The Friday Nooner: “Florida Man” Visits Pete, Chantal And Guest Rachael Classi

In this week’s Friday Nooner, guest co-host Chantal Allam (WRAL TechWire) joined Pete for the entire episode. Joe is currently in Naples, Fla., for some Jurassic Capital business, but don’t worry, he joined us 10 minutes into the stream. The trio talked about everything tech in the Triangle, including the return of in-person events like the upcoming Innovate Raleigh Summit and the NC TECH Awards. 

Our featured guest is Rachael Classi, the Founder and CEO of Durham-based Tiny Earth Toys, which we’ve written about previously. Tiny Earth Toys is a subscription toy rental company, providing curated kits of toys for children from birth to 4 years old. Also, fun fact—the startup was one of our “Startups to Watch” honorees.

Here are some highlights from the episode:

  • Pete and Chantal start off the episode—successfully, we might add, despite Joe not being present. They discuss a few in-person tech events coming up, such as the Innovate Raleigh Summit and NC TECH Awards. Pete mentioned that one of the already announced NC Tech winners is a recent Friday Nooner guest (and Download Q&A subject), Spoonflower CEO Michael Jones, who won “Tech CEO of the Year.” Chantal said she is not surprised because Michael “has taken Spoonflower to new heights.”
  • Joe joined the pair about 10 minutes in from Naples. It wouldn’t be a normal episode without some shade thrown—Joe made sure Pete knew he thought he played the intro too early. The trio later discussed whether Miami is an upcoming tech hub; the recent report finding UNC-affiliated startups earned $15.2 billion in annual revenue during the 2021 fiscal year; and the future of remote working.
  • Rachael entered next. The idea for Tiny Earth Toys came to her during the pandemic when she was home fulltime with her two young kids and noticed how quickly they cycled through their cheapish, plastic toys that would likely end up in a landfill. She started a neighborhood toy exchange with a few friends, and when that went well she knew she was on to something. The service officially launched about seven months ago and currently has customers in more than 35 states. Rachael also discussed company’s positive environmental impact and how they help families eliminate clutter in their homes.

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