Staying closer to home is paying off for Paragon Commercial. The Raleigh-based owner of Paragon Bank, which provides private- and commercial-banking services for affluent customers and small and midsized businesses, has refocused on North Carolina after selling its Richmond, Va., office in 2011. The move came as Paragon shored up its capital position while it was under regulatory restrictions between 2010 and 2013, stemming from the recession. The bank is now back on offense, adding 32 employees last year as it posted an $8 million profit, up from $4.9 million in 2013 and $3.2 million a year earlier. By the end of 2014, the bank had cut its troubled loans to $6.3 million, from $35 million two years earlier. Founded in 1999 with backing from Bank of Tennessee, Paragon had $1.2 billion in assets as of Dec. 31 and only three offices — Cary, Charlotte and Raleigh. (The Kingsport, Tenn.-based bank now owns 18% of Paragon and its chairman owns another 5%.) Paragon’s Cary location opened in October, and has performed “beyond our wildest dreams,” says CEO Robert Hatley, a former regional manager at Rocky Mount-based Centura Banks. Paragon targets businesses with $5 million to $100 million of revenue, but most fall between $10 million and $20 million. “That’s the segment of the market that’s most underserved,” Hatley says. “They’re primarily owner-operator [businesses]. They are the people the big banks say they help but really don’t.” To make its shares more attractive to investors, Paragon split its stock 125 for one last July and started trading on the OTC Markets exchange in April. Hatley sees room for growth in affluent areas such as north Raleigh and Charlotte’s Ballantyne neighborhood.
DURHAM — NetSuite will acquire Bronto Software for about $200 million in cash and stock. Founded in 2002, Bronto provides a cloud-based marketing platform for retailers including Timex, Samsonite and Armani Exchange. The company, which employs more than 220 at offices here and in London and Sydney, will operate as a subsidiary of the San Mateo, Calif.-based business-software provider. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
DURHAM — Innocrin Pharmaceuticals raised $28 million in a financing led by Wilmington-based Eshelman Ventures, which was started last year by Pharmaceutical Product Development founder Fred Eshelman. Based here, the company plans to use the proceeds to accelerate development of its treatment for cancer. Innocrin was spun out of Durham-based Viamet Pharmaceuticals last year.
CARY — Tokyo-based CBC will move its U.S. headquarters here from Commack, N.Y., by year-end. The company distributes products including security cameras, video equipment, chemicals and plastics. It will invest at least $3.5 million and create 67 jobs with an average annual salary of $85,962, higher than Wake County’s $48,875. The company also will create 29 jobs with an average annual wage of $36,128 at a distribution center in Mebane. Alamance County’s average annual salary is $37,395.
DURHAM— Validic raised $12.5 million in a financing led by the venture-capital arm of Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland, Calif.-based health care and insurance provider. Founded here in 2010, Validic provides a cloud-based platform for people to access health care data from smartphone and tablet apps and wearable devices. The company, which employs more than 50 people at offices here, in California and the Philippines, plans to use the proceeds to add staff and expand its product offerings.
RALEIGH — Scott Ralls resigned as president of the North Carolina Community College System to lead the six-campus Northern Virginia Community College, based in Annandale, Va. With more than 75,000 students, the school is among the largest community colleges in the nation. Ralls has been president of the 58-school system since 2008. His replacement has not been named.