2022 Triangle Tweener List

  • Triangle Tweener Fund — In January of 2022, I launched an Angel List rolling fund that invests with a focus in Triangle Tweeners. It’s creatively called the Triangle Tweener Fund and is only available to accredited investors.

Thanks to our Sponsors!

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

What is a Triangle Tweener?

Triangle Tweeners have the following criteria:

  • 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 companies (drugs, CRO, medical devices, compounds)
  • Have a minimum of $1,000,000/yr ($80k/m) in sales OR 10 people. Or as we say in startup-land, $1m ARR or $80k MRR.
  • Once a company is over $80m/yr in revenue or 500 employees they ‘graduate’ off the list.

About the Author

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

2022 Update: The Big Picture

The 2022 Tweener list reflects the activity of 2022. 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:

  • Investments are up 248% — Bazinga!!, this was an incredible year for fundraising. I even didn’t include the Pendo $150m+110m raises (one of those is tagged as secondary so may not ‘count’ as fresh capital). I won’t list all the fundings here (they are detailed in 2 sections), but when you add those up you get over $700m in investments. Remember, that’s just the investments in Tweeners. For a long time, I’ve argued that, yes we need more VCs in the area, but if we build great companies, investors will come. That was really proven out in 2021. Our local VCs are $150m funds and we had 4–5x that amount flood into the area. One caveat here. Sometimes when PE firms buy a controlling (>50%) interest in a firm, it’s not clear if that is an M+A or a funding. My default position here is to go with the language of the press release, but override that if I have some information on behind the scenes.
  • Tweeners (count) up 11% — This one is a bit tricky because we graduated some and the M+A number was high we lost a lot of Tweeners for all the best reasons. Specifically the math is: Started with 227 tweeners (from 2020), we lost 13 from M+A and graduation (down to 214) and then we added 37 for a total of 251. Another way to do this math would be to look at the ‘organic’ growth of tweeners, taking out the impact from exits and grads and that would be ~20%. Another insight — for every Tweener I meet, there are 10 ‘soon-to-be’ Tweeners, so I believe the pipeline is quite robust. More on that in next section.
  • Bottom line — The Triangle startup ecosystem is a flywheel and what makes the flywheel go faster are entrepreneurs, investment capital, revenues, M+A and graduations — all in an interconnected circle. For example, this year’s 12 acquisitions and Pendo’s graduation, those events will hopefully create a new crop of entrepreneurs that start new co’s, get funding, become Tweeners, and round and round it goes. This year the flywheel accelerated nicely with all that capital coming in, a robust growth of Tweeners and the exits all tee us up for continued accelerating momentum and a healthy ecosystem.

2022 Update: Acquisitions

In 2021 we saw a whopping 12 Tweener Exits, the second highest on record only topped by 2018’s 17 exits. Sadly these Tweeners are off the list because while many of them will maintain a presence in the Triangle, their HQs are no longer here. While most M+A does not disclose a price, three of these did and the cumulative amount was $336m — that was for 3!

  • Pureport was acquired by Digital Realty 3/3/21
  • Republic Wireless (Bandwidth — a Tweener Graduate — spin-out) was acquired by Dish Network on 3/8/21
  • d-Wise was acquired by Instem on 3/22/21 (for a reported $31m)
  • Joulebug was acquired by Carimus on 4/5/21
  • Core Compete was acquired by Accenture on 4/7/21
  • Vanguard Software was acquired by Wolters Kluwer for $100m on 5/14/21 (Congrats Neal!)
  • Fantasy Life was acquired by Betsperts on 5/26/21
  • Spoonflower was acquired by Shutterfly for $225m on 6/14/21
  • EmployUS was acquired by Hireology on 7/13/21
  • SignalPath was acquired by Verily on 8/17/21
  • Brightdoor was acquired by Cecillian Partners on 10/6/21
  • Boostopia was acquired by SupporTrends on 10/11/21
  • ReverbNation was acquired by BandLab on 11/5/21

2022 Update: Graduates and Closures

Aside from acquisition, there are three ways for companies to leave the Tweener list:

  • Closures — Startups are a risky business and over 50% of startups end up failing — this is healthy. If you aren’t pushing hard and failing, you aren’t innovating. Fortunately, once companies get to the Tweener level, the failure rate falls way off. In fact this year we didn’t detect any failures of Tweeners — yeah!
  • Shrinkage — Sometimes companies hit a rough spot and dip below our 10 people/$1m ARR criteria — that’s shrinkage. None were detected this year.

2022 Update: Tweener Financings of Note

In 2018 there was ~$150m in investments in Triangle Tweeners then in 2019 it was around $300m and in 2020 we had a decent showing of ~$200m. In 2021 we had a banner fundraising year of $700m not including Pendo’s $140m which would have put it at $850m. Here are the 2022 Triangle Tweener investments from highest to lowest where the amount was given along with the date and lead investor. These come from sources that use the SEC form D’s as their information (e.g. Pitchbook, CrunchBase, etc).

  • Pairwise Plants raised $90m Pontifax AgTech on 2/3/21
  • ServiceTrade raised $85m from JMI Equity on 12/6/21
  • Well raised $70m from Valeas Capital Partners on 12/17/21
  • Phononic raised $50m from Goldman Sachs on 7/21/21
  • ProcessMaker raised $45m from Aldrich Capital Partners on 2/12/21
  • JupiterOne raised $30m from Sapphire Ventures on 5/4/21
  • Spiffy raised $22m from Tribeca Venture Partners on 10/26/21
  • Medicom Technologies raised $21.8m from Oval Park Capital on 11/18/21
  • Higharc raised $21m from Spark Capital on 4/21/21
  • Adwerx raised $12.5m from Texas Capital Bank on 11/23/21
  • PatientPay raised $12m from unknown on 10/12/21
  • Pryon raised $12m from Good Growth Capital on 11/24/21
  • Kevel (The Tweener Previously known as AdZerk) raised $10m from Fulcrum Equity Partners on 12/9/21
  • Lolli raised $15m in two rounds, one on 3/24/21 and one from Acrew Capital on 7/28/21
  • Levitate raised $8m from unknown on 2/25/21
  • FinMark raised $6.5m
  • ndustrial.io — $6m from Clean Energy Ventures and ENGIE New Ventures on 5/5/21
  • Dart Displays raised $5.5m from undisclosed investor on 11/9/21
  • SWIR Vision Systems raised $5m on 10/19/21
  • Triggermesh raised $5m from Cisco’s venture arm on 7/13/21
  • AllStacks raised $4m from TDF Ventures on 7/1/21
  • marGo raised $4m from 1/11/21
  • PRTI raised $3.7m from undisclosed on 7/26/21
  • Stitch Golf raised $3.6m from undisclosed on 1/27/21
  • Diveplane raised $3m from undisclosed on 9/22/21
  • Element451 raised $3m from Cultivation Capital on 4/22/21
  • Revibe Technologies raised $3m from Carolina Angel Network and others on 4/15/21
  • LoanWell raised $3m on 12/7/21
  • Alcove raised $2.3m from undisclosed on 6/1/21
  • CureMint raised $2.2m on 10/20/21
  • Klearly raised $1.6m on 4/30/21
  • Pattern Health raised $1.5m from Cofounders Capital and Launch Place 2/15/21
  • Aries raised $1.1m on 2/16/21
  • RepVue raised $1m from Knoll Ventures on 6/29/21
  • Convoy raised $1m on 12/31/21
  • TRAKID raised $1m on 12/15/21
  • Mesur.io, TopCourt, Slingshot Coffee all raised < $1m rounds

2022 Update: New to the Tweener list:

We’ve also discovered 37 new Tweeners that we’re adding to the list this year. Note: you can search for the new additions by searching for “New for 2022”

  • Arpio
  • Atmos
  • Bloom AI
  • ByteBase
  • Cameyo
  • Cycle Labs
  • Dart Displays
  • Dendi Software
  • Dental HQ
  • Devana Solutions
  • E-emphasys Technologies
  • EarthOptics
  • Enmass Energy
  • Flexgen
  • Green Places
  • GrowPath
  • Higgs Boson Health
  • LogistiVIEW
  • Microgrid Labs
  • MuukTest
  • Omni Creator Products
  • Participate
  • Persistence AI
  • Playmetrics
  • Protochips
  • PRTI
  • RepVue
  • ResultID
  • Rownd
  • Security Journey
  • Serve Finance
  • Transmira
  • Tribe
  • Trulabs
  • Tumult Labs
  • WorkDove

Finally: The 2022 Triangle Tweener List Database

(Drum roll please!) Now without further ado here is the 2022 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.

Triangle Tweener List Archive

This section has links to the archives of the Tweener List. When I started, I published it on this site called ExitEvent that has since merged with WRAL’s techwire area. Fortunately, they copied a lot of the content over to WRAL and you can still find it.

--

--

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

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store