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Durham-based InrFood: you are what you eat

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

 

 

By Allan Maurer

 

Several years ago, watching his weight, like the rest of us, Keval Meta, founder and CEO of Inrfood.com, was drinking a diet soda. “That’s not really very healthy for you,” a friend told him.Inrfood logo

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Zero calories and carbs, what could be wrong?”

“Read the ingredients,” his friend said. He did. The results disturbed him, because there was a wide range of controversial information about the ingredients in that cola, from the sweetener Aspartame to food coloring.

Although he completed medical school, Meta never practiced. The entrepreneurial bug caught him instead and at 33, he’s already launched and sold two companies. Inrfood, is his third, which he founded in 2011 in Durham. He took a hiatus after medical school to work with clinics in Africa, and to work in research when he returned to the states.

Technology the only answer

But he grew increasingly interested in how technology was the only answer to solving the nation’s serious healthcare problems. “I saw that problem getting bigger and technology is the only answer.”

So he founded Inrfood.com. Originally headquartered at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, the company has since gone virtual and has offices in Austin, TX, and Boston, MA.

bananaStill, Meta calls it “A community company,” because of its ties to scientists, nutritionists and others at Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other regional connections. “We’re heavily embedded with Duke, NC State, UNCC, local farmers.”

Inrfood currently offers smartphone apps that tell users what’s in what they eat, and that’s important because “You are what you eat,” Meta says.

“We believe that when you think of the word nutrition, it’s about more than food,” he adds.

Foods today more chemistry than biology

A lot of foods today, he says, “Are more chemistry than biology. You almost need a Ph.D to pronounce the names of the additives. Many of those are banned in multiple countries around the world, event though they’re approved in the U.S, labeled as “Generally Regarded as Safe,” when they may be carcinogens.

When it comes to weight – the factor that spurred the creation of the company – he says, “You need to look at more than calories. You need to look at the ingredients and what they mean to you.”

Right now, he says, the company is geared toward helping people with a variety of chronic conditions create a healthy diet. Based on a users height, weight, sex, and other factors, it can tell you what you need…and what you don’t, based on Institute of Medicine guidelines.

It can yield some surprises. For instance, the average 35-year-old male should get about 1500 milligrams of sodium daily, but instead, most get about 3500. “That’s one reason for the problems we have with high blood pressure and heart disease,” he notes.

The app learns what a user consumes over time and will advise on what may be lacking in a diet and how to get needed nutrients. “Everyone is different,” he says. “A peanut can affect one person profoundly, but not affect a million other people.”

Uses Huge database

cookiesThe company’s database already has ingredients of 450,000 bar-coded products, 50,000 products from top national restaurants, and hundreds of products without bar-codes such as the basic ingredients of tuna casserole and chocolate chip cookies.

The two-employee company, which also uses freelancers and part-timers, bootstrapped up to now – meaning self-funded – will probably look for funding from investors in the spring to initiate projects beyond the scope of its current operations. “We see opportunities more capital intensive than our current projects,” says Meta.

Meta previously founded two other healthcare focused companies – one that provided first aid (GoToAid) and disaster recovery information and alerts and another that provided information on pet first aid (Petsaver), each of which sold to two of the largest healthcare organizations for people and for pets.

Goal? Empowering you

“Our goal, overall,” Meta says, “Is that we want you to be empowered. We don’t tell you not to eat anything. Consumers have the power to decide what to buy and vote with their dollars. We’re trying to help people buy healthier products. That’s our core mission. To let people know what’s in their food and be wiser about what they’re consuming.”

Located in Durham’s American Underground facility for startups until April, the company also completed a stint with the Boston, Mass, Challenge, which selects about 120 startups from 2,000 applications for an incubator session. It won an innovation award from Blue Cross Blue Shield in October, and was among the top 25 healthcare innovations at CES in Los Vegas. It also won an award from the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

In June, it won a $50,000 grant from NC IDEA. It also won the startup pitch contest at the recent Internet Summit in Raleigh, an annual event bringing 2,000 attendees and speakers from top brands including Google, Bing, Twitter, Adobe, and many others to the Research Triangle in November.

The company actually had a demo table at the Internet Summit two years ago and Meta says before coming, he bought some McDonald’s French Fries to show their ingredients. “We’ve had those fries ever since and they didn’t turn black or green or anything. It’s plastisized food.”

Presenting at the Southeast Venture Conference in May

sevc 2014 logoThe company will also be pitching its wares to investors at the upcoming TechMedia 2014 event, the Southeast Venture Conference coming up May 6-7, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta.

SEVC plays host to the most dynamic high-growth companies in the Southeast alongside billions of dollars represented in investment capital from around the country – May 6-7, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta.

The conference features and highlights the region’s all-star tech companies ranging from startups to late stage from a range of industries. In order to receive an invitation, the over 50 featured presenting companies have demonstrated proven success metrics – ranging from strong proven revenue and market traction for later stage companies to initial investor and organization miles for mid-range companies to proven management or other 3rd party validation (winners from other regional investment forums, etc) for earlier stage companies.

 

American Underground launching @Raleigh startup hub

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, NC

The NC Research Triangle entrepreneurial ecosystem has been growing by leaps and bounds lately. On the heels of opening a new startup hub in downtown Durham, The American Underground, a network of startup hubs, will open a new location this fall at 213 Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Startups help spark the innovation that creates new markets and new jobs; the American Underground helps startups connect with the resources they need to succeed.

@Raleigh will feature up to 25+ companies as well as Bandwidth Labs, the incubator arm of Bandwidth, the world-leading Raleigh-based innovator that recently shook up the smartphone market with the introduction of Republic Wireless.

@Raleigh will also feature a ‘regional coworking desk,’ allowing startups in the Underground to work in any Underground location. This means a startup based in Raleigh can easily take meetings in the two Durham-based Undergrounds, plop down in the Durham coworking space, and not miss a beat — and visa versa.

Nor will startups miss out on social time, a not-to-be-dismissed lubricant of success. @Raleigh is situated directly above popular watering hole, Foundation. Networking and learning events, as seen in Durham and other national hot spots, will be a staple of the new hub.

Density Key to Success

Density, experts say, is key to a successful entrepreneurial economy. A critical mass of startups, funders etc. allows for productive interaction and increases the odds of success.

The new @Raleigh site will strengthen a Triangle-wide ecosystem that the original Underground — located at Durham’s American Tobacco Campus — helped to kick-off in 2010. There are now 100+ startups in Durham, more than half of them working in the collaborative, inter-connected spaces at American Underground hubs at the campus and at its just-opened downtown Durham site.

“The Triangle as a whole is now alive to the idea that we can be an international hub of the kind of innovation that leads to new companies and jobs,” says Underground Chief Strategist Adam Klein. “We have the universities, we have the talented, dedicated visionaries.  @Raleigh represents an opportunity for us to better link our regional assets and make it possible for startups to work across the Triangle easily and seamlessly. We look forward to collaborating with others who share this vision for regional success.”

Adds Bandwidth CEO David Morken: “Bandwidth’s incredible growth over the last several years is due to hard work and relentless innovation, items we expect will be hallmarks of the American Underground@Raleigh. Locating Bandwidth Labs in the Underground allows us both to help build our community and to continually expose some of our brightest minds to new and challenging ideas.”

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, said, “I am thrilled to welcome The American Underground@Raleigh to our bustling downtown and vibrant entrepreneurial eco-system.  The Underground’s regional approach combined with the international scope of Bandwidth Labs makes the project a perfect fit for North Carolina’s capital city. The more connectivity we achieve between entrepreneurs, investors, universities and major corporations, the more our startup eco-system will grow and thrive.”

Jean Pauwels, owner of the building since 2006, has previously partnered with Foundation and a theater group. He carefully vetted his next project. “A big part of my decision to work with the American Underground is my desire to collaborate with people who think outside the box. The Underground team truly wants to put together something special. It will be a great addition to downtown Raleigh.

Paul Singh, venture partner in the international 500 Startups has observed, “I’ve rarely seen an entrepreneurial ecosystem as thoughtfully developed or successfully executed as the American Underground.”

Durham-based ArchiveSocial selected for Code for America Accelerator program

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Anil Chawla

Anil Chawla, founder, CEO, Archive Social..

Durham-based ArchiveSocial has been selected out of 190 national applicants to join the Code for America Accelerator, an exclusive four-month program focused on startups disrupting the state of technology in the public sector.

ArchiveSocial CEO Anil Chawla tells the TechJournal, “We receive an equity-free $25,000 grant, get to spend a week in their San Francisco headquarters each month for four months (Aug – Nov), and receive mentoring from high-caliber folks like Tim O’Reilly and Aneesh Chopra. O’Reilly is credited with coining the term Web 2.0 and Chopra is the former White House Chief Technology Officer.

Impact government for the greater good

ArchiveSocial was founded in 2011 to provide business-grade record keeping of social media for a variety of industries, but quickly realized that there was a special opportunity to impact government for the greater good.

An example of ArchiveSocial’s commitment to disrupting the state of technology in government, the startup pioneered a first-of-its-kind interactive “Open Archive” of social media available for any citizen to access. The states of North Carolina and South Carolina were the first to launch Open Archives with the company, with other major cities and counties following suit.

Although the company will temporarily work from San Francisco for the four months of the program, it says it remains “dedicated to its roots in Durham.”

ArchiveSocial has participated in several local initiatives including Startup Stampede, Triangle Startup Factory, and NC IDEA. The company was also the first tenant of the highly-touted American Underground @Main campus in Durham, which is now home to more than 40 local startups.

“The local startup community has opened more doors for us than I can count, and I can directly credit our involvement here in the Triangle with creating this opportunity for us. We now hope to play our small part in building the bridge between Silicon Valley and the incredible talent, technology, and unique perspective that the Triangle community has to offer,” Chawla said in a statement.

ArchiveSocial enables public entities to safely and effectively utilize social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. ArchiveSocial is the industry’s first archiving technology providing 100% authentic capture of social media for compliance with state and federal records laws such as FOIA. It provides a legal safety net, and eliminates the time and effort required to respond to public records requests.

Chawla participated in TechMedia’s Startup Summit, part of the Internet Summit in Raleigh in November last year. The Startup Summit will again be part of this year’s event.

Underground at Main opening in Durham harks back to Internet boom years

Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Underground@Main, the downtown Durham extension of the Bull City’s expanding tech hub opened officially last night with a party that reminded us of the heady Internet boom days at the start of the century

201 West Main, a former bank building, is home to 40 startups in downtown Durham, NC. Photo by Renee Wright.

201 West Main, a former bank building, is home to 40 startups in downtown Durham, NC. Photo by Renee Wright.

The party showed off the site’s colorful and playful corners as well as its office and meeting room amentiies – such as a recreation room in a former bank vault.

The Vault rec room includes several flatscreen TVs, a virtual fireplace, comfortable arm chairs and sofas, and safety from nuclear attack.

The facility also includes Mayor McCheese, who has a loudspeaker in his generously-sized mouth, for issuing announcements, a 50-foot slide, a treehouse lounge, and old video arcade games, such as Pacman (but the controller isn’t very responsive and leads to being eaten by Pac creatures every time.)

One of the reasons startups love downtown hubs is that so many amenities are available within walking distance. Many restaurants located within a couple of blocks of 201 W. Main provided tasty treats for the evening, including the fine French restaurant Rue Cler, Toast, Beyu Caffe, Mateo Tapas, Taberna Tapas, The Parlour,  and The Cupcake Bar. Local breweries such as Railhouse Brewery supplied craft beers, while pro pourers from Bartending Unlimited mixed signature cocktails designed for the event.

The crowd circled the offices of the 40 startups already at home there, the downstairs area called the co-working Bull Pen, and other areas.

We’ll show another set of photos of the office amenities at the site in another post.

Here are some of our photos of the event (all by Renee Wright).

Mayor McCheese, who issues announcements through a loudspeaker in his mouth.

Mayor McCheese, who issues announcements through a loudspeaker in his mouth.

How's this for a startup amenity? A 50-foot slide.

How’s this for a startup amenity? A 50-foot slide.

alslide


Called The Pipeline, it provides a quick trip between floors.

 

The vault rec room.

The vault rec room. First to crack the vault’s code receives 6 months free rent.

 

IMG_3454

The cupcake bar.

Inside the vault rec room, where you'll be safe from nuclear attack and just about anything else.

Inside the vault rec room, where you’ll be safe from nuclear attack and just about anything else.

 

 

New angel fund closes on $5.1M for Southeast healthcare tech investments

Monday, July 15th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Excelerate Health Ventures says it will put together the pieces of healthcare tech investments in an innovative new way.

Excelerate Health Ventures says it will put together the pieces of healthcare tech investments in an innovative new way.

Angel investors are often successful entrepreneurs looking for ways to put the capital they earned from building their own business into other startups with high growth potential. A new angel fund in the Research Triangle Park, NC, Excelerate Health Ventures, not only includes experienced entrepreneurs, but also a network of doctors, dentists, and healthcare executives.

In a press release, the fund, which has secured commitments of $5.1 million for its first closting of the Physician Fund, says it plans to invest in “capital efficient start-ups that can scale rapidly in the healthcare industry,” particularly in software and medical technology.

EHV says it will leverage the domain experience and contacts of their network of providers, payers, and strategic partners to select, validate, mentor and grow their portfolio companies.

A unique opportunity

“EHV has created a unique opportunity for physicians like myself, who are committed to this marketplace, enabling us to collectively bring new technologies to market and to improve the care of our patients,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, M.D. MBA, Associate Dean of UNC Healthcare Entrepreneurship and Chief of Cardiology at UNC Chapel Hill and advisor to the fund.

“The goal is to use the interdisciplinary knowledge and experience of the extended team to identify and create highly valued relevant healthcare companies in a shortened timeframe, while maximizing return for everyone involved.”

Excelerate Health Ventures’ founders, Gary Abrahams and Bobby Bahram, bring unique experience – both have been operational entrepreneurs and angel investors that have led and exited companies in the healthcare industry.

EHV says it will typically invest in early stage companies raising a seed or second round financing. It will focus on the Southeast and NC.

 

Top ten cities for new college grads named

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

College graduates from across the country have more in common than that shiny new diploma and the class of ’13 distinction. No matter where they received their degree, they all face the same life-changing decision: where to work and where to live.

 While the national unemployment rate is moving down, competition for jobs is still stiff, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics citing 11.7 million unemployed persons (April 2013) and a mere 3.8 million available jobs (March 2013).

With apartment rents increasing each year and the continuing challenges of a slower economy, it is becoming more important for recent grads to explore the possibility of starting their professional lives in a city that offers the best overall opportunity for employment, career success, living affordability and an energetic, youthful culture.

Making the decision easier

For the sixth year, Apartments.com has complied the “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” to help make this big decision a little easier.

“When starting the search process, it can be tempting to focus on just the biggest cities,” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager for Apartments.com. “In fact, many other ‘best of’ lists tend to be heavily weighted toward the country’s largest markets, which obviously offer a lot of career opportunities.

However, it is important to carefully consider all aspects that a city, even a smaller market, has to offer before deciding where to settle down.”

Personally, we’d look at how these cities and the states they are in treat the “creative class,” and their support for education, and recreation, as well, for instance.

Kotula added that the first step should be to identify cities that offer affordability alongside professional opportunity. Hand-in-hand with this qualification is to try and determine if the city’s demographics line up with those of a recent college graduate.

“If you are single and in your early to mid-20s, chances are the lifestyle in a city with a similar demographic profile will be more appealing than it would if you were striking out on your own in a market that is heavily skewed toward married households with a higher median population age,” continues Kotula.

The sixth annual Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list is a resource designed to help identify the best places in the country for new graduates to begin this chapter of their lives, taking into account employment opportunities, salary, rent for a one bedroom apartment and the city’s median age and percentage of male and female only households, as an indicator of the youthful singles’ scene.

The Apartments.com 2013 “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list, along with the average rent for a one bedroom apartment, includes: 

Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Apartment
1.        Phoenix, AZ $ 708
2.        Orlando, FL $ 857
3.        San Antonio, TX $ 794
4.        Columbus, OH $ 634
5.        Austin, TX $ 1,006
6.        Raleigh, NC $ 788
7.        Oklahoma City, OK $ 722
8.        Fort Worth, TX $ 795
9.        Dallas, TX $ 983
10.     Minneapolis, MN $ 1,177

The Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list distinguishes itself from other “best of” lists through its comprehensive view of what qualifies a city to be considered.

“Over the past six years that Apartments.com has been culling this list, we have adapted to economic changes and have adjusted our methodology accordingly,” states Dick Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Apartments.com. “This way we are evaluating what is most meaningful to recent graduates in the context of the bigger picture in unemployment, affordability and other key factors.”

Affordability, unemployment considered

This year’s list took into account affordability vs. just median income, which gave advantage to cities where the average rent for a one bedroom apartment falls within the recommended 25% of gross median income. In addition, unemployment was a major factor in determining this sixth annual list. Cities with unemployment above 7% were eliminated.

Burke adds, “We believe that a low unemployment rate contributes to a vibrant community with more job opportunity across the board, which is good not only for entry level positions, but also as an indicator of potential as a person moves through his or her career.”

In addition, this year’s list takes into account demographics. Added weight was given to cities with the highest percentage of population between 25-29 years of age and men-and-women-only households, as an indicator of the youthfulness and singles scene in each market.

In addition, cities with significantly low or high median age for population were eliminated. Kotula comments, “This helped steer our list away from all college towns, which is reflected by a low median population age, as well as cities that skew more middle to retirement age population-wise.”

Automated Insights now offers plain English web analytics

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Automated InsightsIf you’ve ever spent hours digging through Google Analytics trying to find the stats that are meaningful to you, you’ll appreciate the new offering from Durham, NC-based Automated Insights called SiteAi.

The first-of-its-kind service helps website owners find the hidden insights buried in web analytics by providing daily and plain English actionable reports in email.

It’s the latest use of the Automated Insights sophisticated AI engine, which sifts through large data sets looking for patterns and trends. Previously the company sold Yahoo a product that automatically produces recaps of Fantasy Football games, cranking out 500-1,000 word articles for millions of players at the rate of more than 1,000 per second.

Automated Insights started life as the StatSheet network in 2007, a very popular college basketball stats site, and soon expanded coverage to MLB, NFL, NBA, and college football. It was founded by CEO Robbie Allen.

Expanding off its first base

Using no human writers whatsoever, it published tens of thousands of articles for over 400 team-based web sites, over 450 team-based mobile apps, and thousands of Facebook and twitter feeds. The websites and apps are data and visual rich, with articles, charts, lists, and feeds.

AI’s Joe Procopio tells us, “When we became Automated Insights, our goal was to expand off our sports base.” The company’s mantra is to automate everything. “We’re still working on automating our ping pong games,” Procopio quipped in an earlier interview.

The goal of the new product, he says, “Is to help website owners maximize whatever their goals may be, not just report the statistics. But it does save you from needing to click through all those charts on Google Analytics.”

Viral pricing

Joe Procopio at a TechMedia event. If you're in the Research Triangle and involved in startups, you've probably run into him. He gets around.

Joe Procopio at a TechMedia event. If you’re in the Research Triangle and involved in startups, you’ve probably run into him. He gets around.

The company is “Eating its own dogfood,” says Procopio. “We have hundreds of websites and its a huge time-saver for us, helping us maximize impact from how and where we run our ads.”

The company is also using something Procopio calls “viral pricing.” He explains, “The product is free for 60 days, then we start charging a fee based on the number of people we’ve signed up.” The fee will range from $4 to $10 a month, he says.

Just a start

“The more people who sign up, the less the price will be, so it encourages users to tell others about it.”

Analytics is a sweet spot for the company, Procopio adds. “There is so much data and much of it is difficult to access. We automate reports and do it quickly.”

The new product, though is just “a first shot,” at product development outside the sports arena. “We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with AI,” Procopio says.

Grotech raises new $225M fund for early stage tech

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Grotech VenturesVienna, VA-based Grotech Ventures, which invests in early stage tech firms, has raised a new $225 million fund. The fund was oversubscribed by more than 10 percent, and was raised from both existing and new investors. GV II bringsGrotech’s total capital under management to $1.3B across all funds.

Frank Adams, the firm’s managing general partner, told PE Hub that raising the fund took 20 months because institutional investors were “slow and methodical in their due diligence process, more so than in the 29 years we’ve been doing this.”

Grotech Partner Don Rainey tells the TechJournal that the company is investing in Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West early stage IT firms in Enterprise and infrastructure software, social and cloud computing, security tech, consumer Internet, ecommerce, and energy and healthcare It.

Includes Charlotte, Atlanta, RTP

For Grotech, Mid-Atlantic includes the Carolinas and Atlanta, Rainey notes. Adams told PE Hub the company is spending a good deal of time in Atlanta and Charlotte, NC, for instance, developing deep relationships.

Rainey says that while parts of the social sector are crowded and the opportunity has passed, “There is still a lot of greenfield in it.”

Grotech typically invests the first institutional money a startup raises and continues to invest as the firm grows. Its strategy includes forming top-tier industry syndicates with other investors. It generally invests from $200,000 to $20 million in startups, although initial investments tend to be smaller.

Grotech, which has offices in Virginia, Maryland and Colorado, has already made 12 investmetns from the new fund and continues to invest from its current fund, which has performed well.

We asked Rainey if its harder for tech startups to get that first investment these days.

Don Rainey

Don Rainey

“For top tier entrepreneurs its about the same,” he says. “For the next tier that isn’t as obvious as a backable startup, it’s tougher. If you’re the guy or gal who sold your last company for $500 million and you’re doing another raise for a new company, you can expect the processs to be about the same as it was two, five, or ten years ago.”

Successful exits

It recently secured a major exit with NexGen Storage, which Fusion-lo Inc. acquired in April for about $119 million in cash and stock.

It’s largest exit so far was from the DC-based daily deals site LivingSocial. It led the company’s $5 million Series A round and has since sold chunks of its stake to Amazon, Lightspeed Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price and other buyers for more than $200 million.

Overall, Grotech’s last $109 million fund, which closed in 2009, has a current IRR of 70 percent. — Allan Maurer

Best and worst states for business ranked

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

TexasFor the ninth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the #1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States Survey, released today. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana also made the top five.

The results may alleviate some fears in North Carolina, where other such evaluations have not placed the state as high as in previous years.

The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

It’s interesting that states with powerhouse venture capital sources and nation-leading business sectors such as California, Massachusetts, and New York top the list of worst states for business in these polls time after time. Makes you wonder just what these business-friendly state rankings really mean.

Best 5 States for Business Rank 2013
Texas 1st
Florida 2nd
North Carolina 3rd
Tennessee 4th
Indiana 5th

 

Worst 5 States for Business Rank 2013
California 50th
New York 49th
Illinois 48th
Massachusetts 47th
New Jersey 46th

 

The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiments of CEOs on a range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.  For the 2013 survey, 736 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states between Jan. 16 and Feb. 14, 2013.

Ohio was the biggest gainer in this year’s survey, rising 13 spots from #35 to #22. “Ohio is doing some amazing things to attract and support a pro-business environment,” said Don Taylor , CEO of Fairlawn, Ohio-based Welty Building Company. The biggest loser was Delaware, which dropped 13 spots to #27.

California hostile to business?

CEOs say California’s poor ranking is the result of a perceived hostility to business, high state taxes and onerous regulations, all of which drive investment, companies and jobs to other states. According to the California Manufacturers & Technology Association,California accounts for 12.6% of total U.S. GDP, but only has a 2.2% share of investments in new and expanding manufacturing sites.

“When you investigate acquiring businesses in some of the states rated poorly for business conditions, the anecdotes all wind up being true,” said Kevin Hawkesworth , President & CEO of Florida-based Shaw Development. “The horror stories about these states are real.”

“California, Illinois and New York are simply awful states to operate facilities or employ people,” according to another CEO. “We will do almost anything possible to minimize our exposure to these anti-business environments.”

Piles of regulations a problem

“Thank you, California!” responded one Texas-based CEO facetiously. “Keep applying pressure on your job creators and we will keep welcoming their moves to Texas.”

A common theme among CEOs is the burden of constantly changing regulations. “Business is too hard without dealing with piles of regulations that are constantly changing,” said Rick Waechter , CEO of Boston Magazine. “I believe there have to be controls, but keep them simple and straightforward—and most importantly, don’t make it a moving target.”

“CEOs continue to tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas Governor Rick Perry , by contrast, personally makes it his mission to lead corporate recruitment and economic development efforts in his state,” saidJ.P. Donlon , Editor-in-Chief of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net.

Playbook for success

“The playbook for successful states boils down to three simple moves: engage in real dialogue with business leaders, adapt policies to create an attractive environment, and effectively communicate your story to real job creators,” said Marshall Cooper , CEO of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. “This year’s rankings prove that smart policies result in increased investments, jobs and greater overall economic activity.”

2013 Biggest Gainers Positions Gained
Ohio +13
Minnesota +6
Alabama +5
Arizona +4
Kansas +4
2013 Biggest Losers Positions Lost
Delaware -13
Mississippi -8
Missouri -7
Kentucky -4
Wyoming -4

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, CEO comments, methodology and more, please visitChiefExecutive.net.

Charlotte’s entrepreneurial firms adding jobs this year

Monday, May 6th, 2013
Charlotte skyline

Charlotte, NC.

The Business Innovation & Growth Council (BIG) has released results of its second annual Entrepreneurial Growth Index, a measure of the health of the Charlotte-region’s entrepreneurial companies.

Terry Cox, president and CEO of BIG says, “It is especially notable that we had 28% more companies respond to the survey in 2013 than 2012, while nationally the number of entrepreneurial startups has dropped slightly two years in a row.”

David Jones, CEO of managed hosting and cloud services provider Peak 10, and a leadership advisor to BIG noted the increased revenue reported by companies in 2013.

“The companies responding to this year’s survey have revenue just under one billion dollars and an average growth rate of 37% over the last 3 year,” Jones says.

“The survey indicates that entrepreneurial companies will add another 928 jobs to the local economy in 2013. That is an impressive message as we consider today’s economic environment.”

Key findings of the 2013 study show:

  • 120 companies responded, compared to 94 in 2012
  • Projected revenue for 2013 is $960 million, an 18% increase over 2012 revenue of $817 million and a 3-year average growth rate of 37%.
  • A 24% 3-year average growth rate in employment (full time, part time, and contract) with projected 928 in headcount for 2013, of which 42% are contractors.
  • Average headcount of 49 per company, with an average weighted salary of $54,000, as compared to an average of 30 per company and average salary of $55,000 reported in the 2012 survey.
  • Funding sources for businesses surveyed were:
    • 2% Grants
    • 5% Venture Capital
    • 5% Private Equity
    • 13% Bank Financing
    • 19% Angel Investment
    • 56% Self Funded
  • Twenty percent (20%) of the companies participating were founded in the past two years and fifty two percent (52%) of the companies are less than five years old.
  • 84% of the companies are located in Charlotte, while 16% are in the outlying cities/towns.
  • 47% of those surveyed are in technology, 11% business services, 8% technology based education, 7% healthcare, 5% retail, 5% marketing, 4% transportation and distribution, and 14% in various other industries.

BIG continues to track data from entrepreneurial companies as a measure of the health of the local start-up economy. “The Charlotte region continues to grow through the contributions of our high growth entrepreneurial community,” Jones notes. “An important part of the region’s economic future is to continue to develop the supporting infrastructure that enables entrepreneurial companies to grow.”

What drives decisions in the Enterprise data center market?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

How do Enterprises make decisions about where to locate their data centers and what drives their growing need for them?

Facebook data center

Facebook’s air-cooled data center in Forest City, NC.

A new study of the data center industry commissioned by Compass Datacenters has identified a number of emerging factors that are shaping the data center strategies of enterprise companies in the United States.

The study also projects a strong wave of new data center construction in 2013 and 2014. The research was conducted by the respected research firm Campos Research, which surveyed senior decision makers who steer the data center strategies at 150 U.S. companies with annual revenues of $250 million or more.

Key findings from the study include the following:

  • 87% of companies will build a data center in next 12-24 months. This represents an acceleration of the trend, with 63% reporting that they completed data center projects in the last 12 months.
  • 71% of companies ranked new applications as the primary reason for needing expanded data center infrastructure—making it the most often-cited driver for data center expansions in 2013 and 2014.
  • Three-quarters of companies reported that they plan to support a combination of new applications, virtualization, Big Data, and Private Cloud with their new data centers—showing a variety of needs behind the expansions.
  • 97% of companies are seeking to locate their new data centers less than 30 miles from their headquarters or major operations center—making geographic proximity a chief consideration in upcoming data center projects.

GoogleHere at the TechJournal, we’ve noted that data center construction barely stalled even during the deepest part of the recession. In North Carolina, where we are headquartered, both Google and Facebook have built data centers and regional data center firms such as Peak 10 have steadily expanded their footprint.

Compass data center

The Compass data center in Raleigh, NC. The company is also constructing a data center in Durham, NC. Other regional data center firms such as Peak 10, have also expanded their footprint substantially in the last few years.

 Chris Crosby , CEO of Compass Datacenters, said, “Our team has worked with Campos for several years, and they have an uncanny ability to identify emerging trends before they reach critical mass and transform the data center industry.

“Their past research was prescient in identifying energy efficiency, wholesale data centers and modular design as important emerging issues well before they gathered steam and were broadly acknowledged as major trends. This new study identifies geographic proximity as a key consideration for the projects that companies are currently planning, and that has the potential to change the landscape of the data center industry, both figuratively and literally.”

He added, “In the past, companies based outside of major data center markets had to sacrifice proximity when it came to the location of their data centers. They had little choice but to put their data center in one of the handful of markets, often placing those IT assets far from the companies’ HQ or major operations center.

“Not only did that increase costs and risk, but it also was inherently inefficient from a long-term operations perspective. This new study makes it clear that enterprises don’t want to make that compromise any more, and that has huge ramifications for data center providers.”

Following are additional findings from the study:

  • Companies who are planning to build in the next 12 months are planning to add an average of 2 facilities. That average increases to 3.5 when the timeframe is expanded to 24 months.
  • The companies who participated in the study currently have an average of 3 data centers. 25% reported that they currently have 5 or more data centers.
  • 96% of companies reported that the size of their data centers will be 20,000 square feet or less.
  • CIOs were identified as the primary executive who determines need for data center expansion. CIOs were cited by 37% of companies as the person who approves the project, with 24% reporting that the final decision is made by the CEO. 44% of companies described CIOs as having the most influence on the purchasing decision with 19% saying that the CEO now has the greatest influence.
  • The most common process for beginning a project is to set the requirements and then look for providers as a second step in the process (71% of respondents).
  • The most important factors cited in the selection process for a provider is Service Level. Green strategy was the lowest-ranked selection factor.
  • 75% of companies will evaluate 3 providers as part of their selection process.
  • Only 44% of companies said that they would consider building the data center themselves, indicating that “do-it-yourself” is declining.

For more findings from this study and analysis from Compass Datacenters, visit http://www.compassdatacenters.com/compass-university/.

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.”

SEVC

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.”

 

50 high growth companies presenting at Southeast Venture Conference

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

SEVC 2013You can make connections with 50 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 March 13-14th at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to presenting companies and hours of executive networking – the conference will feature a speaker line up inlcuding SAP CEO Bill McDermott, dozens of leading venture capital investors from groups like Advanced Technology Ventures, Intel Capital and Edison Ventures; industry  insiders like Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard and policy makers such as North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

This year’s confirmed presenting company line-up includes:

SEVC

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.

In addition to the showcase presenters and hours of networking – SEVC 2013 will feature current market relevant panel and presentation topics for investors and executive entrepreneurs. These events sell out, so register now if you plan on going.

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

Cherokee McDonough Challenge seeks Green startups

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Cherokee McDonough ChallengeWilliam McDonough, winner of two U.S. Presidential awards for environmental sustainability, is teaming with Cherokee to support environmental startups through the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge.

Based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, the Challenge is designed to identify, fund and develop high impact environmental startups.

Now accepting applications, the Challenge is sponsored by Cherokee, an investment fund manager and globally recognized leader in environmentally sustainable business practices.

McDonough, co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance (2013), will partner with an advisory committee of experienced entrepreneurs and investors to counsel the Challenge entrepreneurs.
Challenge will invest in five startups

“The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge is important because it encourages and empowers solutions to the massive environmental challenges that face our world,” says McDonough.

Now entering its third year, the Challenge will again invest in three to five high impact environmental startups.

Each venture will receive:

  • $20,000 in seed funding
  • free office space for three months in Raleigh, NC, (a focal point in the renowned Research Triangle)
  • complimentary back office support from Cherokee Investment Services, including help with incorporation, accounting and IRS compliance
  • hands-on mentoring from an advisory committee of experienced entrepreneurs and investors
  • an opportunity to present to other investors and the public

Cherokee-McDonough Challenge portfolio companies should finish the summer with a working prototype, a refined and vetted environmental strategy, a professional web presence, knowledge of intellectual property strategy and tactics, investor-ready fundraising documents, a stronger network of investors and mentors, a polished pitch and a runway towards a Series A capital raise.

For more information, visit www.cherokeechallenge.com or email JT Vaughn atjvaughn@cherokeefund.com or challenge@cherokeefund.com

Will there be an app economy in five years?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Ron ShahThe mobile app economy is a big deal right now, with app developers commanding higher than average salaries and companies stumbling over each other to get on the mobile bandwagon. But, in five years, says Ron Shah, vice president at the Stripes Group venture firm, “many people will bypass apps altogether.”

By then, Shah says, “Just accessing the web on your phone will be so much better you won’t need 79 apps. Consumers will want to download apps less and less and just things on the open web.”

Also, he notes, “Two app stores now have a chokehold on user capabilities. That’s an unnatural place to be. Companies don’t want Apple or Google sitting between them and their customers.”

Shah is focused on sourcing and executing technology, software and internet investments as well as strategy and business development with portfolio companies at Stripes, which closed its current $350 million fund early in 2012.

Participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in March

Shah is actively involved with the firm’s investments in Kareo, Netbiscuits, eMarketer, Elance, MyWebGrocer, Art.com, Folica and Perimeter.

Prior to joining Stripes Group, Ron co-founded Endgame Capital, which focuses on land investment and development in the mid-Atlantic region.

People network in groups large and small at SEVC.

People networking at a previous Southeast Venture Conference.

He’s one of more than two-dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

Shah will talk about the merger and acquisitions environment in areas where he has expertise at the event. “We’ve invested in several companies providing deep technologically integrated services in various industries,” he says.

He expects to see media companies, which made a round of acquisitions three or four years ago, to be looking to buy again. “They’re coming up on another cycle where they need to buy again to service their customers.”

Avoiding the Deathstar approach to software

He adds, “There’s a lot of pressure for those guys to figure out how to service existing relationships in a world that looks very different from ten years ago. They need to know what customers are consuming, how they consume and so on.”

IBMAnother big trend he sees in M&A is in SaaS. “We’ve seen significant acquisitions of SaaS companies by the big guys – Oracle, IBM, SAP, Salesforce all bought several. They realize their clients are not in spending millions on the Deathstar approach to building software. People are coming from the bottom end and taking revenue from them, so they need to acquire to have cost effective offerings.”

He also notes that “In Enterprise technology, buyers have been aggressive with the evaluations they’ve been paying in core areas such as customer relationship and talent management and business intelligence.”

They can all be consolidated to some extent, he says. “We saw some of that in the marketing automation space. Then the larger players ended up getting bought: Buddy Media by Salesforce, Vitrue by Oracle.”

A process of consolidation

It’s a process, he explains. “Companies spring up in the venture space and rise to the forefront in a typical category. They buy smaller companies with innovative features. Then, if they’re playing in an interesting category, the big tech guys will buy them.”

Even after that big step in consolidation, three or four years later some of the big players realize they don’t have the right play in a category and “The cycle starts all over again,” says Shah.

mobile devicesNext he says mobile device analytics is likely to see some consolidation. “A lot of the core tech companies feel the need to bolster their offerings,” Shah notes.

That interest is fanned by a couple of macro trends. “People are spending less time on print and more on the web, no one can deny that, and within that, they’re spending more time on mobile devices.”

The natural conclusion? “Ad dollars will slowly migrate there because that’s where the eyeballs are, on smartphones and tablets.”

 

What should you wear to an IT job interview?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Robert HalfEven in the IT field, you have to dress for success – especially when applying for a job. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) want to hire IT professionals who are “well suited” for the job — both literally and figuratively.

According to a new Robert Half Technology survey, nearly half (46 percent) of CIOs said a business suit is the most appropriate attire for someone interviewing for an IT position.

Thirty-four percent of respondents favored khakis and a collared shirt.

Geography can influence interview attire expectations, the survey revealed: Respondents in Philadelphia and Denver were among the cities with the most traditional tastes, with58 percent and 51 percent, respectively, citing business suits as the outfit of choice for IT job candidates.

CIOs in Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco were less formal in their expectations, with only 36 percent and 37 percent, respectively, preferring formal interview attire.

The national survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 2,300 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “Which of the following, in your opinion, is the most appropriate interview attire for someone interviewing for an IT job with your company?” Their responses:   

Formal business suit 46%
Khakis and a collared shirt 34%
Tailored separates (for example, a skirt and blouse) 14%
Jeans and a polo shirt 4%
Something else/don’t know 2%
100%

“Even in casual IT departments, hiring managers want to know that a job candidate has made an effort to look polished and professional,” said John Reed , senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “When in doubt, it’s better to err on the conservative side than risk appearing overly casual.”

Reed added that networking before the interview can help job candidates get a sense of how to dress when meeting with a hiring manager. “Candidates should consult an insider at the firm, a recruiter or an HR representative for information about the corporate culture and how people tend to dress.”

Robert Half Technology offers these additional interview attire tips:

  • Choose something comfortable. You want to look as relaxed as possible, so avoid uncomfortable clothing. If you purchase new interview attire, wear it a few times to break it in before your meeting.
  • Pay attention to details. Don’t overlook the less obvious aspects of your appearance, like your shoes, socks and accessories. Make sure your outfit is free of wrinkles and stains, your hair and nails are well groomed, and your shoes are polished.
  • Don’t overdo it. Ultimately, you want your experience and skills to be the focus of the interview — not your outfit. Avoid any distracting clothing or jewelry, as well as excessive perfume, cologne or makeup.
  • Turn off electronic “accessories.” Make sure any mobile device you have with you is off before the meeting.
  • Dress the part for a video interview. Even if your interview is via webcam, you want to look the part. Make sure you dress appropriately from head to toe and the background is free of distractions.

Intel heads list of top 20 venture capital firms of 2012

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

IntelWhich venture capital firms had the most private tech company exits in 2012? PrivCo has just released rankings of the Top 20 Venture Capital firms, based on the number of exits their portfolio companies made last year.

Santa Clara-based Intel Capital tops the list. Ranked just behind it were Felicis Ventures (Ranked #2) & SV Angel (Ranked #3).

Mark Rostick, director of East Coast investments for Intel Capital is among the more than two-dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14. See our interview with Rostick.

The Top 20 Most Successful Tech Venture Capital Firms of 2012:

(Ranked By Number of Private Tech Company Exits)

1. Intel Capital
2. Felicis Ventures
3. SV Angel
4. Sequoia Capital
5. First Round Capital
6. Battery Ventures
7. Draper Fisher Jurvetson
8. Greylock Partners
9. Ignition Partners
10. Google Ventures
11. True Ventures
12. Benchmark Capital
13. Lerer Ventures
14. Menlo Ventures
15. Polaris Venture Partners
16. Accel Partners
17. Bain Capital Ventures
18. Redpoint Ventures
19. RRE Ventures
20. Focus Ventures

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

http://www.privco.com/products/2012-m-and-a-industry-overview-technology-sector-volume-I

Grotech VC offers seven lessons on entrepreneurship “from the dark side”

Monday, February 18th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Don Rainey

Don Rainey

Does price really matter in a venture financing deal? Can “small ideas” still get funded?

Don Rainey, a former entrepreneur, says his 12-years “on the dark side” as a venture capitalist, have taught him a handful of lessons that still serve him daily, among them, answers to those questions and others.

Rainey, a general partner with Grotech Ventures since 2007, was named to the Washingtonian’s “Tech Titans” list in 2011, and currently serves on the boards of Grotech portfolio companies Clarabridge, GramercyOne, HelloWallet, LivingSocial, Personal, SnappCloud, and Zenoss. He’s one of more than two-dozen venture capitalists and other investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

Price doesn’t matter

On his blog, VC in DC, Rainy outlined ten of the lessons about entrepreneurship that still guide him.

That business about price, for instance. “Price doesn’t really matter,” he says. “If you invest in something htat fails, it’s immaterial. If it wins, you might hope you had bought it a little cheaper, but you’ll always wish for that. The question is, is it something you believe in? If a deal works out, the price was right at some level. Get in good deals, and forget about getting the last dollar in a negotiation for that good deal.”

He adds, “We’re judged by whether the companies we invest in succeed, not the price.” Also, he notes, “Sometimes you do everything right and sill lose. Macro events can put real pressures on a company. Just think if you had gone into something aimed at financial services in 2007. Some things are beyond your control.”

Don’t pursue small ideas

Big ideas and small ideas are equally difficult, he says. But a venture capital firm has to have some multiple return on the capital it invests and can’t support small ideas, Rainey says. On his blog, he writes,  “What’s the point in trying to change the neighborhood when you can change the world.”

You’re not a rock star

“I’m very suspect of the venture capitalist who wants to be in front of the parade,” Rainey says. “That’s the role of the entrepreneur. We’re enablers, not the primary actors.”

Add value outside of board meetings

Portfolio company board meetings are not the place where a VC adds real value to the firm’s investment. “Private conversations over coffee, lunch, or late at night is when you really can influence the CEO,” Rainey says.

Don’t Invest in People who don’t take advice

Some entrepreneurs have a world class talent for ignoring good advice, Rainey notes on his blog. “I’ve done this 12 years and only had one CEO who ignored my advice and failed. He made a point of it. It wasn’t personal, he ignored everyone’s good advice. A good CEO listens to everyone.”

Then, he’ll let you know he heard you, saying something like, “I concur on these four items from your suggestions. “That’s what the smart ones do,” Rainey says. “They assimilate all that advice and incorporate it into their own perspective.”

Never Panic

Starting and running a business is often fraught with extreme ups and downs, more than one entrepreneur has told us. One day you land a really big customer, the next everyone you talk to says “No.” An entrepreneur has to be able to ride that roller coaster. “One of the great assets of an entrepreneur is confidence,” Rainey says.

“It does ebb and flow. There are days when you’re driving to work thinking there is no way you could be more screwed than you are at that moment, but when you get to work, you find out you were wrong, there are ways it can be worse. It’s hard. People don’t always appreciate how challenging it can be to be able to swing above your weight in the face of weeks or months of bad news. But you have to keep on fighting, even with a strong headwind.”

Be nice to people, it pays well

“In a business like ours,” Rainey says, “You have to say ‘no’ to 99 of 100 people who come to you for money. If you’re not nice to people, even when you have to say ‘no,’ they remember. They also remember if you were nice about it. None of knows where we’ll be in five years or what we’ll be doing.”

 

Southeast Venture Conference names first round of presenting companies

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

SEVC 2013The Southeast Venture Conference has named the first round of companies selected to present at the upcoming conference scheduled for March 13-14th at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC.

Over 50 of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic’s most outstanding high-growth firms will present at SEVC 2013. Showcase companies will range from pre-IPO to earlier stage series-A.

These companies are the present and future of the region’s innovation economy, representing some of the most promising technologies from a diverse range of industries, including software, mobile, education, health, security and Internet among others.

The first round of announced presenting companies include:

Additional presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

SEVC

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.

Showcase companies will present to a national audience of venture capitalists, private equity investors, angel investors and senior technology executives. Attendees will have additional opportunities to network and connect with these showcase companies throughout the conference.

Register today to guarantee your space. The event sells out.

Wait…there’s more

In addition to the showcase presenters and hours of networking – SEVC 2013 will feature current market relevant panel and presentation topics for investors and executive entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

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

 

What can advertisers learn from the flu?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

MaxPointEven though this year’s flu virus is infecting people throughout the nation and New York and Boston even declared citywide health emergencies – you might not guess that Huntsville, Alabama is the city most concerned about it.

MaxPoint, a company that helps retailers and brands drive local in-store sales with its Digital Zip technology, announced its latest Interest Index, which reveals the cities most interested in flu-related remedies.

While that may or may not concern your company or your advertising clients specifically, MaxPoint notes that it is crucial for advertisers to dive deep into neighborhood and audience data when building campaigns.

For instance, New York and Boston did not even make the top ten list of cities most concerned about the flu this year.

By analyzing billions of in-store purchases and online data points, MaxPoint found that the 10 cities most interested in all things flu-related are the following:

1. Huntsville, AL
2. Knoxville, TN
3. Greensboro, NC
4. Greenville, SC
5. Des Moines, IA
6. Rochester, NY
7. Birmingham, AL
8. Boise, ID
9. Augusta, GA
10. Milwaukee, WI

nterest Data in Action

Using the data from this Interest Index, MaxPoint ran several digital advertising campaigns, including the following:

  • A global pharmaceutical company with a diverse healthcare portfolio — including pharmaceuticals, eye care products and vaccines — wanted to drive adults over the age of 65 to select pharmacy locations to receive flu shots. Using MaxPoint’s hyperlocal advertising approach, the company achieved 164 percent lift in awareness of its flu vaccine at participating pharmacies.
  • A manufacturer of analgesics wanted to increase brand awareness and drive sales of its products. By running digital ads with MaxPoint, the manufacturer achieved 3 percent sales lift in mass merchandise stores.
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