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Happy Tuesday!

We’d like to welcome GrepBeat’s newest Supporter: former “Where’s Pete?” winner Jesse Jones and Fourscore Business Law. You’ll now be seeing Fourscore’s logo at the bottom of each newsletter. Feeling jealous? We can suggest ways to fix that.

Marketing 101

Marketing guru Frank Pollock is back with a new edition of Marketing 101. Today he sits down (virtually) with Joe Chernov, the newish CMO (he was promoted to the position in February) at Pendo. The Q&A features everything from messaging on the Pendo brand to the specific “stack” of marketing tech tools Joe uses to who’d win a fight between various wild animals. (Give me a tiger over a shark any day, especially if it’s LSU’s Mike The Tiger.) Read the full Q&A here.


Trial Runs

With gyms across the state and much of the country still closed, running—outdoors, natch—has become more popular than ever. That makes it a great time for Embarc to launch the beta of its new running app, which among other things allows you to choose from among detailed routes generated by the platform. (You can sign up here for the free beta, which will be available very soon.) Embarc is one of two running-related startups working out of Duke’s summer accelerator, with the other aiming to generate personalized, holistic training plans for runners. Read our full profile on Embarc here.


Ties That Bind

Hey entrepreneurs, how good is your social network? No, we don’t mean how many people wish you a happy birthday once a year on Facebook, but rather the ties you have with fellow entrepreneurs, mentors and others in the startup ecosystem. As part of a research project funded by the Kauffman Foundation, a group of researchers at NC State have developed a tool to measure network engagement and embeddeness among the Triangle’s entrepreneurs. Similar studies are being performed in Chicago, Knoxville and Oklahoma.

Over 150 business leaders have participated so far, with a goal to have 200 people on the platform by Aug. 1. Your participation would help some of the top researchers in social networks learn how to better support the entrepreneurial community—and everyone who takes part will receive a personalized social network report. The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and your data will be used only for research purposes. You can watch this short video for more info, and take the survey here.


Covid Commerce

TechWire ran a multi-part “special report” yesterday on how Covid-19 is reshaping retail commerce, focusing especially on the rise of ecommerce. In addition to an overall survey of some of the broader trends with specific local examples, there are Q&As with CEOs of two Triangle ecommerce stalwarts who are seeing big boosts in their businesses: ChannelAdvisor CEO David Spitz and Spoonflower CEO Michael Jones. Finally the package includes advice from Ward & Smith attorney Angela Doughty on what companies should consider to keep their websites and mobile apps compliant with the American Disability Act (ADA), which frankly is not something I’d heard of before.


You First

Speaking of TechWire, they also “scooped” us with two stories in the last few days on topics that we also have features about already in the works. Well-played, TechWire, well-played. The two are: 1) Durham-based retail tech startup The Looma Project, which has raised $1.1M in new capital to tell the stories behind consumer brands on point-of-sale tablets in stores. TechWire also has a Q&A with CEO Cole Johnson. 2) Ellen Twomey’s new “You are techY” platform that offers online UX (user experience) design and development courses geared to stay-at-home moms looking to learn and/or brush up on tech skills to re-enter the workforce.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for a deeper GrepBeat dive on both fronts.


Startup Showcase

Six startups from across the state will be participating in a Startup Showcase as part of NC TECH’s annual State of Technology event later this month. The conference, which will be virtual this year, is July 23-24. The six startups were selected for their “potential for growth and impact” and will each give pitches, with the winner to receive a prize package. Just to show that GrepBeat isn’t always beaten to the publishing punch, we’ve already written features on all three Triangle tech startups that have been selected to present: Cary’s Floodlight Software, Raleigh’s Protopia, and Raleigh’s Tango Legal (formerly Civvis). And yes, it’s possible I included this item simply to share that fact.


PPP Scorecard

Yesterday the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department released a pile of information on which companies received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). If you follow Twitter, you know that’s led to a lot of loan-shaming about who had their hand out. Frankly, loan-shaming seems very counter-productive; if indeed a PPP loan helped a company stay afloat and keep its employees on payroll, then great, because that’s precisely what the program was designed to do in these difficult times.

TBJ has rolled out a searchable database of PPP loan recipients of more than $150K, plus a list of the Triangle companies who borrowed $5M or more. TechWire has info on the more than 3,300 PPP loans of $150K or more that were distributed across the Triangle. The most techy name is Durham’s Sportsmedia Technology, which borrowed somewhere north of $5M. The company actually furloughed 35% of its workforce in mid-March, or 44 of 125 employees at its Durham HQ. Here’s hoping the loan helped them bring some of those workers back, or at least prevented further job losses.

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