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Triangle Startup Factory launches six startups at Pitch Day

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

By Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Back in March, when I wrote about the five companies that had been selected for the first class of Triangle Startup Factory, my theme was that in the startup world, nothing happens overnight. It took a long three years and some pivoting to get TSF to the place it is now, and each of the companies, for the most part, had been in the trenches for a while.

Today, those five — Archive Social, RxAnalyticsArcametricsRuzukuBerst, plus late arrival Entasso will hop on stage in Bay 7 of American Tobacco and show you, and a number of potential investors, what they’ve created. Five of the six will ask for money (not from you, you’re cool).

Half of the Factory

I sat down with half of the TSF management team this week — serial CEO, board member, advisor, and mentor Dave Neal — to talk about the class, the semester, and what everyone learned.

Dave sees the pros and cons of the Triangle as a startup hub. The pros are many, and they start with the ideas, which are big, and extend to the talent pool, which is vast. The cons are few and, played right, can be strengths.

The Who and Where

We talked about the class. It’s a class with lots of potential. Having known Anil from Archive Social and Rick and Abe from Ruzuku for a while, and having met Alison from Entasso and Deepak from RxAnalytics shortly before they were selected, I can honestly and definitely say that they started with a great group of entrepreneurs.

We talked about the geography. TSF got a very diverse group of applicants for their first run, and even so, the strength of the RTP led to five of the six being local, with Berst coming down from Chicago.

The Other Side

Dave had a blast, and from what I’ve heard, everyone involved got a lot out of the time they spent at the Factory, from the speakers to the advisors and so on. Dave has been involved in angel-backed, VC-backed, and bootstrapped startups, as well as advising some 18-24 companies over the last two years, so for him, being on the other side of the table was eye-opening

Lessons Learned

I asked him if he’d do anything differently the next time around. He mentioned the application process and changing a few things there. Some of that is already in place – for example, there was no early application process last cycle, so when this cycle’s early application period ended on May 31, TSF found they had a healthy amount of startups already. The final deadline is June 30th, so there will be several more, if not many.

He also talked about amping up the feedback. Like the process any god startup goes through, there’s usually a great deal of feedback and learning and testing and adapting up front, then a heads down period for execution. TSF startups went through much the same process Dave sees feedback being applied to the teams more strongly and through the entire session for the next run.

What’s Next

Obviously, today’s festivities are big, and there will be a lot of follow up for the teams, but they aren’t getting tossed out of the nest tomorrow. All six plan to stay in the TSF space in the Underground until the next cycle begins on August 27th, as the TSF directors provide more connections, more mentoring, and more advisement to the teams in their next crucial fund-raising stage.

TSF has established itself now with two programs per year and a financial offering that ranks in the top four nationwide, but Dave and Chris know they’re not done, not by a long shot. What happens with these startups over the next three months, even the next three years, will reflect on TSF and the validity of its program.

Dave knows this, and he’s tweaking while he extends that runway, even as they ramp up for the next class.

Joe Procopio (@jproco) heads up product engineering for automated content startup Automated Insights, which is also StatSheet. He founded and runs startup network ExitEvent, consulting marketplace Intrepid Company, and writers network Intrepid Media. You can read him at

Triangle Startup Factory names inaugural class

Monday, March 19th, 2012

By Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

There really is no such thing as overnight success in the startup universe.

Just as it’s been a long road for Triangle Startup Factory, going back to the conversations I first had with Chris Heivly some three years ago, when the idea of an accelerator in the Triangle seemed so crazy that it just might work, it’s been a haul for the five companies that make up its inaugural class.

ExactByte makes Archive Social, a software-as-a-service solution for automatically keeping business-compliant records of an organization’s social communication (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). I first started following CEO Anil Chawla’s entrepreneurial exploits while he was still with IBM a couple years ago, and finally wound up covering him, ExactByte, and Archive Social when he presented at Launch Days back in January.

As I mention in that column, Anil has been on the startup scene for years, he’s been a fixture at ExitEvent since the first one (he even let me beat him at ping pong back in December), and he was at Startup Happy Hour Wednesday night looking all smiley and what not.

Ruzuku has been at it just as long if not longer. They allow creation of online courses and learning communities for instructors – anyone from bloggers to coaches to speakers who want to put structured instructional material online. I first met Rick Cecil over a decade ago when he was building UX for clients at (almost before anyone knew what web UX was). Abe Crystal first told me about Ruzuku early in 2010, and they also presented at Launch Days in May of that year.

Making athletic training more productive

RxAnalytics uses machine learning algorithms and data analysis to make athletic training more productive, resulting in maximized performance. When I last saw Deepak Gopalakrishna, it was via Skype in February when he pitched to the Carolina Challenge from a coffee shop somewhere in DC. He was in DC because he had been pitching in person earlier that day. RxAnalytics was also a Startup Stampede company in mid-2011.

Arcametrics has created a data engine that allows financial and healthcare marketing professionals to pool relevant customer data across from multiple sources without compromising privacy. Admittedly, this is the company I know the least about and there is little information online, but I found some stuff on them dating back to 2008, which is exactly two forevers ago in startup time.

Berst is an app that lets you communicate with groups of people at specific locations where you share a common context. Matthew Ramsden and Caleb Foster developed the app as a side project and then took it to Chicago’s bi-monthly Technori Pitch event in October where they demoed the app to 500 people.

Yes, they are the youngest company of the bunch, but remember, this is an accelerator, not an exit.

I caught up with Heivly on Wednesday (surprisingly, not at any of the three startup events that took place that night) and he was genuinely excited about the class. It also means good things for the region, with TSF having pulled a much greater pool of applicants from the area, 55% local as opposed to 25% local during the late 2010 LaunchBox Digital application process.

The class is mostly local too, and it’s that way on merit, with absolutely no preconceived desire to pull local startups into the accelerator.

It bodes well.

 Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for automated content startup Automated Insights. He also founded and runs startup network ExitEvent, consulting marketplace Intrepid Company, and the Intrepid Media writers network. You can read him at and follow him at


Durham selects 13 startups for 2nd Stampede event

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Durham StampedeDURHAM, NC – Thirteen companies were selected to participate in The Durham, NC, Bull City Stampede 2.0, including companies from Washington, D.C., Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Morrisville.

The Stampede, which runs from Sept. 16 to Nov.18, offers 60 days of completely furnished, free space at 201 W. Main St., a Self-Help building. Participating companies will have access to technical assistance from startup experts as well as opportunities to network with founders of successful Durham startups.

This is the second time this year that the Stampede has been offered to startup companies. The Stampede is part of the Chamber’s broader economic development strategy focused on job creation through business recruitment and retention, workforce development, and startup growth.

Fifty-five startups from across the southeast and North Carolina applied for the Stampede. Applications were received from companies in Georgia and Connecticut as well as from cities such as Washington, D.C., Charlotte, and Wilmington. Concepts ranged from technology and software to cleantech and social entrepreneurship.

The companies that were not selected for the Stampede have already been connected to the many business resources available in Durham such as Bull City Forward, N.C. Institute for Minority Economic Development, Durham Technical Community College Small Business Center, CED, LaunchBox Digital, Joystick Labs, and the Small Business and Technical Development Center.

“This group of participants builds on the economic clusters and strengths of the Triangle,” said Klein. “We have companies in the cleantech and sustainability space, companies in technology and media as well as unique product concepts. These startups are all eager to grow and scale in North Carolina.”

Company descriptions are listed below:

  • CityFabric:  CityFabric is a civic-minded design and apparel company set out to inspire people to talk about their place.
  • CleanHatch: ( CleanHatch serves as the premier matchmaker for clean tech and renewable energy projects, leveraging a web-based clearinghouse platform to make it easy for projects to find the capital, developers, and incentives they need to launch quickly and efficiently.
  • DiscoverLit: DiscoverLit provides on-the-go readers with an engaging, innovative experience in literature.
  • GreenSky Wind Systems: ( GreenSky Wind Systems delivers innovative, efficient and silent wind turbine solutions for commercial facilities dedicated to our planet.
  • iBuzzn:  iBuzzn is a software platform designed to disrupt the restaurant industry by introducing a customer focused mobile application that will enhance the overall dining experience.
  • MotiveLogic: Constant Coaching™ is the culture created by the use of High Octane Business Performance Dashboards™ from MotiveLogic to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity from automobile dealer service departments.
  • Organic Transit: ( Organic Transit designs pedal/solar Hybrid Vehicles that produce zero carbon, fill the space between bicycles and cars and are intended for commuting and local deliveries.
  • Pluribus: Pluribus makes it safer and easier to shop online with your debit or credit card.
  • RxAnalytics: RxAnalytics is developing a web and mobile tool that will identify critical drivers of performance in individual athletes as well as weaknesses and biases, allowing the athlete to train smarter and maximize performance.
  • Sqord: Sqord is a social gaming website where kid users can earn points and rewards through real-world ( is a way to find, share, and keep up with what’s going on in your local interests.
  • Zeek: Zeek has digitized the coupon book, providing non-profits, schools, churches, and groups everywhere with a 21st century fundraising solution, all accessible from a smart phone.


For additional information and updates about the Stampede, go to or follow the Stampede on Twitter @StartupStampede.