On September 13th & 14th at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) hosted its annual Tech Venture Conference, where the Southeast US’s entrepreneurial elite mixed with up-and-comers in a 48-hour innovation blitz. From company showcases to product demos, from speeches to customized workshops, it was like speed-dating meets BattleBots at a business seminar.
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development
Founded in 1984, the CED is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to connect and expand the Triangle’s entrepreneurial community by providing vital services such as mentorship, research support, investor networks, and more. The CED Network includes 4,000+ active members and 700 companies, who’ve collectively raised $8.5 billion over the past three decades. This year alone, startup companies in the CED network have raised over $1.1 billion.
Via its Tech Venture Conference, the CED continues to connect all of NC’s tech markets, and efforts like this are why you can’t talk about major U.S. innovators if you’re not talking about the Tarheel State, too.
14 industry leaders and experts shared their insights from across a slew of sectors, including energy, economics, social media, home improvement, media, healthcare and medicine, and more
- DAN ARIELY Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics – Duke University;Founder – Center for Advanced Hindsight
- DAVID BAUEMLER Executive Creative Director – Centerline Digital
- JOSEPH M. DeSIMONE, PhD CEO & Co-Founder – Carbon3D
- CAROLINE FAIRCHILD New Economy Editor – LinkedIn
- VICTOR HWANG Vice President of Entrepreneurship – Kaufmann Foundation
- FREADA KAPOR KLEIN, PhD Social Justice Activist & Partner –Kapor Capital
- KIM LABOW CEO – Medfusion
- CHRIS LANGFORD Managing Director – Lowe’s Ventures
- DAN LYONS Author –Disrupted: My Adventure in the Startup Bubble;Writer & Co-Producer – HBO’s Silicon Valley
- ALISYN MALEK Venture Investor – GM Ventures
- STEVE NELSON Co-Founder – Carbon3D
- DON RAINEY Conference Co-Chair & General Partner –Grotech Ventures
- SCOT WINGO Conference Co-Chair & Executive Chairman, Chairman of the Board &Co-Founder – ChannelAdvisor
- JOHN WOLPERT Global Blockchain Products Director – IBM
It’s always good to listen to those with more experience, but nothing’s better than getting your hands dirty with them. Four separate workshops were offered throughout the conference to give the lowdown on critical facets of entrepreneurship:
- Pre-conference Workshop: “Tech Companies Changing the World” – NCSU Alumni Entrepreneur Network
- INVITE ONLY Entrepreneur Workshop with Scot Wingo
- Storytelling Workshop: “Engineering Stories: Tactics for How to Market Technology to Humans” – David Baeumler
- Crowdfunding Workshop: “Understanding Crowdfunding – The New Option for Local Financing in N.C.” – Sponsored by the NC Department of the Secretary of State
14 companies were selected to give live presentations on the Main Stage offering attendees a 360° view of products and services. Some companies that caught our eye:
- Muses Labs, Inc. – This Healthcare IT company specializes in treating age-related cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- MindSumo – This service allows businesses to crowdsource college students via a variety of solutions challenges, from something as micro as unique product packaging ideas all the way to understanding how healthcare systems must evolve to meet the needs of Millennials.
12 companies got the chance to give a short pitch on the Main Stage. Here’s a few companies to watch:
- KWIPPED – Repping Wilmington, this service offers a platform where companies that need to rent equipment can find companies that rent it out. Audio and visual, heavy equipment, environmental testing, and laboratory equipment are just a peek of what’s available.
- FotoSwipe – This company makes it simple to share content across devices and platforms. Whether you’ve got a phone, tablet, PC, or Mac, it’s as quick as a drag-and-drop.
We’re proud to say that Petrics, Inc., one of our much-buzzed startups, walked the walk inside the Demo Room, where 90+ emerging NC companies showed off their products and services during a four-hour networking session held in adjacent ballrooms.
Petrics was also joined by a few other Wilmington startups:
- Alumn-I – Founded by Aaron Seelbinder, this software will utilize the national network of higher education clients Seelbinder has built via his other service, College Inbound. Alumn-I uses cloud technology and machine learning to help students transition into the workforce.
- FaithHealthNET – Founded by Robert Rosenberg, this web and mobile platform connects volunteers with volunteer organizations. Via an algorithm, a volunteer’s particular interests are then matched with the best opportunities for those interests, while at the same time providing organizations with a growing database of volunteers and a streamlined vetting process. (FaithHealthNET has also recently joined our co-working space here at tekMountain!)
It’s All About Networking
The Tech Venture Conference, per usual, was a blast. And, if you love tech, then you love learning how tomorrow’s cutting edge is already becoming dulled, and you’re always looking at every business strategy like the facets of a diamond. But these are just the appetizers at any tech conference.
The heart of these events, and the heart of innovation itself, is networking. Here’s where you get the chance to rub shoulders with angel investors and venture capitalists–the battle-tested entrepreneurs that can help you scale your company and redefine your marketspace. Here’s where the money and the minds meet, here’s where the napkin diagram becomes a Fortune 500 empire.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of NC’s synergistic network of startups and entrepreneurs, contact tekMountain today.