The Skinny

The Skinny

WRAL TechWire Publisher and Editor Rick Smith dishes out tidbits from the local technology sector. Read the latest articles…

June 16

NC Senate budget plan cuts all Biotech Center funding

North Carolina's Biotechnology Center budget would be zeroed out - a slash of $13.6 million - under a proposed budget plan released by the N.C. Senate. The Biotech Center is scrambling to recover, noting that the House budget includes funding. Just two years ago, the Center, which helps fund startups and research all over the state and is a key factor to N.C.'s growing life science industry, was funded at $17.2 million.

N.C. Biotech Center    N.C. Biotech Center

Updated June 16

Premium Lock Former UNCW startup center director has big plans for Wilmington

Jim Roberts has new plans for entrepreneurship and startups in the Wilmington area even though his tenure as head of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNC-Wilmington ended in March. What's he up to other than putting on two events designed to drum up investor interest?

Full Steam Ahead Awards 2015 Full Steam Ahead Awards 2015

Updated June 11

Premium Lock Raleigh startup CellBreaker promises to switch miffed cell users in 7 days

Promising to help wireless customers to break contracts without paying early termination fees and setting up a new account within seven days, Raleigh-based CellBreaker formally launched service Thursday. Right now, customers can use CellBreaker "for free."

June 11

Premium Lock Eco development moving but crowdfunding, VC fund sit; Uber's regulation play

WRAL's Mark Binker reports that economic development is moving again in the General Assembly. However, there's nothing apparently going to happen quickly on two other items entrepreneurs and investors are wanting. But in other startup news, Uber makes a regulatory play. There's also news on renewable energy credits.

Economic development Economic development

Updated June 10

Premium Lock Tonight Show's hilarious spoof: 'Pros and cons of female Viagra'

So what's the biggest risk in taking the 'female Viagra" from Raleigh's Sprout Pharmaceuticals if the FDA approves it? Having the pharmacist say over the PA system: "Female Viagra for Linda." So says Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.

June 10

Duke survey's good job news: Wages going up, companies keep hiring

There's good news for workers wanting raises as well as for people seeking work in a new survey from Duke University and CFO Magazine: Companies are hiring more full-time workers and outsourcing less. Meanwhile, wages are expected to rise more 3 percent.

Updated June 10

Raleigh startup to offer marketplace for people wanting out of cellphone contracts

CellBreaker, the Raleigh-based startup that aims to help people break cellphone contracts with no early termination fees, is launching a new service Thursday: A "contract justice marketplace" where wireless customers can switch carriers and service providers can gain new customers.

Cellbreaker offers a way out for wireless customers Cellbreaker offers a way out for wireless customers

Updated June 9

Premium Lock Epic showcases 'Fortnite' at Apple show - but player frustration mounts

Epic Games, the Cary-based gaming technology company that Apple showers with love, showcased the latest updates of its next big game on Monday on Apple's big stage. But the game is still a long way from being released, and the people wanting Zombie combat are getting antsy.

Updated June 8

Premium Lock What's the holdup on crowdfunding, new venture fund in NC?

Crowdfunding  North Carolina's General Assembly continues to drag its collective feet on crowdfunding legislation even as other states such as Texas continue to embrace the means of providing more people access to investment in startups. And frustration in the entrepreneurial community is growing. Plus, no news on a new $120 million venture fund. What in blazes is the holdup?

Updated June 5

Triangle must be one: Two new studies show the need to create one MSA

A new entrepreneurship study from the Kauffman Foundation omits any mention of the startup hot spot known as the Triangle? Why? Because Raleigh and Durham aren't considered to be one metro statistical area. Another study also breaks the Triangle in half, triggering data that could - make that should - be a lot better. When will triangle leaders act?

Where's RTP? Kauffman study ignores Triangle Where's RTP? Kauffman study ignores Triangle

Updated June 5

Pyrrhic victory? FDA could 'even the score' by denying 'female Viagra' approval

Sprout Pharmaceuticals scored a major victory in its battle with the FDA to win approval for a so-called "female Viagra." But in arousing support for flibanserin with an aggressive "Even the Score" campaign that even included Congressional support, Sprout angered the FDA. How will the drug agency respond when a final decision is made in August?

Cindy Whitehead  Cindy Whitehead

Updated June 4

Premium Lock Cisco's new CEO unveils 'my' team - minus CTO Warrior, other top execs

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Chuck Robbins unveils the management team he wants when he takes over as Cisco CEO next month. The group of 10 doesn't include Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior and other familiar Cisco names.

The Robbins team at Cisco The Robbins team at Cisco

Updated June 4

Premium Lock 'Female Viagra' developer promises low-key promotion if FDA approves drug

In a massive, chart-laden 300-plus page report, executives at Raleigh-based Sprout Pharmaceuticals promise to launch what has been called a "female Viagra" drug with a low-key marketing campaign that stresses safety should the FDA approve it.

Updated June 4

Premium Lock As Ellmers takes on FCC, AT&T negotiates 'net neutrality' to win DirecTV deal

FCC        AT&T is negotiating with the FCC in hopes of winning approval for its $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, offering to accept some "net neutrality" rules which it initially opposed. So says The Washington Post. But AT&T already has disclosed a willingness to compromise in seeking legal relief. Meanwhile, N.C. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers keeps pushing legislation to force more openness at the FCC.

Updated June 3

Premium Lock Crowdfunding startup Malartu Funds won't wait for NC legislature

The founders of Malartu Funds, who want to bring more investors and thus more capital to Triangle startups, won't wait for crowdfunding legislation to pass in the North Carolina General Assembly. They are launching with a focus on accredited investors now and will bring in crowdfunding later.

Graphic from Marlatu about crowdfunding Graphic from Marlatu about crowdfunding

Updated June 2

Premium Lock Report that Cisco purge might include CTO Warrior surprises analyst

Back in the Cold War days, what's happening at Cisco would have been called a party purge. Incoming CEO Chuck Robbins disclosed the departure of two senior execs on Monday, and re/code is reporting that CTO Padmasree Warrior is next.

Padmasree Warrior  Padmasree Warrior

June 2

Premium Lock Pozen for sale? Founder, chair and CEO Plachetka retires

John Plachetka, the founder, chair and CEO of Pozen who grew the company to an IPO and oversaw development of a safer aspirin, has been replaced at the Chapel Hill company. He also won't be a member of the board. Two execs from another firm are taking over, including a CEO who has a history of leading drug companies such as Inspire, than have been acquired. On Tuesday, the new team formed a subsidiary in ireland.

Chairman, CEO John Plachetka Chairman, CEO John Plachetka

Updated June 2

Premium Lock More turmoil at NetApp: Chair and CEO Tom Georgens is out

Still reeling from a disappointing quarterly earnings report and the layoffs of 500 workers (many of those cuts coming in RTP), storage tech firm NetApp now has to look for a new CEO In a terse announcement Monday, NetApp disclosed that chair and CEO Tom Georgens is out. Is the leadership change enough to right the company? One anlyst says no.

Thomas Georgens Thomas Georgens

Updated June 2

Premium Lock Leadership stunner at Lenovo: Top mobile exec, Motorola chair is out

Just days after Lenovo hosted its huge "Tech World" event in Beijing and after touting the performance of its mobile performance group, the company on Monday disclosed that its top mobile business executive and chair of Lenovo's Motorola Mobility is out. The move also affects Lenovo's Internet spinoff with the leader of that group now taking over mobile.

Lenovo mobile exec out Lenovo mobile exec out

Updated June 1

Premium Lock Cisco's incoming CEO puts his stamp on management: Two top execs leaving

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Chuck Robbins is wasting no time in putting his own stamp on Cisco's management structure. Two other senior execs are leaving the firm on the day Robbins takes over as CEO on July 25.

Chuck Robbins  Chuck Robbins