GrepBeat Holiday Gift Guide

Are you behind on your holiday shopping? Don’t worry, we’re here for you. We reached out to some boldface-name folks in the Triangle tech startup ecosystem for gift ideas, and now we’re re-gifting them to you. Don’t say we never gave you anything.

Without further ado, and in alphabetical order:

Robbie Allen, CEO of InfiniaML

I recommend a Spiffy Gift Card so your friends and family don’t have to brave the cold to get their car spick-and-span!

Just use the promo code “MERRYROBBIE” when ordering. Just kidding, they don’t offer those kind of kickbacks to referrers. Seems like they should, though. Hey Scot Wingo, you might want to add that to the to-do list… just saying.

I was going to recommend an Infinia ML gift card, but there is no such thing and your mom probably doesn’t need a neural net for Christmas.


James Avery, CEO of Adzerk

I would recommend the book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. As a founder it’s often hard for your friends and family to understand what the grind is like and this book captures it perfectly. It’s a business autobiography but it reads like an entertaining novel, so anyone who loves to read will love it.


Brooks Bell, Founder of Brooks Bell, Inc.

Healthier Together Cookbook by Liz Moody
As part of a radical focus on my health this year, I finally learned to cook! And, really, I have always been completely useless in the kitchen. But no longer! Jes [husband Jesse Lipson] and I make a delicious, healthy, candlelit dinner from scratch most nights now. And this cookbook has been a key ingredient. The recipes are not only all plant-based (and usually gluten-free and vegan), they are also insanely delicious, with unexpected and delightful flavors. It’s the first time we’ve made almost every recipe in a cookbook, and loved every single one!


Jed Carlson, CEO of Adwerx

The Bison Air Lighter: It’s not new on the market, but I love mine (granted, I can be kind of a pyro).


Joe Colopy, CEO of Colopy Ventures/former CEO of Bronto/GrepBeat Godfather

New Bronto or other dinosaur sculptures for the ATC (American Tobacco Campus) river…


Lister Delgado, Managing Partner at IDEA Fund Partners

My gift is a soccer ball. No gift is simpler, and who doesn’t need one?


Sonja Ebron, CEO of Courtroom5

Get the free SuperBetter game app on your iOS or Android phone, and tell your friends and loved ones how it adds 10 years to your life.


Jake Kiser, COO of StrongKey

For the privacy fanatic in your family… a hoodie from Adversarial Fashion. They print shirts in such a way that automatic text readers (like those that pick up license plates) read your shirt and you get to inject junk data into Big Brother’s ever-growing mind. Plus it’s great virtue signaling!


Alex Krawchick, CEO of Klearly Analytics

A new Mets owner! #itshappening


Brooks Malone, Partner at Hughes Pittman & Gupton

For my 2019 Christmas wish list, I have to look no further than HPG’s innovative and local clients:

State Fair blue ribbon pecan pie for desert from Slice Pie Company

A tropical getaway complete with a Shibumi Shade

For my gaming daughters, Switch games from Limited Run Games


Jessica Mitsch, CEO of Momentum Learning

Videri Chocolate. Why? This chocolatier is local (buy local!) and everyone could use some good-quality sweets during the holidays. I love giving their hot chocolate mix for the holidays.

Mitch Mumma, Managing General Partner of Intersouth Partners

I like a good portable Bluetooth speaker and this one is my favorite: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3. You can do an important conference call, then take it to be the life of the party to celebrate closing the big deal.


Sean Planchard, Startup Lawyer at Wyrick Robbins

If it were for you, I would get tickets to the national championship and a #9 Jersey with “Burreaux” for the name plate (which is what I’m asking for, for Christmas). But since it’s not for you (I don’t think), I’m going to have to have to say reservations to Death & Taxes. [Editor’s Note: Like Pete, and indeed like all with a soul, Sean is an LSU fan. Geaux Tigers!]


Joe Procopio, Chief Product Officer at Spiffy

Of course, I’d highly recommend a Spiffy gift card. Whether it’s a regular wash or a full detail, the time we save people is like giving a gift twice.

One thing I like to do personally, it’s become more of a tradition than a gift, is go through the THOUSANDS of photos that me, my wife, and my kids have taken over the year, pick 200 of the best and most meaningful ones, get them printed through something like Shutterfly, and put them in a nice photo album. This takes time and thought, it’s actually fun going through the year, and it makes a really nice gift for the family.


Kelly Pfrommer, CEO of Cloud Giants

This time of year we like to share our good fortune with others. A great way to gift to those who have plenty is to give in their name to Kiva, an organization that offers microloans to people around the globe with less access to important resources that can help them succeed. You can browse loans by category and give in your loved one’s name to a cause that they’ll truly love.

Also for those loved ones in your life that have a smart speaker/AI—a smart outlet is a lot of fun!


Brian Reale, CEO of ProcessMaker

I wish that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at least) will all agree to turn off their servers on the weekends in 2020.  The world would be a much better place.


Lewis Sheats, Executive Director of NC State’s Entrepreneurship Center

I have three go-to local gifts:

Lawson Hammocks: I use their hammock when hiking the AT and absolutely love it. It is more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, lightweight and gives you some protection from the elements.

Short Walk Wines: Obviously, but really, it is easy to fit any budget and almost all people like wine. Plus, it’s small-batch unique wine that the recipient isn’t going to see on the grocery store shelves when they’re picking up their yams and marshmallows. [Editor’s Note: Lewis’ wife Cindy Sheats owns Short Walk Wines.]

Videri Chocolate: Who doesn’t like chocolate? Simple enough!

Susan Wall, CMO of Devada

The gift of time—to explore that idea that has been niggling around in the back of your head for years. More practically, I think this is called seed money.


Scot Wingo, CEO of Spiffy

One of my favorite biz books in the last 10 years is Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing about Hard Things. Ben just released a follow-up that’s all about company culture and the perfect gift for the entrepreneur or management team member on your holiday gift list. It’s called What You Do Is Who You Are.

About Pete McEntegart 70 Articles
I've worn many hats, but my current chapeau* is as Managing Editor of GrepBeat, which covers the Raleigh-Durham tech scene, especially tech startups. Sign up for our Tuesday-Thursday email newsletter at Hope to see you around the Triangle! (*chapeau is French for "pretentious")