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Start-ups presenting at Southeast Venture Conference hail from DC to Florida

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

sevc 2014 logoOn May 6-7th at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta the Eighth Annual Southeast Venture Conference will present national and regional venture capitalists with over 50 of the most dynamic high-growth investment opportunities in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions.The first round of presenting companies offer a dynamic picture of the Southeast’s vibrant start-up scene from DC to Miami, Florida.

In addition to market-relevant panel topics and extensive executive and investor networking, this year those who attend will also hear keynotes from Marcus Lemonis from CNBC’s The Profit, Lending Tree founder & CEO Doug Lebda and Cvent founder & CEO Reggie Aggarwal.

Several executive panels will provide additional insight for both venture capitalists and founders on topics ranging from Limited Partner viewpoints, M&A, fundraising strategies, entrepreneurial roundtables and venture investment trends among many others.

A list of venture firms committed to attending so far follows the presenting companies.

The first round of announced presenting companies include:

9Lenses | Sterling, VA
Advanced Animal Diagnostics
| Durham, NC
Aloe – Atlanta, GA
Ambition | Chattanooga, Tennessee
| Washington D.C.

Axial Exchange | Raleigh, NC
Brickstream | Norcross, GA
Campus Bubble | Atlanta, GA
ChartSpan | Greenville, SC
Checkd.In | Nashville, TN

Cinegif | Austin, TX
CircleBackLending | Boca Raton, FL
DecisionLink | Atlanta, GA
Digital Reasoning| Nashville, TN
EarlyShares| Miami, FL
Evermind | Nashville, TN
Heyo | Blacksburg, VA

INRFOOD | Durham, NC
Kanga | Atlanta, GA
Kleo | Miami, FL
LinguaSys | Boca Raton, FL
M2SYS Technology | Atlanta, GA
Monsieur | Atlanta, GA
Passport Parking | Charlotte, NC
Patientco | Atlanta, GA
PatientFocus | Nashville, TN
Paymetric | Alpharetta, GA
PhishMe | Chantilly, VA

Quad Learning | Washington D.C. 
Royalty Exchange | Raleigh, NC
Screwpulp | Memphis, TN
Solicore | Lakeland, FL

Springbot | Atlanta, GA
uKnow | Arlington, VA
Uruut | Atlanta, GA
Variable | Chattanooga, Tennessee

Voterheads |  Columbia, SC
Voxa | Atlanta, GA
Windsor Circle – Durham, NC

ZeroFOX | Baltimore, MD

Venture capital firms that will attend include:

• ABS Capital
• Advanced Technology Ventures
• Alerion Capital
• Atlanta Technology Angels
• Atlanta Ventures
• Ballast Point Ventures
• Berwind Private Equity
• Bonaventure Capital
• Bull City Venture Partners
• Catalyst Investors
• Centurion Venture Group
• CNF Investments
• Contender Capital
• Core Capital Partners
• Delta Electronics Capital
• Draper Fischer Jurvetson
• Duart Mull
• ff Venture Capital
• Fifth Street Partners
• Florida Growth Fund
• Flybridge Capital Partners
• Forte Ventures
• Frontier Capital
• Fulcrum Equity Partners
• FuturePerfect Ventures
• G20 Ventures
• Grotech Ventures
• Hamilton Lane
• Harbert Venture Partners
• HarbourVest Partners
• Horizon Technology Finance
• IDEA Fund Partners
• In-Q-Tel
• Intel Capital
• Kinetic Ventures
• Landmark Angels
• LLR Partners
• Morgan Creek Capital Management
• Mosley Ventures
• Multiplier Capital
• Noro-Moseley Partners
• North Bridge Venture Partners
• Polaris Partners
• Revolution Ventures
• River Cities Capital Funds
• Safeguard Scientifics
• SoftBank Capital
• Southern Capitol Ventures
• Spectrum Equity
• Spring Capital Partners
• SSM Partners
• Staley Capital
• Stonehenge Growth Equity
• Stonewall Capital
• SunBridge Partners
• Susquehanna Growth Equity
• TA Associates
• Tech Square Ventures
• Timberline Investment Company
• Volition Capital
• Vulcan Capital

Up to date registration and information at

Peak 10 CEO offers 4 tips for entrepreneurs

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

David Jones

David Jones, President & CEO, Peak 10.

Even though Peak 10, the Charlotte-based data center and managed services provider now has 350 employees, CEO David Jones says the company still tries to foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

“We don’t make all our decisions centrally,” says Jones.

Jones co-founded Peak 10 in March of 2000 and has led the company to a top market position as a leading independent data center, managed services, and cloud computing solutions provider in the United States, with facilities in Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Tampa, South Florida, Raleigh, and Richmond.

Participating in the Southeast Venture Conference

Jones, who speaks often to entrepreneurial groups and is a past chair and still a director of the North Carolina Technology Association, is one of dozens of thought-leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

“I think it’s going to be a great event for Charlotte,” Jones says. “It has an informative agenda, not the same old stuff you usually see at conferences. It’s going to bring a lot of faces into Charlotte who don’t normally spend time here.”


The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

Specifically, that includes speakers and panelists from national and regional venture capital firms and 50 innovative presenting companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Last we heard, there were only a handful of seats left for the event, so it’s a good idea to reserve yours now if you plan on attending.

Part of the Peak 10 entrepreneurial culture derives from its growing an average of about 25 percent a year and regularly opening new facilities to meet demand in the areas it serves.

Four pieces of advice for entrepreneurs

We asked Jones what advice he thinks is most important to starting a company.

First, he says, “Stay focused. We’ve all heard stories of companies that try to do too many things at once and don’t do any of them well.”

But even more important, he says, “Hire the best people you can. Don’t be complacent about that.” In the end, “That will make you successful or not.”

Get the right financial leadership

Next, he says, “Make sure you have the right financial leadership. A lot of startups fly by the seat of their pants. You need to know your operating costs.  I’ve always tried to find the best financial officer I could. If nothing else, have a financial advisor who can help you strategize where you are and the things you’ll need.”

Doing that can prevent you from “Hitting a brick wall when you find you didn’t plan for what you need on the development side.”

Finally, he adds, “Make sure you have a plan that can get funded. Great ideas go nowhere unless you have a plan to get there. Keep it simple. The more complex you make it, the harder it will be to get to where you want to be.”

In general, Jones says, “We’re in challenging times, but there are still a lot of opportunities out there.”


Top ten cities for private tech M&A ranked

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Washington DC

Washington, DC made this years list of the top ten cities for private tech M&A at number 7.

PrivCo has released rankings of the Top U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A, based on the number of private tech companies acquired in 2012.

PrivCo has provided its Exclusive Top 10 Ranking below, with Silicon Valley ranking as the #1 metro area with 226 private tech company acquisitions in 2012.

Ranked just behind it were New York (Ranked #2) & Boston (Ranked #3).

San Diego, Research Triangle miss top ten

Interestingly, up-and-coming tech hubs like New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are challenging traditional leaders like Raleigh-Durham’s “research triangle” and biotech hub San Diego, who missed this year’s Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A.

Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A in 2012

(Ranked By Total Number of U.S. Private Tech Companies Acquired in Each Metro Area)

1. Silicon Valley
2. New York
3. Boston
4. Los Angeles
5. Seattle
6. Austin
7. Washington, D.C. (Arlington)
8. Atlanta
9. Dallas
10. Houston

To access PrivCo’s 350 page 2012 Private Tech M&A Industry Report:

Five reasons you should attend SEVC 2013

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

SEVC 2013Need a reason why you should attend the Seventh Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14? Here’s five:

First, you’ll make connections with the region’s top technology entrepreneurs and executives.

More than 50 presenting companies and hundreds of high growth company C-suite execs attending, you’ll have an unsurpassed opportunity to build partnerships and hear about the latest startup trends.

Second, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to network with investors and venture firms from throughout the United States, not just regional firms.

Whether you’re in venture fundraising mode or an investor looking to further relationships with fellow investors for deal flow, SEVC is the vehicle to make those connections.

We’ve interviewed several of the participating venture capitalists at the TechJournal, with more to come. Here’s a sample:


Brian Rich

Brian Rich, managing director, co-founder, Catalyst Ventures.He’s participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

How to pitch a venture capitalist (interview with Brian Rich of Catalyst Ventures).

SecondMarket turns dead equity into productive equity (interview with SecondMarket’s Matt Shapiro).

The bar is higher for startups seeking first round financing (interview with Intel Capital’s East Coast Director, Mark Rostick).

Will there be an app economy in five years? (interview with Ron Shah of the Stripes Group).

Seven lessons from the dark side (interview with Grotech’s Don Rainey).

What does it take to build a startup to successful IPO? (interview with Bob Hower, general partner at Advanced Technology Ventures).

Also see: Startups aim to put Charlotte on the map (Charlotte Observer story focused on Terry Cox, founder and CEO of BIG (Business Innovation Growth) in Charlotte. It includes background on how Charlotte was chosen to host the event.

And three more reasons SEVC can kick up your chances for success:



3. You’ll gain market insight and success strategies from innovation and technology community’s brightest starts.

From the CEO of SAP to the Publisher of Forbes – SEVC will feature over 40 speakers discussing the latest trends, best practices and strategies relating to technology and entrepreneurial growth. You’ll learn from them not just during roundtable discussions, but in one on one situations through hours of networking.


The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

Panel & Presentation topics include:

  • State of Venture Capital
  • Early Stage Fundraising
  • Value Creation: Company/Investor Relationship
  • Growth Stage Funding
  • M&A Outlook and Strategies
  • LP Viewpoint
  • SaaS Investment Trends
  • Getting to Market
  • IPO & Secondary Market Outlook
  • Entrepreneur’s Roundtable
  • International Health Care Trends

4. To make networking and private meetings even easier, there is an online pre-event networking platform for attendees. 

At SEVC, the online networking platform allows attendees to connect with one another prior, during and after the conference. Attendees can see other attendee’s interests, request and setup meetings and connect helping to maximize the lasting connections you’ll make at this year’s conference.

5. Even more CXO and Venture Partner networking to create relationships that can last your entire career.

Networking is center stage at SEVC. Over one and a half days there are 3 separate open bar networking receptions, a networking breakfast, lunch networking and 7 additional networking breaks.

The event sells out, so it’s a good idea to Register today.


Need funding? SEVC seeks presenting companies for March event

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

If you’re a high growth innovative company looking for funding, you still have a chance to present your business plan in front of top national venture capitalists and private equity professionals at the 2013 Southeast Venture Conference March 13th and 14th at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC.

Applications to present at the event are still being accepted.

The event seeks  high growth, innovative companies from diverse technology industries including Software-as-a-Service, New Media, Bio-IT, Clean-Tech, Medical Devices, Mobile, Security, among others.

You’ll meet  hundreds of the region’s leading entrepreneurs and high growth company executives (from startups to pre-IPO), National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the high growth technology community.

SEVC highlights both early and later stage investment opportunities from: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.

Last year’s SEVC Average Presenter Profile:

  • Average Annual Revenue: $5.9 million
  • Average Capital Raised to Date: $6.7 million
  • Average Number of Employees: 35

While the presenting companies are from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the investors fly in from all parts of the country, including California, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as those that are regionally focused.

Exclusive panels, speakers, programming

The SEVC features market relevant investor and executive panels, exclusive networking opportunities, featured speakers and dozens of the region’s top private technology firms presenting to a national audience of venture capitalists, investment bankers and private equity investors.

As a TechMedia company and sponsor of the event, the TechJournal has reported on many firms that subsequently landed angel or venture backing. Venture capitalists tell us, they find new firms to put on their radar and track at each year’s event and many have returned year after year to spot hot Southeast opportunities.

SEVC is also an unparalleled networking event in which innovative firms meet potential partners, customers, and employees, in addition to making invaluable contacts within the venture and angel funding community.

Additional information on presenting and registration can be found at andyou can view a list of past presenters here.


2013 Southeast Venture Conference set for Charlotte in March

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013.

The seventh annual Southeast Venture Conference, a major event for investors and entrepreneurs, is headed to Charlotte, NC, March 13-14 at the Riz-Carlton.

The conference features presentations by 60 of the region’s high growth investment opportunities.

They will include both early and later stage companies from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.

The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to Network with hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives, National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the technology community.

We’ve covered many startup and later stage firms that presented at previous SEVC’s and later landed multiple financing rounds.

SEVC is also teaming with the Internet Summit in Raleigh Nov. 6-8 this year to present the two-day Startup Summit focused on entrepreneurs.

ttendees and speakers include leading incubators, venture capital firms, and innovative companies. We’ll feature 16 presenting startups that will showcase their companies and concepts. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them one-on-one in our demo pit.

Speakers at the Startup Summit include influential entrepreneurs and leaders from the investment community:

  • Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
  • Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
  • Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
  • Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
  • Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
  • Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
  • Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
  • David Morken, Founder & CEO,
  • Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner,
  • Dayna GraysonNorth Bridge Venture Partners
  • Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
  • Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
  • Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
  • Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
  • John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
  • Joe Velk, Contender Capital
  • Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
  • David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
  • Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
  • Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
  • Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle



Which states lead in the job-creating app economy?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

mobile devicesThe app economy has created 519,000 jobs nationwide and is a significant economic driver for a number of states, according to a study released today by CTIA-The Wireless Association and the Application Developers Alliance.

The report, entitled “The Geography of the App Economy,” also calculates the number of app economy jobs in each state, the “app intensity” (share of app economy jobs relative to overall jobs) and the economic impact for states. The research was conducted by Dr. Michael Mandel andJudith Scherer of South Mountain Economics, LLC

Some unexpected states on top in app economy

While app innovation is occurring across the country, particularly in renowned high-tech areas such as California and Washington, some unexpected states have emerged to the top app economy states.

For example, Virginia and Maryland have close ties to government agencies and the military thus are developing apps for those sectors. Massachusetts’ app developers are making higher education more accessible, while one Colorado app developer created the iTriage app, which helps people identify what could be wrong based on their medical symptoms.

The app economy is in its infancy, but is growing at an exponential rate. Apple iTunes and Android Market application stores first opened in 2008. According to CTIA’s research, there are more than 2.4 million apps available on more than 11 different operating systems from more than 28 independent non-carrier stores. In 2011, the mobile app revenue was almost $10 billion[1], but by 2016, it’s expected to be more than $46 billion.[2]

The top 10 app economy states, ranked by economic impact (per million each year), are:

  1. California = $8,241
  2. Washington = $2,671
  3. New York = $2,313
  4. Texas = $1,183
  5. Massachusetts = $1,143
  6. New Jersey = $1,087
  7. Georgia = $1,062
  8. Illinois = $847
  9. Virginia  = $788
  10. Pennsylvania = $632

The “app intensity” is determined by taking the percentage of app economy jobs in a state as a share of total jobs, which measures the importance of these jobs to a state. The national average is 1.

The top 10 “app intensity” states and intensity figures are:

  1. Washington = 4.47
  2. California = 2.71
  3. Massachusetts = 1.71
  4. Oregon = 1.70
  5. Georgia = 1.56
  6. New Jersey = 1.29
  7. New York = 1.16
  8. Virginia = 1.04
  9. Delaware = 0.93
  10. Colorado = 0.90

Apps are increasingly a part of consumers’ everyday lives. Consumers’ insatiable demand for apps is driving the app innovation across the country.

An example of the rapid growth of innovation, Applico, a New York-based app development firm and board member of the Application Developers Alliance, hired its first employee in May 2010 and expects to employ as many as 150 by the end of 2012.

“The app economy took off in 2008 and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a significant driver of great jobs that pay well while fostering and creating truly revolutionary and innovative ideas, products and services. Few could have known four years ago that we’d use our wireless devices to improve efficiency and effectiveness in industries such as health care, education, transportation and utilities.”

He adds, “Precisely predicting what those capabilities will be four years from now is just as challenging, but I’m confident that the wireless industry’s competitiveness and customer service-driven focus will lead to more awe-inspiring and innovative wireless devices and apps,” said CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent.

“The app industry is a borderless economic force, providing opportunity across the country–even in places we might not expect.  In a challenging economic environment, the app industry has created more than a half million jobs in the five years since Apple’s iPhone launched. This new industry is propelling innovation and jobs in urban centers and rural states. And this is just the beginning,” said Jon Potter, President of the Application Developers Alliance.

“The mobile app economy is still in its infancy and it’s accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Mobile apps are creating a tectonic shift in how everyone lives their lives and operates their businesses. As a result, jobs are being created across the spectrum – both technical and non-technical,” said Alex Moazed, President and CEO of Applico and member of the Alliance Board.

Building on the February 2012 study by South Mountain Economics that measured the total number of app jobs nationwide, this study delves deeper into the App Economy.

Researchers examined The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) database of help wanted ads in each state to calculate the number of app jobs as well as the economic impact of each state’s app economy.

Good news and bad seen for small businesses on Intuit Index

Monday, October 1st, 2012

IntuitU.S. small business employment continued to grow slowly in September, while hours worked and compensation rose. Revenue in August declined for the sixth consecutive month.

These are among the results for the monthly Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes, which together provide a current picture of the economic health of the nation’s small businesses.

The Small Business Employment Index shows that employment rose by 0.2 percent in September, which is an annualized growth rate of 2.5 percent. The growth equates to approximately 40,000 new jobs created in September, although Intuit is recalibrating the employment index and expects these numbers to change. Average monthly compensation grew by 0.6 percent, or $17, an increase from the growth of $2 seen last month. Average monthly hours worked increased by 0.18 percent, or 12 minutes. The index is based on data fromIntuit Online Payroll and covers the period from January 2007 through Sept. 23.

The Small Business Revenue Index indicates that August small business revenue fell by 0.4 percent from the previous month. Continuing July’s trend, the retail industry, along with the accommodation and food services sector, saw the biggest declines at minus 0.7 percent respectively. Construction followed with a decline of 0.6 percent. The index is based on data from QuickBooks Online and covers the period from January 2005 through Aug. 31.

“This month’s indexes bring both good and bad news,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the indexes.

“The bad news is that while revenue rose earlier in this tepid recovery, they are now dropping for most industries. In addition, small business employment is growing very slowly, and is essentially flat.

“Couple that with the slow employment growth of less than one-tenth of a percent for big businesses, and we see a slim chance of full employment anytime soon.

Big comeback for startups seen

“The good news is that more people are going into business for themselves. After five years of declining self-employment beginning in January 2007, we began seeing a big comeback starting in November 2011.

“Nearly 600,000 additional self-employed folks have been added since then, and there are now 14.2 million people who are self-employed. One theory is that the decline in revenue per business may reflect the entry of these new businesses into the economy.”

Small Business Revenue Index

Small businesses overall saw a decline in revenue in August. The health care and social assistance saw the smallest decline of all the industries, at minus 0.3 percent, which is slightly less than the 0.4 percent decline seen in the previous month. The health care sector, has however, had the longest decline, starting in November 2011.

Sector August Change in Revenue
All - 0.4%
Accommodation, food services and drinking places - 0.7%
Retail trade - 0.7%
Construction - 0.6%
Professional, scientific and technical services - 0.5%
Real estate and rental and leasing - 0.5%
Other services - 0.3%
Health care and social assistance - 0.3%

The Intuit Small Business Revenue Index is based on data from more than 100,000 small businesses, a subset of the total QuickBooks Online financial management user base.

Small Business Employment Index

Based on September’s numbers and revised national employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Intuit revised upward the previously reported August growth rate to 0.2 percent from 0.16 percent. This equates to 50,000 jobs added in August, up from a previously reported 30,000 jobs, though these numbers are expected to change once the index is recalibrated.

Increase in Hours Worked, Increase in Compensation

Small business hourly employees worked an average of 107.2 hours in September, an increase of 0.18 percent, or about 12 minutes, from the revised figure of 107.0 hours in August, making for a 24.7-hour workweek.

Average monthly pay for all small business employees rose to $2,768 in September, an increase of 0.6 percent, or $17, from the August revised figure of $2,751 per month. The equivalent annual wages would be about $33,200 per year, which is part-time work for many small business employees.

Small Business Employment by Geography

The Employment Index showed growth in overall employment in September for all regions except for the West North Central and the Middle Atlantic divisions, which fell by 0.13 percent and 0.05 percent respectively. A state-by-state breakdown showed the largest employment increases in Washington and Michigan, a trend that continued from last month. New York and Oregon saw the largest decreases.

U.S. Census Division Percent Change in Employment
East North Central + 0.3%
West North Central - 0.13%
Middle Atlantic - 0.05%
Mountain + 0.10%
New England + 0.12%
Pacific + 0.3%
South Atlantic + 0.3%
East South Central + 0.14%
West South Central + 0.4%

Small Business Employment by U.S. Census Division continues to grow in most parts of the country. The data reflects employment from approximately 84,000 small business employers, a subset of small businesses that use Intuit Online Payroll. The month-to-month changes are seasonally adjusted and informative about the overall economy.

State Change in Employment
Arizona + 0.02%
California + 0.40%
Colorado + 0.30%
Florida + 0.50%
Georgia + 0.20%
Illinois + 0.20%
Maryland + 0.40%
Massachusetts - 0.04%
Michigan + 0.80%
New Jersey + 0.16%
New York - 0.20%
North Carolina + 0.02%
Oregon - 0.13%
Pennsylvania - 0.09%
Texas + 0.40%
Virginia + 0.18%
Washington + 0.50%

Small Business Employment increased for most states in which Intuit Online Payroll has more than 1,000 small business firms. The month-to-month changes are seasonally adjusted and informative about the overall economy.

Need tech talent? Hacker Tour connecting startups and students

Friday, August 24th, 2012

hacker tour busIt can be tough for tech start-ups to recruit engineering and science students for internships and jobs without brand recognition. The Readyforce Hacker Tour 2012 is intended to help remedy that via an eight-week national bus tour designed to connect students and startups.

The Hacker Tour includes campus career fairs, CEO/CTO speakers, meetups, coding competitions and “maybe a party or two.”

It will stop at schools across the country, many in tech hubs from the San Francisco Bay Area to The Research Triangle, NC. It will visit Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Other stops include Boston, Austin, and San Diego.

Stops on the Hacker 2012 Tour:

hackerforce tour map

Companies invited to sign-up

Readyforce invites companies interested in joining Hacker Tour 2012 to learn more and register at:

Sponsors include early stage companies like Red Owl Analytics, Codeacademy and Quixey and later stage organizations like Etsy and Sonos.

It seems to be helping start-ups looking for talent.

“Partnering with ReadyForce on the Hacker Tour will expose ZestFinance to thousands more students across a much more diverse set of universities than we would be able to accomplish on our own,”  says Adam Redlich, Head of Talent Acquisition at ZestFinance.

“At Elance, we create opportunities for students to work for themselves while they build an online portfolio that gives them an edge in the competitive job market,” said Rich Pearson, Chief Marketing Officer, Elance. “We are excited to be a part of the inaugural Hacker Tour because it is a unique way to tell students about a unique job opportunity.”

“At SoundCloud, we are always looking to hear from talented and motivated individuals across all disciplines, so sponsoring Readyforce’s Hacker Tour represents a natural fit for us,” said Eric Wahlforss, CTO and co-founder, SoundCloud.

 Colleges like the program

Colleges and universities are also enthusiastic.

Corbett Morgan,  startup analyst at the Technology Commercialization & Knowledge Transfer Office, The Ohio State University, says,  “Readyforce is the progressive, soon to be widely adopted, method for students to interface with startups; the Readyforce Hacker Tour makes this opportunity tangible.”

He adds, “Telling a talented student, ‘Startups want you and your skills. They are coming to you and they want to meet YOU,’ is a powerful message and undoubtedly bridges the disconnect inherent in the outdated apply-online recruitment method.”


Entrepreneurs fuel job and revenue growth even in sluggish economy

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Ernst & YoungDespite a persistently high U.S. unemployment rate and sluggish overall economic growth, one segment of the U.S. economy continues to exceed expectations – entrepreneurs.

According to data compiled by Ernst & Young LLP from more than 600 finalists of the 2012 US Entrepreneur of the Year program, innovation-driven entrepreneurs continue to defy the odds, expanding their companies, spurring job growth and creating momentum in an otherwise moribund economy.

Research compiled from these companies, which together employ nearly 700,000 workers, affirms that, nationally, these innovative, expansion-oriented entrepreneurs continue to grow impressively, achieving the following between 2009-2011:

  • 30 percent job growth, compared to negative overall U.S. job growth (approx. -1 percent)[1]
  • 48 percent revenue growth, compared to overall U.S. revenue growth of 5.6 percent[2]

“These results are proof that entrepreneurs, who are focusing on innovation and new-market expansion, are doing far better than the national averages,” said Bryan Pearce, director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program for the Americas.

Optimistic and continuing to hire

“These entrepreneurs are more optimistic about the future and are continuing to hire.

This positive attitude and forward momentum amidst uncertainty truly characterize the entrepreneurs who have inspired our 26-year-old recognition program. Their confidence led the rate of employment growth among these companies to double between 2010-2011.”

Employment growth

Entrepreneur of the Year finalist data spans 26 regions across the US and can also be segmented into nine industry categories. Energy, cleantech and natural resources led the group in employment gains at 49 percent between 2009 and 2011; technology followed at 42 percent and services at 33 percent. Life sciences had the slowest employment growth.

Regional employment growth was led by entrepreneurial companies from the Southeast region, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, whose employee ranks jumped 71 percent over two years. Rounding out the top three were the Southwest, including Dallas, Texas and the surrounding area, which produced job growth of 42 percent, and the Northeast which turned in 35 percent employment growth.

A separate Ernst & Young global report issued in June that surveyed more than 400 award-winning entrepreneurs worldwide showed that the majority of positions these companies created were filled by experienced employees with university degrees.

Revenue growth

Revenue growth among Entrepreneur of the Year finalists was equally impressive. Sectors leading the group in revenue gains between 2009 and 2011 were energy, cleantech and natural resources at 87 percent, technology at 73 percent and retail and consumer products as well as distribution and manufacturing, both at 49 percent. Real estate, construction and lodging had the slowest revenue growth.

Regionally, East Central finalists, consisting of companies based in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C, Virginia and Maryland, turned in impressive numbers, with 63 percent revenue growth over the past two years.

Southeast, Midwest have healthy gains

Also putting up healthy gains were the finalists from the Southwest and Midwest, with revenue growth rates of 53 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

“For almost five years, the U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year awards winners have generated double-digit revenue and employment growth,” added Pearce. “Their global mindset and ability to innovate make them the success stories that will keep America competitive.”

Impact of access to capital

The Entrepreneur of the Year finalist data also showed significant differences in both employment and revenue growth for companies that acquired funding from private investors over their life-cycles versus those that did not receive outside investment.  In fact, companies that received private funding grew revenues at 178 percent and employment at 32% over the past two years.

“Companies’ challenges in accessing capital continue to drive a more intense focus on business fundamentals – as banks and other lenders are looking for long and unwavering histories of success when making their decisions,” said Herb Engert, Ernst & Young Americas Strategic Growth Markets Leader.

“These entrepreneurs have been able to provide evidence of solid year-over-year growth through the worst of the recent global recession. It is heartening to see such determination yield such tremendous success.”

Grab Media: if content is King, distribution is King Kong

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
King Kong

If content is king, distribution is King Kong.

By Allan Maurer

If content is King, then distribution of that content is King Kong, says Grab Media’s CEO Alvin Bowles.

Dulles, VA-based Grab Media, formerly Grab Networks, evolved from  from the merger of Anystream and Voxant in September of 2008.

Grab Media is a leading premium video distribution company. It connects premium video content from a wide collection of professional sources and brand-name advertisers to ideal viewers. Marketers rely on Grab Media to position their message in front of large-scale, engaged audiences, so they can focus on brand promotion.

The company is one of 60 innovative firms presenting to investors representing billions in capital at the Southeast Venture Conference today (Feb. 29) and tomorrow (March 1) at Tysons Corner, VA. Bowles says the company is interested in strategic relationships, not just raising growth capital. “We can go bigger,” he says.

The 32-employee company has an overall audience 350 million video views by 27 million uniques a month from 80 to 100 million short video streams and was cited as the second fastest growing online video firm by comScore last year.

The company gets video content from180 media firms such as Martha Stewart, Yahoo and Conde Nast. It uses only professionally produced short videos – no user created content.

Grab MediaIt provides 140,000 Web sites with a one-line of code video player to stream relevant content with advertising from movie firms, HBO, and other clients. “We stream the right content on the right site next to the right advertising,” Bowles says. It shares revenue from the advertising with the video producers and the publishers.

The whole concept is similar to TV syndication of shows, in which a station licenses content and sells advertising against it.

“The value proposition is about engagement, selling contextual relevance, behaviorial targeting and psychographic profiling,” Bowles says. Any ordinary content – sports, weather, news – is enhanced by video, he notes.

No squirrels on skates

He emphasizes that he’s not talking about “The squirrel on skates running across your living room” variety of user produced videos. “People will watch professionally produced video,” he says. “Whether they’re video-snacking or watching full-length shows.”

That’s why Google’s YouTube, Netflix, and others are launching original content channels.

It’s a huge market – estimated at $3 billion a year, with great growth potential, particularly in mobile. “Mobile is the only medium where there is more ad demand for quality content than there is supply.”

Only a few people are doing video the right way, Bowles says. What is the right way?

“Give people what they want, when they want it.”

Previously on the TechJournal:

Grab Networks wraps up $12M funding

Anystream merges with Voxant

Novak Biddle partner: more early stage capital, but later stages consolidating

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Sean Glass

Sean Glass

By Allan Maurer

Low interest rates don’t do much for a bank account, and that has had one good effect, says Sean Glass, partner with Novak Biddle Venture Partners. “There is more early stage capital around than ever because of the rate environment,” he says.

“When you have really low interest rates, people will take more risk with their portfolio. So there are a lot of angel investors who wouldn’t be in other times. More money available means more investors get a shot at it (creating a successful startup).”

That view contrasts somewhat with those of Jim Jaffe, president and CEO of the National Association of Seed and Venture Captialists (NASVF), who told us that the seed level funding of $100,000 to about $1.5 million can still be the “Valley of Death,” for many startups needing outside backing.

At SEVC this week

Both Glass and Jaffe are among the dozens of investors, entrepreneurs and 60 presenting companies participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 29-March 1).

Glass, who is also founder and CEO of Employ Insight, and a founder and executive board member of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, says that while more early stage capital may be available, the flipside is that “We’re seeing a consolidation of late Series A rounds to mezzanine money”(often the final large round before an IPO or other exit).

“So,” says Glass, “We’re seeing a lot of entrepreneurs get started, but it’s getting harder to land that next round. They have to show traction a bit faster.” That contrasts with several years ago when companies that got seeded were fairly sure of a next round, he adds.

Glass says that signs the economy is getting better may not be such great news for entrepreneurs. “You would think it would be good for them, but it’s bad, because all of a sudden investors have alternatives with equal returns and less risk. It will take money away from the process.”

Glass says other changes are at work in the venture-backed startup economy.

Americane Entrepreneurs building a company now, for instance, “Will probably have to compete with someone outside the U.S., not just from firms in Boston and Silicon Valley. They may see competition from London, Rio, Santiago, and maybe Beijing. That’s why Groupon had to start going international early on, making sure it could win those markets.”

Pinterest could have done without so much early press

That means getting attention early on may not be the best thing for some companies. “My friend, the founder and CEO of Pinterest (Ben Silbermann) says he wishes the press hand’t started writing about them for another 12 to 18 months,” because the competition comes out of the global arena so quickly. “That makes it harder to build a new Facebook or Twitter,” says Glass.

Glass also says that many tech entrepreneurs don’t understand that many businesses may have good but limited potential. “A lot of tech startups can build nice $10 million to $15 million businesses but will never hit the scale needed to impact a venture firm’s portfolio.”

Businesses that do interest venture firms, he notes, “Need a large amount of capital to produce lots of profits quickly.”

Glass says entrepreneurs who can find a niche and build a company in a way larger firms can’t because they’re not geared to doing new things are going to “Get paid, because those big companies have cash and they want to buy growth.”

So, he says, “There will be options for exits and expect to see a lot of merger and acquisition opportunities.”

Interviewed by phone while in the Florida Keys, Glass says he sees evidence of an improving economy there. “There are people on the streets, restaurants are full, and the marina is full of boats – and they’re big boats.”

Glass says he’s looking forward to attending the SEVC, one of, if not the largest Mid-Atlantic venture event, this week. ”



Motley Fool tech analyst: digital firms need new business models

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Motley FoolBy Allan Maurer

Entrepreneurs keep coming up with new technologies, new web sites, new ideas, but what they really should be thinking about is evolving some new business models, says Eric Bleeker, Motley Fool tech analyst who oversees the site’s editorial team.

Bleeker joins tech luminaries such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, OpenTable founder Chuck Templeton, National Venture Capital Association president Mark Heesen, National Seed and Venture Funds CEO Jim Jaffe, and NEA general partner Harry Weller, among many others participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA Wednesday and Thursday.

Right now, Bleeker says, “So many platforms are coming out that are dependent upon advertising. Yeah, they can get users, but what sort of platform lets you extract revenue from them?”

Zynga piggybacks on Facebook and other ironies

It’s ironic, he says, that game company Zynga can piggyback on a platform like Facebooks and monetize it at twice the rate Facebook does itself.

Similarly, the New York Times recently ran a piece on data mining that another news site picked up, put a more salacious headline on, and “Gets 50 times the pageviews,” says Bleeker.

The online music service Pandora, “is used on mobile 70 percent of the time, but only gets one percent of its revenue from mobile.” So new business models are necessary.

Bleeker believes quality journalism can still do well – pointing to “The Economist,” which is still managing to grow its subscriber base (and advertises widely online). Many local news venues may get squeezed out of the revenue streams if they don’t find new ways to make money, though, he suspects.

If it can’t command a premium, bye, bye

“If in the end, your product can’t command a premium, I’m sorry, but you’re going under.”

Quite a few companies are bridging that gap – along with many not doing it so well, he says. Companies with what appear to be successful models?

LinkedIn, he says has found a route: “Advertising is now a much smaller piece of their revenue than packaging business data,” he says.

OpenTable is another great example of an online firm that’s working, he suggests.

One problem he sees with many startups in the digital space – including mobile and hyper local, is that if they are ad dependent, the only exit solution they may have is to be acquired by the large tech firms sitting on billions in cash: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Apple, in fact, sits right at the top of the heap. “Apple is the big dog with the most money, but they don’t buy much,” Bleeker says. “They buy some intellectual property, but it’s not in their culture to bolt stuff on.”

That presents a difficulty if “The dominant player isn’t willing to buy.”

Apple, though, could be boxing itself in a bit with its emphasis on great design, the chunk of fees it takes for apps sold in its store, and its past DNA unless it finds ways to keep its customers. “They’re thinking about ways to lock folks in,” says Bleeker.

On the other hand, some estimates say that up to a mind-blowing third of global IT spending could be for computers (including tablets and Macs) in three years,” Bleeker says.

Sectors where Bleeker sees relatively unsung innovation is in networking and security, particularly from smaller firms. Catch what he has to say at SEVC later this week.


Four reasons to attend SEVC 2012

Friday, February 17th, 2012

UPDATED – Fewer than 40 seats are left for the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA. Here’s four reasons you may want to grab one of them.

  1. SevcLearn from top entrepreneurs like Netflix’s co-founder and OpenTable’s founderEntrepreneurs Marc Randolph,  co-founder and initial CEO of Netflix and Chuck Templeton, founder OpenTable, changed the concept of dinner and a movie.  Their companies transformed how people interact with the entertainment and dining industries.  Come share a drink and a meal with them and hear them speak about the strategies that led them to success and where they are investing their time and money for the next big thing.
  2. SevcTake in presentations by 60 companies driving regional growth and technology advancementWith a record number of presenting companies at SEVC, you have unparalleled access to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast’s brightest stars. See the list of presenting companies here.
  3. SevcLearn the latest strategies and industry trends discussed by noted subject matter expertsOver 40 leading industry insiders and venture capital professionals will provide lively discussion and debate on the latest trends for M&A, Fundraising Strategies, IPOs, Venture Capital, Valuations, Hot Investment Sectors, Global Growth and more.
  4. SevcNetworking, Networking, Networking… Did we say Networking?Whether it’s setting formal meetings with investors and executives through our attendee networking platform or making lasting connections through hours of  networking breaks, meals and receptions – SEVC is designed to help you connect with leading venture capitalists and investors from around the US, peers and leading entrepreneurs.

Hundreds of venture capitalists, private equity investors, entrepreneurs, senior technology executives and others from the innovation community will be networking in force at this year’s SEVC.

Register today to nab one of the remaining seats at the region’s premiere venture forum.

Connect with 60 high growth tech companies at the Southeast Venture Conference

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Sevc 2012Make connections with 60 showcase high growth technology companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic as they present to hundreds of executives from the region’s innovation, entrepreneurial and venture communities,  at the Southeast Venture Conference February 29th – March 1st at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

In addition to presenting companies and hours of executive networking – the conference will feature a speaker line up including Netflix co-founder and former CEO, Marc Randolphand includes dozens of leading venture capital investors from groups like Lightbank and NEA; industry insiders from organizations including Bloomberg, Motley Fool and theNational Venture Capital Association; and other successful entrepreneurs such asOpenTable founder, Chuck Templeton.

This year’s presenting company line-up includes:

Register today to guarantee your space at the region’s premiere venture forum!

Mobile is the new “normal” for federal employees

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Touch Screen PhonesMore than half of Federal employees use at least one mobile device at work, CDW-G found, and many are using personal devices to accomplish work-related tasks. Nearly all Federal employees who use a mobile device for work believe the device makes them more productive, and the majority say increased mobility will improve citizen service.“Mobility is the ‘new normal’ for Federal employees”

The report, based on a survey of 414 Federal employees and IT staff, examines current trends in mobility, how agency IT professionals are managing mobile devices, and the steps they are taking to secure Federal data.

Mobility is no longer just a nice-to-have capability, CDW-G found: Nearly all 203 Federal IT professionals (99 percent) said they have deployed mobile devices to their agency workforce. What’s more, 62 percent of those IT professionals said their agencies allow employees to use personal devices for work.

“Mobility is the ‘new normal’ for Federal employees,” said Bob Kirby, vice president of federal government for CDW-G. “Employees increasingly expect to be able to work anywhere and at any time. Agencies responded first by deploying mobile devices, and now they are enabling use of personal devices. And the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is likely to continue, following the Obama administration’s November 2011 executive order that asked agencies to limit the number of IT devices they issue to employees, including mobile devices, in order to reduce costs.”

Agencies are providing a good security baseline for mobile device use, with the majority establishing mobile data security policies (85 percent) and requiring data security training for mobile device users (84 percent). However, CDW-G found that there is room for agencies to improve security measures in order to protect sensitive data. For example, while 82 percent of IT professionals said their agency deployed encryption for mobile devices, far fewer said their agency protects mobile devices with multi-factor authentication (54 percent), remote lock and wipe (45 percent), and data loss prevention software (39 percent).

“Federal employees – just like those in other industries – access a wide variety of data in the course of their jobs, from financial information to employee and taxpayer records to email and social networking accounts,” Kirby said. “Employees understand the need to keep private information just that – private. But as cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, they need a full suite of security tools to help them.”

Mobile device management (MDM) – over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices – can help agencies deploy and manage security tools across the mobile workforce, while reducing IT management costs. While 71 percent of Federal IT professionals say they include MDM in their security efforts, CDW-G found that most are not deploying a full suite of security tools to agency and personal devices via MDM, revealing an opportunity to improve agencies’ security posture.

CDW-G recommends that agencies:

  • Evaluate and/or establish a BYOD policy
  • Assess their MDM needs
  • Audit their MDM tools to ensure they support the agency’s security goals
  • Incorporate the personal devices employees use for work into the agency’s MDM strategy

The CDW-G Federal Mobility Report surveyed 203 Federal IT staff and 211 Federal employees. The margin of error for the total sample is ± 4.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

For a copy of the complete CDW-G Federal Mobility Report, please visit

Preparis helps firms meet 21st century’s complex threats

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Armistead Whitney

Armistead Whitney, CEO, Preparis, one of 60 firms presenting at the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference.

By Allan Maurer

When jets plowed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, Armistead Whitney, now CEO and founder of Preparis, was president of a New York City-based media firm.

Along with many other company executives based in the city on that fateful day, Whitney was faced with questions about how he and his 200 employees should react to the terrorist attacks.

“I was immediately faced with some critical issues,” he says. “What should I do to ensure my employees will be safe? How will my operations, revenue, shareholder value, and brand reputation make it through? I simply had no clue.”

He and his staff made it out of the city safely, but Whitney writes that he made it his mission to find out what he would do differently if faced with such a situation again. He met with leaders form emergency preparedness and response organizations, then with CEOs of companies of various sizes. Whitney wrote about how it all on the Preparis website.

Guidance on what to do

After considerable research, he started the Atlanta-based company Preparis Inc., a startup selling an SaaS-based platform that delivers expert information, response protocols, communications and training to help businesses meet unpredictable threats from terrorism, pandemics, and natural disasters.

Preparis is one of 60 innovative showcase firms that will present business plans to venture capitalists and angel investors representing billions in capital at the 6th Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29-March 1.

Companies face 21st century threats

In today’s world, terrorist attacks are only one threat among many that can disrupt global businesses, Whitney tells us. “Threats of the 21st century have become more complex, especially as companies outsource more. They have operations globally, in third world countries, and clients in places impacted by local troubles.”

Nowadays, then, a business has to face pandemics, cyber terrorism, nuclear meltdowns, natural disasters from hurricanes and floods to earthquakes and wild fires. Floods in Asia can hamper production of electronics parts made there from hard drives to tablets.

Yet, Whitney points out, the only preparations for meeting such disasterous business interruptions is “A plan that sits on s shelf. It can be challenging for that to be effective.”

While most larger Fortune 1000 firms do have plans in place – policies, procedures and teams, they want tech to automate it all, Whitney notes.

They need a way to automate plans

“They need a way for tech to automate it, bring it all together so that it can be accessed from any place on any device, how to protect the workforce from threats, response instructions if you receive a bomb threat, an anthrax letter.”

Technology can take those stale plans on a shelf and make living breathing programs, he says.

Downstream at smaller organizations such as a law firm, “We become their entire ecosystem with everything they need, even an emergency notification system (such as Virginia Tech installed following deadly shootings on its campus).

The Preparis system knows who do what with the product at each level and everyone from the CEO to employees can use it.

“We’ve sold to about every industry, Fortune 1000 companies, banks, attorneys. Every industry at every size has an appetite for it,” says Whitney.

In the past, most such disaster preparedness was done through consultants Preparis does it through its SaaS product that a company can download from the web and being using immediately. “We’re creating a new category,” Whitney says.

Dealing with cyber threats

Looking ahead, the company is getting into how to deal with cyber threat issues. “As new threats evolve – the pandemic fears of a few years ago for instance – we quickly add guidance for our clients.”

In the recent “Trifecta” of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan, for instance, the Japanese government was telling its citizens it was ok to eat the food grown in Japan. But the Preparis product told its clients, “No, it is not ok to eat the food from Japan at this time.” Later tests showed that much food was contaminated with radioactivity.

“We also had a lot of our clients use the emergency messaging system when trying to find their employees.”

It must be doing something right. It has a 100 percent client renewal rate. How many software firms can say that?

The 20 employee company has raised $5 million in Series A funding. Whitney says the company is looking at a B round for growth.

“We signed a strategic alliance with Wells Fargo, which is bundling it with their products for their insurance customers. It’s a huge opportunity. Its the fourth largest insurance broker. We don’t need money for the product, but we need to hire more people to facilitate meeting increased demand for the product. That’s the main reason we would raise a B round.”

The company’s growth plan also includes mobile and social integration. Already clients can log in to the product with Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn names and passwords.


Netflix streams higher revenues, sees subscriber growth

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Netflix heartDespite the brouhaha last year over Netflix splitting its streaming and DVD rental services, effectively doubling the cost of having both, the company posted better than expected Q4 results this week.

Netflix needed the boost. It saw its stock price slide 60 percent after the price hike and a failed attempt to split itself into two companies last year.

But Netflix earned revenue of $876 million in Q4, compared with $596 million in the same period the year before, although net earnings actually dropped to $41 million or 73 cents a share compared with $47 million and 87 cents a share a year ago.

Despite a loss of 800,000 subscribers in Q3, the company saw Q4 subscriber numbers rise to 24.4 million, up from 23.7 million last year.

The company faces competition from Amazon, Hulu, and other streaming video sources.

We find Netflix particularly useful to watch those novelistic TV series, especially when they’re available to stream. We caught Downton Abbey, Spartacus, and a bevy of older BBC productions that way.

You can hear Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix, at the upcoming Southeastern Venture Conference, Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29-March 1.

Early registration discount for Southeast Venture Conference ends Friday

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Speakers headed to the 6th Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29=March 1

Early, discounted regsitrations  for the Southeast Venture Conference at Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29-March 1 end Friday, Jan. 20. This year the SEVC features Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix, Chuck Templeton, founder of OpenTable, Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association,  top venture capital firms and innovative tech startups.

Randolph is a leading Silicon Valley investor in addition to being co-founder and former CEO of Netflix. Randolph and Templeton are just two of the hundreds of leading venture investors and entrepreneurs headed to this year’s event.

VCS representing $50B in capital attending

Venture capital firms at the event represent $50 billion in investment money.

The 6th Annual Southeast Venture Conference also features presentations from more than 60 of the hottest Southeast and Mid-Atlantic high growth tech companies. Companies that presented at the 2011 SEVC had average revenues of $6 million.

Also on the agenda: Paul Lee, partner, Lightbank, Marshall Brain, founder of, Jalak Jobanputra, venture investor, New Venture Partners, Harry Weller, general partner, NEA, Sean Marsh, co-founder, Point Judith Capital, Robert Peterman, Toronto Stock Exchange, and Roland Reynolds, managing director, Industry Ventures.

New this year

New this year is a pre-event networking platform, which will allow attendees to connect ahead of the event, increasing the opportunities to make it even more productive.

The Southeast Venture Conference is the premiere venture forum in the region and has sold out every year. Register here.


Social media and mobile driving increased value from business events

Friday, January 6th, 2012

TechMedia's 2011 Internet Summit event kept people connected via LinkedIn, Twitter and the TechJournal. Our next event is the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Feb. 29-March1.

Social media and mobile are rapidly changing business events, says Certain Inc., which sells cloud-based event management software.

We’ve certainly noticed the added-value that both mobile and social media bring to TechMedia’s digital conferences and other events.

Just following the Twitter stream at events often provides top take-away information and insights, while LinkedIn keeps attendees connected before and after the conferences.

Based on insight from visionary industry leaders, customers and partners, Certain has identified key shifts that it believes will shape the industry over the next 12 months.

“2012 will kick off a breakthrough for the industry that will revolutionize the value that attendees, meeting professionals and executive sponsors derive from events,” said Peter Micciche, CEO of Certain.

A tsunami of connectedness

“A tsunami of connectedness, driven by social, mobile and virtual, will ultimately enable the attendee engagement experience. FacebookLinkedIn and Twitterare mainstream, making integrated event marketing the new normal for event professionals.

“This integration of digital solutions with event planning software will result in 2012 as the ‘year of the platform.’ Software-as-a-Service solutions are now seamlessly woven together into a comprehensive ecosystem architecture designed to meet, track and measure planner, marketer, sponsor and attendee needs.”

Certain’s top three predictions for 2012 are:

1. Traditional event planning will be massively disrupted by the widespread adoption of social media and mobile.
Social media and mobile will become core components of events — with or without the sanction of the organizers. This will create new and exciting opportunities for agile organizations that can adopt these technologies to create high-performance event interactions that lead to increased revenues and market share.

The industry will evolve quickly from simple and personal experience usage of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to the more strategic ability to support “continuing the conversations” post-event and year round. Because of the increase in popularity of social media and mobile devices, planners will need to focus on harnessing the attention of attendees by finding ways to leverage thesemarketing tools.

Social media disrupting tradtional speaker formats

Social media will also disrupt the traditional format of speaker presentations. Instead of pushing information and talking “at” participants, speakers will find new methods of creating conversations with and amongst attendees long before the live session begins, and facilitating and supporting two-way, real-time interaction and evaluation after the event closes.

In 2012, speakers and planners who do not embrace social media as a means to fully engage and support all participants risk the potential of attendees dominating the buzz around their events, and miss an excellent opportunity to gain real-time feedback and to deepen their understanding of participant needs.

2. 2012 will be the “year of the platform”
Single use mobile and virtual applications are short-lived. Over the next year, leading enterprise software vendors will introduce new platform-as-a-service offerings.

Event planners will discover that in order to meet industry demands, technology must be integrated into a holistic, consolidated approach that is best expressed through a single event management platform covering logistics and digital solutions for all aspects of the event ecosystem. This framework best suits the growing demands for all event participants via a one-stop digital shop from which they can access event details and engage and connect with other participants via social media, mobile, and virtual.

Single purpose mobile and virtual applications will get acquired or become obsolete as leading vendors raise the bar for platform application integration. The industry will witness a natural evolution of products and only those companies that best adapt to the advancing technology landscape will emerge as the fittest.

3. All roads lead to 1:1 business activity
1:1 meetings will become the norm for events and tradeshows. The year 2012 will overwhelmingly point to the importance of productivity derived from facilitating one-to-one, quality relationships at events. Attendees will increasingly leverage technology to network and build business relationships, maximizing the Return on Investment (ROI) from the eventsthey attend.

Opportunities for networking and relationship building will become key determinants in the value of a particular event, and mobile technology will play an integral part in fostering those connections. Event organizers can best meet the demand for rich 1:1 participant experiences by providing strategic, matched appointments and a platform for communication between attendees before, during and after events.

Next-generation appointment matching solutions, tightly integrated with SaaS event planning and CRM platforms, will leverage social media capabilities and mobile to connect individuals based on their interests resulting in the optimal value from face-to-face meetings.

For more information about and opinions from Certain, visit the Certain Blog at: