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Happy Thursday!

We’re just hours away from tonight’s GrepBeat Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. at Bull McCabe’s in downtown Durham. Your first round will be covered by our sponsor Qodeo, which matches 7,000 VC/PE investors globally with diverse entrepreneurs. Bonus: all entrepreneur attendees will get 50% off Qodeo’s Concierge service, and one lucky trivia winner will score a free year of Concierge (saving $99-$240). Please register here so we can get a handle on numbers. Hope to see you there!
This week’s Friday Nooner guest is Amy Gardinier, the better half of the wife-and-husband founding team of Holly Springs-based Givefinity, a startup that helps students track their volunteer hours. (We profiled Givefinity in March.) You can watch live starting at noon on LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, or catch afterward on those platforms or in its podcast form.

Fully Baked

Readers of this space—and attendees at GrepBeat Happy Hours—may recall that I am a baker. (Sorry, no home-baked goods at tonight’s happy hour, but I hear that may change before 2023 is out.) So I was particularly interested to read today’s story by Jackie on Raleigh-based startup Bake Eat Love.

Co-founded and led by CEO Kristen Baileys, the startup’s signature product is its BEL Box (BEL being an acronym for Bake Eat Love), a kit with a recipe card, pre-measured non-perishable ingredients, baking tools, online how-to videos and even email support. Bake Eat Love also has a B2B revenue stream from offering virtual cooking classes for corporate teams, especially at tech companies. Kristen is a former Director of Growth at Raleigh-based unicorn Pendo, so she knows plenty about how to drive demand online.
Bake Eat Love was one of the 11 finalists for the latest cohort of NC IDEA’s $50K SEED grants, though it just barely missed the cut. (See the next item.) Read our full story on Bake Eat Love here.


SEED Grants

NC IDEA ended its two-day Ecosystem Summit yesterday in Winston-Salem with a dramatic reveal by naming the seven winners of its $50K SEED grants. Six of the seven winners hail from the Triangle. We’ve already profiled four of them: Raleigh’s LabRunner , Social Cascade and Spring & Mulberry, and Chapel Hill-based ROSA Technology. We have a feature story in the works on Raleigh-based Phase Dock. (The other two are Raleigh-based Animal Cancer Dx, which is too life science-y for GrepBeat; and Wilmington’s OpiAID.) The four finalists that were the last ones eliminated are also Triangle-based startups that we’ve profiled: Bake Eat Love (see above), MyMatR, Bristles and ShopAgain. The grantees were winnowed down from 158 applicants.
NC IDEA also announced 13 recipients of its ECOSYSTEM grants. Two of them are based in Durham: the Durham Success Summit and ECHO, which is a merger of Durham-based Helius and Audacity Labs. Between the SEED and ECOSYSTEM grants, NC IDEA handed out a cool $2.3M. See NC IDEA’s site for all the info.


Local (?) Builders

Tech-enabled homebuilding startup Atmos—a charter member of the “Is It Based In The Triangle, Or Not?” club—has raised a $12.5M Series A. Atmos is officially HQ’d in San Francisco, but two of the three co-founders are NC State grads, including CEO Nicholas Donahue, who also grew up in the Triangle. Nicholas tells TechWire that most of the startup’s employees are based in North Carolina and it serves customers in the Triangle and Charlotte markets. Atmos’ main offering is a virtual homebuilding platform that enables homebuilders to design their own custom home more efficiently.


Droning On

The Triangle took another step toward cementing itself as a center of drone technology with the news that Kansas-based publicly traded drone maker AgEye confirmed in an earnings call on Tuesday that it’s packing its things and moving from Wichita to someplace “near Raleigh.” Here’s hoping that it does at least some of the moving via drone. The Triangle is already a leader in the drone space, thanks to companies like Raleigh-based Precision Hawk. TBJ has all the details.


Futbol Fans

In last Tuesday’s newsletter, we mentioned that Durham-based startup Fandex had received a patent for its fantasy sports “stock exchange” platform. (We first profiled Fandex last September.) Now Fandex is taking a big step with its first pay-to-play experiment, a partnership with a European betting firm for the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup kicks off Sunday in Qatar, with the U.S. men playing their first match on Monday at 2 p.m. ET vs. Wales. Heretofore it has been free to play on the Fandex platform, so this is a key test for whether the startup can get into the booming sports betting market. See Triangle Inno for more info.


C-Suite Shaping

Raleigh-based startup The Diversity Movement has named Kristie Jones as its CFO, the first C-level exec added to its leadership team. (We profiled Diversity Movement CEO Donald Thompson this summer, and Co-Founder Kurt Merriweather was a Friday Nooner guest last December.) The Diversity Movement recently raised funding from Durham-based Resilient Ventures, a path it chronicled in a recent TechWire story.


On Campus

Two campus-related notes: 1) Last night I attended the “VC’s On The Hot Seat” event hosted by Duke I&E, at which Triangle investors pitched themselves for a change. (Actually, VCs often have to pitch themselves to other investors to raise money for their funds, but entrepreneurs don’t typically get to see that.) It also reminded me to mention news from last week that totally slipped my mind: that the Duke Angel Network (DAN) has rebranded as Duke Capital Partners. 2) UNC has a new associate director in Innovate Carolina’s Office of Technology Commercialization: Dean Stell. TechWire shared a UNC Q&A with Dean here.


Wolfspeed Ahead

Two nuggets from TechWire on Durham-based semiconductor producer Wolfspeed: Wolfspeed, which is building huge chip plant in NC, looks to raise up to $1.5 billion; and Wolfspeed lands $500M investment from global automotive giant BorgWarner.


Build Great Software

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