Hey Dave McClure! Invest in These 10 Triangle Startups.

An open letter to 500 Startups' head honcho before his Triangle debut

BY LAURA BAVERMAN@laurabaverman5.27.14
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Filed Under: NEWS: Startups

Hi Dave,

Welcome to the Triangle! We're not entirely sure what you're doing here this week, but at least 100 of us are pretty pumped to get to hear you speak tonight. We know you think differently about venture capital than all the rest. Make hundreds of small bets in hopes of a few big wins. We're curious how that's working out for you.

We're with you that Silicon Valley isn't all that unique—that startups are everywhere and the market is global. And that's why we're hoping you'll take a close look at some of our own while you're in town.

We know you're liking restaurant tech, fin tech, 3D printing and that you support mom entrepreneurs. We've got all that. We've also got some businesses you might be surprised by.

So, here they are—10 worthy startups to meet in the Triangle (And by the way, we could have named at least 20):

1. NeuroSpire

Founded by a Duke University undergrad, this startup developed brain imaging headsets that are used by companies like PayPal, Kia, Visa and market research companies to get insights from consumers about products. NeuroSpire won a $50,000 NC IDEA grant and is currently working on a video game that translates brain waves into motions on a screen. It could be used to treat disorders like ADHD.

2. GROUNDFLOOR

The first real estate crowd lending platform, its mission is to make it possible for anyone (not just accredited investors) to fund real estate projects in their neighborhood or in communities across the U.S. GROUNDFLOOR essentially replaces a bank in a deal with a group of individuals lending a developer or renovator between $50 and $2,000 each online. They're typically paid back within six or 12 months, and with interest of eight to 12 percent. GROUNDFLOOR is now available to residents in six U.S. states and is working with regulatory institutions to go nationwide. Oh, and its co-founder previously led the Republic Wireless division at Bandwidth, a pretty disruptive entity in its own right.

3. 80Pct Solutions

If you've ever been distracted by the Internet, the work of 80Pct Solutions will make a ton of sense. Once University of North Carolina technology researcher, Fred Stutzman, who holds a PhD in information science, has developed an application for individuals and corporations that controls Internet use during critical times of the day, so they can focus when they need to. Stutzman's years of research have been published in all of the major national and international news sources. And now he's translating it into a product.

4. CrowdTunes

This Duke University startup team is replacing the outdated bar jukebox with a cloud-based version that gives patrons control over tunes from their phones (for a fee per play). The Triangle Business Journal reported last week that CrowdTunes is raising a $500,000 round. In April, the team pitched Warren Buffett at Rice University and was one CNN's five favorites.

5. TabSprint

This app helps bars and nightclubs make more drinks and more money by allowing patrons to order drinks and close their tabs from their mobile phone. TabSprint graduated from the Startup Factory accelerator program a year ago, and has deployed its technology across North Carolina.

6. CareLuLu

The married founders of CareLuLu built this site after they realized how horribly difficult it was to search for and vet daycare options for their children. Their matchmaking site has taken off in Washington D.C. in just a year since launch. A Raleigh-Durham version was just released and they have plans to go national. This week, they graduate from the Startup Factory accelerator program in Durham.

7. Pendo

A pair of serial entrepreneurs (one a former Red Hat developer and director of marketing, the other a former VP of Product for Rally Software) came together early this year to create big data software for product managers. Pendo helps measure usage of features within apps to guide future development and ensure the best customer engagement. Pendo raised funds from Washington D.C.'s Core Capital Partners earlier this year.

8. SportTracks

Athletes can collect and analyze better data on their workouts using this startup's app. SportTracks collects data from sport and GPS watches, heart rate monitors and cycling sensors to give an athlete simple information that is accessible on all devices and easy to share with coaches or trainers. Soon, it will support all the various quantified self gadgets and any future sensors that are used in sport.

9. Photofy

Yes, this is another photo app. But Photofy has functionality unlike most. There are 20,000 design elements including stickers, Memes, frames and effects. One co-founder's last gig was as founder of web-based retailer InvitationBox.com, which he sold to Café Press, Inc. in 2011. The other was a lead designer at Cafe Press, Burt's Bees, Verizon Wireless and a handful of other major retail and consumer brands.

10. SnapYeti

The founder of SnapYeti has won some early traction for its photo contest platform for brands and marketplace for consumers, earning Target as a client earlier this year. It was recently named one of eight break out mobile startups at the North Carolina Technology Association's State of Tech conference. Plus, the founder is pretty well known—for viral videos featuring a Yeti promoting the brand.

Triangle startups and investors....who have we missed? Who else should McClure be tracking in town? Comment here or email laura@exitevent.com with your suggestions!

Companies We Mentioned In This Post

80Pct Solutions
CareLuLu
GROUNDFLOOR
NeuroSpire
SnapYeti
TabSprint
The Startup Factory







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