2019 Triangle Tweener List

Scot Wingo
Jan 24 · 48 min read

(NOTE: We had our first annual Tweener event after the list was published and that is detailed here).

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

Thanks to our Sponsors!

Earlier this year we had our first inaugural Tweener Celebration and Award event and we have several more Triangle Tweener List expansion announcements coming soon. To take the Triangle Tweener List to the next level, we are proud to be sponsored by two awesome companies in the Triangle startup ecosystem:

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.

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.

What is a Triangle Tweener?

Triangle Tweeners have the following criteria:

  • They must be headquartered in the Triangle.
  • They need to be a technology company — software, hardware, tech-enabled services, digitally native brands, e-commerce, etc. No agencies, or consultancies. No life science (drugs, CRO, medical devices) companies (I wouldn’t know how to help you understand those).
  • Have at least $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, acquistion 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). I started the Triangle Tweener List in 2016 for several reasons:

  • We have a lot of great high-tech people moving to the Triangle and this list helps them focus their efforts to land at a great company.
  • The Triangle has a lot of great investors coming in from all over the globe looking at companies in the Triangle — this list helps them focus their efforts on companies with a bit of scale.
  • We need more ‘Triangle Tweener List Graduate’ scale companies in the Triangle. In 2018 Red Hat (born in the Triangle), was acquired for $34b by IBM. We need a story like that every year.
  • We have a great ecosystem of angel investors and serial entrepreneurs and the Tweener List serves as a focusing device — let’s all focus on graduating these Tweeners by helping them scale. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make more Red Hat scale success stories!

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, Idea Fund Partners, Co-founders Capital and the Wolfpack Investment Network (aka WIN).

How Can I Help?

First, you can help me spread the list. Second, if you have any Triangle Tweener candidates I missed, let me know (comments, DM, etc.). Finally, we’re always looking for sponsors to help fund some ideas we have on taking things to the next level and if you are a coder, I could use some help on making the list more db-driven, it has officially outgrown Excel at this point with what we want to do with it.


2019 Update: A New Tweener Graduate!

Lulu Publishing was founded by Bob Young and it looks like he’s done it again — we are graduating Lulu from the Tweener list because they crossed over our 500 people limit in 2018. Congrats to Lulu, Bob, Kathy Hensgen (current President and COO) and the entire Lulu Team! Fingers crossed for more big things from Lulu (IPO, etc.) as they enjoy their post-Tweener ‘scaled up’ life.

Note: After further research, it looks like Lulu’s employee count actually includes hundreds of satisfied authors that identify as ‘employees’ on social media. Lulu has accepted graduation anyways, in the hopes that there’s more room for up-and-coming Triangle superstars! -Scot, (1/25/19)

Speaking of Tweener Graduates, I commonly get the question: “I love the Tweener list, but do you have a list of the Tweener Graduates?” Sure, here is a quick list of other Tweener graduates. Note these are companies born here in the Triangle and STAY (headquarters) here in the Triangle, there are too many companies with large outposts (e.g. IBM, Cisco, NetApp) to list here, so this is just the born/bred/stayed list->


2019 Update: Acquisitions

2018 was certainly an active acquisition and merger environment! There were 17 tweeners acquired. While most of these transactions were not disclosed, based on whisper numbers and some confidential details folks have mentioned, this represents a whopping $200–400m in total spent on Triangle Tweeners. Congrats to all the founders and teams here, we look forward to hearing about your next Triangle startups ;-)

  • BlogAds — Sold by PressFlex LLC
  • Gather Digital — Acquired by Certain Touchpoint headquartered out of SFO.
  • GoldenKey/SoloPro — Acquired by Landis, based out of NYC
  • iScribes — Acquired by Nuance (Boston-based natural language co that created Dragon).
  • InMotionNow — Acquired by PE firm, Level Equity
  • InspectionXpert — Acquired by Ideagen
  • Junxure — Acquired by WisdomTree for $24m
  • KEEPs Corporation — merged with co out of CLT
  • Plotwatt — Acquired by American Efficient
  • Racarie Software — Acquired by SwipeClock
  • SageWorks — Acquired by PE firm Accel-KKR
  • Savii Care/Akili Software — Acquired by H.A.S. Technology Group out of FL.
  • Shoeboxed — Acquired by Earth Class Mail
  • Transloc — Acquired by Ford in Jan 2018
  • Youth Digital — Acquired by Apex Learning.
  • Windsor Circle — Was acquired in early 2018 by OSG
  • XS Inc — Merged into Technekes out of CLT

2019 Update: Wind-downs, too small, etc.

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

  • Axial Exchange — Has been sold or wound down.
  • Boss Key Productions — wound down.
  • CloudPay — Headquarters now Andover, Hampshire, UK (I may have had this one wrong — Their Raleigh office is a us-sales office).
  • Cultures for Health — folded into a
  • CrossComm — consulting house
  • Dognition — appears to be under 10 folks now.
  • Intervolve
  • Operable — under 10, wound down?
  • Prsonas — wind down
  • Quantifize -under 10
  • SnapSolv — under 10
  • TouchCare — HQ now NYC?

2019 Update: Tweener Financings of Note

In addition to the ~20 acquisitions 2018 was a very active year for fundraising with some eye-popping investments, including (note this list is not comprehensive and is ordered from highest to lowest)->

  • PrecisionHawk — $75m round
  • Pendo — $50m round
  • Teamworks — $15m round
  • K4 Connect — $12m round
  • FilterEasy — $7m
  • Silbo — $1.3m round

2019 Update: New to the Tweener list:

We’ve also discovered 31 new Tweeners that we’re adding to the list this year. Note: you can search for the new additions by searching for “New for 2019!”

  • Bee Downtown
  • Boostopia
  • Carpe Lotion
  • DataClarity
  • Device Magic
  • Diveplane
  • Element451
  • FeedTrail
  • Freedom
  • Hip Ecommerce
  • Imangi Studios
  • Improved Nature, LLC
  • Infinia ML
  • MemberHub
  • Mindsumo
  • Pawboost
  • ProAxion
  • ProcessMaker
  • Proficient Auto
  • Pryon
  • Pureport
  • Real Magic/Levitate
  • Restaurant Furniture Plus
  • Rewardstock
  • Roobrik
  • Shark Dreams
  • Silbo
  • StrongKey
  • ThinQ
  • Wiser Systems

2019 Intra-Year Tweener Updates Going For

This post was last updated on January 23, 2019— I will keep a change log at the end of the document so you can see what has been changed. Hit the ‘Get Updates’ button at the bottom of the post on Medium to get updates.

Finally: The 2019 Triangle Tweener List

Now without further adieu here is the 2019 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, WRAL, etc.), the CEO’s name and a link to the LinkedIn page for the company if you’d like to learn more.


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: 100

Investors: $26M from two investors, Intersouth Partners and Grotech Ventures

CEO: John Cowan

LinkedIn

Academic Benchmarking Consortium

Pitch: Let’s say you are in higher education and want to benchmark your institution (probably a university) against other universities. ABC Insights does that for you. They have over 20 of the nation’s top universities in the benchmark and operate right out of Chapel Hill.

Size: 10–20

Investors: none

CEO: Steve Beisser

LinkedIn


Active Location Inc.
Pitch: This AdTech company, founded in Raleigh in 2014, provides technology that allows advertisers to target ads by location. This technology gives advertisers unprecedented understanding of consumer behavior.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $250K in two rounds
CEO: Devin DeLane
LinkedIn


Adwerx
Pitch: A local/vertical ad:tech (advertising technology) company that in early 2015 spun out of ReverbNation. This Durham team is making it easier for hyper-local verticals (real estate is the first one) to take advantage of the latest advertising technologies.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $5.5m that includes Bull City Venture Partners, GroTech, Boulder Ventures, Advancit Capital, SeventySix Capital
CEO: Jed Carlson
LinkedIn


Adzerk

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


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: 50–100

Investors: none

CEO: Brian McSheehy

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: $2.1M in two rounds from NC IDEA, David Gardner, The Startup Factory and e.Republic Ventures
CEO: Anil Chawla

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 2019!
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: $2M from Idea Fund Partners and Outcome Capital.
CEO: Michael Worthington
LinkedIn


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


Broadvine

Pitch: The Triangle is home to Winston Hospitality — a very large hotel developer and operator. Chances are you have stayed in one of their properties. To help manage such a large portfolio, Winston developed SaaS hospitality software. After dogfooding the software, they spun it out as a separate company called Broadvine. Now Broadvine serves over 1000 properties world-wide.

Size: 50–100

Investors: none

CEO: Shawn Barber

LinkedIn


Brooks Bell Interactive
Pitch: Brooks Bell Interactive started in 2003 and helps companies perform A/B testing and optimize their ‘whatever they want to optimize’ online — conversions, sales, etc. Full disclosure — Brooks was an intern for us back in 1999 and I take 100% credit for all her success since then

Brooks is also one of the co-founders of HQ Raleigh.
Size: 50–110
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Brooks Bell
LinkedIn


Allbridge (previously Bulk Internet and TV)

Pitch: Have you ever stayed in a hotel and wondered how they have Satellite TV in every room? The answer is Allbridge. They make (sell and install) the technology that pulls the signal down and then pipes it into every room in a hotel, office park, apartment building, dorm, etc. Based in Raleigh, Allbridge has quietly and without funding created a very big recurring revenue business. 2019 Update — Bulk TV merged with DCI and EthoStream to form the new company Allbridge.

Size: 200–300

Investors: none

CEO: David O’Connell

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, Idea Fund Partners, Sovereign’s Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Lowe’s Companies
CEO: Hunt Davis
LinkedIn


New for 2019!

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


CARS/ez-recovery

Pitch: Do you ever need to repossess (recover) a vehicle and wish you had a suite of solutions and services to help? Ok, me neither, BUT apparently someone does need this and CARS (Consolidated Asset Recovery Systems) does. Their IBeam platform is SaaS software that allows lenders to automate the recovery process.

Size: 50

Investors: none

CEO: Steve Norwood

LinkedIn


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


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: 10–50
Investors: $13M from Sovereign’s Capital, Rockefeller Foundation, David Clouse
CEO: Mark Sears

LinkedIn


Compostnow

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

Size: 10–20

Investors: undisclosed angels

CEO: Justin Senkbeil

LinkedIn


CoreCompete LLC
Pitch: Provider of agile Big Data analytics on top of Amazon Web Services and SAS. Core Compete delivers pricing analytics, customer analytics and merchandising/supply chain solutions. It’s four years old and based in Durham.
Size: 50–110
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Shiva Kommareddi
LinkedIn


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


Creative Allies

Pitch: Creative Allies operates a marketplace for crowdsourcing amazing content. Over 12,000 creators are active on the platform and have created over 17,000 assets. Let’s say you are a local bar and you want to have a St. Patrick’s day promotion. You can go onto Creative Allies and start a design contest and award $250 to the winner. Designers come and create the design and you award a winner. Contests range from this type of a local example all the way to national brands leveraging the power of crowdsourcing to work with the latest talent.

Size: 10–20

Investors: none

CEO: Donald Thompson

LinkedIn


New for 2019!
DataClarity
Pitch: In 2019, 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: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Mark Mueller
LinkedIn


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


Devada (Formerly DZone)
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: Matt Tormollen
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
Device Magic
Pitch: There are many industries such as (retail, construction, facilities, telecom) where folks are out and about doing things like inspections, inventory counts, maintenance, and things of that nature. If you want to know what they are doing, you need to arm them with a device and an optimized, low-friction ‘form’. As they are filling it out, you?ll want a variety of ways to know what’s going on and see an aggregate view of all the data. That’s exactly what Device Magic does.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Dusan Babich
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
Diveplane
Pitch: AI and machine learning are all the rage. But, we’ve all seen the Terminator, or read hundreds of sci-fi stories (or seen Black Mirror) where the AI’s decide, hmmm humans are kind of a problem, let’s take over the world (looking at you Skynet). Diveplane’s goal is to make responsible AIs that not only do cool AI stuff, but they are open and transparent.
Size: 20–50
Investors: $4.2m from a variety of angel investors and Presence Capital. Mike was CEO of Epic from 2004–2013, so this company has the attention of some very large investors. Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor.
CEO: Mike Capps
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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 Link https://www.linkedin.com/company/bee-downtown/


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: Ben Saren
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Ardis Kadiu
LinkedIn


EmployUS

Pitch: Recruiting great talent is hard. I mean, really really hard. What every company realizes after spending gobs of hard earned cash on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster and all the job boards is that the best and cheapest way to hire folks is through employee referrals. But, we tend to pay the least for employee referrals and solicit them the least. EmployUS is an HRIS, HRTech firm out of Raleigh that takes all of the work out of running a referral program and adds fun features like gamification that drive adoption (more referrals!).

Size: 10–20

Investors: $750k from Cofounders Capital and Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor.

CEO: Ryan O’Donnell

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


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: 10–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Darren Pierce
LinkedIn


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


Eton Solutions

Pitch: There are wealthy families across the world that are taking control of their finances and setting up family offices. A local family office developed software for managing all of their assets and investments and decided to license it. Eton Solutions was born! Category: SaaS FinTech

Size: 10–20

Investors: none

CEO: Robert Mallernee

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


Feelgoodz

Pitch: On a trip, the founders discovered amazing flip-flops created from 100% natural rubber. They realized that US consumers would love sustainable, socially conscious products that also were better than traditional offerings. Feelgoodz was born and has expanded not only from their small office on Glenwood but also to other categories plus their e-commerce game is quite strong.

Size: 30–40

Investors: Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) is an investor

CEO: Mark Saad

LinkedIn


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


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: 10–50
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $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


First.
Pitch: In the real estate industry, the best leads are when people are thinking of moving. First uses predictive analytics to determine which people in a Realtor’s network are most likely to buy, and then offers up a variety of ways for a Realtor to connect to that person. The company is based in Durham at American Underground.
Size: 10
Investors: $5.6m million from IDEA Fund Partners and Sovereign’s Capital
CEO: Mike Schneider
LinkedIn


Fokus Labs
Pitch: Fokus makes the Re:vibe — a wearable that is designed to help students focus in a school room setting.
Size:> $1m in sales
Investors: Cofounders Capital and The Launch Place
CEO: Rich Brancaccio
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: 10–50
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $30.8m raised from Testo, Tyson Ventures and Renewal Funds.
CEO: Sean O’Leary (new for 2019)

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

New for 2019!
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: 10–50
Investors: Bull City Ventures, Idea Fund Partners, Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN) are investors.
CEO: Scot Wingo
LinkedIn
Full disclosure: I’m a founder, investor and CEO of this company.


Global Data Consortium

Pitch: In many lines of business, you need to verify the identify of your customers and trading partners. GDC gathers information into the cloud and provides a SaaS system that delivers Electronic Identify Verification. There are other uses for the system such as data cleansing and address verification.

Size: 10–20

Investors: none

CEO: Bill Spruill

LinkedIn


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


New for 2019!
Hip Ecommerce
Pitch: Mega e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon are so big they don’t provide great verticalized shopping experiences. Hip Ecommerce’s CEO Mark Rosenberg is a stamp and comic collector. He grew frustrated with this fact and decided to change it. Hip Commerce builds vertical marketplaces (comics, postcards and stamps so far) that are heavily customized for the collector. Want that near-mint condition, CGC graded, Amazing Spider-Man number 300? Go to Hipcomic.com and find that puppy faster than you can anywhere else.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Mark Rosenberg
LinkedIn


icimo LLC
Pitch: In today’s world, your business throws off more data than ever. Commercial analytics platforms like Tableau, SAS, etc. help, but icimo, of Apex, provides custom analysis templates and a best practice methodology on top of those platforms. It’s used by the retail, banking/finance and healthcare industries, founded in 2010.
Size: 50–110
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: Bryce Gartner
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Keith Shepherd
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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: 10–20
Investors: Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) is an investor.
CEO: Rody Hawkins
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


New for 2019!
Infinia ML
Pitch: There’s a lot of hype around AI and Machine Learning — some would say too much hype. Infinia ML breaks through the hype and uses machine learning secret sauce born out of Duke to solve real-world problems.
Size: 20–50
Investors: $10m from Carrick Capital Partners
CEO: Robbie Allen
LinkedIn


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


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


K4Connect
Pitch: Scott Moody’s previous company created the technology that is now used by Apple (via acquisition) for its Touch ID finger print sensor. Now in Raleigh, Scott’s newest company (founded 2014) has an IoT platform that allows it to rapidly develop and release solutions oriented towards the older adult market. It’s got a contract to roll out the technology in senior living communities across Pennsylvania and is starting to expand to others with new funding.
Size: 10–50
Investors: 2019 Update — K4Connect raised an additional $12m in 2018 for a total of $22m from investors including AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, Better Ventures, Stephen Morton and Ben Yu
CEO: F. Scott Moody

LinkedIn


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: none

CEO: Greg Dolan

LinkedIn


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


LearnPlatform
Pitch: Schools have a portfolio of software platforms and programs these days, which is great for students but hard for educators to manage. Raleigh-based Lea(R)n, founded in 2014, seeks to solve this problem with a platform and content that helps administrators and educators manage the ed-tech suite.
Size: 11–50
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $4m raised from: Emerson Collective, AT&T, Edovate, Gregg Burt, Jean Hammond, Kaplan, Techstars
CEO: Karl Rectanus
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: 40–60

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


MapMyCustomers

Pitch: There is a classic problem in Computer Science called the Traveling Salesman — how do you optimize sales calls? It’s theoretical there, but in the real world, many sales are done in-person with on-site visits. Map My Customers allows you to see on a variety of maps your customers and prospects.

Size: 10–20

Investors: Cofounders Capital

CEO: Matthew Sniff

LinkedIn Link


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


MATI Energy
Pitch: MATI Energy was founded by Tatiana Birgisson, who was a Duke student looking for a healthy energy drink and couldn’t find one. So what does an enterprising entrepreneur do but invent a healthy alternative? MATI Energy was born.
Size: 11–50
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $6.7M invested including Steve Case, Idea Fund Partners, the Duke Angel Network and Carolina Angel Network (CAN)
CEO: 2019 — Eric Masters (former Coca-cola exec) is now CEO of MATI.
LinkedIn


Medfusion
Pitch: I love these types of stories because I’ve lived one before. Stephen Malik started Medfusion (1.0) in 2000. Its SaaS software helped patients make appointments and pay medical bills. In May of 2010, Malik sold the Cary company to Intuit for $91 million and rebranded as Intuit Health. Flash forward to 2013 when Steve bought back the business for an undisclosed amount and Medfusion (2.0) was born.
Size: 50–100
Investors: $3M from Bull City Venture Partners and Hatteras Ventures
CEO: Kimberly Labow
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


New for 2019!
MemberHub
Pitch: Every school has a PTA and memberhub provides software to schools through the PTA so that schools have more engaged families.
Size: 10-20
Investors: $1.2m — investors unknown
CEO: Will Bowen
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
Mindsumo
Pitch: Large companies struggle to get consumer feedback and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex user studies that don’t hit the mark. What if you could go straight to your potential customers and ask things like: “Hey millennials, what’s your favorite thing to add to your avocado toast? “ With a $2000 price for the top answers. Boom, now you are getting consumer feedback fast and for, well, 2/100 or 2% of the cost! Mindsumo provides a platform to do just that.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Keaton Swett
LinkedIn


Mobile Reach

Pitch: Many businesses have technicians in the field and Mobile Reach creates software for them. They also have software for managing field assets.

Size: 10–30

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: Bob Dieterle
LinkedIn


Myxx

Pitch: Grocery stores are investing millions if not billions in e-commerce (store pickup and delivery), but at the customer level, things start with…recipes. Myxx connects the top recipes to grocery stores. See a tuna casserole recipe you love, press a button and all the ingredients are added to your cart for Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.

Size: 10–20

Investors: Cofounders Capital — $400k

CEO: Monica Wood

LinkedIn


ndustrial -> </ndustrial.io>
Pitch: ndustrial is a company building IoT solutions for industrial applications. Tomorrow’s factory will be totally outfitted with sensors — ndustrial is working on a solution for that future reality in Durham.
Size: 10–20
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: Bob Young


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


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


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


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


Organic Transit
Pitch: Rob Cotter is an ex-auto industry guru who is looking to disrupt the transportation industry and guide the future of urban transportation. His first vehicle, the ELF, is a solar-powered electric platform that took Kickstarter by storm. Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Durham’s OT. And this one isn’t much software, but it’s solar and electric vehicles and that’s pretty cool — and there is definitely a software/e-commerce component.
Size: 10–50
Investors: $2.5M+ from Investors Circle and angel investors, also raised money in a Kickstarter campaign
CEO: Rob Cotter
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


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


New for 2019!
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.
Size: 250–350
Investors: (Updated for 2019) 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 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: $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: Jon LaNasa
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: (updated for 2019) $104M Third point ventures, Verizon Ventures, Bank of Bob (Bob Young), and Millennium Tech Ventures
CEO: Michael Chasen
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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


New for 2019!
ProcessMaker
Pitch: 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 Link


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


New for 2019!
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


Prometheus Group
Pitch: Prometheus was founded by NCSU alumni Eric Huang in 1998 and it’s based in Raleigh. It developed an add-on for SAP that helps with plant maintenance.
Size: 50–200
Investors: Prometheus Group raised an undisclosed amount from the large private equity company TA Associates.
CEO: Eric Huang
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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: 20–30
Investors:
CEO: Rich Lee
LinkedIn

New for 2019!
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: 20–30
Investors: $4.5m including Carolina Angel Network (CAN), Greycroft, Triangle Angel Partners (TAP), and Full Tilt Capital
CEO: Igor Jablokov
LinkedIn


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


New for 2019!
Real Magic
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. We’ll be watching this one closely, stay tuned.
Size: 10–20
Investors: Bootstrapped by the Bank of Jesse
CEO: Jesse Lipson
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: 10–20

Investors: Bootstrap

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


New for 2019!
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: 10–20
Investors: $1.1M from Sovereign’s Capital, Robbie Allen, Bruce Boehm and Alston Gardner
CEO: Eric Boggs
LinkedIn


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


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


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


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


New for 2019!
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


Samanage
Pitch: SaaS/cloud based IT management and help desk software, founded in 2007. It’s based in Cary but has an R+D office in Israel.
Size: 50–200
Investors: (Updated for 2019) $74M including Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, Carmel Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners, Gemini Israel Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Salesforce Ventures and Marker LLC
CEO: Doron Gordon
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


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


New for 2019!
Shark Dreams
Pitch: Baaaaabbbbbyyyy Shark, do-do-do-do... Sorry, I can’t stop singing that song when I write about this one. Shark Dreams is a mobile app in the HealthTech space. With an IoT pill bottle called LIVIT, Shark dreams allows health providers to monitor their patients remotely. “Did Sally take her medicine last night?” Shark dreams can answer that for you.
Size: 20–50
Investors: none
CEO: Dharma Nukarapu
LinkedIn


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


Sift

Pitch: I first met Jud Bowman when he was like 18 and started a mobile search engine called Pinpoint. They merged with another company and became Motricity which was one of the biggest exits in the Triangle. Jud knows a ton about the mobile world and his new company, Sift uses advanced big data analysis to understand and target cell phone users. Sift has built a profile of 1.2b app installation footprints and uses that to better target app downloads. For example, if a user has 4 travel apps, then they are more likely to download another travel app.

Size: 10–20

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: 10–50
Investors: $3M raised from unknown investors in 2016.
CEO: Ira Grossman
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
Silbo
Pitch: If you have kids over the age of 5, you know that youth sports in the US is a very huge market, but did you know that youth sports leagues have to work with a byzantine old-school network to find and schedule referees? Have no fear, Silbo is innovating the space by building a marketplace for marketplaces. Need a Girls 14U Basketball and Baseball 15U referee by tomorrow.
Size: 10–20
Investors: $1.3m including IFP.
CEO: Brendan Szulik
LinkedIn


Slingshot Coffee Company

Pitch: A husband-wife coffee enthusiast couple wanted to create coffee that was healthier and organically sourced. They also make cascara teas and cold-brew coffees. They were born in Raleigh, NC, but their e-commerce game is strong and their sales are exploding, catapulting them onto the Tweener list!

Size: 10–20

Investors: none

CEO: Jenny Bonchak

LinkedIn


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


SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology Corp)

Pitch: Have you ever been watching a football game and seen the yellow first-down marker or those cool stats that float on the field? Well, most likely you can thank the local company SMT for those awesome effects. Now they have expanded to collecting stats, timing and scoring.

Size: 200–500

Investors: $26.3m from Vicente Capital Partners

CEO: Gerard Hall

LinkedIn Link


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: 200–400

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: 11–50
Investors: $6M from E-Merge, AngelList
CEO: Justin Benson
LinkedIn


Stealz
Pitch: If you are a local restaurant or service company, you know that social media and sharing generates word of mouth and can be very valuable. But how do you get patrons to actively promote your business? Also how do you build loyalty? Stealz, founded in Raleigh in 2012, produces a mobile app that encourages customers to both be loyal and promote the business. Stealz had a ton of momentum in 2015, signing large McDonalds and other franchises.
Size: 11–50
Investors: $1.5M from Cofounders Capital, Triangle Angel Partners, Michael Olander Jr. and RTP Capital.
CEO: Jim Zidar
LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Jake Kiser
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: 200–500

Investors: Bootstrap

CEO: Stefan Hoenig

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: 11–50
Investors: (2019 Update) Teamworks raised an additional $15m ($21m total) from General Catalyst on top of the $6M led by Seaport Capital
CEO: Zachary Maurides
LinkedIn


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


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: 15–25

Investors: $27m from Blue Hill Group, Carolina Angel Network (CAN), Wolfpack Investment Network (WIN)

CEO: Scott Bolin

LinkedIn


New for 2019!
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


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: 51–200
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


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: Tyler Confrey-Maloney
Update: Raised $5.5M in 2016 along with a great deal of media attention.
LinkedIn


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


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


Vertical IQ
Pitch: In 2010, Bobby Martin had the idea to create software to help bankers call on businesses (They’ve never called me — who knew they even did that!) The Raleigh company now has over 20,000 users at ~100 banks.
Size: 20–50
Investors: Bootstrap
CEO: T. Kevin McNamara is president with Martin serving as chairman.
LinkedIn


Virtue Labs

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

Size: 10–20

Investors: Bootstrap

CEO: Melisse Shaban

LinkedIn


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


Wastezero

Pitch: Trash and waste is a huge problem. When it comes to trash collection, there’s no economic incentive to generate less waste because we all pay the same for trash collection (by neighborhood/region). What if you were billed more the more you throw away? Wastezero has created a system to do exactly that. Wastezero’s system is used in 800 locations and it has proven to reduce waste by 44%.

Size: 30–50

Investors: none

CEO: Mark Dancy

LinkedIn


New for 2019!
Wiser Systems
Pitch: Wiser systems uses the latest IoT technologies to allow companies to manage assets. Let’s say you are Indiana Jones and you have just found something like, oh, the Lost Ark. You store that Ark in a huge warehouse. Now it’s 4-yrs later and you want to find it? What do you do? You call Wiser Systems. Imagine if you took your Ark when you checked it in and put an IoT doo-dad on there. Then whenever you need the Ark, you look at a cloud-based version of your warehouse and ‘blip’ there it is right there in the back left corner.
Size: 10–20
Investors: none
CEO: Elaine Rideout
LinkedIn


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


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

Triangle Tweener Update Log

January 23, 2019 — Published the 2019 Edition.

Jan 24 — fixed some types and increased the M+A amount to $400 based on new data.

Jan 25 — Added Lulu graduation blurb

Jan 30 — fixed softpro and Phononic typos

Feb 4 — Updated ThinQ listing (Thanks Tim!)

March 7 — Fixed some bad links — thanks Aakash!

March 26 — Fixed a bug found by Lister @ IDEA fund partners

Scot Wingo

Written by

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

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade