2020 Triangle Tweener List (OLD)

Note: This is now the old Tweener list and has been replaced by the shiny new 2021 Triangle Tweener List that lives here as of April 8, 2021.

Before you head over there, be sure to sign up for our ‘new for 2021’ Tweener newsletter available here: tweener.substack.com. If you are interested in seeing the older 2020 list that covers the activity from 2019, we leave it here in it’s entirety for historical preservation.

Welcome to the fifth annual Triangle Tweeners List! This list features ~150 startups in the Triangle (the North Carolina high-tech Research Triangle Park corridor that includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) that I call Tweeners. What’s a Tweener? Read on….

Thanks to our Sponsors!

We are proud to be sponsored by two awesome companies in the Triangle startup ecosystem:

http://www.hpg.com

HPG is a full-service accounting firm focused on startups from start to Tweener Graduate. HPG can help you with a variety of startup-needs: augmenting your team, audits, tax help, international expansion, and even personal wealth planning (pro tip: don’t wait until you have an exit/liquidity event to do this ’cause that’s too late). Full disclosure: HPG is our accounting firm at Spiffy and I have utilized them in many other companies and for some personal tax needs.

http://www.RobinsonBradshaw.com

Robinson Bradshaw is a Carolinas-based boutique business law firm with a Silicon Valley-level of startup knowledge. Need help on VC financings, M&A, IP, litigation, people issues, option plans, company formation or any of the other issues we deal with daily in startup-land? Give Robinson Bradshaw a call. Full disclosure: RB is our legal counsel at Spiffy and I have worked with them in many other companies.

Thanks for checking out our sponsors and be sure to let them know you learned about them from the Triangle Tweener list!

In addition to the sponsors, I’d also like to thank the great folks in our Triangle startup community at CED, BCVP, IFP, Cofounders Capital, American Underground, HQ Raleigh, SVB, Square1, WIN, CAN, TAP, DAN and more that have been instrumental in helping keep me updated on all the companies in the Triangle that should be considered for the Triangle Tweener List. This list is definitely a big team effort and wouldn’t be possible without the behind-the-scenes help I get from everyone in the community. Finally, thanks to Elaine Lucca for help with fact checking and Bryan Cooper for some tech help.

What is a Triangle Tweener?

Triangle Tweeners have the following criteria:

  • They must be headquartered in the Triangle.
  • They need to be a technology company — software, hardware, tech-enabled services, digitally native brands, e-commerce, etc. No agencies, or consultancies. No life science (drugs, CRO, medical devices) companies (I wouldn’t know how to help you understand those).
  • Have a minimum of $1,000,000/yr in sales OR 10 people.
  • Once a company is over $80m/yr in revenue or 500 employees they ‘graduate’ off the list.

Think of Triangle Tweeners as the ‘Goldilocks’ companies in the Triangle — not too small and not too large. These are our future breakouts, big fund-raisers, acquisition targets and (fingers crossed) IPOs. Tweeners are also great for folks moving to the area to target for startup gigs, or if you are at a big company locally and want to try something more entrepreneurial — check out a Tweener today!

About the Author

I’m Scot Wingo, Triangle-area serial entrepreneur (Stingray Software, AuctionRover, ChannelAdvisor and Spiffy).

You can find me on Twitter (here) or LinkedIn (here). Full disclosure — I am still Executive Chairman at ChannelAdvisor and Co-founder and CEO of Spiffy (A Triangle Tweener). I also am a LP (Limited Partner or investor) in Bull City Partners, IFP, Co-founders Capital and the Wolfpack Investment Network (aka WIN).

How Can I Help?

First, you can help me spread the list. Second, if you have any Triangle Tweener candidates I missed, let me know (comments, DM, etc.).

2020 Update: The Big Picture

The 2020 Tweener list reflects the activity of 2019, and so-on. I’ve been doing the list in a more data rich format for 3yrs so we have some interesting trends we can look at summarized in this table:

A couple of highlights:

  • Exits are down 71% y/y — On the surface this maybe concerning, but you have to look at it with the investment datapoint in the next bullet. I view it as positive that exits are down, our Tweeners are raising more capital and scaling up to bigger sizes vs. exiting early. That’s a good thing because it means we’ll have more possible graduates.
  • Investments are up 172% — Investments in 2018 were $160m compared to $436m in 2019. Sure you have some whoppers in there, but even number of investment-wise, 2019 was a huge investment years for Tweeners. This is up and down the fundraising cycle. We saw great late stage investments, but also tons of large Series A and seed deals with Pryon’s $20m for a Series A deal busting that bracket.
  • Tweeners up 23% — Because there were so many exits in the 2018 cohort, the net tweener count stayed at 143. In 2019, we ended up with a 23% increase in Tweeners. The math was 143 to start. We lost 11 (5 M+A, 6 off list) and gained 44 for a net of 33 additions.
  • Bottom line — This middle segment of the startup pipeline I call Tweeners that I’ve focused on has never been healthier from top to bottom. We have tons of capital flowing into the category, we have lots of great new startups coming in the top of the funnel. I think we’re setting up for an amazing 2020’s decade for Triangle Tweeners and our overall Triangle entrepreneurial ecosystem! Buckle up!

2020 Update: Acquisitions

In 2018 there was ~$300m in M+A in Tweeners and in 2019 we blew that out of the water with 5 deals that are valued at over $1.4B in M+A activity. Congrats to all the founders, teams and investors on this list, we look forward to hearing about your next Triangle Tweener startups!

  • Prometheus group was acquired by Genstar Capital for over $1B (5/30/19)
  • Samanage was acquired for $350m by SolarWinds (4/12/19)
  • Medfusion acquired by NextGen Healthcare — $43m (11/13/19)
  • CARS acquired by Primeritus Financial Services (amount not revealed) (4/3/19)
  • First acquired by RE/MAX (amount not revealed) (12/21/19)

2020- Update: Wind-downs, too small, etc.

Here are the Tweeners off the list because they either folded, fell below our requirements, moved, etc. Doing what we do is HARD and failing to get to an exit or Graduate status is nothing to be embarrassed about and should be applauded. At least these folks gave it a shot and hopefully they will take another run and knock it out of the park on their second ‘at-bat’.

  • Active Location appears to have ceased operations
  • EmployUS has fallen below the Tweener requirements (headcount)
  • MapMyCustomers- re-domiciled to NYC.
  • MATI Energy — Unfortunately as we were preparing this year’s Tweener List, we learned that MATI has chosen to wind down operations.
  • Organic Transit has reportedly also wound down operations
  • Stealz — Stealz folded but lives on in Epifany

2020 Update: Tweener Financings of Note

In 2018 there was ~$150m in investments in Triangle Tweeners and this year we have more than doubled that with a huge set of great investments:

Note double stars (“**”) indicates that the Tweener is also new to the list this year.

  • $100m — Pendo 10/17/19 — Series E — Sapphire Ventures
  • $75m — Spreedly — 11/13/19 — Spectrum Equity
  • $65m — CloudFactory — 11/20/19 — FTV Capital
  • $53m — ArchiveSocial — 5/8/19 — PE — Level Equity
  • $32m — PrecisionHawk — 12/11/19 — Series E — Millennium Technology Value Partners
  • $20m — Pryon — 6/11/19 — Series A — Rise of the Rest
  • $18m — SignalPath — 10/22/19 — Series B — *Undisclosed
  • $10m — Spiffy — 6/26/19 — Tribeca Venture Partners
  • **$7.75m — Disruptive Enterprises — Series A — One Better Ventures
  • $6m — Phononic — 4/2/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $6m — Levitate (aka Real Magic) 6/1/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $5m — Eton Solutions — 6/7/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $4.7m Allstacks — 12/4/19 — Hyperplane Venture Capital
  • **$4.7m- FISCAL Technologies — 12/17/19 — Octopus Investments (EU based)
  • **$4.7m — Higharc — 5/9/19 — Pillar VC
  • $3.6m — MATI — 6/13/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $3.5m — KEEN — 4/9/19 — Spring Mountain Capital
  • **$3.4m — Terra Dotta — 5/16/19 — LNC Partners
  • ** $2m — InsightFinder — 12/21/19 (got in just under the wire!) — IDEA Fund Partners (IFP) led
  • **$1.5m — Klearly — 10/17/19 — IDEA Fund Partners (IFP)
  • $1.2m — Memberhub — 9/20/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $1.1m — Silbo — 10/29/19 — Dantes Investment, IDEA Fund Partners (IFP)
  • $1.1m — Improved Nature — 1/13/19 — *Undisclosed
  • **$2m — SWIR (debt and investment) — 12/19/19 — *Undisclosed
  • $1m — Element451–10/10/19 — Cofounders Capital
  • $1m Feedtrail — 5/30/19 — Dioko Ventures
  • **$1m Zynbit — 1/2/19 — River SaaS Capital
  • **800k — Liine — *Undisclosed

2020 Update: New to the Tweener list:

We’ve also discovered 43 new Tweeners that we’re adding to the list this year. Note: you can search for the new additions by searching for “New for 2020!”

  • AllStacks
  • Aqueti
  • CData Software
  • Coworks
  • CureMint
  • D-wise
  • Disruptive Enterprises
  • Epifany
  • Eventops
  • FISCAL Technologies
  • Green Energy Corp
  • Growers Holdings
  • Hi Fidelity Genetics
  • Higharc
  • IdeaBlock
  • InHerSight
  • InsightFinder
  • Investiquant
  • Kaleido
  • Klearly
  • Liine
  • Limited Run Games
  • Logistiview
  • Looma Project
  • Pattern Health
  • Plasma Games
  • Primal Space Systems
  • Pro-ficiency
  • PROVEIT
  • REIN
  • Revibe Technologies
  • Sitation
  • Stitchgolf
  • SWIR Vision Systems
  • Tanjo, Inc.
  • Terra Dotta
  • The Climate Service
  • Trade Pending
  • Trill AI
  • Tyrata
  • USAT Corp
  • Weaveup
  • Well Dot
  • Zynbit

Finally: The 2020 Triangle Tweener List

(Drum roll please!) Now without further adieu here is the 2020 Tweener List. The list is in alphabetical order and includes a ‘pitch’ for the company (my take on how I would describe them in 2–4 sentences). The size (data sourced from LinkedIn), the investors (data sourced from Crunchbase, GrepBeat, WRAL, etc.), the CEO’s name and a link to the LinkedIn page for the company if you’d like to learn more.

Note you can search for “Updated for 2020” to see what’s new or simply “2020” to see what’s new AND changed.

3 Birds Marketing
Pitch: What happens when you apply modern SaaS MarTech (Marketing Technology) to the car dealer world? 3 Birds is what happens! A big feather in the 3 Birds cap (see what I did there?) is that they are in the Honda and Acura preferred vendor programs.
Size: 100
Investors: none
CEO: Kristen Judd
LinkedIn

6Fusion
Pitch: 6Fusion of Raleigh is standardizing the economic measurement of IT infrastructure and cloud services. It was founded in 2008.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $26M from two investors, Intersouth Partners and Grotech Ventures
CEO: John Cowan
LinkedIn

Academic Benchmarking Consortium
Pitch: Let’s say you are in higher education and want to benchmark your institution (probably a university) against other universities. ABC Insights does that for you. They have over 20 of the nation’s top universities in the benchmark and operate right out of Chapel Hill.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Beisser
LinkedIn

Adwerx
Pitch: A local/vertical ad:tech (advertising technology) company that in early 2015 spun out of ReverbNation. This Durham team is making it easier for hyper-local verticals (real estate is the first one) to take advantage of the latest advertising technologies.
Size: 100–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $5.5m that includes Bull City Venture Partners, GroTech, Boulder Ventures, Advancit Capital, SeventySix Capital
CEO: Jed Carlson
LinkedIn

Adzerk
Pitch: There are a variety of ad servers out there, but large publishers have very specific needs. They could build their own ad servers, but the costs are prohibitive. Enter Adzerk, an AdTech (advertising technology) company. Adzerk gives publishers a set of APIs that allow them to build their own custom servers and then Adzerk takes care of the complexity on the back end. This creates the best of both worlds: customization capabilities plus scalability at a great price.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $1.7m from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Brian Handly (of Reveal Mobile) and other angels including TAP (Triangle Angel Partners)
CEO: James Avery
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
AllStacks
Pitch: Today’s engineering teams use a complex set of tools to hit peak performance. The challenge for a manager and other leaders in the business is that they lose visibility into what’s going on with various projects because all of the data is spread around. AllStacks pulls in all of your engineering data into one place and then analyzes the data to detect and avoid any problems.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Hersh Tapadia
LinkedIn

Appraisal Nation
Pitch: If you have ever bought a house, you had to have an appraisal done. AppraisalNation is both a marketplace of appraisers nation-wide and the software platform they use to create and deliver the appraisals.
Size: 100–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Michael Tedesco **Updated for 2020
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Aqueti
Pitch: Aqueti has invented a 100 megapixel resolution camera called Mantis with a very wide range of view. This type of technology has tons of use cases and Aqueti has started in the security space. For example, you could have one camera in a stadium that could see everything in half the stadium at very high resolution. This would replace a system of tens or hundreds of cameras.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: David Brady
LinkedIn

ArchiveSocial
Pitch: You have a business that is active on social media (aren’t we all?!), but you are in an industry that has document and record-keeping requirements (like finance, healthcare, government, legal, etc.). ArchiveSocial, a Durham startup founded in 2011, automatically pulls, records and archives all of your social media so you are compliant with all the relevant requirements.
Size: 50–100
Investors: $53m round in 2019 from Level Equity **Updated for 2020
CEO: Ray Carey **Updated for 2020 (Anil Chawla stepped down as CEO)
LinkedIn

Arya/Leoforce
Pitch: The family of software that is used by HR departments to recruit, reward and retain talent is called HRIS or HRTech (or PeopleTech). Arya (by Leoforce) uses AI to sort through those thousands of applicants and surface the best candidates. Machine learning trains the system to get better over time. Arya is the world’s first AI recruiting platform, born right here in the Triangle (Raleigh).
Size: 50–100
Investors: none
CEO: Madhu Mogudu
LinkedIn

Boostopia
Pitch: Running a customer support organization is tough and you end up with data all over the place (ticketing system, CRM system, phone system, etc.). Boostopia solves that by putting it all in one place. The result? Customer service managers can better serve customers because they have a 360 degree view of the entire CS function.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Justin Winter
LinkedIn

BrightDoor Systems
Pitch: If you are a real estate developer and you have a great new neighborhood, you need a complete CRM/digital marketing system to help you promote and manage your sales force and customer data. BrightDoor, founded in 2005 in Cary, provides a SaaS platform for the builder industry.
Size: 10–50
Investors: none
CEO: Michael Worthington
LinkedIn

Bright Wolf
Pitch: Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be huge and Bright Wolf is a Durham company with a lot of traction in the space. Imagine that everything had a sensor on it. If a generator in a factory is going out, a sensor could raise an alert so a second generator could take over while a maintenance dude comes out to fix generator 1. Bright Wolf’s platform enables this type of machine-to-machine (m2m) automation, and is used heavily in the transportation industry.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Peter Bourne
LinkedIn

Broadvine
Pitch: The Triangle is home to Winston Hospitality — a very large hotel developer and operator. Chances are you have stayed in one of their properties. To help manage such a large portfolio, Winston developed SaaS hospitality software. After dogfooding the software, they spun it out as a separate company called Broadvine. Now Broadvine serves over 1000 properties world-wide.
Size: 50–100
Investors: none
CEO: Lexton Raleigh **Updated for 2020 (previous Shawn Barber)
LinkedIn

Brooks Bell Interactive
Pitch: Brooks Bell Interactive started in 2003 and helps companies perform A/B testing and optimize their ‘whatever they want to optimize’ online — conversions, sales, etc. Full disclosure — Brooks was an intern for us back in 1999 and I take 100% credit for all her success since then. Brooks is also one of the co-founders of HQ Raleigh.
Size: 50–110
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Gregory Ng **Updated for 2020 (previous CEO Brooks Bell)
LinkedIn

Allbridge (previously Bulk Internet and TV)
Pitch: Have you ever stayed in a hotel and wondered how they have Satellite TV in every room? The answer is Allbridge. They make (sell and install) the technology that pulls the signal down and then pipes it into every room in a hotel, office park, apartment building, dorm, etc. Based in Raleigh, Allbridge has quietly and without funding created a very big recurring revenue business. In 2019, Bulk TV merged with DCI and EthoStream to form the new company Allbridge.
Size: 200–300
Investors: none
CEO: David O’Connell
LinkedIn

Bee Downtown
Pitch: Bees, the producers of yummy honey, but also the chief pollinators of the insect-world, are dying off at an alarming pace from something called Colony Collapse Disorder. NCSU student and 4th-generation beekeeper, Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, came up with a great idea. What if you could get corporations and their employees that care about the plight of the humble bumble bee to get involved? Bee Downtown was born! Corporations can sign up for a variety of different hive options and Bee Downtown, installs them, takes care of them, does tours and educational sessions and finally delivers the honey to the company. Everyone wins, and bees get a fighting chance at survival.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Leigh-Kathryn Bonner
LinkedIn

CandleScience
Pitch: CandleScience is a Durham e-commerce company that helps candle-making enthusiasts find the supplies they need and enjoy the experience of making something with their own hands. It was founded in 2004.
Size: 11–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Daniel Swimm
LinkedIn

Canopy
Pitch: An on-demand company in Raleigh that operates a marketplace for home care services like lawn maintenance, pest control, gutter cleaning and pressure washing. It was founded in 2014.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $3.9M from Cofounders Capital, IFP, Sovereign’s Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Lowe’s Companies
CEO: Hunt Davis
LinkedIn

Carpe Lotion
Pitch: Let’s face it, as humans we sweat. In fact the startup-world is full of crazy levels of stress so if you are reading this, unfortunately I think we’re part of a group of people that sweats more than average. Antiperspirant technology has focused entirely on the underarms. Until…Carpe! Carpe is building a total body sweat management system targeting areas such as sweaty hands and feet. Carpe is selling direct to consumers through Amazon and their products are frequently in the top 10 against national brands.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Carolina Angel Network (CAN) and Triangle Angel Partners (TAP)
CEO: David Spratte
LinkedIn

Carusele
Pitch: Spun out of the agency Ignite Social Media in 2015, Cary-based Carusele creates and distributes organic social media content for brands and retailers.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $750K from undisclosed investors
President: Jim Tobin (also CEO of Ignite Social Media)
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
CData Software
Pitch: SaaS software is great, but we end up with little pockets of data all over the place. Then you may have legacy data in an old-school relational database like Oracle or Progress. How are you going to stitch all this together? Enter CData. CData has a ‘zero code or codeless’ (this is a big buzzword these days) Data Virtualization solution that connects to over 100 different data sources so you can access all of your data regardless of legacy or modern platform.
Size: 50–75
Investors: none
CEO: Amit Sharma
LinkedIn

CloudFactory
Pitch: There are people all over the planet interested in doing tasks for companies on a part-time, as-needed basis. Amazon created a system — Mechanical Turk — to automate this. But it leaves a lot to be desired and is very specific to Amazon’s needs. Enter CloudFactory, which moved its headquarters from Nepal to Durham in 2014. CloudFactory has created some custom workflows for text-to-digital, audio-to-digital and CRM cleanup. This gives companies a turnkey way to solve these types of problems without building their own solutions. A cool thing is its social mission — it contracts with thousands of underemployed “cloudworkers” in cities in Africa.
Size: 100 (more on LI due to their ‘gig workers’)
Investors: $65m from FTV Capital in last round **Updated for 2020
CEO: Mark Sears
LinkedIn

CompostNow
Pitch: Do you want to be Earth-friendly but don’t have room or time to compost? CompostNow to the rescue! You simply place your compostable waste into a bin provided by CompostNow and they pick it up on a regular schedule and take it to their mega compost facility. They also bring the fertile composted soil back to you immediately so you don’t have to wait for Mother Nature to take her time.
Size: 50–100 **Updated for 2020
Investors: undisclosed angels
CEO: Justin Senkbeil
LinkedIn

CoreCompete LLC
Pitch: Provider of agile Big Data analytics on top of Amazon Web Services and SAS. Core Compete delivers pricing analytics, customer analytics and merchandising/supply chain solutions. It’s four years old and based in Durham.
Size: 200–400 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Shiva Kommareddi
LinkedIn

Corevist
Pitch: Sam Bayer was at HAHT from 1997 to 2000 in the early days of e-commerce. He then worked at SciQuest and MarketAcuity. In 2008, he launched Corevist (aka b2b2dot0) in Raleigh. Corevist helps SAP users connect their back-office ERP to more modern e-commerce platforms.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Sam Bayer
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Coworks
Pitch: Coworking space is the new way to rent space. It offers both flexibility and affordability, so it’s no wonder companies from startups to Fortune 500 love it. If you’re WeWork, you can afford to build your own software to manage your coworking space and community, but what if you’re not? That’s where Raleigh-based Coworks come in. NCSU grad, DeShawn Brown founded Coworks and incubated the idea at Techstars ATL in 2019 and is back in the Triangle scaling it up.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: DeShawn Brown
LinkedIn

Creative Allies
Pitch: Creative Allies operates a marketplace for crowdsourcing amazing content. Over 12,000 creators are active on the platform and have created over 17,000 assets. Let’s say you are a local bar and you want to have a St. Patrick’s day promotion. You can go onto Creative Allies and start a design contest and award $250 to the winner. Designers come and create the design and you award a winner. Contests range from this type of a local example all the way to national brands leveraging the power of crowdsourcing to work with the latest talent.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Donald Thompson
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
CureMint
Pitch: As dental organizations scale up, they need a centralized supplies procurement platform to control and analyze costs. That’s where Durham-based CureMint comes in. Their software gives the staff at dental offices a simple to use, intuitive shopping experience. At the same time, the administrators can measure and manage spend like a much larger company.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Brandon Patrick McCarty
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
D-wise
Pitch: Part of the development pipeline for drug companies (aka ‘Big Pharma’) is clinical trials. D-wise’s software accelerates the clinical trial process and makes the process more transparent. The savings are so substantial, D-wise has been able to sign-up the big of the big pharma co’s, so keep an eye on them.
Size: 50–100
Investors: none
CEO: John Leveille
LinkedIn

DataClarity
Pitch: We are swimming in data. In fact, you are reading data right now. Data, data, data! DataClarity provides a Analytics and Data Science Platform. The DataClarity solution seems to appeal to a wide variety of industries and ‘plays well’ with the Cognos/IBM data warehouse systems.
Size: 50–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Mark Mueller
LinkedIn

Davinci/LCMS Plus
Pitch: Spun out of Duke University in 2010, Durham-based LCMS+ is an online edu-tech Size: 10–15
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Allison Wood
LinkedIn

Devada
Pitch: Developers are always looking for communities where they can find folks working on similar problems and share their challenges and findings. Dzone is a community of over 1m developers that enjoy fresh content, message boards and other community features.
Size: 50–200
Investors: SFW Capital Partners
CEO: Terry Waters **Updated for 2020 (previous CEO Matt Tormollen)
LinkedIn

Device Magic
Pitch: There are many industries such as (retail, construction, facilities, telecom) where folks are out and about doing things like inspections, inventory counts, maintenance, and things of that nature. If you want to know what they are doing, you need to arm them with a device and an optimized, low-friction ‘form’. As they are filling it out, you?ll want a variety of ways to know what’s going on and see an aggregate view of all the data. That’s exactly what Device Magic does.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Dusan Babich
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Disruptive Enterprises
Pitch: I personally believe the Triangle needs a big direct-to-consumer (DTC)/consumer product goods (CPG) win to put us squarely in the echelon of top startup cities. That’s why I’m really excited to see Disruptive Enterprises come on the scene in a big way. There are three founders: Mike McCandless (CIO), Mike Hockenberry (CEO) and Brian Kinn (CFO). These guys have too deep CPG experience for me to go into here, but suffice it to say they are 100% DTC legit. Disruptive has a family of brands and their first offerings are: FBomb — fat-smart nut butters and oils, Primaforce — supplements and Ketologic — keto-diet friendly meal replacements and supplements. These guys have experience, great products and in 2019 they raised ~$8m from One Better Ventures, so they have all the ingredients to scale up quickly.
Size: 20–30
Investors: Raised $7.5m from One Better Ventures
CEO: Mike Hockenberry
LinkedIn

Diveplane
Pitch: AI and machine learning are all the rage. But, we’ve all seen the Terminator, or read hundreds of sci-fi stories (or seen Black Mirror) where the AI’s decide, hmmm humans are kind of a problem, let’s take over the world (looking at you Skynet). Diveplane’s goal is to make responsible AIs that not only do cool AI stuff, but they are open and transparent.
Size: 20–50
Investors: $4.2m from a variety of angel investors and Presence Capital. Mike was CEO of Epic from 2004–2013, so this company has the attention of some very large investors. Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor.
CEO: Mike Capps
LinkedIn

Dropsource
Pitch: This Raleigh startup provides a drag-and-drop interface for creating native mobile apps for both iOS and Android. The founder dropped out of Syracuse University in 2013 and moved to the Triangle in 2014 to grow the company. With a November 2015 funding round, it rebranded from Queue Software to Dropsource.
Size: 11–50
Investors: $10.9m in 3 rounds, investors unknown
CEO: Nate Freschette **Updated for 2020 (previous CEO Ben Saren)
LinkedIn

Element451
Pitch: Let’s say you run admissions at a higher education institution. You have 400 openings and 4,000–10,000 applications are flying at you every year. How do you manage this process? Enter element451. Element451 provides a SaaS admissions CRM system for a data-driven higher-ed admissions process. Who visited, who has accepted, who called you a million times and stopped by your house -keep all that data in one place and get better at the admissions process
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Raised $1m in 2019 from Cofounders Capital
CEO: Ardis Kadiu
LinkedIn

Entigral Systems
Pitch: A Raleigh IoT company that uses RFID technology to track assets, shipping and receiving of goods and the production process.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $1.67M in four rounds from Triangle Angel Partners
CEO: Mark Self
LinkedIn

Entrinsik
Pitch: This 33-year-old Raleigh software firm sells business intelligence software to 1,500 companies and organizations in higher education, insurance, manufacturing, nonprofits, healthcare and more. It was founded by CEO Doug Leupen.
Size: 11–50
Investors: $1.5M from Research Triangle Ventures and Catalysta Partners in 2001
CEO: Doug Leupen
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Epifany
Pitch: Overwhelming data shows that in today’s complex world of consumer choice, it’s smarter to spend money on the customer experience (CX) than marketing. The mantra is CX is the new marketing. The challenge though is how do you get feedback from customers on how you’re doing and how to improve your CX? That’s where Epifany comes in. Their platform allows restaurants, sports/entertainment teams and venues and health and fitness clubs to ask their customers quickly and easily via surveys via sms or proximity beacons. Then they utilize AI (Artificial Intelligence) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to give you insights on how to improve your CX.
Size: 20–30
Investors: none
CEO: Jim Zidar
LinkedIn

eTailInsights
Pitch: When Darren Pierce was at Bronto, he realized that cold calling online retailers was a tough business. He left and founded eTailInsights to solve this problem. The 2011-founded Cary company gathers a large database of online retailers and their contacts to help vendors get their products in front of the right audience.
Size: 30–60 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Darren Pierce
LinkedIn

eTix
Pitch: I don’t know much about the founding of eTix, but Joe Kustelski was head of product before he left to start Rockhouse Partners. eTix then acquired Rockhouse in 2012 and Joe was CEO from 2012–2015. In late 2015, original founder Travis Janovich led a management buyout. eTix provides digital ticketing for venues (think TicketMaster but for smaller venues). You can’t go see a band or milk a cow at the Fair in RTP without ringing its cash register. This Durham company processes over 50 million tickets per year across 1800 venues globally.
Size: 100–300
Investors: $1 million from 1 investor — Bull City Venture Partners
CEO: Travis Janovich
LinkedIn

Eton Solutions
Pitch: There are wealthy families across the world that are taking control of their finances and setting up family offices. A local family office developed software for managing all of their assets and investments and decided to license it. Eton Solutions was born! Category: SaaS FinTech
Size: 50–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Raised $5m in 2019 from undisclosed sources **Updated for 2020
CEO: Robert Mallernee
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Eventops
Pitch: Let’s say you are a large company and you put on a lot of events like user conferences, developer conferences, etc. There’s software out there for managing events, but you have one vendor for the CRM, one for attendee management and another that gives attendees their schedules and apps and what-not. Enter EventOPS. Their SaaS-based software has all the features an organization of any size needs to manage all aspects of an event.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Willy Stewart
LinkedIn

Exit Intelligence
Pitch: Retailers and others pay big $$ to get visitors to their websites. When they leave, Exit Intelligence provides behavior marketing that turns bounced traffic into customers.
Size: 20–30
Investors: none
CEO: Matt Cimino
LinkedIn

FeedTrail
Pitch: FeedTrail is a HealthTech that lets caregivers get feedback from patients on how they are doing (how do I tell every doctor I visit that they are never on time?!, but I digress) so they can improve the customer experience. Feedtrail has made a ton of progress in a short time, so keep an eye on this one!
Size: 10–20
Investors: In 2019 Raised $1m from Cofounders Capital and Dioko Ventures **Updated for 2020
CEO: Paul Jaglowski
LinkedIn

Feelgoodz
Pitch: On a trip, the founders discovered amazing flip-flops created from 100% natural rubber. They realized that US consumers would love sustainable, socially conscious products that also were better than traditional offerings. Feelgoodz was born and has expanded not only from their small office on Glenwood but also to other categories plus their e-commerce game is quite strong.
Size: 30–40
Investors: Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor
CEO: Mark Saad
LinkedIn

Field2Base
Pitch: If you have people in the field (maintenance, etc.) they need to be able to capture information and send it back to HQ. Field2Base has solutions for that.
Size: 11–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Ed White **Updated for 2020 (previous: Thomas Bright)
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
FISCAL Technologies
Pitch: As companies get larger, more and more people are involved in purchasing everything from supplies to equipment and components for their solutions, etc. FISCAL has software that monitors all of that activity at a forensic level and helps look for duplicate purchases, potential internal and external fraud as well as highlighting risks from potential risky vendors. FISCAL has over 250 customers and has monitored over $7 trillion (that’s a T and not a B folks!) in spend through its platform.
Size: 80–100
Investors: Splashes onto the Tweener list with a $4.7m investment from Octopus Investments
CEO: David Griffiths
LinkedIn

FoodLogiQ
Pitch: In today’s world of possible noro-virus and e-coli outbreaks, food safety and traceability are huge priorities. FoodLogiQ provides a SaaS platform for managing the complete food supply chain and has more than 1900 customers with 18,000 locations as customers since its 2006 founding. It’s based in Durham
Size: 50–100 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $30.8m raised from Testo, Tyson Ventures and Renewal Funds.
CEO: Sean O’Leary
LinkedIn

FotoSwipe
Pitch: Sharing pictures and media directly on your mobile devices is complicated. You can email them or text them, but that can be cumbersome. Apple’s cloud and Android/Google don’t ‘play nice together. But FotoSwipe is a mobile app that lets you seamlessly swipe photos between any device.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1M in three rounds from Cofounders Capital and Tom Lotrecchiano
CEO: Sylvain Dufour
LinkedIn

Freedom
Pitch: The average person in the US looks at their phone 74 times a day. Now you want to look at your phone don’t you? Ok, go ahead, I’ll wait… Welcome back. Ok that feeling you just felt? It’s no secret that smartphones and apps have been purposely designed to be addictive. They give you a little shot of dopamine and boom you are hooked. Enter: Freedom. Freedom helps you break the cycle. You can use Freedom to turn off all the notifications and other distractions in your life that keep you from being productive. Now, try not to look at your phone for the next 90 minutes and if you can’t, it maybe time to give Freedom a try.
Size: 10–20
Investors: 350k seed round in 2015. Investors include Robbie Allen, Mark Easley, Henry Copeland, MDO ventures, and Pilot Mountain Ventures.
CEO: Fred Stutzman
LinkedIn

Get Spiffy
Pitch: An on-demand mobile app that allows you to schedule an at-work and at-home car wash or other preventative maintenance within minutes, founded in 2014. All communication and payment is handled through the app making this the most convenient way for you to keep your car Spiffy. The company is based in Durham.
Size: 50–100 *Updated for 2020
Investors: Tribeca Venture Partners, Bull City Ventures Partners, IFP, Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) are investors.
CEO: Scot Wingo
LinkedIn
Full disclosure: I’m a founder, investor and CEO of this company.

Global Data Consortium
Pitch: In many lines of business, you need to verify the identify of your customers and trading partners. GDC gathers information into the cloud and provides a SaaS system that delivers Electronic Identify Verification. There are other uses for the system such as data cleansing and address verification.
Size: 30–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Bill Spruill
LinkedIn

Global Value Commerce (aka Global Golf)
Pitch: Ed Byman was a pro golfer on the PGA tour and in 2001 realized there was an opportunity to sell golf equipment online. He’s built GVC into a global golf company carefully tucked away here in Raleigh. Full disclosure — this is a ChannelAdvisor customer.
Size: 100–200
Investors: $500k from Southern Capitol Ventures
CEO: Ed Byman
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Green Energy Corp
Pitch: There’s a ton of innovation going on around alternative energy sources. Solar power, battery technology, smart meters, smart grids and more. Green Energy has created the GreenBus Microgrid Solution to provide a SaaS solution to pull all of this together in one system. After many companies in the ‘CleanTech’ space went under in 2000–2010, the space was very hard, but now it has come back and Green Energy appears to be well positioned.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Peter Gregory
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Growers Holdings
Pitch: With our proud heritage in agriculture, NC is a top area for AgTech (Agriculture Technology) startups. Growers’ technology allows farmers to pull in all their historic data on their crops and fields and then look at different options for what to grow and when, and finally look at the various possible financial outcome scenarios. The end result: a single software platform for farmers to completely optimize and monitor their farms.
Size: 30–50
Investors: none
CEO: Steven Valencsin
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Hi Fidelity Genetics
Pitch: With our proud heritage in agriculture, NC is a top area for AgTech (Agriculture Technology) startups. Hi Fidelity Genetics (HFG) uses data science, DNA sequencing and IoT sensors to optimize crop yields through plant breeding.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Philip Benfey
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Higharc
Pitch: Building a house is an overwhelming process and usually designed ‘backwards’. You look at plans and find ones you like that may or may not meet your needs. Higharc has software that allows you to ‘flip’ the process and start with your needs and then generate 3D plans from there. With the 3D plans, you can visualize your plans completely to ‘try on’ the design of your house. You could even envision this pared with virtual reality to take home design to the next level. Higharc has raised ~$5m to bring their idea to life.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Raised $4.7m from Pillar VC in 2019
CEO: Marc Minor
LinkedIn

Hip Ecommerce
Pitch: Mega e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon are so big they don’t provide great verticalized shopping experiences. Hip Ecommerce’s CEO Mark Rosenberg is a stamp and comic collector. He grew frustrated with this fact and decided to change it. Hip Commerce builds vertical marketplaces (comics, postcards and stamps so far) that are heavily customized for the collector. Want that near-mint condition, CGC graded, Amazing Spider-Man number 300? Go to Hipcomic.com and find that puppy faster than you can anywhere else.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Mark Rosenberg
LinkedIn

icimo LLC
Pitch: In today’s world, your business throws off more data than ever. Commercial analytics platforms like Tableau, SAS, etc. help, but icimo, of Apex, provides custom analysis templates and a best practice methodology on top of those platforms. It’s used by the retail, banking/finance and healthcare industries, founded in 2010.
Size: 20–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Bryce Gartner
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
IdeaBlock
Pitch: There’s lots of hype (some would say too much) around Bitcoin and crypto-currencies. But, most agree the underlying technology, blockchain, is going to dramatically change enterprise software and other industries by providing a decentralized ledger of activities. Ideablock is using blockchain to protect intellectual property. Let’s say you come up with a novel idea. In the past, the best way to document and ‘start the clock’ on your invention was to start the expensive patent process. IdeaBlock allows you to upload your idea to their decentralized system and create an immutable time stamp in the blockchain.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Eli Sheets
LinkedIn

Imangi Studios
Pitch: We all love to play mini-games on our phones, but did you know that one of the top studios in this category was born and raised right here in the Triangle? Ever heard of Temple Run? Yep, that’s an Imangi game and they are based right here in the Triangle!! I would write more, but I have to go get some coins and multipliers and crush my last high score.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Keith Shepherd
LinkedIn

Improved Nature
Pitch: Because of the cost and environmental impact of meat, one of the hottest category in consumer product goods is plant-based meat alternatives. Improved nature here in the triangle has developed technology that gives plant-based meats the same texture as real meat, dramatically improving the functionality of meat alternatives.
Size: 50–100 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $1.1m additional raised in 2019 Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) is an investor. **Updated for 2020
CEO: Rody Hawkins (Fun fact — he’s the ‘father of lunchables!”)
LinkedIn

Infina Connect
Pitch: Infina Connect is a SaaS platform that automates and optimizes the physician referral network system. Founded in 2010, it’s based in Cary.
Size: 10–50
Investors: >$1.9M in three rounds, investors undisclosed
CEO: Mark Hefner
LinkedIn

Infinia ML
Pitch: There’s a lot of hype around AI and Machine Learning — some would say too much hype. Infinia ML breaks through the hype and uses machine learning secret sauce born out of Duke to solve real-world problems.
Size: 20–50
Investors: $10m from Carrick Capital Partners
CEO: Robbie Allen
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
InHerSight
Pitch: Durham-based InHerSight is focused on creating better workplaces for women. They do this by allowing working women to rate thousands of businesses on criteria that are top priorities to women. On the employer-side, you can get valuable data on what areas are not only important to female applicants, but where you are doing well vs. where you need to improve to attract and retain more female team members.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Ursula Mead
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
InsightFinder
Pitch: A big area of innovation in developing software is devops — the stuff that happens with your code when you ‘ship’ it to production and also make sure your site stays up. Splunk, DataDog and New Relic are all examples of very big public co’s in this space. InsightFinder has put together a stellar team and married it with technology that has 15yrs of research behind it. The result — they are able to use modern AI to look at your production data and predict when problems are going to happen. Try this pitch out at your next cocktail party-> InsightFinder uses patented anomaly detection algorithms to detect true anomalies and reduce spurious alerts.
Size: 10–20
Investors: IDEA Fund Partners (IFP)
CEO: Xiaohui (Helen) Gu
LinkedIn

InterviewUp/ThinkOptimal/OptimalResume
Pitch: ThinkOptimal offers several products that allow job seekers to optimize their resumes and prepare for interviews. This is in the HRIS category of software. (Human Resource Information System)
Size: 20–30
Investors: none
CEO: Dave McNasby
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Investiquant
Pitch: Scott Andrews has been in the Triangle startup scene since starting SciQuest back in ’95. His latest venture, Cary-based Investiquant, provides independent (not tied to a specific brokerage) software for stock traders. Professional traders have access to the latest quantitative algorithms and technologies that allow you to create a trade idea, back-test it and then roll it out. Investiquant democratizes trading by providing the same technologies to individual traders or small/medium size traders.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Scott Andrews
LinkedIn

JouleBug
Pitch: Making the world more sustainable sounds easy, but what small changes an you make in your everyday habits to make a difference? JouleBug is an app that lets you measure your impact, get ideas on improved sustainability and you’ll earn buzz points.
Size: 11–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Grant Willard
LinkedIn

K4Connect
Pitch: Scott Moody’s previous company created the technology that is now used by Apple (via acquisition) for its Touch ID finger print sensor. Now in Raleigh, Scott’s newest company (founded 2014) has an IoT platform that allows it to rapidly develop and release solutions oriented towards the older adult market. It’s got a contract to roll out the technology in senior living communities across Pennsylvania and is starting to expand to others with new funding.
Size: 50–100
Investors: In 2019, K4Connect raised an additional $12m in 2018 for a total of $22m from investors including AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, Better Ventures, Stephen Morton and Ben Yu
CEO: F. Scott Moody
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Kaleido
Pitch: Let’s say a large company has a great idea that would rely on an enterprise-grade blockchain solution. There are many solutions out there, but they all have limitations. Open-source puts all the work in your hands. Blockchain-as-a-service providers sound good but lock you into one platform and cloud platform. Kaleido has developed a solution that is full-stack and cross-platform so it doesn’t have the downsides of other blockchain offerings.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Cerveny
LinkedIn

Keen Decision Systems
Pitch: Helping CMO’s understanding the efficacy of their marketing is big business and the entire category is called MarTech. Keen provides SaaS software for measuring marketing performance and then uses machine learning to formulate a plan to achieve goals.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $3.5m round in 2019 from Spring Mountain Capital
CEO: Greg Dolan
LinkedIn

Keona Health
Pitch: This Chapel Hill-based healthcare IT company allows patients to communicate more directly with caregivers than using existing processes. Think of it as chat/messaging for your doctor.
Size: 50–110
Investors: $2.5M from Blueprint Health
CEO: Oakkar Oakkar
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Klearly
Pitch: The Triangle has a rich history of MarTech (Marketing Technology) and the latest startup on the scene is Klearly. Klearly uses data science and machine learning technology to help sales and marketing teams quantify what’s working and recommends the optimal actions to drive sales and marketing economically. With Idea Fund Partners as a backer and over $2m raised, Klearly has a lot of momentum heading into 2020.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.5m raised in 2019 led by Idea Fund Partners (IFP)
CEO: Alex Krawchick
LinkedIn

LearnPlatform
Pitch: Schools have a portfolio of software platforms and programs these days, which is great for students but hard for educators to manage. Raleigh-based Lea(R)n, founded in 2014, seeks to solve this problem with a platform and content that helps administrators and educators manage the ed-tech suite.
Size: 11–50
Investors: $4m raised from: Emerson Collective, AT&T, Edovate, Gregg Burt, Jean Hammond, Kaplan, Techstars
CEO: Karl Rectanus
LinkedIn

Levitate . **Updated for 2020 (Real Magic -> Levitate)
Pitch: He’s back…..! Jesse Lipson knocked it out of the park when he sold Sharefile to Citrix. Then he convinced Citrix to bring a bazillion jobs to the Triangle and build a fancy building in the Raleigh warehouse area (he’s crazy everyone said, nobody will want to work in the warehouse area!). Bam- that became the hottest area in Raleigh. I mention all this, because the data clearly says when Jesse does something, he has a 100 batting average (that’s good for my fellow nerds), so you should take notice. With his second startup outing, Real Magic whose product is Levitate, Jesse is bringing enterprise CRM features to the small/micro business. Levitate integrates with your email program and helps you remember to build your relationships. “Hey, you haven’t talked to Tony in 2wks…Remember that Joe told you his daughter is graduating in early June!” stuff like that. In today’s hyper-noisy and connected World, relationships matter even more than later. **Updated for 2020-> Lots of momentum here over the last yr,
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $6m Series A **Updated for 2020 previously bootstrapped by the Bank of Jesse
CEO: Jesse Lipson
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Liine
Pitch: Let’s say you operate an elective surgery practice like lasik. Any improvement in conversion can be the difference between break-even and profits. Liine provides software that monitors calls, makes optimization recommendations and measures the results. Finally, Liine can provide automated incentives to the staff to help drive more appointments.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Raised $800k in 2019 from undisclosed investors
CEO: Bradley Blaser
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Limited Run Games
Pitch: As video games are increasingly going digital, some gamers crave physical media. Limited Run Games publishes limited edition previously digital-only games on physical media. Everything with a vintage/nostalgic connection is becoming collectible (shoes anyone?), and LRG is riding a huge wave with their clever strategy.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Josh Fairhurst
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Logistiview
Pitch: There’s a lot of hype around Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), but not a lot of real-world applications outside of gaming. Logitiview is applying AR technologies to real-world problems like logistics/warehouses/fulfillment centers. Imagine an AR display that the warehouse worker can wear that shows virtual arrows on the ground to guide you to the product and then highlights it in your glasses and then uses image recognition to 100% verify you picked the right product for the order. The result would be not only a dramatic increase in efficiency, but also accuracy.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Seth Patin
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Looma Project
Pitch: There’s an explosion of brands in every category and with all that noise plus social media, etc. it’s increasingly hard to get your brand story out to consumers. Looma project partners with craft beer and wine makers and grocery stores to put tablets on grocery shelves that tell a brands authentic story to consumers. These brand experiences help drive tremendous sales lift based on Looma’s case studies.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Cole Johnson
LinkedIn

MacGregor Partners
Pitch: After building a large practice helping companies optimize their supply chain, they built software that they are now licensing called the Logistics Toolbox. A Tweener tipster told me this software is doing really well and now the company is mostly a software co.
Size: 50–200
Investors: none
CEO: Jason Ziegler
LinkedIn

Magnus Health
Pitch: You operate a school or camp and need electronic access to students’ medical records. Who is allergic to peanuts? What’s the emergency contact for John Doe? This Raleigh company was founded in 2006 to make those questions easy to answer.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $100K from undisclosed investors (though David Gardner is on the board)
CEO: Brian Biddulph-Krentar
LinkedIn

Market Vue Partners
Pitch: Market Vue is a MarTech SaaS company that uses data to leverage marketing solutions. They focus on the Energy and Health industries and provide innovative visualizations of all the data.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: David Stirling
LinkedIn

Medicom Technologies, Inc.
Pitch: This group of NCSU grads came up with a way to transfer large files in a peer-to-peer way rapidly, without lossage and securely. The first market they are using the technology for is patient data in radiology and they are growing like a weed.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $5.8m
CEO: Malcom Benitz
LinkedIn

MemberHub
Pitch: Every school has a PTA and memberhub provides software to schools through the PTA so that schools have more engaged families.
Size: 50–100 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $1.2m — investors unknown **Updated for 2020
CEO: Will Bowen
LinkedIn

Mindsumo
Pitch: Large companies struggle to get consumer feedback and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex user studies that don’t hit the mark. What if you could go straight to your potential customers and ask things like: “Hey millennials, what’s your favorite thing to add to your avocado toast? “ With a $2000 price for the top answers. Boom, now you are getting consumer feedback fast and for, well, 2/100 or 2% of the cost! Mindsumo provides a platform to do just that.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Keaton Swett
LinkedIn

Mobile Reach
Pitch: Many businesses have technicians in the field and Mobile Reach creates software for them. They also have software for managing field assets.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Nasrin Azari
LinkedIn

MobileSmith
Pitch: MobileSmith develops a platform that companies use to publish mobile applications with little to no code. Simply drag and drop popular elements and you have an interactive mobile app. This Raleigh company was founded in 1993.
Size: 10–50
Investors: MobileSmith is a ‘penny stock’ traded on the OTCBB under MOST and was a spin-out of Smart Online’s mobile development platform
CEO: Randy Tomlin **Updated 2020 (Previous CEO Bob Dieterle)
LinkedIn

Myxx
Pitch: Grocery stores are investing millions if not billions in e-commerce (store pickup and delivery), but at the customer level, things start with…recipes. Myxx connects the top recipes to grocery stores. See a tuna casserole recipe you love, press a button and all the ingredients are added to your cart for Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Cofounders Capital — $400k
CEO: Monica Wood
LinkedIn

ndustrial -> </ndustrial.io>
Pitch: ndustrial is a company building IoT solutions for industrial applications. Tomorrow’s factory will be totally outfitted with sensors — ndustrial is working on a solution for that future reality in Durham.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $1.4M in two rounds from Acorn Innovestments and Bay Grove Capital
CEO: Jason Massey
LinkedIn

Needlepoint.com
Pitch: Started in 1999, Needlepoint had a retail store, and using its great domain name, needlepoint.com, started to do well online. The wife of Bob Young (of Lulu, Red Hat and PrecisionHawk fame) started the business and he is now serving as CEO.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap (Bank of Bob)
CEO: Nancy Young

Net32
Pitch: Dental supplies are extremely expensive and there are lots of middlemen. Net32 sells dental supplies direct to dentists at extreme discounts because they eliminate the middlemen.
Size: 11–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Pat Cassidy
LinkedIn

Netsertive
Pitch: Brendan Morrissey moved to the area from LA as part of a Motricity acquisition and in 2009 founded Netsertive in Morrisville. He started by helping local electronics retailers advertise and has expanded to help national brands leverage their marketing into local markets through brand/dealer campaigns.
Size: 201–500
Investors: ~$46M from River Cities Capital, RRE Ventures, Greycroft, Harbert Venture Partners and Venture debt from Square 1 Bank
CEO: Brendan Morrissey
LinkedIn

Nextlot, Inc.
Pitch: In today’s world of two-day e-commerce delivery thanks to Amazon, it’s easy to forget there is still a need for auctioneers. Bank foreclosures, estate sales and other events call for an auction and today’s auctioneers need to stay high-tech and current. Raleigh-based NextLot, founded in 2007, provides a platform that allows you to run your own auctions with online, mobile and webcast features.
Size: 11–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Scott Finkelstein
LinkedIn

Offline Media
Pitch: David Shaner graduated from NC State and had an itch to start a company. He started Offline in Raleigh in in 2012 to help people reconnect with their local communities. Offline curates activities and places for your city. This creates an indispensable resource if you move or travel. Simply fire up Offline and you have an insider’s view to what is going on and where to go.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $2.2m from The Startup Factory, Joe Kutelski (formerly eTix) and McClatchy
CEO: David Shaner
LinkedIn

Patagonia Health
Pitch: Ashok Mathur has been active in the Triangle startup scene since I can remember. In 2008, he started Cary-based Patagonia to build a SaaS EHR (electronic health record) platform that includes 15–20 different EHR apps.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Ashok Mathur
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Pattern Health
Pitch: Durham-based Pattern health has built a combined healthcare software system and marketplace. Pattern Health allows health innovators to distribute their applications across many health systems. The result is faster innovation in the health-care field which is good for all of us. HealthTech (Health Technology) is another big area of innovation for the Triangle and it’s going to be interesting to watch Pattern Health scale-up.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Ed Barber
LinkedIn

PatientPay
Pitch: PatientPay is an online platform for patients to pay for their medical bills. Brings the simplicity of e-commerce to medicine.
Size: 11–50
Investors: $6.5M led by Mosaik Partners.
CEO: Tom Furr
LinkedIn

Pawboost
Pitch: True-life story here. Let’s say the landscaping folks come and leave your gate open by accident. You let your dog, Rover out in the backyard, and an hour later go to let him in and …. uh-oh, he’s gone. What do you do? Enter Pawboost. Pawboost provides a site where you can post a lost pet alert everywhere in one place. Pawboost spreads your message through social media, emails and to a network of over 2m RescueSquad (a network of rescues, vets and other folks in the pet industry that help find and return lost pets) participants. It even will help you print out a flyer so you can get Rover back safe and sound.
Size: 5–10 (confirmed their revenues get them on list)
Investors: none
Co-CEOs: Tim Kijewski and Clayton Gladieux
LinkedIn

Pendo
Pitch: When you are building cloud-based apps, one challenge is instrumenting them so that you know what customers are doing within the app. Raleigh’s Pendo has a platform that helps you not only solve this problem, but gives you actionable insights into what users are doing and the ability to easily message users to nudge them in the right direction (hey, try this feature!). Todd Olson (Rally Software) and Erik Troan (rPath/Red Hat) are the founders and they’re building a new headquarters in Raleigh in 2016. Pendo is the hottest startup in the Triangle right now. #GoToddGo!
Size: 300–500 **Updated for 2020
Investors: **Updated for 2020 Pendo is officially a unicorn with the valuation from their latest $100m led by Sapphire Ventures (bringing total raised to $208) (2019 update follows) Pendo added $50m to their treasure chest, bringing the total up to $108m raised from Sapphire Ventures, Battery Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Idea Fund Partners (IFP) and angels
CEO: Todd Olson
LinkedIn

Percona
Pitch: Modern sites and applications run on complex databases. Percona has created software for monitoring and optimizing database systems.
Size: 150
Investors: none
CEO: Peter Zaitsev
LinkedIn

Phononic
Pitch: Solid state electronics have revolutionized computing, lighting (Cree) and now Phononic has figured out how to apply it to refrigeration. From cooling CPUs to residential and commercial applications, Phononic is revolutionizing the 100yr+ old stagnant cooling market with a green solution that eliminates the need for energy hungry compressors, heat sinks and other traditional refrigeration mechanisms.
Size: 100–200
Investors: Raised additional $6m in 2019 **Updated for 2020 $160M from 8 investors including Venrock, Oak investment, UBS Wealth
CEO: Anthony Atti
LinkedIn

Photofy
Pitch: Social content creation tool for consumers and businesses, founded in Raleigh in 2013 by the founder of InvitationBox.com (which sold to CafePress in 2011).
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.8M from Capitol Broadcasting, Michael Olander Jr. and Jon LaNasa
CEO: John Andrews **Updated for 2020 (Previous CEO: Jon LaNasa)
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Plasma Games
Pitch: H2O — that’s basically all I remember from HS chemistry — that’s because I pre-date Plasma Games. Plasma Games creates interactive games for students studying chemistry and physics. The Triangle is a hot bed of video games and EdTech (Educational Technology) and it’s cool to see a Tweener combine the two for something awesome like better STEM learning.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Hunter Moore
LinkedIn

PrecisionHawk
Pitch: Drones! (drops mic and walks off stage). Seriously though, PrecisionHawk has a UAV platform that can do real-time/AI mapping for a variety of uses — agriculture, GIS, search/rescue, etc. Founded in 2011, it’s based in Raleigh.
Size: 51–200
Investors: Raised $35m in 2019 **Updated for 2020. Prior to 2019, they raised $104M from Third point ventures, Verizon Ventures, Bank of Bob (Bob Young), and Millennium Tech Ventures
CEO: James Narrod (Previous: Michael Chasen) **Updated for 2020
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Primal Space Systems
Pitch: We’re not too far from a sci-future of autonomous vehicles and drones changing the transportation and logistics industries. Underlying all those future technologies are mapping and 3D data, lots and lots of it. Primal Space Systems focuses on gathering and unifying all that data and building complex 3D models so drones don’t run into power cables and autonomous vehicles avoid pot holes (amongst other things). This startup has more PHDs than the NCSU EE Department, so watch out!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Barry Jenkins
LinkedIn

ProAxion
Pitch: A very hot area is Internet of Things or IoT and that’s where ProAxion lives. I’m a software guy, so bear with me on this one. Let’s say you have a factory with all kinds of big machine things. If your factory is down, that is bad, but how can you know one of the machines is going to fail? Turns out that the vibrations change over time as bearings wear down, cogs de-cog and sprockets …you get the idea. Simply throw a Proaxion device on there and it will monitor those cogs, sprockets and bearings and alert you via the cloud when it thinks a machine is getting close to a failure. It’s like being able to see the future, but with a cloud.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $500k raised from Triangle Angel Partners (aka TAP) II
CEO: Justin Rothwell
LinkedIn

ProcessMaker
Pitch: 2020 update: ProcessMaker has had a flood of VCs coming through the area to visit them, it will be interesting to see what news comes out here in 2020 — I’m expecting big things! **Updated for 2020 We’re all startups here, so we don’t have too many complex processes and workflows. But let’s say you have 10,000 people in your company and you need for department X to talk to department Y on a project in a seamless way. That’s what ProcessMaker does. You take the process and define it in the software. For example, someone in marketing comes up with a product image and passes it to legal for review, then it goes to the sales team, then finance, then HR, then IR, then back to legal and finally back to marketing with that entire chain of reviewers and processes well documented.
Size: 150–200
Investors: boot-strapped!
CEO: Brian Reale
LinkedIn

Produce Box
Pitch: Courtney Tellefsen was a stay-at-home-mom in 2007. She wanted to understand where her food was coming from and support local NC farmers. Like anyone, she couldn’t get to the farmer’s market every week to buy fresh locally-sourced produce. The Produce Box was born! TPB now has a team of 200 folks that deliver thousands of produce boxes each week in the Triangle and Charlotte. It’s based in Raleigh.
Size: 50–200
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Courtney Tellefsen
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Pro-ficiency
Pitch: Pro-ficiency is another HealthTech (see D-wise) company in the clinical trials space. Pro-ficiency’s software runs simulations of clinical trials and highlights risk areas such as protocol violations. Particiants in the trial are given an app that re-enforces the protocols and makes sure errors don’t happen. The results are faster paths to good results and reduced costs.
Size: 20–40
Investors: none
CEO: David Hadden
LinkedIn

Proficient Auto
Pitch: You’re driving to work and your check engine light comes on. You know that’s going to be the start of a really bad day, that is before Proficient Auto. Proficient can come on-site (entirely mobile auto mechanic), diagnose your problem, give you a quote and fix it right on the scene. Based out of the Triangle, but also services Miami, FL.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Bootstrapped!
CEO: Robert Koencamp
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
PROVEIT
Pitch: PROVEIT is a mobile app that allows you to compete for real money using skill-based games. Based on the popularity of the direct-to-consumer game, the company has built the ‘real money SDK’ that lets other game developers tap into their cash-winning system and increase their engagement and monetization. They even handle all the legal compliance around cash-based payout games for their customers.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Nate Lehoux
LinkedIn

Pureport
Pitch: Rich Lee founded a datacenter company,Hosted Solutions, which was acquired by Windstream for $310m back in 2010. I’m really excited that Rich is back at it with Pureport. Pureport helps companies navigate the complex world where you may have some workloads running in a physical datacenter and some running in a cloud. Pureport creates a unified network that’s easy to work with and they take care of all the complexity on the backend. Pureport is in the red hot space called DevOps (Developer Operations — the part of cloud development that deals with workloads, software rollout, data security, etc.) so this is definitely a Tweener company to watch.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bank of Rich
CEO: Rich Lee
LinkedIn

Pryon
Pitch: Igor Jablokov sold his last company, Yap, to Amazon and they use it in this niche product called Echo/Alexa, so Igor has a really serious AI/Natural language background. He’s now turning that experience to the enterprise and leveraging AI/Voice for new enterprise solutions
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Pryon announced a whopping $20m from Rise of the Rest in 2019 **Updated for 2020. Previously had riased $4.5m including Carolina Angel Network (CAN), Greycroft, Triangle Angel Partners (TAP), and Full Tilt Capital
CEO: Igor Jablokov
LinkedIn

Railinc
Pitch: Railinc of Cary provides rail data and IT services for the freight railroad industry. It was founded in 1999.
Size: 200–500
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Allen West
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
REIN
Pitch: Another hot and growing area in the Triangle is FinTech and InsureTech. The MetLife/TechStars accelerator has really dramatically increased the activity in the area. REIN gives insurance providers a platform for creating unique offerings. Let’s say you want to insure a fleet of drones, or autonomous vehicles or Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour. REIN lets you pull in all the data available, run different scenarios and offer a variety of options to the end customer. Previously this was so manual and cumbersome most insurance companies couldn’t participate in the more custom insurance segment, but now they can with REIN.
Size: 50–100
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Rabbitt
LinkedIn

Realvolve
Pitch: As you’ve probably noticed, there are a fair amount of industry-specific SaaS CRM solutions on our list. Realvolve, founded in 2012 in Raleigh, provides a SaaS CRM targeted to real estate agents.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $600K from angels and Lighter Capital
CEO: David Crumby (based in Denver)
LinkedIn

Remarque Systems
Pitch: The Triangle has a ton of companies in drug development that do clinical trials. Remarque Systems has developed SaaS software for designing, managing and monitoring the risk in clinical trials.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Michael Arlotto **Updated 2020 (Previous CEO Badhri Srinivasan)
LinkedIn

Republic Wireless
Pitch: The founder of Bandwidth hated paying a huge cell bill for his family of five, so created a system that uses your wi-fi for calling instead of the cell network. Republic Wireless was born and spun out from Bandwidth before their IPO.
Size: 100–200
Investors: none
CEO: Chris Chuang
LinkedIn

Restaurant Furniture Plus
Pitch: In 2016, George Deeb moved from the windy city (Chicago) to the Triangle and since then he’s been a great addition to the ecosystem. George runs Red Rocket which is half growth consulting and half venture fund/private equity. (note: George/Red Rocket produce some great content, I highly recommend you check it out). In 2018, they acquired Restaurant Furniture Plus and transfer the HQ to the Triangle. Do you have a restaurant? If you said yes, you probably need furniture for your patrons to chill out on. Enter Restaurant Furniture Plus — your one-stop shop for all your restaurant furniture needs. Keep chugging George, we’re excited to see how big you can scale Restaurant Furniture Plus!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: George Deeb
LinkedIn

RevBoss
Pitch: Most B2B SaaS companies need outbound sales lead generation. Eric Boggs started at Bronto building this function, then did it again at Argyle Social and finally decided there is a company idea there in 2014. Durham-based RevBoss provides software and services that help recurring revenue businesses scale up their businesses rapidly without having to build their own SDR capabilities.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $1.1M from Sovereign’s Capital, Robbie Allen, Bruce Boehm and Alston Gardner
CEO: Eric Boggs
LinkedIn

Reveal Mobile
Pitch: Brian Handly is one of the Triangle’s most successful serial entrepreneurs. After Stepleader Digital spun out of Capitol Broadcasting, it built mobile apps for media companies but Handly has helped it pivot to leverage beacon technology and Big Data to help advertisers reach a local audience. Reveal Mobile, born in 2015, gives advertisers insights into what their customers and target customer are doing in the local world.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $2.5M from Capitol Broadcasting, Bull City Venture Partners, Alerion Ventures, Idea Fund Partners (IFP) and Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) is an investor.
CEO: Brian Handly
LinkedIn

ReverbNation
Pitch: This is serial entrepreneur Michael Doernberg’s latest company (after selling SmartPath to DoubleClick). ReverbNation provides software and services for bands and is based in Durham.
Size: 50–200
Investors: $8.6M in 3 rounds from Bull City Venture Partners, Novak Biddle and SeventySix Capital
CEO: Michael Doernberg
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Revibe Technologies
Pitch: Revibe makes a digital band that gives vibration reminders that help students focus. Today’s kids are flooded with stimulation from social media, chats, Disney+ and more. Revibe’s technology helps them stay focused and on-point while in school. The results are amazing for this ~100 device, their website touts some pretty amazingly improved grades from Revibe users.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Rich Brancaccio
LinkedIn

RewardStock
Pitch: You have like 10 loyalty programs tied to travel and you want to go on a free Alaskan Cruise. How do you figure that out? Enter RewardStock! Simply enter your goal and tie in your programs and RewardStock will help you figure out how to leverage all of your miles and points to achieve your goal.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $700k from Cofounders Capital and Mark Cuban
CEO: Jonathan Hayes
LinkedIn

ROI Revolution
Pitch: ROI Revolution provides search engine marketing and other services to SMBs in various industries. Based in Raleigh, it was founded in 2002.
Size: 50–200
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Timothy Seward
LinkedIn

Roobrik
Pitch: Roobrik is a HealthTech company that helps patients and their families make difficult health and care choices. As best I can tell, the main target audience for Roobrik is for senior citizens looking to transition from a home living experience to a more managed/senior citizen type experience. Roobrik’s private labels their solution so retirement homes can use it to help potential tenants and their families navigate that complex decision and options.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Carolina Angel Network (CAN) is an investor
CEO: Nate O’Keefe
LinkedIn

SEAL Innovation
Pitch: SEAL Innovation is a wearable/IoT company that has developed a connected necklace that detects if someone is having problems swimming and alerts the parents and/or lifeguard of the situation. Founded in 2010 and based in Raleigh.
Size: 1–10
Investors: $2M from Triangle Angel Partners and The Launch Place
CEO: Graham Snyder
LinkedIn

Second Nature (Previously known as FilterEasy) **Updated for 2020
Pitch: Are you like me at the first of every month relishing that it is time to pull out the ladder and change your air-conditioner filters? Ok, I fibbed, I actually do this about every six months if I’m lucky. Why? Because it’s one of those things that not only is hard to remember, but is a pain because I’m always missing 1–2 of the filters and have to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy them. Thad Tarkington and Kevin Barry were NCSU students when they came up with an e-commerce solution with an automated delivery service for air filters, and it’s grown like crazy ever since.
Size: 50–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $18.3M+ from One Better Ventures, RTP Capital Associates, Iron Yard Ventures, Cofounders Capital, Arsenal ventures, Azure Capital Partners and Michael Olander Jr., Triangle Angel Partners (TAP), IDEA Fund Partners, Carolina Angel Network (CAN) and Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN). **Updated for 2020 — rumors swirling they are going to announce a big funding in 2020!
CEO: Thad Tarkington
LinkedIn

ServiceTrade
Pitch: Ex-Red Hatter Billy Marshall is at again. ServiceTrade, a Durham startup he founded in 2012, makes mobile apps and web apps to help maintenance businesses deliver more service calls and connect with their customers.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $4.8M in two rounds from undisclosed investors
CEO: Billy Marshall
LinkedIn

Shark Dreams
Pitch: Baaaaabbbbbyyyy Shark, do-do-do-do… Sorry, I can’t stop singing that song when I write about this one. Shark Dreams is a mobile app in the HealthTech space. With an IoT pill bottle called LIVIT, Shark dreams allows health providers to monitor their patients remotely. “Did Sally take her medicine last night?” Shark dreams can answer that for you.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Dharma Nukarapu
LinkedIn

ShiftWizard
Pitch: Every part of the hospital care experience is getting automated and ShiftWizard is bringing technology to Nurse’s scheduling. Founded by nurses, for nurses, ShiftWizard simplifies the complexities of nurse scheduling.
Size:11–50
Investors: $3M from Rolling Hills Ventures and Resolute Venture Partners
CEO: Joe Velk
LinkedIn

Sift
Pitch: I first met Jud Bowman when he was like 18 and started a mobile search engine called Pinpoint. They merged with another company and became Motricity which was one of the biggest exits in the Triangle. Jud knows a ton about the mobile world and his new company, Sift uses advanced big data analysis to understand and target cell phone users. Sift has built a profile of 1.2b app installation footprints and uses that to better target app downloads. For example, if a user has 4 travel apps, then they are more likely to download another travel app.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $3.2m from Wakefield Group and Idea Fund Partners
CEO: Jud Bowman
LinkedIn

SignalPath
Pitch: Every drug candidate has to go through a complex clinical research process. Managing that is huge undertaking. SignalPath has software that helps manage the clinical research process.
Size: 100–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Raised a whopping $18m round in 2020 **Updated for 2020 Previously raised $3M from unknown investors in 2016.
CEO: Bradford Hirsch **Updated for 2020 (previous CEO: Ira Grossman)
LinkedIn

Silbo
Pitch: If you have kids over the age of 5, you know that youth sports in the US is a very huge market, but did you know that youth sports leagues have to work with a byzantine old-school network to find and schedule referees? Have no fear, Silbo is innovating the space by building a marketplace for marketplaces. Need a Girls 14U Basketball and Baseball 15U referee by tomorrow.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $1.3m including IFP **Updated for 2020
CEO: Brendan Szulik
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Sitation
Pitch: On the surface, you may think Sitation is a consulting company. That’s half-right. Underlying their consulting is a powerful software platform that analyzes any ecommerce operation and finds the holes in the SEO/SEM strategy, data catalog, product content, and other areas that dramatically impact the customer experience and thus overall sales momentum.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Englebrecht
LinkedIn

Slingshot Coffee Company
Pitch: A husband-wife coffee enthusiast couple wanted to create coffee that was healthier and organically sourced. They also make cascara teas and cold-brew coffees. They were born in Raleigh, NC, but their e-commerce game is strong and their sales are exploding, catapulting them onto the Tweener list!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jenny Bonchak
LinkedIn

Spoonflower
Pitch: Stephen Fraser and Gart Davis left Lulu to start Spoonflower in 2008. Durham-based Spoonflower allows consumers to create and print their own custom fabrics, wall paper and gift wrap. It has created a rapidly growing marketplace in the fabric world.
Size: 50–200
Investors: $25M from North Bridge Equity Partners and Bull City Venture Partners.
CEO: Gart Davis
LinkedIn

SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology Corp)
Pitch: Have you ever been watching a football game and seen the yellow first-down marker or those cool stats that float on the field? Well, most likely you can thank the local company SMT for those awesome effects. Now they have expanded to collecting stats, timing and scoring.
Size: 200–500
Investors: $26.3m from Vicente Capital Partners
CEO: Gerard Hall
LinkedIn

Sports Endeavors, Inc (SEI)
Pitch: SEI started as a catalog company selling soccer and Lacrosse equipment globally. They when e-commerce came along, it was a natural and in the early days of the internet they bought some great domains like soccer.com and lacrosse.com. Today they are one of the largest online sporting good companies in the US. They are based out of Hillsborough, NC
Size: 200–500 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Mike Moylan
LinkedIn

Spreedly
Pitch: Integrating payments into your app, website or service is complex. Spreedly provides a cloud-based API that makes it easy to accept and manage payments. Nathaniel Talbott founded Spreedly in 2007 and it’s based in Durham.
Size: 50–200
Investors: Raised a YUUUUGE $75 round in 2019, previously raised $6M from E-Merge, AngelList . **Updated for 2020 . #GoJustinGo
CEO: Justin Benson
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Stitchgolf
Pitch: A big trend in brands and e-commerce are direct-to-consumer brands and Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVB) like Bonobos and Warby Parker. I was excited to discover that Apex-based Stitchgolf is applying this model to golf accessories. They started with club covers and have moved into high-quality golf bags, and even expanded into the broader golf/sports apparel category.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Charlie Burgwyn
LinkedIn

StrongKey
Pitch: I have no idea what StrongKey does, but they have a really cool octopus as their logo. Just kidding…Strongkey has a cyber security box/appliance you can install in your data center that encrypts your data on your network to keep it from prying eyes. It’s capable of handling billions of keys and 1000 transactions per second -so it’s targeted at large enterprises in industries where it’s super important to protect data (health care, finance, etc.)
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Systena is an investor (out of Japan interestingly)
CEO: Arshad Noor **Updated for 2020
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
SWIR Vision Systems
Pitch: Innovations in machine learning have made vision systems in industrial categories a hot category. Local RTI spun out SWIR Vision Systems. SWIR has developed a family of cameras that can cost effectively see a very wide set of spectrums (including Short-wave IR). SWIR can be used to get x-ray like images. For example, on their site, they show a use case in agriculture where the cameras look at apples and can see bruises that aren’t visible to the human eye, but SWIR can see them. Applications include agriculture, product manufacturing and security.
Size: 10–20
Investors: In 2019 raised $2m from undisclosed investors
CEO: George Wildeman
LinkedIn

SyncFusion
Pitch: In 1998, we sold Stingray software to Rogue Wave — a public company. In 2001, a couple of our strategic folks, Daniel Jebaraj and Stefan Hoenig started SyncFusion with the idea to create next-generation components for developers. They’ve been grinding away at SyncFusion for 17yr now and made some smart bets on mobile development, Xamarin, and big data. They also changed their model from licensed to subscription. All without raising any external capital.
Size: 500–700 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Stefan Hoenig
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Tanjo, Inc.
Pitch: Tanjo has developed a generic ‘machine learning brain’ that can be trained on a variety of industries and topics and used in a variety of ways. Their first example of a product built on the machine learning brain is Tanjo Animated Personas (TAP). TAP allows a marketer to create an AI that fits a certain persona and then test different messaging on them. So for example, you can say — create a persona for a 35yr old mom of 3 in Cary, NC and 2 of the kids play soccer and one plays chess. You can then train the software on all the data from that cohort and it will make recommendations for how to best message and reach that customer.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Richard Boyd
LinkedIn

Teamworks
Pitch: You have a sports team with coaches, players, assistant coaches and other constituents. You need to share a bunch of information around playbooks, schedules, plans, etc. but you want to do it in a secure/managed way. Teamworks, founded in Durham by a former Duke football player, is a software platform that allows you to manage, deploy and optimize that situation.
Size: 50–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: In 2019, Teamworks raised an additional $15m ($21m total) from General Catalyst on top of the $6M led by Seaport Capital
CEO: Zachary Maurides
LinkedIn

Teamworks Solutions
Pitch: Yes — we apparently have two Tweeners named some variation of Teamworks! I discovered ‘this’ Teamworks while learning more about the other Teamworks. Another example of these Tweeners really hiding under the radar! Let’s say you run a factory or a service business that has technicians in the field doing maintenance. You will need software that enables the field techs to manage everything and work in a mobile way (through phone and tablets). Teamworks Solutions, based in Raleigh since a 2002 founding, has software that solves this problem and focuses on the c-store, education, healthcare and municipality industries.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Craig Drouillard
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Terra Dotta
Pitch: Have I mentioned that EdTech is big in the Triangle? Terra Dotta is a growing player in the space for educational institutions that want to offer travel abroad/international programs. Imagine the complexity there of tracking the students, travel planning, student tracking, program management, student alerting, etc. That’s what Terra Dotta does. The CEO Anthony Rotoli is a ChannelAdvisor alumni and I taught him everything he knows ;-)
Size: 50–100
Investors: $3.4m raised in 2019 from LNC Partners
CEO: Anthony Rotoli
LinkedIn

Tethis
Pitch: Some cool material was developed in the lab at NC State and Triangle serial entrepreneur, Chris Evans with Scott Bolin helped take it out of the lab and commercialize it as Tethis. Today the company has turned the material into super-absorbant polymers (SAP). I’m a software guy and have no idea what all that means, but evidently it can be applied to diapers, cleaning supplies and tons of other stuff.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: $27m from Blue Hill Group, Carolina Angel Network (CAN), Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN)
CEO: Scott Bolin
LinkedIn

thinQ
Pitch: TelecomTech has always been big in the Triangle (anyone remember Nortel?) and thinQ is pioneering the next generation. Today, you can pull down your VOIP from the cloud and thinQ has a platform that lets you put your calls out to RFP so you can lower your prices. The team here spun out of Bandwidth.com which should come as no surprise to you and bodes well for their future. Tweener grads tend to create more…tweener grads!
Size: 25–50
Investors: $24m led by Turn/River Capital (October ‘18)
CEO: Aaron Leon
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
The Climate Service
Pitch: Let’s say you are a large financial institution or Fortune 500 company. Climate scientists all agree that man-made CO2 is causing the planet to heat up, but they all disagree on the timing and degree of the impact. How do you assess your risk with such a wide array of possible outcomes from global warming? The Climate Service has built Climanomics — a platform for helping you assess the bookends of your risk and plan/disclose accordingly.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: James McMahon
LinkedIn

Three Ships
Pitch: Zach Clayton started Three Ships in 2009 as a digital agency. He was like 16 then and now is pushing 21 and can finally have a beer on Beer Fridays. (Seriously though, it’s great to see this crop of young new folks starting cos. in the area). Anywho, Three Ships developed some interesting technology around SEO for brands and has since split into three separate companies to focus on three different areas. CRISP is a branding agency. Demand Signals provides SEO and content marketing. 3s Ventures provides customer acquisition services.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2020
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Zach Clayton
LinkedIn

Tilt/Tilt 365
Pitch: There’s an explosion of software for managing HR and people, called HRIS or Human Resource Information Systems. Tilt 365, based in Raleigh and founded in 2008, helps with assessments. If you want to do a self assessment and see how your peers see you — Tilt 365 has software for delivering and analyzing that. What makes you tick? What will make you happiest in your career? Tilt has also built a complete methodology around its assessments to help companies develop people and increase retention.
Size: 10–50
Investors: Undisclosed but David Gardner is an investor
CEO: Pam Boney
LinkedIn

TiO Home Automation
Pitch: The Triangle has an explosion of IoT (Internet of Things) companies and TiO is focused on helping make home automation simpler. Their products start with a smart home app and they have a variety of hardware they integrate with to provide complete home automation.
Size: 10–30 people
Investors: none
CEO: Sanjay Patel
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Trade Pending
Pitch: Car dealers are under a lot of pressure on both the new and used vehicle sides of their business. Not only is it hyper competitive, but they are competing with e-commerce level experiences from innovative companies like Carvana. Trade Pending provides software to dealers to help them elevate the online experience for used cars. They offer a web-based trade-in tool, inventory management/enhancement and more.
Size: 20–40
Investors: none
CEO: Brice Englert
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Trill AI
Pitch: Trill is a Cary-based FinTech company that is leveraging modern AI/ML capabilities into the financial world. Financial analysts build very complex micro and macro models that may look at GDP trends, weather and then micro-data like product sentiment. Clearly this isn’t going to scale in Excel. This is where Trill’s AI comes in. It can pull in terabytes of micro/macro data and help you decision that for smarter investment decisions and risk analysis.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Akash Ganapathi
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Tyrata
Pitch: Tyrata is a Duke technology spin-out. They have invented a sensor that tire manufactures place inside your tires that measures the tread depth and alerts you or your car when your tread has gotten too low. Tyrata also has ‘drive over’ technology that fleet operators
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jesko von Windheim
LinkedIn

Undercover Colors
Pitch: Undercover Colors has developed fingernail polish for women that in addition to being a fashion statement, can detect the presence of date rape drugs in drinks. This will empower women to prevent sexual assaault. The founders spun the startup out of NC State University in 2014. It’s based in Raleigh.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $8.2M from Cofounders Capital, Cindy Whitehead,
CEO: Barbara Cook **Updated for 2020 (Previous: Tyler Confrey-Maloney)
Update: Raised $5.5M in 2016 along with a great deal of media attention.
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
USAT Corp
Pitch: Internet of Things — IoT is an exploding category globally and really big in the Triangle. USAT’s spot in the IoT world is to be a big e-commerce site for all the various routers and sensors that you may need for a project. This is super helpful because each vendor has their own website, but it makes it hard to mix and match, compare, etc.
Size: 40–50
Investors: none
CEO: Keith McRae
LinkedIn

Valencell
Pitch: Another wearable IoT company, Valencell of Raleigh, has developed advanced biometric technology for wearables that it has licensed out to manufacturers. It was founded in 2006.
Size: 50–110
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $35M from Best Buy Capital, CBC Partners, TDF Ventures, G//Tech Ventures and True Ventures
CEO: Michael Dering
LinkedIn

Validic
Pitch: Validic gives developers of healthcare apps and insurance companies and healthcare systems one common interface to support all the different wearables and medical devices out there. Based in Durham, it was founded in 2010.
Size: 51–200
Investors: $18.4M raised from 11 investors including Mark Cuban, Greycroft, SJF Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures
CEO: Drew Schiller
LinkedIn

Vertical IQ
Pitch: In 2010, Bobby Martin had the idea to create software to help bankers call on businesses (They’ve never called me — who knew they even did that!) The Raleigh company now has over 20,000 users at ~100 banks.
Size: 20–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Bobby Martin **Updated in 2020
LinkedIn

Virtue Labs
Pitch: There’s an explosion of new brands because the cost to create a brand has come down thanks to the digital/e-commerce revolution. Virtue is a consumer product goods (CPG) company in the beauty category. They have created a keratin-based haircare brand that repairs hair reducing frizz and split ends. They sell through the various beauty channels and have a very strong direct e-commerce game.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Melisse Shaban
LinkedIn

Vital Plan
Pitch: There are lots of confusing information about natural remedies. Braden Rawls partnered with her father to provide an alternative. In addition to tons of great content on the subject, they offer their own line of supplements.
Size: 11–50
Investors: 2019 Update: Vital Plan has raised $1.2m from investors including the Carolina Angel Network (CAN)
CEO: Braden Rawls
LinkedIn

Wastezero
Pitch: Trash and waste is a huge problem. When it comes to trash collection, there’s no economic incentive to generate less waste because we all pay the same for trash collection (by neighborhood/region). What if you were billed more the more you throw away? Wastezero has created a system to do exactly that. Wastezero’s system is used in 800 locations and it has proven to reduce waste by 44%.
Size: 50–200 **Updated for 2020
Investors: none
CEO: Dave Bryla **Updated for 2020 (Previously: Mark Dancy)
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Weaveup
Pitch: It’s somewhat unusual for two companies (see: Spoonflower) in the Triangle to be tackling the same space, but given our state and NCSUs focus on textiles, I don’t think this one is too surprising. Durham-based WeaveUp has two sides to the business. One one-side it’s a direct-to-consumer fabric design and printing platform. On the other side, it’s a business-to-business platform where companies like JOANN, Continental and Valley Forge Fabrics can use the WeaveUp technology to enhance their offerings.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Flint Davis
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Well Dot
Pitch: This one is hard to talk about because, well, their brand is well and when you talk about something like that it’s hard to go to the well for new words that aren’t well. So I’ll call it well.co to make it a bit easier to understand. Well.co is a Chapel Hill based HealthTech company that is revolutionizing how patients access healthcare. Underlying the solution is an AI-powered health engagement platform that collects all of the patients data and preferences and utilizes that to deliver a much better and different member experience. That seems hard to grok, the examples they give are: proactive health guidance, personalized expert guidance, incentives for better health care and more.
Size: 50–100
Investors: none
CEO: Dave Werry
LinkedIn

Wiser Systems
Pitch: Wiser systems uses the latest IoT technologies to allow companies to manage assets. Let’s say you are Indiana Jones and you have just found something like, oh, the Lost Ark. You store that Ark in a huge warehouse. Now it’s 4-yrs later and you want to find it? What do you do? You call Wiser Systems. Imagine if you took your Ark when you checked it in and put an IoT doo-dad on there. Then whenever you need the Ark, you look at a cloud-based version of your warehouse and ‘blip’ there it is right there in the back left corner.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Elaine Rideout
LinkedIn

Written Word Media
Pitch: The trend toward self-publishing is huge. Amazon is driving this, and locally, we have a major player in Lulu. But these platforms give authors tools for writing, editing and publishing but what about marketing? Written Word Media of Durham has a platform and network that helps authors get their books discovered. The network has 18,000 authors and over 600,000 readers looking for book recommendations.
Size: 10
Investors: $50K from NC IDEA, Bootstrap
CEO: Ricci Wolman
LinkedIn

Zaloni
Pitch: We’ve all heard the buzz around big data. One of the underlying technologies is called Hadoop and it’s open-source software out of Yahoo! Hadoop gives you a good foundation for a big data map-reduce system, but since it’s OSS, like Linux/Red Hat, it falls short of what many commercial enterprises need from a system. Enter a host of startups (Cloudera and Hortonworks are probably the best known). Zaloni is a RTP-based Hadoop startup, founded in 2007, that adds enterprise data management to Hadoop. What’s that mean? Well if you have a big Hadoop implementation (terabytes), the OSS management tools leave a lot to be desired. Zaloni gives you the ability to pull in large amounts of data, organize the data, monitor and extract it. It also gives you the ability to monitor permissions and workflows (who did what, when to what data and were they allowed to?). This space is so hot — I don’t think Zaloni will be on the Tweener list for long. It’s likely it will get snapped up by one of the big players out there
Size: 50–200
Investors: $7.5M from Sierra Ventures
CEO: Susan Cook **Updated for 2020 (Previously: Ben Sharma)
LinkedIn

New for 2020!
Zynbit
Pitch: Salesforce is a hugely popular and powerful CRM system with millions of users. One of the most popular features of Salesforce is the AppExchange ‘app store’. Like your smartphone’s app store, AppExchange allows you to add functionality and extend your Salesforce system in interesting ways. This is where Zynbit comes into the picture. One of the challenges of Salesforce is getting sales reps to capture all their customer interactions (email/chat/calls/etc.). Zynbit starts there and then adds a bunch of other features to help sales reps be more productive within Salesforce.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Raised $1m from River SaaS Capital in 2019
CEO: Phil Dixon
LinkedIn

Triangle Tweener Update Log

January 30, 2020— Published the 2020 Edition.

Feb 4:

  • Updated StrongKey entry as per their request

Jan 31:

  • Updated Ideablock LI
  • Tweaked CData pitch as per co

CEO of Spiffy (www.getspiffy.com) and Co-Founder/Executive Chairman of ChannelAdvisor

CEO of Spiffy (www.getspiffy.com) and Co-Founder/Executive Chairman of ChannelAdvisor