These are the Triangle startup trends venture capitalist Art Pappas is watching – Triangle Business Journal

The biggest trend venture capitalist Art Pappas sees for 2021? The influx.
Pappas, founder of Durham-based Pappas Capital, which this month raised $200 million for a fund targeting innovation in Asia, said the big story in entrepreneurship in North Carolina for 2021 might be the influx of startups from both the Northeast and West Coast.
“I’ve always taken the view that capital isn’t the issue in this state,” Pappas said. “It’s mostly talent. But we’re intrigued by seeing the number of people coming into North Carolina … in order to take advantage of the innovative growth platform that’s here. I think that’s an important trend.”
There have been numerous examples over the past year. Ryan Bethencourt, for example, moved to Durham from California, bringing with him the headquarters for “Shark Tank”-funded Wild Earth, a vegan dog food company. George Kirkland, a co-founder of California’s RaiseMe, moved to the Triangle and founded his next startup, HomeCloud. And Chris Andrassy and Alfonso Albuquerque moved to the region from New York to build Astral Consulting Group.
Pappas said another big story for entrepreneurship in 2021 is the Triangle’s universities – how they are bringing in more “venture-ready or licensable ready companies or assets.”
“I’m really thrilled with what Duke University and the University of North Carolina are doing in that regard,” Pappas said.
The third big trend he sees? The rise of agtech.
Pappas recently partnered with Cary-based SAS Institute on a collaboration designed to push more agtech innovation in the state. But even before they signed that deal, the sector was taking off. Just this month, AgBiome closed on $116 million. And soil-focused Earth Optics closed on $10 million.
In the meantime, Pappas is busy. The company just closed on the $200 million Asia Innovation Fund, designed to fuel next-generation technology coming out of China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Pappas Capital, which is focused on the life science sector, has been around for more than 27 years.
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