View in browser

Sponsored by

Happy Tuesday!

Hey GrepBeat readers, we’re coming to Raleigh next Thursday, Dec. 8, at 5-7 p.m. for our final Happy Hour of 2022. We’re still locking down the exact location within Raleigh, but please RSVP now so we can get a sense of numbers. Your first round of drinks will be courtesy of our sponsor, Fourscore Business Law. Bonus: I will bake something.


After Jay Parker retired as a longtime Lenovo exec in late 2019, he soon found himself acting as an unofficial mentor to plenty of former work colleagues about their career path. Soon it occurred to him that he’d stumbled upon a need (employees starving for career mentorship) and a potential solution (former executives with the time and desire to give back). That’s why he has launched Chapel Hill-based startup Mentorforce, a platform that offers one-on-one mentoring sessions, live events and online “master classes.” The main target market is companies who pay a subscription fee to offer Mentorforce to its employees. Read our full story on Mentorforce here.


Super Sharks

Early last month we mentioned that Triangle-based crochet kit startup The Woobles and its married founders Justine Tiu and Adrian Zhang had appeared on Shark Tank and emerged with an apparent deal. After every Shark had made an offer, Justine and Adrian convinced Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner to dump the Shark partners they’d originally bid with and team up for a new deal, which led Mark to admiringly say, “You guys are as sharky as we are.”
It looks like that’s even more true than he knew at the time. Triangle Inno is reporting that a deal never closed, and Mark tells the publication in an email that it was the Woobles and not the Sharks who backed out, adding, “I think once they aired, they got what they wanted from Shark Tank.” Team Woobles won’t say what happened aside from an anodyne statement that they’d had a “fantastic” experience with the show.
So it seems pretty clear what happened. The Woobles got the tremendous marketing boost that comes from going on Shark Tank with a consumer product and being such a hit that the Sharks were literally fighting over them. Then once the cameras were off, they decided that they didn’t really need the Sharks’ money, they no longer wanted to give up any equity, and they’d already gotten the huge bump they’d hoped for from appearing on the show. Sharky, indeed. Which we say with respect.


Forbes' 30 Under 30

Caleb Smith, the Co-Founder of Cary’s Triangle eSports Academy, has been named to Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 list in the education category. We wrote about Caleb and his company last August under its previous name, Contender eSports Cary. The video game center does more than just offer a fun place for kids to play games; it also exposes them early to potential careers in tech via STEM education, coding workshops and more. Congrats, Caleb!

And just as I was about to hit "send," I learned that Kasper Kubica and David Spratte, the co-founders of Durham-based Carpe, have also made the 30 Under 30 list in the "retail and ecommerce" category. Carpe makes sweat-absorbing products for hands, armpits and feet.


Filling Coffers

Yesterday’s TechWire had a roundup of startup fundraisings across the state in November, according to SEC filings. (Caveat: while SEC filings do indicate money has been raised, they often only tell part of the story. For instance, a fundraising round might be ongoing, or the money may have already been in the bank well before the legal paperwork and public filings catch up.) Among the GrepBeat story subjects included in the November filings were the $12.3M Series A by Allstacks (a 2022 Startups to Watch honoree) that we mentioned last month; fellow 2022 Startups To Watch honoree Offline; and past feature subjects Hip eCommerce, Equity Shift and Flux Hybrids.


Out Of Stealth

In yet another data point that the Triangle is a major hub of video game startups, several Epic Games veterans have launched Raleigh-based Methodical Games, which has just emerged from stealth mode backed by $15M in funding from Lightspeed Ventures. Co-Founder Frank Gigliotti was cagey to Triangle Inno about what kind of game the startup is creating, saying that it’s a “mixture of different genres,” it will be “in the third person” (as opposed to a first-person shooter like Fortnite) and “action-adventure-based, a fantastical world.” We’re guessing they told more to Lightspeed to get the $15M, but hey, the team has a solid track record and Epic Games continues to mint money.


Elon Hits Home

We’d sort of sworn off mentioning Elon Musk and Twitter in the newsletter, but his latest confrontation does have a Triangle angle. Elon is now openly feuding (on Twitter, natch) with Apple, which he says has stopped advertising on Twitter and is threatening to kick Twitter out of the App Store but won’t tell him why. As usual, one needs to take what Elon says with a few supertankers’ worth of salt, as 1) it seems Apple was advertising Black Friday deals as recently as late last week; and 2) some think that Elon knows that the rise in hate speech, impersonation and other mayhem on Twitter since he took over—and canned half the staff—might already be running afoul of Apple’s App Store rules and thus wants to fire the first public shot, so he can play the victim and cry “retaliation!” and “Apple hates free speech!” if Twitter does get bounced.
Now for the local angle: in saber-rattling with Apple, Elon also picked up the argument that Epic Games in particular has been fighting in both the court of public opinion and actual courtrooms over the 30% fee that Apple takes on transactions made through the App Store. He even shared a parody video that Epic had made based on Apple’s famous 1984 commercial about Apple’s alleged monopolistic behavior.

In addition to trying to turn the public (and especially his loud super-fans) against Apple, there is business logic to Elon casting his support behind Epic’s fight since Twitter is introducing a payment system, including collecting money for blue checks. So Twitter also has good reason to want Apple’s 30% cut to be slashed, and/or to be allowed to set up their own direct payments system for iPhones that don’t need to go through Apple.


FTX Fallout

In another national story that now has a local angle, the ripple effects of crypto exchange FTX’s dramatic implosion could hurt the bottom line of Chapel Hill-based investment firm Morgan Creek Capital. Morgan Creek has invested more than $50M in BlockFi, a crypto loan and borrowing platform. Yesterday, BlockFi filed for bankruptcy, having been caught up in the FTX mess. BlockFi had previously gotten a bailout from Alameda Research, which was also run (into the ground) by FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, and Alameda had borrowed money from BlockFi using its own (over-inflated) token as collateral. Oops.
Morgan Creek founder Mark Yusko told TBJ that he won’t be commenting to the media, but (naturally) the firm tried to put a positive spin on BlockFi’s bankruptcy in an investor update, saying that the Chapter 11 declarations will enable the company to “stabilize” the business and “consummate a reorganization plan that maximizes value for all stakeholders, including our valued clients.” Here’s hoping that works out.


Legal Blotter

An Apex tech firm (well, more tech-adjacent) is suing its former COO, alleging that his new startup unfairly competes by using a database he took when he left four years ago. QualTek Recovery Logistics is in the business continuity and disaster recovery operations space, which means that after natural disasters it helps companies get back on their feet, including restoring power and getting their servers back online. Its former COO, Alex Poythress, left and later launched a startup in the same space called Zebra Recovery. And that’s where the dispute begins; TBJ has the full scoop.


Build Great Software

Founded by serial entrepreneurs, Dualboot is a software and business development company. Their clients include tech and non-tech founders as well as Fortune 500 companies, so they can start small or scale fast depending on what you need. Every client is assigned a U.S.-based Product Director with years of experience bringing products to market, and they can manage the entire development process. They focus on how the software fits into your company to drive revenue and build the business. At Dualboot, they don’t just write your software—they help you grow your business. Intrigued? Email them here.


Extra Bit

Durham-based IDEA Fund Partners is looking for applicants for its Spring 2023 Venture Fellows program by next Friday, Dec. 16. The unpaid position (though you may be able to get course credit) is designed for undergrad or graduate students and has a time commitment of about 10-15 hours per week. See here for more info and to apply.


Because too much news is never enough.


Here's some helpful content from our partners.

You can find all our Partner Feeds here.


Here are some great jobs at Triangle startups.
Product Manager
Posted Sunday by The Looma Project
Senior Cloud Engineer
Posted November 22, 2022 by Rapid Scale
Contracts Manager
Posted November 22, 2022 by Pendo
Senior Software Engineer - Innovation
Posted November 22, 2022 by JupiterOne

To see all posted jobs, go to CronJobs. If you'd like your company to be listed, tell us at and we'll do our best.

Any news we should know? Hit "reply" or send it to

Love what you see? Forward this to a friend.

Wait, a friend just forwarded this to you? Then subscribe!
Oh yeah, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

This thing doesn’t write itself.
Credit (or blame) us directly via email.

It also doesn't pay for itself. If you share our mission to lift the Triangle tech community, please consider becoming an individual GrepBeat Supporter. And businesses should see our sponsorship opportunities here, then
write us at to become a sponsor.

This email was sent to <<Email address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
GrepBeat · 121 East Parrish Street · Durham, NC 27701 · USA