Inside a HQ Charlotte Pitch Event that Put Local Entrepreneurs in the Spotlight

HQ Charlotte at Packard Place was buzzing with entrepreneurs early Wednesday morning.

The Raleigh-based coworking company hosts an event called PitchBreakfast every second Wednesday of the month to give local entrepreneurs an opportunity to practice their pitch to a panel of investors.

Among the panelists this week were Chris Halligan, operating partner of IDEA Fund Partners and COO of Payzer; Seth Twery, founder and CEO of Teton Ventures and limited partner of IDEA Fund Partners; and Greg Brown, owner of Cardinal Finance and Charlotte Angel Fund’s administrator.

The event followed the IDEA Fund format where companies present without slides for two minutes and then receive 15 minutes of feedback from the panelists. React Innovations, Fridge Coaster and CounteractIO were the three companies that presented Wednesday.


he South Carolina Chamber of Commerce today announced its 2017 Best Places To Work in South Carolina.

Among the 70 companies named, 37 are State Chamber Members, which are noted below by an asterisk. (*)

Awards for each honoree will be presented at an annual banquet, presented by Colonial Life, on August 3 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

“South Carolina is full of great places to work because our employers across the state understand what it takes to attract and keep good people,” said South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ted Pitts. “Our South Carolina business community is only as good as the companies that are part of it and this list is a strong showing of how many topnotch workplaces there are in the state. The State Chamber is proud to represent many of the companies on this list and we applaud those that have been selected for this year’s award.”

WedPics Prepares To Take On Instagram As The Dominant App For Sharing Wedding Photos Online

So, you’re getting married. Congratulations! It’s a joyous occasion for you, your friends and your family. But how do you plan to document your special day?

In addition to the professional photographer you’ll likely hire, many of your guests will probably take photos and videos on their phones. Naturally, you’ll want copies for your wedding album, right?

Collecting those photos through text or email would require a lot of uploading and downloading of attachments that are unwieldy and time-consuming for everyone. Luckily, WedPics offers a more streamlined solution.

Ceterus Raises $6M to Expand Automated Accounting and Benchmarked Reporting for Small Business

Charleston-based Ceterus today announced the close of a $6 million Series A-1 extension investment led by Grotech Ventures. Participation in the round includes existing investors, TechOperators of Atlanta, GA, The IDEA Fund of Raleigh, NC, and Alerion Ventures of Charleston, SC.

Don Rainey, Grotech General Partner, said “Ceterus is an exciting company with impressive traction in the marketplace. We are enthused to partner with them as they address an immense market with an innovative approach to universal issues for small businesses.”

Pairing next-generation accounting technology with industry expertise, Ceterus provides a complete solution to small business entrepreneurs. “The future of accounting is more than a tool, it is a solution that is automated, timely, mobile, and provides useful analytics for the small business entrepreneur,” Levi Morehouse, Ceterus CEO and Founder said. “This new investment allows for expansion into new small business markets as well as developing additional functionality for our customers.”

Ceterus Edge gives small business owners instant access to their financials, as well as peer-benchmarks, key performance metrics, and daily balances, from any connected device. Edge aggregates data from customers’ point-of-sale, bank, and payroll systems, allowing the automation technology to reduce manual accounting processes.

Said Mohammadioun, TechOperators Managing Partner and Ceterus Board of Directors member, said, “Ceterus is a great young company with the potential to address what small businesses need. Accounting-as-a-service is the most effective way for small businesses to get a professional grade of accounting at a very affordable cost. Ceterus analytics offer insight that currently does not exist.”

To date, Ceterus has raised $10.2 million in venture capital. Ceterus will use this funding to continue growing its team in Charleston, SC, and to expand to new small business markets. The company is actively hiring to grow their downtown Charleston headquarters.


About Ceterus
Ceterus, a Charleston-based technology and accounting company, empowers small business entrepreneurs by automating their accounting and financial reporting. Pairing Edge, its proprietary, cloud-based technology with professional accountants, Ceterus delivers a complete accounting and analytics solution for small business owners. Ceterus operates from its headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, bringing together a growing team of top accounting and technology talent. For more information on the company and how its solutions, visit

About Grotech
Founded in 1984, Grotech Ventures ( is a leading early investor in high-potential technology companies. With more than $1.5B under management, Grotech seeks innovative, early-stage IT companies and continues to invest and add value throughout the growth of its portfolio companies. The firm has a strong combination of industry relationships and deep domain and operational expertise to accelerate growth. Grotech supports early-stage companies through investments starting at $500,000. General partners include Frank Adams, Chuck Cullen, Lawson DeVries, Steve Fredrick, Don Rainey and Joe Zell. The firm has offices in Virginia, Maryland and Colorado.

About TechOperators
An early-stage venture capital firm, TechOperators was founded on the premise that proven operators make the best partners for technology entrepreneurs. The firm is led by partners with decades of hard-fought operating success and experience founding, building and running world-class venture backed software companies. Based in Atlanta, TechOperators applies market-proven strategic and operational experience to drive growth during all stages of company building. TechOperators seeks entrepreneurs with bold innovative business software solutions in cyber security, cloud computing, mobile computing, and marketing. For more information visit

Charleston-based Accounting Startup Ceterus Raises $6 Million in Investments

The Charleston accounting startup Ceterus says it has raised $6 million in a bid to expand its automated bookkeeping services.

The new financing round, announced Wednesday, comes just over a year after the startup announced its first venture capital funding, and the combined $10.2 million in funding places Ceterus among the region’s most successful in attracting investors.

The infusion of venture funding is intended to transform Ceterus from a traditional bookkeeping firm to a technology-fueled accounting service that automates most of its work. The company moved to that model around the same time it moved to Charleston from Michigan about three-and-a-half years ago.

The United States Of Venture Capital: The Most Active VC In Each State

Although startups based in California, New York, and Massachusetts have traditionally accounted for the majority of VC tech investment activity in the United States, VCs are spurring other hotbeds of innovation across the country.

With this in mind, we used CB Insights data to analyze the most active venture capital firm, by the number of investments into tech startups, in each US state from 2012 to 2017 year-to-date (through 5/17/17).

Fintech Tools That Can Change The World Of Finance

Fintech, or financial technology, is rapidly gaining ground with consumers as a more accessible alternative to traditional payment and banking systems offered by financial firms. As new fintech tools and software emerge to disrupt the established model, financial services are improving, offering enhanced efficiency, speed and accountability.

According to an EY study last year, fintech is growing in popularity, with roughly 15.5% of digitally active consumers using financial tech products — a figure that was likely to double within 12 months. The United States had the second-highest adoption rate of fintech tools (16.5%), following Hong Kong with 29.1%.

Distil’s Are You a Human Acquisition Is Big Win for Tech Community

Detroit’s nascent tech community got a significant validation today as Silicon Valley cybersecurity company Distil Networks announced it has acquired homegrown, Dan Gilbert-backed startup Are You a Human. The specific terms and the monetary value of the deal were not disclosed, but Distil says it plans to open a new office in Detroit as a result.

As part of the announcement, Distil is today releasing a free Google Analytics tool called Distil Bot Discovery, which finds and filters a website’s bot traffic. The tool incorporates Are You a Human’s “real-time human detection technology and biometric interaction dataset,” according to Distil CEO and co-founder Rami Essaid.

Distil Networks Acquires Are You A Human

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 18, 2017 – Distil Networks, the global leader in bot detection and mitigation, today announced the acquisition of Are You A Human, experts in analyzing and understanding how real humans interact with the internet. Are You A Human’s real time human detection technology and biometric interaction dataset will be integrated into the Distil Bot Defense Platform, adding biometric and longitudinal data from millions of new sites and users. In addition, Distil has released a new free product called Distil Bot Discovery for Google Analytics, which leverages Are You A Human technology. More details on the free Google Analytics plugin, which was also announced today, can be found here.

“When we founded Distil, we sought to establish the most comprehensive solution on the market to detect and mitigate threats associated with bots, and we continue to do just that,” said Rami Essaid, CEO and co-founder of Distil Networks. “Through this acquisition of Are You A Human, we are bringing on a team of experienced software engineers and data scientists who have dedicated the past seven years to understanding the bot problem plaguing online businesses. Combine this with our purchase of ScrapeSentry in 2016, and Distil has become a braintrust of individuals with the most advanced knowledge on bots, giving us the ability to combat them more effectively than any other company in the market today.”

$2.5M Raise Preps MATI Energy for National Expansion

MATI continues to make progress in the healthy beverage scene, reaching $6 million in outside equity funding and expanding geographically this year.

As is evident through years of growth in sales, revenue and brand awareness, MATI Energy continues to live up to its reputation here in the Triangle community as a model of startup accomplishment.

In January, founder Tatiana Birgisson expressed 2017 would be a year of significant scaling with national expansion, additional team headcount and new product development. Just four months later, those goals are being met with a fresh $2.5 million in funding led by local investment funds Duke Angel Network, DUMAC and first-time MATI investor IDEA Fund Partners. With the cash in hand, MATI will accelerate growth of its tea-based energy beverage brand.

Click through the timeline below to learn about the major milestones leading up to the latest news from MATI.