch’s. Plus the corporate market has a greater need than ever—and corporate budgets to pay for such services.
It generally doesn’t hurt to have famous friends. (Not counting the subject of the “Pete,” who is sorry to tell you that he can barely help himself, never mind anyone else.) Raleigh’s Virtue Labs has one in actress Jennifer Garner, who grew up with Virtue’s creative director, Adir Abergel. The startup, which won the 2019 Best of What’s New award from Pop Science for its innovative hair coloring product ColorKick, is out with a new product. Flourish is built to combat female hair loss, which affects an estimated 30 million women. Virtue Labs raised $28.6M in November. See TechWire for more details.
There will soon be a newcomer in Chapel Hill. No, we don’t mean new men’s basketball coach Hubert Davis, who after all has already been at UNC fulltime for a decade (after first rolling into town in 1988). Rather, we mean the creation of a downtown innovation district by UNC’s Economic Development Council surrounding Franklin Street with the stated goal of accommodating startups and other businesses. It’s the latest acknowledgement of how important startups are to the region’s economy.
Durham-based Ablr, which focuses on digital accessibility and inclusion, is launching a new Disability Inclusion Training Course. The course is focused on how to integrate disability inclusion into the core of an organization’s culture, strategy and daily operations. It will be available starting on April 15 and 30% of all profits will be donated to support Southeastern Guide Dog Training programs.
Two RIoT reminders: 1) The first pitch event of the RIoT Your Reality contest is next Monday, April 12, at 2pm. 2) There will be an info session on Friday, April 16, at 1:30 p.m. for thus summer’s cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP).
Dualboot Partners is a software development firm that helps ventures at all stages build great software and great companies. Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Dualboot Partners comes to each project with deep expertise in technology and business, as well as a commitment to supporting its clients well beyond the development process. The team offers advice and perspective—built over the course of hundreds of projects—and leverages its vast network to connect clients with investors, future hires and other resources critical in turning a concept into a successful venture. Intrigued? Email them here!
GrepBeat is looking for a fulltime Social Media Manager. This would be an especially good spot for a recent or soon-to-be grad. The benefits include a coveted GrepBeat mug and the chance to work alongside the inspiration for "Pete." Click here for all the LinkedIn posting.
We’d tell you about the piece of digital art represented below, but we can’t top the official description on the auction site: “This is an exquisite piece that we affectionately call ‘Pete.’ The subject is the sometimes hardworking managing editor of GrepBeat enjoying a soothing beverage from his trusty mug on a lazy Friday afternoon. Note the artful pixel detail around the eyes. At first, you see curiosity, maybe annoyance. But with time, you see into his soul and wonder, ‘Does he see mine?’ This piece will certainly become a masterpiece and climb to prominence in the art world as the Mona Lisa of the modern era.”
Now that’s poetry.
You can own this NFT (non-fungible token) if you’re the top bidder when the gavel comes down on Friday at 11 a.m., in time for us to announce the winner on The Friday Nooner. The proceeds will go to support the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Note: you’ll need to either have or create a crypto “wallet” to bid. But that’s a small price to pay for a masterpiece—and to help support a great cause. So go bid now!