Durham Magazine Dec/Jan 2021

Page 89

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after. This July, Worthy was chosen for the first Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and provided with a $100,000 non-dilutive investment. The company also raised $715,000 in pre-seed funding from investors. Straight said that he credits their success so far to their relationship. “Even with your best networks, you still are going to find yourself in places where you just don’t know what to do next and you have to make a decision because the business will not survive,” Straight said. “And they are going to be imperfect decisions, and you need to have somebody who can walk through with you.” Worthy agreed, adding that their team is key as well. “You can have an A team and not quite have the right timing, but still figure it out, or not quite have the product, but still make it

happen and pivot to something that works,” Worthy said. Worthy and Straight would like to grow the company and one day buy a building on Parrish Street. Worthy said he aspires to become a modernday, social-impact-led Black Wall Street company. “We want to see communities really thriving, and thriving financially,” he said. “We want to see a more equitable financial world for everyone involved, not just for folks who know how to play the game and the system and folks that the system is designed for.”

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G R E P B E AT Founded 2018 Employees 2 Sponsors Cherry Bekaert LLP, Dualboot Partners, Goodwin Executive Search, Fourscore Business Law, Vaco, Jurassic

fter selling Bronto Software in 2015, Joe Colopy pivoted from running a startup company himself to investing in startups through Colopy Ventures and Jurassic Capital. He saw all that was happening in the Triangle and felt that the region could

do a better job of telling its story. So he founded GrepBeat, a media company that promotes the Triangle’s tech startups through a newsletter, website and podcasts. Before the pandemic, GrepBeat also hosted social events for entrepreneurs to network. Colopy eventually would like GrepBeat to spin off from Colopy Ventures and become self-sustaining, but he sees the company as having a philanthropic purpose.

“It’s hard to grow media outfits, but we think our mission-based approach versus generating profits, quite honestly, is a good formula,” Colopy said. “We believe in community journalism; we believe it’s something that the community will support because they’ll see the value.” GrepBeat has an editor and a brand-new director of growth, and the content is produced by a team of student journalists from UNC. The company has sponsors, much like public radio, and eventually might offer memberships with added benefits. But Colopy wants to share his expertise and support with others both as an investor and as a media company. He believes that is “most beneficial to the entrepreneurs who have the least, and I don’t want to create any barriers from that happening.”

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