We here at GrepBeat have noticed a recent uptick in out-of-town investment firms sending a landing party to set up shop in the Triangle, so they won’t even have to jump on a plane to write a check to a Triangle startup—and will see that many more potential deals. Today, our Jackie Sizing explores this trend in video form in a bite-size 1:25. These video pieces on Triangle ecosystem trends will be a recurring feature.
Speaking of recurring features: tomorrow’s Friday Nooner will include a guest appearance from everyone’s favorite angel investor, Jan Davis, to uplift the usual inanity from Joe and Pete. You can watch on Facebook or Youtube.
When the pandemic drove the world online in record numbers for all sorts of things, companies that were already there were poised to capitalize. Raleigh startup PublicImpact is one such beneficiary, but in a realm that maybe gets less hype—govtech. Founded in 2014, PublicImpact is a community engagement platform for governments and public agencies. Founder Jay Dawkins had long been screaming from the rooftops that providing virtual access for public hearings, for example, would improve accessibility and help insure that a wider diversity of voices are heard from. That need and the resulting benefits became clearer than ever during the pandemic. All the growth helped PublicImpact become a new addition to Scot Wingo’s 2021 Triangle Tweener list.
Corporate training is a big market; some $83B was spent in the U.S. alone in 2020. But for the companies footing that bill—and the training departments looking to justify the expense—it’s long been difficult to develop measurable metrics to show whether such training is helping the bottom line. Enter Raleigh-based eParamus. Longtime training and development exec Laura Paramoure originally founded the company as a consulting business in 2008 before pivoting to a software solution and rebranding as eParamus in 2014. The startup will be presenting in the June 30 Demo Day as part of CED’s GRO Incubator.
There’s plenty more to say about this week’s announcement that Durham’s Spoonflower has been acquired for $225M by Shutterfly, and will remain as an independent brand HQ’d in the Triangle. Both TechWire and TBJ have follow-up stories, with TechWire speaking to Bull City Venture Partners’ David Jones and the aforementioned Scot Wingo in addition to Spoonflower CEO Michael Jones, who has committed to stay in that position for at least two years as part of the deal but says he expects to stick around longer. BCVP is one of Spoonflower’s early investors and will be bought out as part of this transaction—hello, fat return!—while Scot is a Spoonflower board member.
We thought Scot made two especially good points: 1) while the Triangle scene has seen a number of SaaS and other B2B exits, this is a relatively rare major score on the consumer-facing side—which can have an outsized impact on broader public perception; 2) startups are “not a zero-sum game.” For instance, Michael is an alum of Morrisville’s ChannelAdvisor, the public company that Scot co-founded and led as CEO. With Spoonflower staying local and now having its growth supercharged by Shutterfly’s cash and heft, perhaps it might throw off future startup founders and execs in the Triangle.
Smashing Boxes CEO Nick Jordan is opening a coworking space called the Durham Bottling Company within Smashing Boxes’ expansive (16K+ square feet) Durham offices near Ponysaurus. (I give all directions by their proximity to breweries.) Nick told TechWire all about it yesterday, but a source tells me that Durham Bottling Company will be the sole sponsor of the GrepBeat newsletter for Q3, so you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in this space. (Me. The source is me.) Until then, check out the Durham Bottling Company's website and sign up for the waiting list.
Self-storage facilities aren’t just fertile ground for a pretty shocking number of reality shows—it’s also a booming business. Raleigh-based 10 Federal continues to expand its burgeoning empire of tech-enabled, automated, unmanned self-storage facilities. It’s now raised another $7.4M to acquire two self-storage locations in Georgia that add about 400 units to its inventory with another 92 planned for construction. TechWire has more info.
TechWire also notes that Durham-based EnMasse Energy publicly announced its $2.15M fundraise, news of which originally broke last month. The company will use the cash to launch an online marketplace for waste-to-energy procurement. By “waste,” they mean everything from poultry waste to food waste. That’s OK, I was done with that banana anyway.
Durham-based Clarkston Consulting has officially become a member of the global partner system of Atlanta-based Logility, a leader in supply chain innovation. Clarkston Consulting works with businesses across the consumer products, retail and life sciences industries. You can read more about the news here.
Red Hat Summit
Raleigh’s Red Hat held its annual Summit this Tuesday and Wednesday in a virtual format. Tech news site CRN has a full report. One highlight was a conversation between Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier and top execs from Intel and Verizon that focused on 5G. (Question: Will my theoretical kids be waxing rhapsodic about 17G? How high will the numbering go? Is this going to be like the Super Bowl or UFC fights?) Said Paul, “5G isn’t just changing everything. It’s a new foundation that's going to create so many opportunities for our customers.”
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Guess where Pete is and (maybe) win a GrepBeat mug!
This week’s winner is Andy Smith, who correctly noted that I was at Akai Hana in Carrboro and then outfoxed the Random Number Generator. Let’s hear from the winner: “Andy is an IT Analyst (web developer) at Duke University. He grew up in Chapel Hill and now lives in Carrboro with his wife and two children.” Congrats, Andy!