Editor’s note: RTP Beat is a regular feature on Thursdays.Leave it to recent college graduates Josh Carlton, 22, and Aaron Houghton, 22, and Ryan Allis, 19, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to prove that entrepreneurism is alive and kicking in North Carolina.
The three men fought the depressed job market with optimism and started Broadwick Corp. in July. With the counsel of Triangle law firm Hutchison and Mason, Broadwick purchased email list management software from Chapel Hill-based Preation, in exchange for equity in the startup. Preation develops custom software and is led by Houghton, who’s also chief technology officer of Broadwick.
The three decided to improve the software, add features and commercialize the software as IntelliContact. The Web-based email list management software makes it easy for people to sign up for email newsletters. Business owners can log in, send HTML or text newsletters and track click-through statistics. The software also handles subscription management by handling bounce-backs and other issues.
The software is similar to BrontoMail in Durham, but Broadwick founders say its main differentiator is that it targets a different segment of the market: business with less than $10 million in annual sales.
Broadwick is in the process of adding surveying and auto-responder features to the software.
Chief Executive Officer Allis says the company is cash-flow positive and close to breaking even. “We plan to grow organically.”
So far, that seems to be working. The company tripled revenue last month and plans a repeat performance this month. Broadwick says it’s signing up customers at the rate of one to two each day. The 4-month-old company boasts 62 clients from 10 different countries. Allis says 75 percent of those were secured in the last 30 days. Clients include Jersey Mike’s, NY Pizza and the University of North Carolina’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
Broadwick was started with the help of a $5,000 check from an undisclosed investor.
“We’re trying to develop industry standard software that our customers can use to send email newsletters, but at a lower cost and be better positioned,” says Allis.
Chapel Hill-based Broadwick has three full-time and four part-time employees.
Metabolon ups its metabolism, hungry for more space
Drug discovery firm Metabolon plans to expand in December to 5,000 square feet of laboratory space in Capitola Park in Durham. The startup headed by former Paradigm Genetics CEO John Ryals currently occupies about 1,000 square feet of space at the BD Technologies incubator in Research Triangle Park.
Ryals says the initial plan was to move into more permanent lab space. “We haven’t been able to get our final instrumentation for our platforms up and running, because we have some very state-of-the-art instrumentation that we need to put into place and not have moved.”
Although Metabolon will be quintupling its space, Ryals says the company doesn’t plan to fill the space immediately with any new hires. Last week, however, the company did tap Reid Tripp, former vice president at Quintiles, as VP of business development. Metabolon has 10 employees.
As people become more educated about metabolomics, the field has received more national attention and many more requests for proposals in various disease areas, says Ryals. “We were ahead in this technology area, and now the government is starting to catch up.”
The company is now looking to raise $2 to $3 million, says Ryals. “I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get that done. We’re getting good traction from the venture world.”
Metabolon raised $4 million in a first round of venture capital financing in July, from Durham-based Aurora Funds, Alexandria Real Estate Equities of California, Columbia, S.C.-based Trelys Ventures and an investment group led by Craig Venter, the founder and former president of Celera Genomics of Rockville, Md., which was the first company to map the human genome.
Triangle executive MBA programs make the grade
Duke University’s Fuqua executive MBA program was recently ranked No. 4 in Business Week magazine. Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler executive MBA program ranked just one notch lower at No. 5. Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania ranked respectively in the top three. The results are based on surveys of more than 2,750 graduates of 64 business schools, and a poll of EMBA directors at those 64 schools. Students in both Kenan-Flagler and Fuqua’s executive MBA programs have more than 10 years of work experience.
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