With only 24 months gone, Brett Martin founder to proceed CEO of CastleBranch and tekMountain, along with the Director Sean Ahlum and the rest of the executive team, have transformed a tiny incubator / accelerator into the heart of southeastern NC’s innovation ecosystem. What was once only a few companies is now 24 and counting, with markets as diverse as real estate investment, pet health technology, digital marketing and design, home improvement, and other industries in the life sciences, business services, and technology fields.
Current tekMountain Members
Build-Out and Build-Up
In the beginning, it was only a few desks and traditional offices. Now tekMountain is an entire floor, equipped with revolutionized coworking spaces of every flavor, from hanging chairs and work desks, to bean bag circles and glass walls covered with dry-erase diagrams and objective outlines. It’s definitely not hard to find your groove in these spaces. Did we mention our own licensed, on-site beer brewery, tekMtn Brewery?
We’ve also gone from just two mentors (along with the CastleBranch executive staff) to now 10 mentors, each providing expertise and guidance from a variety of leading markets. As tekMountain startups continue to scale, it’s invaluable to have access to so much know-how in a single building.
Making Some Noise
We’d especially like to congratulate two of our members for their recent success!Petrics, Inc., an advanced pet tech developer, was one of five companies selected from a pool of 230 companies for Flywheel’s New Venture Startup Challenge in Winston-Salem. Petrics was also one of six teams selected for the Startup Showcase at NC Tech Association’s annual State of Technology conference.
Connected Investors, an online marketplace for real estate buyers, sellers, and funders, now provides an aggregate of real estate crowdfunding portals, where a summary of offers from each individual portal (i.e., Fundrise) is displayed, saving investors from hours of web searches. Connected Investors is also in the early stage of talks for a potential buyout offer!
It Takes a Village
While tekMountain’s success is best measured in-house via its members, community and networking efforts have landed the talent, resources, and opportunities that a thriving tech hub requires. Here are just some of the events and partnerships we’ve shared over the journey and will continue to develop and expand in the future:
- Cucalorus Connect– A partnership between Cucalorus, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and tekMountain, Cucalorus Connect is southeastern NC’s premiere entrepreneurial tech conference. The week-long event offers a meetup for artistic and business visionaries, culminating in Cucalorus 10 x 10 – 10 entrepreneurs, 10 filmmakers, and pairs of each make 10-minute videos. It’s sure to overhaul how you currently think about branding, marketing, and your business
- WITX – For the past five years (and committed for the foreseeable future), tekMountain has been a title sponsor for the Wilmington Information Technology eXchange, now in its 13th year. This is a vital opportunity for UNCW tech talent to mingle with local industry and tech leaders.
- TEDxAirlie – Held this past March in conjunction with tekMountain member SISDigital, TEDxAirlie hosted eleven exciting lectures about the future of tech, including keynote speaker and General Manager of IBM’s Startups, Accelerators, and Ecosystems, Sandy Carter.
- Cape Fear Women in Tech – Approaching its first anniversary, CFWIT was started by former CastleBranch superstars, Audrey Speicher and Emilyanne Atkinson. As roughly 90% of startups are headed by males, Speicher and Atkinson decided to build a community within a community, where mentorship and networking could help expand the influence of women in the tech world.
- Tuesday Talks at tekMountain – First, it was TEDxTuesday. Then it grew into Tuesday Talks at tekMountain. Here, industry leaders share how specific insights from their markets can translate to general advice for success. Now other incubators and accelerators are hopping on the weekly bandwagon!
ExitEvent Launch Party July 29th at tekMountain
The first of its kind in southeastern NC, this gathering will not only celebrate tekMountain’s recent contributions to ExitEvent entrepreneurial magazine, it will also set the stage for major players in the Charlotte and Triangle areas to meet with local innovation leaders here in Wilmington. This is networking in its purest form, and we hope to bridge a lasting connection between all of NC’s major tech hubs. Live music, good food and drink–it’s a summer sizzler you can’t afford to miss. And stay tuned for some big news we’ve got in the mix.
Cheers to the Days Behind, Cheers to the Days Ahead!
So much has happened so fast, and we plan for it to get a lot faster. We’ve gone from one lonely little blog post in 2013 to weekly newsletters and a blog chock-full of info about the startup life as well as the latest and greatest upcoming tech events.
The entrepreneurial and startup culture is so contagious, our parent company, CastleBranch, is joining the fray. New ideas flow daily, products are being developed through customer discovery, and a landmark, new CastleBranch product is set to be launched in Quarter 3 of 2016.
If we can accomplish this—along with a boom in startups and continual expansion of NC’s innovation ecosystem—all in just two years, then look out for ten.
If you want to learn how to get the party started with your own startup, contact tekMountain today.