2021 Triangle Tweener List

Welcome to the sixth annual Triangle Tweeners List! This list features ~230 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….

Note: New this year I am starting a Tweener themed newsletter. This static page will stay here, but updates and news plus event announcements will be available there.

Sign up for our Triangle Tweener Newsletter here: tweener.substack.com

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, I want to thank long-time startup advocate (and participant!) Vickie Gibbs and the folks at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Entrepreneurship Center and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise — they helped out immensely this year with help from analysts that were able to dig through their copious data sources to help me identify new Tweeners, track existing ones, etc.

They have a bunch of great programs you can find here. I’ve heard really good things about the Scale school — a program to help startup managers and founders, well, scale. Check it out and tell them you learned about it from the Triangle Tweener list!

What is a Triangle Tweener?

Triangle Tweeners have the following criteria:

  • They must be headquartered in the Triangle. Note — due to COVID, I’ve gotta a bit more flexible here — there are 5–10 companies that are semi-HQ’d in the Triangle this year.
  • 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). To stay up to date on Tweener news and activities going forward, subscribe to this Tweener Newsletter: tweener.substack.com

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.).

2021: Tweeners and Pandemics

Before we jump into this year’s list, I have to say after being an entrepreneur for ~30yrs that 2020 was by far the hardest year ever in startup-land. In addition to a global pandemic, you had this really weird bi-furcated situation with two very different outcomes:

  • Disaster: COVID caused big verticals in the economy to just taken out: travel, restaurants, bands, EdTech, music and sports were hit the hardest.
  • Surge: Anything digital and home-based/delivery based surged. For example, any e-commerce company had a surge year, many B2B software companies saw a surge.

Because of this feast/famine COVID-driven year we had a lighter than usual set of financings and M+A and unfortunately some COVID related closures.

2021 Update: The Big Picture

The 2021 Tweener list reflects the activity of 2020. I’ve been doing the list in a more data rich format for 4 years so we have some interesting trends we can look at summarized in this table:

A couple of highlights:

  • Exits are up 20 y/y — On the surface this seem like a nice increase, but it went from 5 to 6, so not a huge material change. I mentioned it last year and will say it again — Tweeners are raising more capital, getting bigger and scaling a lot more before they get acquired, which I think is a good thing.
  • Investments are down 54% —Sounds terrible right? Last year we had five big mega rounds: Pendo ($100m), Spreedly ($75m), CloudFactory ($65m) and ArchiveSocial ($53m) — That’s more than half of that year’s investments in 5co’s. This year we had a more distributed set of investments. Lots of earlier stage $1–2m investments which bodes well for the future.
  • Tweeners up 29% — If there’s one metric I focus on, this is it. We saw a record increase of Teeners this year. To me that shows that this stage of the pipeline is growing really healthily — companies are coming up out of the startup primordial soup and getting into the Tweener stage. It’s important to re-state that this was during a pandemic year. There’s a huge diversity of types of companies that were added too — EdTech, HealthTech, AgTech were strong, but many many other categories too.
  • 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 2021 and 2020’s decade for Triangle Tweeners and our overall Triangle entrepreneurial ecosystem! Buckle up!

2021 Update: Acquisitions

In 2020 we saw six exits with only one revealing the valuation which makes it hard to compare to previous years. In any case, you can imagine a company has to be a strong asset to be acquired in a pandemic. Congrats to all the founders, teams and investors on this list, we look forward to hearing about your next Triangle Tweener startups! (list is alphabetical)

  • Academic Benchmarking Consortium was acquired by HelloCampus on 9/15/20 Details here.
  • Bright Wolf was acquired by Cognizant 10/22/20 — details here. Congrats Peter and Team!
  • Growers Holdings was a Triangle-born AgTech company that was acquired by an Isreali-based company called ICL in February of 2020. Details here.
  • icimo LLC was acquired by the accounting firm Cherry Bekaert in Feb of 2020. Details here.
  • Mindsumo was acquired by MBO Partners in September of 2020. Details here.
  • RewardStock was acquired by Experian in October of 2020. Details here.
  • ShiftWizard was acquired by HealthStream for $32m in October of 2020. Details here.

Congrats everyone!

2021- Update: Wind-downs, too small, etc.

Here are the Tweeners off the list because they either folded, fell below our requirements, moved, etc. It’s hard enough starting a company and navigating through to success. Throw a pandemic in there and it gets 100X harder. I hope all of the founders whose companies that didn’t make it in 2020, dust themselves off, and take another run at it. Failing should be a badge of honor in entrepreneurship, not something to feel bad about.

  • Carousel was folded into its parent company agency Ignite Social Media
  • Silbo -the marketplace for referees wound down in 2020 after facing significant headwinds from COVID (youth sports was a tough category)
  • Plasma Games has shrunk below the tweener requirements (but still hanging in there at 5 folks)

2021 Update: Tweener Financings of Note

In 2018 there was ~$150m in investments in Triangle Tweeners then in 2019 it was around $300m. Here in 2020 we had a decent showing of ~$200m. Here are the 2020 Triangle Tweener investments from highest to lowest where the amount was given along with the date and lead investor.

  • $40m — Well Dot 12/14/20 — Series A — General Catalyst, John Doerr, Mosaic health Solutions
  • $30m — ServiceTrade — 8/4/20 — BCVP and Frontier Growth
  • $28.6m — Virtue Labs — 11/12/20 — undisclosed investors
  • $26.6m — Teamworks — Delta-V capital, General Catalyst, many more
  • $19m — JupiterOne — Bain Capital Ventures and Rain Capital (9/16/20 dets here)
  • $16.4m — Second Nature (FilterEasy) — Arsenal, Bonaventure, Idea Fund, etc.
  • $15m — Zaloni — 9/30/20
  • $11.1m — ETON Solutions — 6/25/20
  • $11m — Kevel (previoulsy AdZerk) raised a round led by Fulcrum Equity and Commerce Ventures
  • $7.7m — K4Connect — AXA Venture Partners, Forte Ventures, Intel Capital, Revolution Ventures — 4/17/20
  • $6m — Levitate — BCVP, Tippet Venture Partners (Note they raised another $8m in 2021, but that isn’t reflected here as it’s a 2020 list).
  • $5m — Hip eCommerce — Next Coast Ventures — 10/29/20 (full disclosure: I’m on the board here)
  • $3.8m — The Climate Service — Persei Ventures — 4/14/20
  • $3.5m — Global Data Consortium — Refinitive, Village Capital 6/1/20
  • $3.3m — MemberHub — AIM Group, Venture South, Miami Angels 5/8/20
  • $3m — Tyrata — 10/21/20
  • $2.8m — Corevist — Jurassic Capital (Joe Colopy’s new investment vehicle) 3/1/20
  • $2m — LearnPlatform — 1/16/20
  • $2m — Reveal Mobile — IDEA Fund, BCVP, Alerion, Charleston Angel Partners 4/28/20
  • $1.2m — CureMint — Cofounders Capital — 4/27/20
  • $1m — Improved Nature — 1/13/20
  • $1m — ZynBit — 3/27/20
  • $800k — FeedTrail
  • $250k — Revibe Technologies
  • (amount not announced) Diveplane — Calibrate Ventures 10/27/20
  • (amount not announced) Field2Base — Black and Veatch 7/13/20
  • (amount not announced) Keona Health — Riverside Acceleration Capital 3/25/20
  • (amount not announced) WeaveUp — Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores — 1/15/20
  • Pattern Health (*raised $1.5m in 2021, will be here next year for the 2022 list, I know it’s confusing. :( )

2021 Update: New to the Tweener list:

We’ve also discovered 57 new Tweeners that we’re adding to the list this year. Note: you can search for the new additions by searching for “New for 2021!”

  • AgEye Technologies
  • Alcove
  • ArenaCX (Added 4/10)
  • Aries
  • Atlas Certified (Added 4/10)
  • BrightView Technologies
  • ChekHub
  • CloudFuze
  • Constellation Digital Partners
  • Cymatic.io
  • Demographics Pro
  • EDJX — iot thing
  • Equity Shift
  • FantasyLife
  • Finmark
  • GIBLIB
  • Greenlight Health
  • Hexawise
  • Hi Fidelity Genetics
  • Home Lending Pal
  • Impact Karma
  • Impathiq
  • Instancy
  • Intervolve
  • JupiterOne
  • LabVoice
  • Lightforge Games
  • Loanwell
  • Lolli
  • MapMyCustomers
  • MapRecruit.ai
  • marGo
  • Matchwell
  • Mesur.io
  • Mrecord
  • Nugget furniture
  • Pairwise Plants
  • Paragon Application Systems
  • Pocket Prep
  • Precision Fermentation
  • PublicInput.com
  • Quinsite
  • Revware (added 4/10)
  • Schedule Pop
  • Seguno Software
  • Shipedge
  • Takeout Central
  • TeleSage
  • TopCourt
  • TraKid
  • TriggerMesh
  • Trulab
  • UserVoice
  • Vade Park
  • Vanguard Software
  • Vectra Automation
  • VoiceThread
  • WalletFi
  • Whitestar communications
  • Windlift (added 4/10)
  • Zogo Finance

Finally: The 2021 Triangle Tweener List Database

(Drum roll please!) Now without further ado here is the 2021 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 2021” to see what’s new or simply “2021” 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

Adwerx. **Updated for 2021
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. The company tells me that they work with 25% of the top 1,000 Real Estate companies, and 15% of the top Mortgage Originators in the United States, and serve ads for more than 250,000 individual producers per year!
Size: 100–200
Investors: $5.5m that includes Bull City Venture Partners, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Grotech, Alerion Capital, SeventySix Capital
CEO: Jed Carlson
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
AgEye Technologies
Pitch: As we explore new ways to grow food more cheaply (and someday on Mars of course), indoor growing is increasingly important. AgEye has developed an indoor growth platform. What’s that you ask? Well several parts — first is hardware including set of IoT (Internet of Things) sensors that monitors things like soil moisture plus cameras. The second part is software that used advanced ML (Machine Learning). Together they help the indoor farmer optimize their crop. “Hey Larry, that radish over there needs 6oz of water today and 1hr more of light, but first turn the bulk 12 degrees to the right”
Size: 25–30
Investors: none
CEO: <unavailable>
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Alcove
Pitch: When you go to college and want a roommate, there are tons of mechanisms to do that. Then you get a job in another city where you know nobody, what can you do? Enter Alcove -Alcove is a two-sided marketplace. On one side you have renters looking for great rooms. On the other side, you have people that have extra rooms either in their house or in an apartment they are renting and they want a rent out that extra room. Alcove was founded to solve this problem.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $2.7m from Bling Capital, Expa and NextView Capital
CEO: Colin Tai
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

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: 20–40 ***Updated for 2021
Investors: $5m from Hyperplane Venture Capital and others.
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
Investors: none
CEO: Michael Tedesco
LinkedIn

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: Kenneth Darby * Updated for 2021
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
CEO: Ray Carey
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
ArenaCX
Pitch: If you recall Bandwidth developed a consumer wireless solution called Republic Wireless. Inside of their to provide top-notch customer service at the best prices possible, they developed some amazing customer service marketplace and management technology. It was so popular other wireless carriers and other industries wanted to use it, so they spun it out as ArenaCX.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $2m from Sovereign’s Capital
CEO: Alan Pendleton
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Aries
Pitch: Chris Evans put the serial in serial entrepreneur. He started with one of the first email systems called DaVinci. Then he followed up with an online ad startup called Accipiter. Then he pivoted from software to material science and started Tethis/New Century Spirits. Never one to take a break, he’s back with another startup. This one is in the PPE space. Chris has taken a space-age fabric out of NCSU that has filtration attributes as good or better than N95, but is much more breathable. The result is the Workweek mask by Aries. At the time of this writing, the Aries mask has become my go-to mask. As a glasses wearer, I haven’t found a mask that is nearly as comfortable that doesn’t fog up my glasses.
Size: 10
Investors: none
CEO: Chris Evans
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

New for 2021 (added 4/10)
Atlas Certified
Pitch: There are hundreds of certifications out there: home inspector, cisco hardware, mircrosoft certified X, the list goes on. There’s a hodge podge of APIs and ways to check these things. Atlas Certified has put them all into a family of over 600 APIs that make it super easy to very and track certifications of anyone across industries. Customers include Amazon, HomeAdvisor, ADP, etc.
Size:10–20
Investors:
CEO: David Lindsay Johnson
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

New for 2021!
BrightView Technologies
Pitch: The Triangle has an unusually large group of smart people in optics, cameras and items like that. Last year we introduced you to Aqueti and this year we have BrightView Technologies. Brightview’s technology can be used for lighting and displays, but what got them on my radar (har har) is their 3D sensing technologies that are used with LiDAR for autonomous vehicles. This company last raised capital in 08/09, but seems to have seen a new resurgence because of the excitement around AV/LiDAR.
Size: 30–50
Investors: $26.5m from Intersouth partners and Battery Ventures
CEO: Jennifer Aspell
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
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
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. **Updated for 2021 -> It’s been really exciting to see Carpe on TV and on the radio all through 2020 — these guys are doing really well.
Size: 20–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Carolina Angel Network (CAN) and Triangle Angel Partners (TAP)
CEO: David Spratte
LinkedIn

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

New for 2021!
ChekHub
Pitch: I have a confession to make. I love checklists. One of my favorite books is the Checklist manifesto. ChekHub is near and dear to my heart because it is software that allows you to share checklists with coworkers and break down complex tasks into….well checklists. There’s a bunch of other great productivity features, but they had me at checklists!
Size: 10–15
Investors: none
CEO: Jon Trout
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
CEO: Mark Sears
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
CloudFuze
Pitch: We’re all fans of cloud-based software or SaaS. But what happens is you are chugging along and look up and suddenly your company has 20 different cloud vendors and your data is spread across gdrive, onedrive, box, dropbox and a bazillion other places. CloudFuze gives you the ability to move between clouds seamlessly. If you’re saying to yourself, wow, this is a great idea — I thought so too, i think we’re going to see some great things out of CloudFuze!
Size: 30–40
Investors: none
CEO: Ravi Poli
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
Investors: undisclosed angels
CEO: Justin Senkbeil
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Constellation Digital Partners
Pitch: One of the hottest areas of startups is called FinTech (Financial Technology) and Constellation is square in the middle of that huge trend. One of the biggest consumers of FinTech software are banks and credit unions. Constellation has created what I think of as a meta-platform. Banks adopt their platform and then other innovators (mostly startups I’m guessing) can deploy new solutions quickly. Think of it as a FinTech app store for credit unions and banks to be able to adopt new software quickly.
Size: 50–100
Investors: $52.5m — their investors are largely credit unions and banks, etc.
CEO: Kristopher Kovacs
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
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: In 2020, raised $2.8m from Jurassic Capital — Joe Colopy’s new investment vehicle. **Updated for 2021
CEO: Sam Bayer
LinkedIn

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

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: 20–40
Investors: In 2020, Cofounder’s Capital invested $1.2m in CureMint **Updated for 2021
CEO: Brandon Patrick McCarty
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Cymatic.io
Pitch: We have a nice new crop of cybersecurity companies on the Tweener list this year and the first one is Cymatic (alphabetically). Cymatic has developed technology that is client-side. That means it can help protect against one of the most prevalent and malicious attacks: javascript injection. There are tons of other benefits for their solution that are over my head, so check it out to learn more!
Size: 20–40
Investors: $4.5m from unspecified investors
CEO: Jason A. Hollander
LinkedIn

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
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

New for 2021!
Demographics Pro
Pitch: Any marketer will tell you that one of the most important things they think about is demographics for whatever it is they are marketing. When you think demographics (demos as we say in the biz), you think about someone at P+G spending 300k for all this fancy data. That’s the 1985 way of thinking — enter Demographics Pro. Demographics Pro provides APIs that allow you to query: “Who are the top social restaurant influencers in Raleigh, NC?” Create an audience of people 25–30 in the SE states that are thinking about buying a car”. Demographics Pro does it all!
Size: 10–50
Investors: none
CEO: Paul Hallett
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
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

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: 30–50
Investors: In 2020, Diveplane raised capital from Calibrate Ventures, bringing their total to $6m. Investors also includePresence 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
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
EDJX
Pitch: 6fusion is a Tweener where this idea was born. EDJX is in the IoT (Internet of Things) space where they are building edge capabilities so that you can easily deploy IoT anywhere (I don’t 100% unstand this, but there you go).
Size: 25
Investors: $21.7m raised from undisclosed investors
CEO: John Cowan
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
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

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

New for 2021!
Equity Shift
Pitch: One of the hot sub-categories of FinTech is helping startups with their various challenges. The big Unicorn in Silicon Valley is Carta. EquityShift is a new Triangle startup that has planted a flag in this exciting space! EquityShift helps companies manage and automate raising capital through equity rounds, convertible notes and things like that. I’m excited to learn more about this one and watch them grow quickly.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.4m from undisclosed investors (I’m betting they used their platform)
CEO: Will Duckett
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: 20–40
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Jud Vanzee **Updated for 2021
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: 100–200 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Raised $11.1m in 2020 from undisclosed sources, bringing their total raised to $20.2m **Updated for 2021
CEO: Robert Mallernee
LinkedIn

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

New for 2021!
FantasyLife
Pitch: When Fantasy Life CEO, Yasin Abbak moved to the area and reached out to get the lay of the land, I was super excited. The ‘fantasy sports’ category is red hot and we’ve already had one success in the triangle with Robbie Allen’s Automated Insights. Now that sports gambling is becoming legal in more and more states, Fantasy apps are white hot as they are a big customer acquisition vehicle for many of the top betting companies. Fantasy Life does not disappoint. It combines the normal fantasy sport elements (team building, trades, trash talk and al that) and mixes in a real-time news element and a very engaged community. The cherry on top here is the investors: Matthew Berry, top ESPN Fantasy analyst, Kyle Busch, Evan Longoria and more sports names than I can fit in here. The team is virtual, but the CEO is here, so we’re claiming them!
Size: 10–20
Investors: Undisclosed amount from SK Ventures and Upstage Ventures plus a who’s who of sports figures.
CEO: Yasin Abbak
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: 30–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, FeedTrail raised $800k from undisclosed investors, bringing the total to $2.7m. Investors include Cofounders Capital and Dioko Ventures **Updated for 2021
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. **Updated for 2021 — they have a new sub-brand called Rising Tide that is outside of flip-flops.
Size: 30–40
Investors: Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor
CEO: Mac Sullivan **Updated for 2021
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: In 2020, raised undisclosed amount from Black and Veatch bringing their total to $1.7m ** Updated for 2021
CEO: Ed White
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Finmark
Pitch: If you’re like me, you have about 400 different little excel models where one night at 2am, you’re like, Hmmm, I wonder if we doubled our prices, what would happen. If I hire 20 more SaaS sales reps this yr, what does that do to bookings and burn? The problem is these little excel nuggets get lost, forgotten and once your team is bigger, impossible to manage. That’s where Finmark comes in — you can build a financial model quickly that is shareable and also super re-usable. Finmark has a pre-set list of metrics important to different businesses so will automatigically kick all that out as well. I’m also excited we have another FinTech company in the Triangle!
Size: 30–40
Investors: none
CEO: Rami Essaid
LinkedIn

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
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
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.

New for 2021!
GIBLIB
Pitch: A big trend in EdTech is a marketplace/Netflix approach for different verticals. GIBLIB provides doctors the ability to hear from the top of their field about a variety of topics from subject matter experts. No more hopping on a plane to a painful trip to Bermuda for a conference, now the Docs can get all the content they need online and stay up to speed on the best practices and procedures. GIBLIB is the Netflix of medical education. Note they + CEO just moved to the Triangle from Los Angeles — welcome home!
Size: 20–30
Investors: $7.6m from the Mayo Clinic, Strong Ventures and Global Ventures.
CEO: Brian Conyer
LinkedIn

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: 40–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: $3.6 from undisclosed investors **Updated for 2021
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

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 2021!
Greenlight Health
Pitch: Greenlight gives patients the ability to aggregate and get access to their electronic health records that are spread across a variety of sources. This technology was incubated at Medfusion that was started and sold twice (I like this model too) by local tech startup and soccer entrepreneur Steve Malik.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none (well, I imagine Bank of Steve involved).
CEO: Steve Malik
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Hexawise
Pitch: Hexawise is in one of my favorite categories: DevTech — technology that helps software developers. Their solution is in the testing part of development. Today’s engineering teams are generating code faster than ever which means, how are you going to test all this code being produced? Enter Hexawise. Their solution is low-code — as a non coder I can build tests based on scenarios like: “Someone goes to the tweener list, presses this button and then they scroll here and do this and then that” and then hexawise takes care of the rest.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Justin Hunter
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Hi Fidelity Genetics
Pitch: I love this tagline: “Plant breeding is analog, we are making it digital”. To that end, HFG is an AgTech company that mixes IoT sensors, data science and genomics to create better seeds. It turns out the secret sauce is in the roots. That’s where my understanding stopped and if you want to learn more, their site has some deep papers on the topic.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Bill Niebur
LinkedIn

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 vertical 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. Full Disclosure: I’m on the board of Hip Ecommerce and angel investor.
Size: 20–40 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, Hip Ecommerce raised $5m+ in 2020 from Next Coast Ventures. **Updated for 2021
CEO: Mark Rosenberg
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Home Lending Pal
Pitch: In the world of 2021, HLP seems to be split between RDU and MCO, so we’ll claim them because they are FinTech and solving some cool problems. Instead of going through endless forms to figure out your mortgage situation, they have developed an AI persona, named Kev, that walks you quickly through the process and only needs 9 questions asked. After that, boom, Kev presents you with up to 9 offers from lenders and walks you through the process after that.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Better
LinkedIn

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
Investors: none
CEO: Keith Shepherd
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Impact Karm
Pitch: As you’re shopping and working with different brands, wouldn’t it be cool to know how sustainable that brand is? Impact Karma has KarmaWallet that tells you the ImpactIndex score of brands as you shop. If a brand scores lower, KarmaWallet can recommend a more sustainable alternative.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jayant Khadilkar
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Impathiq
Pitch: Impathiq helps you read other people’s minds! Err, sorry that’s telephatic, but Impathiq is almost as cool. In the HealthTech world, hospitals use either Epic or Cerner systems. Impathiq has built tools on those system that help with Electronic Patient Health Records (EHR). The big one I have no idea what it is, but here goes: It’s a high-sensitivity Troponin. The other thing you need to know about Impathiq is they were founded by three Emergency physicians who saw the need and went and built a solution. Kim joined after successfully selling and transitioning Medfusion to NextGen (announced 2019, closed 2020).
Size: 10
Investors: $350k from Cofounders Capital
CEO: Kimberly Labow
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
Investors: In 2020, Improved Nautre received an additional $1m from undisclosed sources. This brings the total to $10m raised. Investors include Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN).
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: Rob Delaney **Updated for 2021
LinkedIn

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

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

New for 2021!
Instancy
Pitch: I remember back in like ’99 I met Harvey for coffee and he was SUPER fired up about the impact of technology on education, so started his first company MindLever that he successfully sold after 2yrs to a bigger EdTech company: Centra. I was excited to learn that he’s back at it again with Instancy which is a learning ecosystem and marketplace. Unsurprisingly, the company has gotten pretty big very fast. Welcome back to the game and the Tweener list Harvey!
Size: 90–100
Investors: Bootstrapping this puppy it seems.
CEO: Harvey Singh
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 2021!
Intervolve
Pitch: Another interesting area of focus for the Triangle is AlcoholTech or I guess we can subcategorize it to BeerTech. The AB industry has a complex three-tier distribution system and Intervolve builds software for tracking where the inputs and outputs in the supply chain are through the entire process. Or more simply stated: Where’s my Keg!? <- They can answer that.
Size: 15–20
Investors: none
CEO:
LinkedIn

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

New for 2021!
JupiterOne
Pitch: JupiterOne is in the CyberSecurity world and focuses on the topography side of things — what are all the digital assets in your organization and how do you make sure you’re tracking that first so you can then look at the security applied to that topography. It will reach out to your IT/MIS side, your AWS and all your assets to understand the numerous touch points we all have in today’s cloud-enabled, connected world.
Size: 40–50
Investors: $19m — from Bain Capital Ventures and Rain Capital details here
CEO: Erkang Z
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 2020, K4Connect raised $7.7m from AXA Venture Partners, ForteVentures, Intel Capital and Revolution Ventures. That brings the total raised at K4 up to $29.6m **Updated for 2020
CEO: F. Scott Moody
LinkedIn

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: In 2020 Keona raised additional undisclosed amount from Riverside Acceleration Capital on top of the privious $2.5M from Blueprint Health. **Updated for 2021
CEO: Oakkar Oakkar
LinkedIn

Kevel (previously Adzerk). **Updated for 2021 — name change along with Fulcrum round
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: 50–100 **Updated for 2021
Investors: $12.2m from Fulcrum Equity Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Brian Handly (of Reveal Mobile) and other angels including TAP (Triangle Angel Partners) and I’m also an angel investor here.
CEO: James Avery
LinkedIn

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

New for 2021!
LabVoice
Pitch: Let’s say you work in a laboratory with all this equipment like balances, centrifuges, sampling devices, etc. Wouldn’t it be cool to say: “Alexa, what’s the sample weigh? Run a centrifuge on high for 10 minutes…” and also have all of that data and workflow captured in the cloud? That’s what LabVoice does, but instead of Alexa, they have their own hardware called the LabVoice smart device. The device married with their software makes that science fiction a reality.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Frederic Bost
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: 50–100 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Raised an an additional $2m in 2020 from undisclosed sources. In 2019 $4m raised from: Emerson Collective, AT&T, Edovate, Gregg Burt, Jean Hammond, Kaplan, Techstars. ** Updated for 2021
CEO: Karl Rectanus
LinkedIn

Levitate . (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.
Size: 100–150 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, they raised an additional $6m bringing their total to $12m for 2020 At the time of this writing, they have also raised more in 2021, but we will add that in the next update. **Updated for 2021
CEO: Jesse Lipson
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Lightforge Games (not launched yet)
Pitch: What if I told you some of the folks that were core to Epic’s best games like Fortnight got together with some other game developers from Blizzard (StarCraft, WarCraft, etc.) to start a new game company right here in the Triangle working on a super-secret new game? Pretty exciting right? I know more, but have to stop here.. be patient Dear Tweener readers, this one’s gonna be worth the wait! (Full disclosure: I’m an angel investor here)
Size: >10
Investors: $5m raised from undisclosed investors, but WRAL says one of them is Galaxy Interactive and a game designer named Glenn Rane.
CEO: Matt Schembari
LinkedIn (not launched yet)

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

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 2021!
Loanwell
Pitch: Another exciting new tweener in the FinTech Space! Loanwell provides banks and credit unions a platform that streamlines the process of processing loans. From the application/intake to origination, underwriting, closing and then servicing, Loanwell is a complete end-to-end solution.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $50k grant from NC IDEA
CEO: Bernard Worthy
LinkedIn

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 2021!
Lolli
Pitch: Earn Bitcoin while you shop online — mic drop. Seriously though, Lolli is a great idea. There are a variety of ways to get cash back from your online purchases, but what about using it as a way to accumulate bitcoin as an alternative asset (or stack Satoshis as the crypto-folks would say). Lolli works by providing a browser extension that pops up when you start shopping online to tell you which merchants provide Lolli bitcoin back offers and to track your accumulated savings/earnings.
Size: 20–50
Investors: $10.3m from Version One Ventures, Pathfinder and Serena Williams
CEO: Alex Adelman
LinkedIn

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: 20–40 **Updated for 2021
Investors: $2.6m from investors including CAN (Carolina Angel Network) and Cofounders Capital. **Updated for 2021
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

New for 2021!
MapMyCustomers
Pitch: MapMyCustomers wins the award for the company on and off the list the most number of times. They were on the list in 2019, and then in 2020 moved the HQ to NYC and now they have a new CEO and have returned to the Triangle (Yeah!). Let’s say you are a ‘boots on the ground’ field sales organization and you have a bunch of customers you need to visit on a regular basis. MapMyCustomers helps you understand the geographical layout of your customers and optimize your routes as you visit them.
Size: 20–40
Investors: CoFounders Capital
CEO: Ben Hartmere
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
MapRecruit.ai
Pitch: Recruiting is hard. When you put out a listing, you can get hundreds of applicants. How do you sort through that tsunami of applicants to find the diamonds in the rough? Enter MapRecuit.AI — MR uses the latest AI technology to sort through all those applicants, sort them, track them and filter them. The ReA chatbot can even engage with candidates to ask them questions and keep them moving through the process. This type of technology is called HRTech.
Size: 30–50
Investors: none
CEO: Shivaji Mukthavaram
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
marGo
Pitch: You’ve probably heard of the direct selling business: Pampered Chef, Rodan and Fields, etc., but you may not realize that is a > $200b industry. Margo is a salesforce app that adds advanced direct selling capabilities to a direct selling business network of sales people and makes it easier to run a direct sales business.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.3m from Cofounders Capital
CEO: Dean Yellets
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

New for 2021!
Matchwell
Pitch: Even before the pandemic, there was a shortage of healthcare professionals. Matchwell is a marketplace for healthcare talent. Healthcare organizations list their job openings and Matchwell helps candidates find the best match for their skills.
Size: 20–30
Investors: $4.1m from an undisclosed investor.
CEO: Robert Crowe
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: 25–50 ** Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, raised $3.3m from AIM Group, Venture South and Miami Angels, bringing the total raised to $4.5m **Updated for 2021
CEO: Will Bowen
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Mesur.io
Pitch: Another new entrant this year in the AgTech category. Mesur.io takes the lastest in Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors measured with satellite imagery, weather forecasts and soil and surface temperatures for the best growing knowledge. Their technology is also used for turf and athletic fields.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.6m from Techstars Austin and other undisclosed investors.
CEO: Tom Rump
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
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

New for 2021!
Mrecord
Pitch: Doctors and healthcare professionals are very busy, but are required to keep detailed notes for your electronic health records (EHR). Mrecord offers speech to text technology that lets doctors speak their notes on patients and have them translated to text and stored in the EHR. The results: great records and Docs have more time to see patients.
Size: 30–40
Investors: none
CEO:
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: 20–40 **Updated for 2021
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
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

New for 2021!
Nugget furniture
Pitch: This is one of my favorite Tweener stories. David and his team came up with the idea for furniture that’s fun and reconfigurable. Lego blocks meets furniture meets cool forts. What’s even better is Nugget sells all of it’s products direct-to-consumer through their e-commerce site. The products are so hot that they’ve moved to a ‘drop’ model where they release nuggets and they are snapped up for 3/6/9 months at a time. My Startup Spidey-sense tells me this one is going to be a rocket ship and could be a consumer unicorn or at least a very big bootstrapped exit.
Size: 15–30
Investors: none (Bootstrapped if you can believe it)
CEO: David Barron
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

New for 2021!
Pairwise Plants
Pitch: I read a lot of nerdy science articles and one of my favorite topics is this gene editing software called CRISPR. It allows you to ‘hack’ genes like you would software. Pairwise takes our current fruit and vegetables, looks at their DNA and then improves it by mixing in attributes from the natural versions of the plants. Who needs pestic ides when you can design the plant to be pest resistant? Want blackberries without seeds? How about Kale that tastes like cotton candy (ok I made that one up, but consider it a request, ok guys?).
Size: 90
Investors: $115m from Monsanto Ventures, Bayer, Deerfield and other bio-techy investors.
CEO: Tom Adams
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Paragon Application Systems
Pitch: DevTech is a hot area and so is e-commerce. Marry them together and you have testing/dev tech that focuses on systems that include payments. That’s the intersection where Paragon lives. Their software helps you created and execute automated tests that include payment systems.
Size: 40–50
Investors: none
CEO: Jim Perry
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

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
Investors: Pendo is officially a unicorn with the valuation from their 2020 $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 $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
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Pocket Prep
Pitch: Split between Seattle and the Triangle, we’re going to claim Pocket Prep. They have built an app that makes it easy to study and take exams for standardized tests and professional certifications using your mobile phone. Another awesome innovative EdTech company.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Peter Murphy
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Precision Fermentation
Pitch: PF is another entrant in the Triangle’s burgeoning BeerTech scene. Fermentation is a tricky chemical process to nail and ripe for data analysis. Enter PF. Their product, the BrewMonitor system, is a combination of hardware (sensors) and software that gives the brewer complete visibility into the fermentation process. The result: better beer, higher yields and improved consistency.
Size: 20–40
Investors: none
CEO: Jared Resnick
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. 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)
LinkedIn

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! 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

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

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

New for 2021!
PublicInput.com
Pitch: Let’s say you are in a government entity and you want to know more about what the citizens want. How do you do that? Sure you could have meetings and what-not, but they are inherently unscalable. You could shoot out a SurveyMonkey, but governments communications have complex rules around privacy and compliance. Enter PublicInput.com — they have built a comprehensive multi-tiered system for government entities to gather input and interact with their citizen customers. What’s even better is PublicInput is a SaaS/cloud app and they have a resident CRM, communication cloud and more. Now the Triangle has a GovTech company to keep an eye on!
Size: 20–30
Investors: Seed round by Gregory Fisher
CEO: Jay Dawkins
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
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
Investors: Pryon announced a whopping $20m from Rise of the Rest in 2019 Previously had raised $4.5m including Carolina Angel Network (CAN), Greycroft, Triangle Angel Partners (TAP), and Full Tilt Capital
CEO: Igor Jablokov
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Quinsite
Pitch: As you’ve probably already realized from all the HealthTech companies on the Tweener list, our healthcare system generates a ton of data. Enter Quinsite — their platform ingests all that data and makes it actionable. Want to compare wait-times across hospitals? Want to compare physicians? What to do hospital capacity planning and more? Quinsite is your co!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jeff Maze
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

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
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
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: 25–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, Reveal raised an additional $2m from IDEA Fund, BCVP, Alerion, and Charleston Angel Partners. This brings the total raised to $8m. **Updated for 2021
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

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: In 2020, Revibe raised $250k from undisclosed investors. **Updated for 2021
CEO: Rich Brancaccio
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Revware, Inc.
Pitch: Previously in the Tweener list we’ve talked about all the 3D printing and modeling going on in the Triangle. Revware is squarely in that space. Their MicroScribe technology lets you take a physical object and collect datapoints to build an exact 3D model. Their current revenues primarily come from applications for guided therapy, landmark studies, reverse engineering, and manufacturing QC. Two fun facts: This technology was used on Shrek (started in clay then digital 3D) and Tom tells me at 28yrs+ this is the oldest Tweener on the list. I’m pretty sure he’s right!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Tom Welsh
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

New for 2021!
Schedule Pop
Pitch: When one of the founders of very successful eTix starts a new company, it gets my attention. Ben has created a great second act in the form of SchedulePop. SchedulePop allows a business of any size to manage their employees’ shifts schedules and more. This is such a needed solution that they work with a very wide set of industries like museums, hospitals, clubs, golf courses, restaurants and retail -phew!
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Ben Wingrove
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)
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
Investors: Raised $16.4m in 2020 from Arsenal, Bonaventure, Idea Fund. That brings the total raised by Second Nature to $34.7m.

$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).
CEO: Thad Tarkington
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Seguno Software
Pitch: E-commerce — yeah! Seguno is some ex-Bronto-ites and new folks that have created an email app that sits on top of the very popular Shopify e-commerce SaaS platform. This makes a ton of sense, because even if/when shopify offers their own email offering, they have 2m users, so they have to build the most basic platform possible, this should leave plenty of room for Seguno to add a ton of value for the larger stores.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $150k from Colopy Ventures (aka Bank of Joe)
CEO: Christopher Geiss
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: 50–100 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Raised a $30m round on 8/4/20 from BCVP and Frontier Growth **Updated for 2021
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

New for 2021!
Shipedge
Pitch: More e-commerce — yes! Whenever you make the front-end of something easy (add to cart + pay and boom) the back-end gets 10–100x as complex. E-commerce is a perfect example of this. The logistics of e-commerce is extremely hard and gets hard when you mix in omnichannel, multiple channels, multiple fulfillment centers, etc. Shipedge has created cloud versions of all the software you need to manage this complexity — order management, warehouse management, returns and more.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jose-Ignacio Flores
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
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
Investors: Raised a whopping $18m round in 2020. Previously raised $3M from unknown investors in 2016.
CEO: Bradford Hirsch
LinkedIn

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: 30–40 **Updated for 2021 — they are growing like a weed!
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 **Updated for 2021
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: 200–300
Investors: $25M from Guidepost Venture Partners and Bull City Venture Partners.
CEO: Michael D. Jones (ChannelAdvisor Alumni!)
Full Disclosure: I’m on the board of SpoonFlower
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
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 $75 round in 2019, previously raised $6M from E-Merge, AngelList .
CEO: Justin Benson
LinkedIn

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
Investors: Systena is an investor (out of Japan interestingly)
CEO: Arshad Noor
LinkedIn

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
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Stefan Hoenig
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Takeout Central
Pitch: The pandemic has accelerated grocery and food delivery and it looks like our own local food delivery company, Takeout Central has done very well too. Takeout central started out as UNC dorm food delivery (Tarheel takout back then) and has expanded not only outside of the dorm, but across NC and into TN as well. Takeout Central works with the smaller independent restaurants that are looking for a local option vs. national.
Size: 30–40
Investors: none
CEO: Wes Garrison
LinkedIn

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: $2.6m from undisclosed investors. **Updated for 2021
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: 100–200 ** Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, Teamworks raised an additional $30m from Delta-V capital, General Catalyst and more. That brings their total raised to $48m.
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 2021!
TeleSage
Pitch: More HealthTech — TeleSage provides software that is web based and screens and assesses patients for better outcomes in the mental health category.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Benjamin B Brody, MD
LinkedIn

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
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

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: 25–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, they raised $3.8m from Persei Ventures **Updated for 2021
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 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 2021!
TopCourt
Pitch: Covid has accelerated online learning and EdTech startups. One model that has surged is ‘netflix for learning’ type models. One of the biggest is called Masterclass which has raised ~$250m. TopCourt brings this model to tennis. Want to learn how to improve your serve from Venus Williams? Want to work on your backhand with tips from Chris Evert? Want to schedule a 1:1 session with a pro? TopCourt has all that and more. Founder Taylor Meyer is a Tarheel undergrad in chemistry with a Kenan-Flagler business school and then went to Harvard for a masters in comp-sci.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $8.5m from undisclosed investors.
CEO: Taylor Meyer
LinkedIn

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 2021!
TraKid
Pitch: If you’ve ever been to a big museum, or theme park or zoo with a pack of kids, you know the biggest fear is losing them in some of that massive real estate and crowds. Enter TraKid! This idea was born out of NCSU and I’ve been fortunate enough to see them progress from a simple tracker that kids wear to now the product offers an interactive set of games (think treasure hunt type stuff) that keep kids engaged and excited about the park, but also give parents piece of mind that if they lose sight of their kids, they will be able to find them quickly.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Brandon Kashani
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
TriggerMesh
Pitch: Blink and your company has 200 different SaaS products used by different groups. While they are all super-easy to setup and get going on (by design) but then you wake up and you have folks across the company quad-entering data in these apps, or even unable to get any data out. Enter TriggerMesh — their platform that integrates with a wide variety of SaaS platforms and allows you to not only move data in and out automatically, but also allows you to create workflows.
Size: 13
Investors: none
CEO: Mark Hinkle
LinkedIn

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 2021!
Trulab
Pitch: What happens when you take 1 part blockchain and 1 part successful executive from one of the Triangle’s biggest PE exits, Sageworks? Trulab! Trulab leverages blockchain technology to provide comprehensive biological sample tracking for clinical trials. I imagine their customers are the CRO organizations that run those trials. Apparently chain-of-custody and the lost of samples cause 20% of samples to be unusable for clinical trials and Trulab solves that.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Scott Ogle
LinkedIn

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: 15–25
Investors: Raised $3m from undisclosed sources in 2021 **Updated for 2021
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
Update: Raised $5.5M in 2016 along with a great deal of media attention.
LinkedIn

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

New for 2021!
UserVoice
Pitch: I took my eye off UserVoice for a year or so and somewhere in there they completely domiciled in the Triangle. They previously were split between NY (execs and sales) and NC (engineering) — now they seem to be 100% in the Triangle. I’ve used UserVoice before and it’s great SaaS software that you integrate into your software so that you can gather user feedback. Users can submit feature requests, upvote/downvote/etc.
Size: 50–75
Investors: $9.6m from Baseline Ventures and other undisclosed ventures.
CEO: Matt Young
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Vade Park
Pitch: Cities are getting smarter and one of the areas that needs to be optimized is curbs. Curbs are important for parking, services (garbage, cleaning, roadwork, etc.). How can a city keep track of all this? Vade Park uses some kind of IoT device that mounts a camera either on phone poles or city buses (or both?) and that is how they get the data. They then use AI to tell cities stuff like: Your curb parking on main st is maxed out every day by 1pm.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Matty Schaefer
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

New for 2021!
Vanguard Software
Pitch: With covid, a global shortage of chips plus the incident in the Suez Canal, supply chain went from something only a few people thought/knew about to front of mind for entire segments of the US economy. Vanguard provides software that allows you to do predictive planning for your supply chain. What if holiday orders spike 30%? What if supplierX can’t meet our needs?
Size: 40–60
Investors: none
CEO: Neal Goffman
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Vectra Automation
Pitch: Let’s say you have a bunch of 3D CAD drawings, but for a variety of reasons you need them converted to 2D. Prior to Vectra, you would have to get a drafter to tediously convert the 3D to 2D manually.
Size: 30–50
Investors: none
CEO: Vinod Kettay
LinkedIn

Vertical IQ
Pitch: Let’s say you sell something into a lot of different industries. You want your sales and marketing teams to have all the information about that vertical industry. Calling on dentists, hospital administrators, veterinarians, welders, plumbers, etc? You want to know as much about the industry as possible. You can use Vertical IQ to pull up any information about an industry. Arm your sales people with the info they need before they pick up the phone so they are prepared. **Updated for 2021
Size: 20–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Bobby Martin
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: 40–50 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Raised $28.5m on 11/12/20 **Updated for 2021
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

New for 2021!
VoiceThread
Pitch: In today’s world of remote work, we need better ways to communicate and workflows. Enter VoiceThread. Their platform allows a team to take a piece of media — say a picture or video and attach voice notes and annotations to the media for better communications.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Steve Muth
LinkedIn

** New for 2021!
WalletFi
Pitch: Another FinTech new addition this year! WalletFi sells software to banks that allows them to offer their customers the ability to track subscriptions, free trials and turn those on and off. We’ve all struggled to unsubscribe from some $19.99/m recurring fee — WalletFi powers that functionality for banks to then offer it to their customers — what we call B2B2C in the startup biz.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Marc Miller
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
Investors: none
CEO: Dave Bryla
LinkedIn

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: In 2020, WeaveUp raised an undislosed amount from the retailer Jo-Ann Fabric **Updated for 2020
CEO: Flint Davis
LinkedIn

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: Raised a whopping $40m Series A from General Catalyst, John Doerr, Mosaic Health Solutions and others. ** Updated for 2021
CEO: Dave Werry
LinkedIn

**New for 2021!
Whitestar Communications
Pitch: Fast communications and privacy are keys to many problems. WhiteStar’s technology allows peer-to-peer encrypted communications. This is good because you get speed (peer to peer cuts out a leg of network transit (client->server->client). With the evolution of 5G this technology also can enable new phone<->phone applications.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Rich Moon
LinkedIn

**New for 2021! (Added 4/10/21)
Windlift
Pitch: What’s cooler than drones? Drones that generate electricity! Windlift has built ‘airborne power generators. Imagine a drone type thing you get super high in the air (with a tether), then that puppy has fans and the winds up there generate power that comes down to earth through the tether. Sound like Sci-fi? Nope, it’s here in the Triangle now!
Size: 10–20
Investors: $125k in debt financing investor unannounced
CEO: Rob Creighton
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: 200–300 **Updated for 2021
Investors: In 2020, Zaloni raised $15m from an undisclosed group. That brings their total to $24.6m including $7.5M from Sierra Ventures **Updated for 2021.
CEO: Susan Cook
LinkedIn

New for 2021!
Zogo Finance
Pitch: What do you get when you mix EdTech and FinTech? Zogo! Zogo provides software and content that allows their partners (like Amex!) to offer users financial education. Want to learn about how options trading works? ETFs and a variety of other financial terms/concepts? Zogo teaches financial literacy using games and videos and other GenZ friendly media.
Size: 20–40
Investors: $295k from the MetLife/Techstars accelerator and undisclosed investors.
CEO: Bolun Li
LinkedIn

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: 40–100 **Updated for 2021
Investors: Raised additional $1m in 2020 bringing their total to $2.5m. *Updated for 2021
CEO: Phil Dixon
LinkedIn

UPDATE LOG

  • 4/9 Added Kevel to the investment bulleted list — erroneously omitted also added my angel investment to their investor list.
  • 4/10 Removed Bright Wolf as they were acquired by Cognizant and added to that section.
  • 4/10 Updated Seguno software’s investor list
  • 4/10 Added Atlas Certified — accidentally dropped them for list of new tweeners
  • 4/10 Plasma games wound down.
  • 4/10 Added Windlift -thanks Christophe Renaud
  • 4/10 JupiterOne — I missed their raise somehow added it to the listing and summary — thanks Justin!
  • 4/10 added revware — slipped through cracks
  • 4/10 — Updated Sitation headcount, thanks Steve
  • 4/10 — Added ArenaCX
  • 4/10 — Atlas Certified, Windlift, Revware and ArenaCX are all ommissions that were fixed. This brings the total up to + 4–2 (Bright Wolf and Plasma)= +2 — I’m not going to update the table, but it’s 229 now.

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

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