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Charlotte’s Payzer acquired for $250M


Charlotte payments software company Payzer was acquired last month for $250 million by Portland, Maine-based Wex, marking a big payoff for the business that Joe Giordano and Doug Little started in 2012.

Trade publications reported the sale in October after a press release from Wex. The Charlotte Ledger cited the sale in a Wednesday story.

Wex plans to pay as much as $11 million more if certain metrics are achieved by Payzer, which has about 150 employees. It marks one of the biggest sales of a homegrown Charlotte technology company.

Payer’s software helps businesses with payments, scheduling, invoicing and other services. The company focuses on about 150,000 plumbers, roofers and HVAC contractors. It has annual revenue of about $30 million, Payments Dive reported in October.

“The acquisition will advance WEX’s growth strategy of expanding its product suite and creating additional cross-sell opportunities,” by adding a business in a high-growth market with an overlapping clientele, Wex CEO Melissa Smith said in a press release.

Giordano, 60, was a Bank of America payments executive before starting Payzer. He previously had worked at ExxonMobil. Little worked at BlueTarp Financial, which provided funding to small construction materials companies.

Payzer raised about $40 million in outside capital, The Ledger reported. Investors included Grotech Ventures.

Wex provides payment services to fleet operators. It reported third-quarter net income of $18.4 million, compared with a loss of $44.1 million in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 6% to $651 million. Wex has a market cap of $7.5 billion.

Pendo CEO Olson withdraws plans for Topsail Island


Raleigh software company Pendo CEO Todd Olson has withdrawn plans to develop the southern end of Topsail Island. “We are extremely disappointed to get to this point after two years, but we do not believe that a successful outcome is possible based on the current process,” said Olson in a statement to Business North Carolina.

Feds order BofA to pay $12M for false mortgage data reporting


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Charlotte-based Bank of America to pay a $12 million penalty for submitting false mortgage lending information to the federal government. The bank also was ordered to develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, requiring mortgage lenders to report information to federal regulators.

Durham-headquartered VR firm raises $12M to accelerate streaming platform


Hololight COO and co-founder Susanne Haspinger says the decision to expand to Durham is already paying off. A year after the Austrian tech firm tapped the Bull City for its U.S. headquarters, a $12 million fundraise could accelerate its growth. Hololight plans to use its new funding to accelerate the development of its XR streaming platform.

Wilson farm product sales near $160M


Led by strong tobacco sales, Wilson County’s estimated gross income from sales of farm products has bounced back to $159.4 million in 2023. Overall, gross sales of farm products to the farms that produced them were up $29 million from two years ago. The tobacco yield was estimated at 2,630 pounds per acre.

Charlotte-based RAI Products acquired by Econolite


Econolite has bought the “operational business” of its distribution partner, Charlotte-based RAI Products. Econolite, part of Umovity, says the acquisition enables the firm “to further expand its one-stop-shop portfolio of ITS solutions while strengthening its vendor relations and distribution reach, particularly in the Southeast region.” RAI was formed in 1954.

Krispy Kreme majority owner JAB names new CEO


JAB Holding Co., the majority owner of Krispy Kreme, said Tuesday that managing partner Joachim Creus has been appointed as its chief executive. Creus will continue as JAB’s vice chairman and as the designated successor to chairman Peter Harf. Creus joined JAB in 2010.

Inside the fight, failure of North Carolina’s ‘ag-gag’ law


In 2015, North Carolina’s state legislature passed a law called the “Property Protection Act” — described as an “ag-gag” law for its language prohibiting undercover activities documenting workplace conditions, including factory farms. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the law is technically also an “anti-sunshine” law thanks to language that went beyond agricultural activities.

Durham’s Night School Bar serves up college-level courses with a chaser


A new bar in Durham is trying to bring the two worlds of bars and college together. Night School Bar offers college-level classes in art, film and literature online or in person at its new brick and mortar location. There are no grades and no credit. Classes are pay-as-you-can. Students can pay as little as $10.

Pendo CEO Olson withdraws plans for Topsail Island


Todd Olson, the chief executive officer of Raleigh software company Pendo, says he has withdrawn plans to develop the southern end of Topsail Island.

“We are extremely disappointed to get to this point after two years, but we do not believe that a successful outcome is possible based on the current process,” said Olson in a statement to Business North Carolina.

Olson said there are three options for the property, known as The Point: a permanent conservancy by the community or town, a larger scale development by a professional development group, or a low-impact private development like the one his family proposed.

The proposal was for single-family homes on 24 acres of a 150-acre area. The plan included six single-family dwellings, access roads, a swimming pool and cabana, a maintenance building and garage, a beach shelter, a gazebo and uncovered deck, and an elevated pier with six boat lifts.

Olson said he signed a letter of intent with the NC Coastal Land Trust to establish a conservation easement on at least 80% of the land. He also took feedback from both residents and town officials and updated his plans and drawings to reduce the impact on the land to less than 4% impervious surfaces.

“We have listened, iterated, and stayed patient through a very tedious and lengthy process that unfortunately still remains far from complete two years later,” said Olson in his statement.

Topsail Beach, located south of Surf City, has a population of about 460 full-time residents. The proposed development was opposed by some in the community who believed it would harm the environment. Olson expressed frustration in dealing with local politicians.

“Despite our repeated requests for time to discuss the details of our rezoning request and come up with solutions together, the Commissioners refused to meet with us one-on-one and routinely passed us off to the Town’s staff and external planning consultant,” he said in the statement. “Meanwhile, we understand the Commissioners directly conversed with members of the community who opposed our plans. This one-sided behavior has led to confusion and an unending set of proposed conditions.”

The land that Olson wanted to develop is currently zoned as a conservation district, and it’s located within an inlet hazard and Coastal Barrier Resources Act area.

A nonprofit called Conserve The Point has said it’s interested in acquiring the property, which went on the market in 2019 for $7.9 million.

The Topsail Beach planning board voted unanimously against conditional rezoning back in May.

“We invested the time, money, and energy to find a solution to protecting an area of the world we love,” said Olson. “But solving problems requires collaboration, which the Town appears to have been unwilling to do. We have no choice but to withdraw our application.”

Pendo is among the state’s most promising technology companies. Its market value has been estimated to be more than $2.5 billion. Olson cofounded the company in 2013.