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Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow’s Friday Nooner will include a visit from the CEO of the Readers’ Choice winner of Best Large Startup in the inaugural Greppy Awards. That’s right: none other than Jes Lipson of Real Magic/Levitate, and formerly of ShareFile (acquired by Citrix, natch). You can watch and interact in real time at noon tomorrow on Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

We're Back IRL!

That’s right, the GrepBeat Happy Hour is back! Join us two weeks from today on Thursday, June 10, from 5-7 p.m. at Bull McCabe’s in downtown Durham. (Register here!) The first round will be courtesy of our great sponsor, Hutchison law firm, which last January claimed two prime-weather months—April and October—for GrepBeat Happy Hours only to see neither happen due to that whole global pandemic thing. But shots are going into arms, and maybe into bellies on June 10.
This Happy Hour is especially dedicated to those newish members of the Triangle tech community who have moved here during the pandemic and have basically met almost nobody in person. The local organizers of the inaugural, coming-this-fall Raleigh-Durham Startup Week—which include TechstarsChris Heivly, Archie O’Connor, proud “Pete” NFT owner and former Exit Stories guest Steve Klein, and Momentum CEO/most recent Friday Nooner guest Jessica Mitsch—have been tracking a growing trend of new arrivals, including some who are “boomeranging” back after earlier Triangle stints. That quartet was already planning a June 10 meet-and-greet. Now we will join forces to welcome everyone at the GrepBeat Happy Hour, whether just-off-the-plane or familiar faces that since last March you’ve only gotten to see on Zoom. Register now! (And we’ll also have more Hutchison and Momentum news below.)


Early Detection

Detecting breast cancer early dramatically increases survival rates and self-exams are a great way to do so—especially for younger women who don’t yet receive regular mammograms and/or those for whom accessing mammograms are a challenge. But many women aren’t sure what a worrisome lump even feels like. That’s why Duke senior Beryl Baldwin has launched Caia, a startup that makes the “Curve.” Made out of silicon rubber, the Curve teaches women in a literally hands-on way what they should be looking for so that they can perform self-exams more accurately and confidently.
Caia was recently awarded a MICRO grant from NC IDEA. You can read our full story here.


New Role

Familiar Triangle name/face Donald Thompson is going to be stepping down from his CEO role at digital marketing agency Walk West to assume a fulltime role as CEO of Raleigh-based The Diversity Movement, effective June 1. The move is due to the rapid growth of The Diversity Movement since its inception in late 2019, originally as an initiative within Walk West. Since then, The Diversity Movement has served as a strategic partner to more than 50 organizations in 12 different industries across the nation and ranging in size from fewer than 25 employees to more than 60,000. The company’s mission is to help organizations drive better business outcomes through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). TechWire has more info here.
The Diversity Movement is also hosting a webinar next Thursday, June 3, from 12-1 p.m. ET on why the startup community in particular should care about DEI—and how to do so in a way that delivers better business outcomes. You can register here for the free virtual event.



Raleigh-based Green Places is still operating in stealth mode, but since it recently raised nearly $1M ($975K to be precise) it had to poke its head above ground to file the fundraise with the SEC. Here’s what we can tell you: TechWire says that Green Places is the second startup from Alex Lassiter. He was previously the co-founder of Gather, which made event management software for restaurants and venues and sold to Vista Energy Partners in late 2017, i.e. Year 1 BG (Before GrepBeat). Alex tells TechWire that his new startup will “focus on helping small businesses meet their sustainability goals.”
And here’s a GrepBeat scoop: none other than the GrepBeat Godfather, Joe Colopy, is one of these hush-hush angel investors in Green Places. The more you know!


More In-Person

CED has announced a Demo Day for the second tech cohort of its GRO Incubator on June 30 at the Raleigh WeWork. We mention this in particular because it will be in person, which is the first such event I can remember since the pandemic. Also of note is that we’ve previously profiled two of the five startups that will participate: Cary-based DataCrunch Lab, which helps companies better understand and leverage their data; and Raleigh-based Flux Hybrids, which makes conversion kits that can turn gas-powered cars into hybrid-electric vehicles and was recently the Judges’ Winner for Best On-Campus Startup in the inaugural Greppy Awards for its founders’ NC State ties.



TechWire drilled down on the Crunchbase story that we linked to in Tuesday’s edition that explored the spread of venture dollars across the U.S., with a healthy section on the surge of growth in North Carolina, especially the Triangle. In fact, North Carolina had the second-biggest increase on a percentage basis (410%, behind only Michigan) in VC dollars invested in startups between 2016 and 2020, from $800M to $4.1B. TechWire points out that a big chunk of that $4.1B was due to just a few companies, including $1.5B for Cary’s Epic Games and two raises by Charlotte’s AvidExchange that combined for $572M. That underscores that early-stage funding is still an area that we can improve upon. Read the full TechWire story here.



Raleigh-based software startup ExLattice is joining an accelerator program known for advancing AI-based startups, NVIDIA Inception. (I’m pretty sure it bears no relation to the Christopher Nolan film, which frankly made zero sense. Don’t @ me.) ExLattice provides AI-powered tech to boost advanced manufacturing. It won a $50K SEED grant from NC IDEA in the fall of 2018.


Friends Of GrepBeat

Two nuggets on companies associated with our upcoming Happy Hour (register here!): 1) Happy Hour sponsor Hutchison turns 25 this month. The firm was founded with a special focus on startups from the very beginning by Fred Hutchison and Pete Meets... guest Merrill Mason. Merrill later decamped to Smith Anderson, but Fred is still going strong leading a firm that continues to focus on entrepreneurs. 2) Momentum is offering a low-cost series of beginner/introductory coding classes. The three-part class will meet from 6-7:30 on Wednesday evenings on June 2, 9 and 16. The topic is “What even is Software Development?” All are welcome and no coding experience is necessary. The registration fee is $10, but Momentum is happy to waive it if cost is an issue. Register at these links for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.


Build Better

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!


Extra Bit

The Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics at North Carolina State University is seeking a nine-month non-tenure track Lecturer to take a lead role in the Department’s Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program. Here’s a link to the position. For further information, contact Professor Kelly Zering, Chair of the Search Committee, at


Because too much news is never enough.


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

This week’s winner is John Maddison after he correctly guessed that I was at MOFU Dumpling Shoppe in Raleigh. (Mea culpa for not noticing that “MOFU” was visible on the menu behind me in the picture.) Sayeth John: Here’s me with my youngest daughter, Margaret, who’s showing just how excited she is for her dad to beat the famed GrepBeat random-number generator. I’m a partner and Head of Financial Planning at Balentine, where we focus on helping entrepreneurs make informed financial decisions before, during and after liquidity events. If anyone is considering an exit and wants some independent advice, we should talk, or better yet, grab coffee now that I have a new mug.” Seriously, you should email John here!

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