ICYMI: The latest Friday Nooner featured a deep dive on Apple’s move to the Triangle, a visit from guest Amy Linnane of Duke’s I&E program, and a new (or at least different) hoodie on Joe. Watch it here!
It’s not every Download subject who compares his startup to Skynet, the villainous artificial intelligence in the Terminator series. But John Cowan, the Co-Founder and CEO of red-hot Raleigh-based edge computing startup EDJX, may well have been sent here from the future to help make truly connected cities filled with autonomous vehicles and smart everything a reality. John does a better job explaining how EDJX is going to help accomplish that than I ever could, so you should just read the full Q&A.
Epic v Apple
While the news that Apple is coming to RTP adds a little extra local spice to its court case against Cary-based Epic Games that kicked off yesterday in a federal court in California, the trial has major potential implications for any app maker. At issue is Apple charging app makers a 30% fee on all sales made through Apple’s App Store, which is the only way to access Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads. Epic says that’s an illegal monopoly. Apple counters that it’s simply trying to protect its users from apps that might not adequately safeguard their privacy or are otherwise not up to snuff, and besides, it’s not like Apple devices or its App Store are the only games in town. (Android, anyone?) But there are a whole bunch of app makers rooting for Epic Games in this one.
Here’s CNN’s recap of the first day of the trial—Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was on the stand—and a good scene-setter from WRAL TechWire penned by local startup lawyers Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones.
Cary-based PeriGen, which uses AI to improve safety in childbirth, has been acquired by the UK-based publicly traded company Halma. TBJ pegged the acquisition at $58M. PeriGen’s software can be used to screen laboring patients in real time when a medical professional isn’t continuously evaluating the fetal heart rate. TechWire and TBJ have more info.
Bonsai, a career and advice platform based in Raleigh and New York that we wrote about last May, has raised $5.2M according to an SEC filing, TBJ reports. Bonsai was founded by Raleigh-based (mostly) serial entrepreneur Patrick Sullivan and Jake Rosenfeld. On the Bonsai platform, someone looking for a job or career advice can approach proven professionals with an offer to pay X dollars for a video call or meeting to provide advice.
TBJ’s Lauren Ohnesorge rolled out her monthly recap of Triangle startup financings yesterday. As you might guess, Epic Games’ $1B raise dominated the rankings, but there were a few others that caught our eye. Durham’s based Next Play Sports, a startup that helps college athletes prepare for non-sports careers after graduation that we wrote about in November 2019, raised $375K from investors including former Duke hoops star Jahlil Okafor. We are also intrigued by the $530K raised by Wake Forest-based Thin Gold Line, which makes a shirt that goes under the ballistic vests worn by police officers and others to make them more comfortable.
Congrats to Courtroom5, a Greppys nominee for Best Small Startup and frequent GrepBeat story subject, for being named a finalist in the Founders of Color Showcase run by global impact investor Next Wave Impact. Sonja Ebron and Debra Sloane launched Courtroom5 to help people represent themselves in court as pro se litigants. Qualifying as a finalist meant Courtroom5 was one of six startups that pitched yesterday to an audience of VC investors and angel groups. See TechWire for more details.
Yesterday on Twitter we tweaked TBJ for teasing its story on Raleigh’s Global Data Consortium by calling GDC “the most interesting $20 million company you’ve probably never heard of.” As if! Global Data Consortium CEO Bill Spruill has been both a guest on Pete Meets... and a subject of The Download. Though in fairness, the TBJ story is quite good, and we support any story that highlights a Triangle-based tech startup.
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!
Two late-arriving news items: 1) NC IDEA has awarded $140K in ENGAGE grants to 14 partners throughout the state—$10K to each—that are executing innovative and transformational ideas that elevate Black Entrepreneurship. The ENGAGE grants were awarded in partnership with the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC). Six of the 14 recipients are from the Triangle, including Durham-based Communities in Partnership, Illumined Leadership Solutions and Sankofa Farms; Raleigh’s Vision Church—The Way of Business and the Wake County Social and Economic Vitality Program; and Morrisville-based Creative Allies. See here for full details.
2) Durham-based Rewriting The Code, which we wrote about in February 2019, has received an $800K grant from Reboot Representation Tech Coalition with the goal to support and grow the Black Latina and Indigenous communities for college women in tech. Reboot Representation is supported by Pivotal Ventures and Melinda Gates.