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Note: This post is the 2015 Tweener section of Scot’s Guide to the Triangle Startup Ecosystem. You can find the 2016 version here and the ‘start’ to the guide here
For job seekers—in addition to following these companies on Twitter, we recommend you ‘follow’ them on LinkedIn as well. Most companies post their open reqs on LinkedIn. We have added LinkedIn links for all of the companies to make this easier for you. 

In the last 3-6 months as the Triangle area has racked up top places to live and work accolades and other high-tech areas have experienced snow-ma-geddon (Boston) and severe droughts, bubble-priced real estate and costs of living (Silicon Valley), there has been a tremendous influx of new talented startup folks into the Triangle. 
Over my 20+ yr startup journey, I’ve built pretty deep networks of startup ecosystem people out West and in the NE tech corridors so am frequently connected to folks looking to move to the Triangle. These are really talented people that typically have a strong tenure at big brand name tech software companies (MicrosoftGoogleOracleSalesforce, etc.) or they’ve been involved in 4-5 top-tier startups. 
Invariably as we discuss the Triangle opportunities, they have already found CEDNCTA and even sometimes The Startup Factory and HQ Raleigh. Meeting with those parts of our ecosystem whets their appetite and gets them excited, but they are left with one big question: 
What are the later-stage software companies in the Triangle? 
You see, these are VP and C-level executives moving to the area. They know that unless they can catch lightning in a jar and be a co-founder, they are over-qualified for a 0-20 person startup where VP and C-level folks wear anywhere from 2 to 10 hats at a time and don’t quite need specialized help from these execs. 
The Triangle late-stage scene… 
I think we can all agree that there is a huge amount of early stage activity that has created a lot of awesome energy and buzz in the region. 

What I tell inbound execs is that in my timeframe of the last 20 years, the Triangle also has more later-stage companies. But they’re different from the later-stage companies in tech cities where the term implies they’ve raised a $20m Series C and are well on the way to $100m. Note: In the Bay area now, it’s you’ve raised $2b and you are a Unicorn, but that’s a topic for another day. ;) 
Instead of using the late-stage moniker, I call our ‘post early stage’ companies in the Triangle ‘Tweeners’. Tweeners are very interesting, because they tend to get so heads down focused on execution that they don’t generate a lot of public relations. They are just are too busy. One of the silver linings of the lower levels of VC in the Triangle region, is that our startups have to generate the bulk of their investment the ‘old way’—through customers and revenue. 
These inbound execs are perfect for Tweeners. But because they are so busy executing, our Tweeners are harder to find. In a Boston or Silicon Valley, an inbound exec can meet with 2-3 VC firms and quickly have a lay of the land. In fact, most of these firms have a recruiting function that specifically markets to inbound execs and matches them with known openings at the firm’s investments – matching stage and experience level and industry. These efforts don’t happen at our small funds. 
And so, I thought I'd use my virtual ink this month to shine a bright light on some of the region’s top Tweeners to hopefully serve as a resource for all of those inbound execs who’ve moved or want to move to the Triangle. I’ve done my best to be complete, but the chances that I’ve missed a great Tweener are high, so please let me know in comments and I’ll do my best to update this list quarterly if folks find it helpful. 
But before jumping into the list of Tweeners, it’s important to share my definition of a Tweener. 

What is a ‘tweener’ startup? 
Tweener startups are not seed and they are not at huge scale yet either—they haven’t had an exit and aren’t quite on the IPO path. In VC vernacular, they are post angel/Series A and pre-exit, so somewhere in the B, C, D fundraising. Or here in the Triangle, where we have some great boostrappers, we have to rely on other crazy metrics, like revenue and headcount. 
A Tweener company has a wide range of revenues and headcount. For the purposes of this column, I went with $1-$50m in revenue. In an earlier article, I talked about the rule of thumb that an average start-up software company generates $100k/person. That yields a headcount from 10-500 for Tweeners. 
As for the industry piece, that’s a bit trickier. Since I’m a software/ecommerce/digital guy, I’ve included those companies and have excluded manufacturers and anything biotech/drug related as well as any pure services company, recruiter, consultancy, contract developer and outsourcer. No CROs either – sorry Quintiles. Gaming companies—I know we have a ton of activity in gaming, but other than Epic and our neighbors @ChannelAdvisor Redstorm/Vivendi, I don’t know the gaming Tweeners— shout them out in comments or email me. 
Last requirement—they have to be in the Triangle region. Hillsborough, Knightdale, Cary, Apex—you are all in. Triad, CLT, sorry. Love you fellow NCers, but you are out of this list. 
Finding the Tweeners… 
As mentioned, Tweeners can be hard to find. One example, I’ll share with you. I was at an NC State alumni event one time and met another software person. I quickly learned that he was the founder of a four-year-old local company with over $50m in revenue and hundreds of employees. Like many of you reading this, I like to think I stay pretty ‘up’ on the local scene. But here was a very large software business that completely missed my radar. I should have known about it years ago! 
To compile this list I dug into several different sources: 
• Tweeners I know and Tweeners that friends and friends of friends know. 
• Fund raising sources—articles, CrunchBase, etc. 
• LinkedInLinkedIn can be a great tool for figuring out an approximate headcount for a company. That’s where all the headcount figures in this list come from. 
The list is alphabetical and for each company, I have a short blurb on what it does (in my words), the approximate headcount and any funding history. Some Tweeners have recently been acquired or IPOd, which technically takes them off the list as they are clearly ‘post exit’. But I have kept them on the list for the time-being as I do believe inbound execs will still find these companies interesting. 

Scot’s Triangle Tweeners 

• Pitch: 6fusion is standardizing the economic measurement of IT infrastructure and cloud services. 
• Size: 11-50 
• Investors: $26m from 2 investors: Intersouth partners and Grotech 
• CEO: John D. Cowan
• Pitch: If you don’t know what Ansible is in reference to, you need to hand in your geek badge of pride and go read Ender’s Game. Ok, now that you’re back – Ansible is in ATC and has cloud-based software that helps larger engineering teams manage the release cycle. For example, if you have a multi-node cloud app (hosted or on AWS), it can be very manual to roll out a new version of your code. Ansible automates this for you. Ansible’s founders previously worked at Red Hat. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: $6m from Menlo Ventures 
• CEO: Said Ziouani 

• Pitch: Automated Insights turns big data into actionable insights. It started with fantasy sports and has moved into verticals like finance, healthcare/fitness, etc. The company was acquired by Vista/Stats for a rumored $80m earlier this year. Full disclosure—I was on the board prior to M+A. 
• Size: 25-50 
• Investors: IDEA Fund, OCA Ventures, Ocala Ventures
• CEO: Robbie Allen

• Pitch: An ad:tech (advertising technology) company that provides a publisher oriented ad server technology. James Avery is CEO and customers include Reddit and Thrillist. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: $650k angel round  
• CEO: James Avery
• Pitch: A local/vertical ad:tech (advertising technology) company that in early 2015 spun out of ReverbNation. This 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: $1.2m Series A that includes Bull City Ventures, Boulder Ventures, Advancit Capital 
• CEO: Jed Carlson
Pitch: Red Hat COO Joanne Rohde left in 2003 to found Axial Exchange and change the way patients interact with their doctors. Axial helps heath care providers get better at patient engagement. Think of it as bed-side manner as a service. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Bootstrap
• CEO: Joanne Rohde

• Pitch: Henry Kaestner and David Morken started back in 1999 and it has grown ever since then. Bandwidth has a wide portfolio of businesses such as selling VOIP equipment and service to SMBs, a consumer WIFI phone offering (Republic Wireless). Bandwidth technology is also used to power Google’s consumer voicemail offering – Google Voice. Bandwidth is perpetually rumored to be on the cusp of an IPO or a big M+A, but nothing has happened yet. 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: $20.5m 
• CEO: David Morken

• Pitch: Serial Entrepreneurs Chris Neal and Vic Nyman moved to the Triangle from the Bay Area after selling their previous company. Their reason was quality of life. BlueStripe gives developers and IT staff a view of applications performance across virtualization and cloud infrastructures. In early June 2015, it was acquired by Microsoft. 
• Size: 50-100 
• Investors: $13.5m in two rounds. Investors include Trinity Ventures, Valhalla Partners.
• CEO: Chris Neal
• 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 provides a SaaS platform for the builder industry. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: $2 million from IDEA Fund Partners and Outcome Capital. 
• CEO: Michael Worthington 

• Pitch: Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be huge and Bright Wolf is a local 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 
• Founders: James Branigan, Patrick Dempsey • Director: David Houghton 

• 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

• Pitch: Founders Joe Colopy and Chaz Felix left Red Hat and started Bronto in 2002. Bronto is email marketing + marketing automation + an e-commerce. This is the biggest bootstrap story I have ever seen (ok, except for SAS), growing to $30-40m in revenue with no VC (yes no VC) and selling for $200m+ to Netsuite in May/June 2015! 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Joe Colopy

• Pitch: The Cloud meets payroll! Honestly I don’t know much about these guys—it is one of these sleeping Tweeners I stumbled upon a while ago that is quite big, but under the radar locally. 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: $52m+ raised to date from Rho Capital Partners and Pinnacle Ventures 
• CEO: Andrew Pearson (UK)

• Pitch: Have you ever needed to repo a car and said: “Dang, I wish I could track down that vehicle and have a cloud platform for remarketing it.” No, me either, but that’s what CARS has done and evidently business is going pretty well. 
• Size: 50-100 
• Investors: Bootstrap  
• CEO: Steve Norwood

Pitch: Another of the Triangle’s plethora of email marketing companies. Contactology provides more of a private label solution and was sold to Campaigner last year. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap  
• CEO: 

• 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). Corevist helps SAP users connect their back-office ERP to more modern e-commerce platforms. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Sam Bayer 

• Pitch: Want to learn more about your pet? Kip Frey’s latest company, Dognition, will help you figure out what your pet is feeling and thinking via science-based games. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap  
• CEO: Drew Adams

• Pitch: Duuuuddeee…. Kent Hudson and Lee Prevost founded SchoolDude in 1999. They bootstrapped this puppy up to the point where, in 2014 ,they could take a $100m investment from Warburg Pincus. They rebranded as Dude Solutions and have rolled out a bunch of products since. In a nutshell, they have SaaS/Cloud based products for schools to manage procurement, maintenance and things like that. 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: Bootstrap, oh plus $100m from Warburg Pincus
• CEO: Kent Hudson

• Pitch: I don’t know much about the founding of eTix, but Joe Kustelski was there as head of product before he left to start Rockhouse Partners. eTix then acquired Rockhouse in 2012 and Joe has been CEO since. 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 company processes over 50 million tickets per year across 1800 venues globally. 
• Size: 100-300 
• Investors: $1 million from 1 investor – Southern Capitol Ventures 
• CEO: Joe Kustelski 

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: $2 million from RTP Capital Associates, Iron Yard Ventures, Azure Capital Partners and David Gardner 
• CEO: Kevin Barry 

• 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 the Triangle. Full disclosure—this is a ChannelAdvisor customer. 
• Size: 100-200 
• Investors: $500k from Southern Capitol Ventures 
• CEO: Ed Byman

• Pitch: Founded in 1999 as Proof-it-Online, this company helped creative departments automate workflows with a SaaS platform to get content proofed and approved. In 2009, it launched inMotion for videos and animation. This has taken off. In 2012, the company rebranded as InMotionNow and the buzz is that Ben Hartmere (CEO since '13) has this Tweener on fire. 
• Size: 50-100 
• Investors: $1.3m from unknown investors. 
• CEO: Ben Hartmere 

• Pitch: I don’t know much about these guys other than this blurb: “Intervolve provides supply-chain software for the beverage industry.” Sounds like it deals with beer, which is pretty cool and must help with developer recruiting. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: $8m from NC IDEA, Sanoch Management and undisclosed investors
• CEO: Bill Kaluza

• Pitch: Software for training sales reps and increasing your $/rep. This company’s data science predicts what content will work when, and bam, you close more deals. 
• Size: 50-110 
• Investors: $7.6m from River Cities, Hatteras, Core Capital and Hasso Plattner 
• CEO: Chris Atkinson

• Pitch: In 2002, Red Hat founder Bob Young wanted to do a three ring tech circus. He pivoted into self publishing. Now he sells yoga pants—just kidding, different Lulu. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Bootstrap (Bank of Bob) 
• CEO: Nigel Lee

• Pitch: Maxpoint is an ad:tech company focused on helping larger advertisers with brick and mortar stores use broad Internet ads to bring people into stores and measure the efficacy. CEO is Joe Epperson, an ex-PayPal/eBay exec. The company completed an IPO in March of this year. 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: $11m from Madrona and Trinity Ventures
• CEO: Joe Epperson

• 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 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: Bootstrap (Bank of Stephen)
• CEO: Vern Davenport 

• Pitch: Started in 1999, Needlepoint had a retail store, and using its great domain name,, started to do well online. Lulu’s Bob Young was CEO for a while—his wife started the business—and I believe is still an investor. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap (Bank of Bob) 
• CEO: Nancy Young

• Pitch: Brendan Morrissey moved to the area from LA as part of a Motricity acquisition and in 2009 founded Netsertive. 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: 50-200 
• Investors: ~$25m from RRE Ventures, Greycroft, Harbert Venture Partners and Venture debt from Square 1 Bank
• CEO: Brendan Morrissey

• 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 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: Kickstarter and angel investors
• CEO: Rob Cotter

• Pitch: Local serial entrepreneur Sean Harrison is at it again. Paired Health is a SaaS platform that helps doctors manage care logistics. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: $700k seed 
• CEO: Sean Harrison

• Pitch: When you are building cloud-based apps, one challenge is instrumenting them so that you know what customers are doing within the app. 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. 
• Size: 50-110 
• Investors: $2.3m angels, Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners and IDEA fund
• CEO: Todd Olson

• 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. 
• Size: 10-50
• Investors: $11m Bank of Bob (Bob Young), Millennium Tech Ventures, Intel Ventures
• CEO: Bob Young

• Pitch: Prometheus was founded by NCSU alumni Eric Huang. It developed an add-on for SAP that helps with plant maintenance. 
Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Prometheus group raised an undisclosed amount from a large private equity company – TA Associates
• CEO: Eric Huang

• Pitch: This is serial entrepreneur Michael Doernberg’s latest company (after selling SmartPath to DoubleClick). ReverbNation provides software and services for bands. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: $8.6m in 3 rounds from Southern Capitol Ventures, Novak Biddle and SeventySix Capital
• CEO: Michael Doernberg

• Pitch: ROI Revolution provides search engine marketing and other services to SMBs in various industries. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Timothy Seward

• Pitch: Sageworks provides financial analysis software for helping value private companies. 
• Size: 200-500 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Scott Ogle

• Pitch: Ex-Red Hatter Billy Marshall is at again. ServiceTrade 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 2 rounds from undisclosed investors
• CEO: Billy Marshall

• Pitch: Taylor Mingos was a Duke student in 2007 and did an internship with a EU-based social media company. After that gig, he had the idea to marry some of the learnings from social media to B2B and Shoeboxed was born. Shoeboxed collects receipts for businesses and individuals and turns them into digital data. This platform has tons of uses, such as automatically generated expense reports, business card scanning and contact updates, along with mileage tracking. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: $2.5 million from four investors including Novak Biddle Venture Partners 
• CEO: Taylor Mingos 

• Pitch: Stephen Fraser and Gart Davis left Lulu to start Spoonflower. Spoonflower allows consumers to create and print their own custom fabrics, wall paper and gift wrap. They have created a rapidly growing marketplace in the fabric world. 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Gart Davis

• 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 has developed some interesting technology around SEO for brands with lots of office locations so it can check all the boxes now to be a Triangle Tweener. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: bootstrap 
• CEO: Zach Clayton 

• Pitch: TransLoc enables real-time transportation information that passengers love and sells the software to government agencies that provide transportation services. 
• Size: 10-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Doug Kaufman

• 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. 
• Size: 50-100 
• Investors: $18.4m raised from 11 investors including Mark Cuban, Greycroft, SJF Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures
• CEO: Ryan Beckland

• 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!) He now has over 20,000 users at ~100 banks. 
• Size: 20-50 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Bobby Martin 

• Pitch: NCSU Physics professor Dr. Risley realized a need for software to better manage assignments and grading. Webassign was born! 
• Size: 50-200 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: John Risley, PhD

• Pitch: Justin Miller and Idan Koren originally came up with a social network around events called Deja Mi. They noticed that brides were heavy users so went after that vertical first with WedPics. Now thousands of weddings every week utilize WedPics to create a private social network around their event. Full disclosure—I’m an investor here. 
• Size: 50-110 
• Investors: WedPics has raised $9.9m from IDEA Fund, Bob Young, Barbara Corcoran, WTI and Haystack
• CEO: Justin Miller

• Pitch: Matt Williamson left Bronto in 2011 with a crazy idea—what if he could develop software focused on helping e-commerce companies with retention vs. acquisition? He also asked himself: How could I possibly wear green pants every day? Windsor Circle was born! 
• Size: 50-100 
• Investors: $9.3m from 5 investors including Origin Ventures, IDEA fund and Triangle Angel Partners 
• CEO: Matt Williamson

• Pitch: Justin Richards has a passion for Minecraft and teaching kids about technology. He put those together and has built a very successful business called Youth Digital that sells online classes to youngsters to help them learn to code. 
• Size: 50-110 
• Investors: Bootstrap 
• CEO: Justin Richards

• Pitch: Ken Romley was part of the SmartPath team (see ReverbNation) and after the acquisition by DoubleClick, started Zift. Zift helps large brands manage their partner/channel networks to grow their channel sales. 
• Size: 50-110 
• Investors: $6.9m raised from investors such as Southern Capitol Ventures
• CEO: Ken Romley