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Early-Bird rate for Southeast Venture Conference ends Friday

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

SEVC 2013Looking for a way to make lasting connections with hundreds of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs? Register before Friday (February 1) and you can still get the Early-Bird rate for the 7th Annual Southeast Venture Conference at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

You’ll hear from 50 of Southeast’s most innovative growth firms from 11 states and network with hundreds of private equity investors.

Top industry leaders will share insights on M&A, fund raising strategies, IPOs, valuations, hot investment secotrs, and early-stage trends.

Outstanding speakers

Speakers lined up for this year’s event include Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Bob Hower of Advanced Technology Ventures, Scott Maxwell of OpenView Venture Partners, Larry Bettino of StarVest Partners, Adrian Wilson of Square 1 Ventures, Sean Cantwell of Volition Capital, Brian Rich of Catalyst Investors, Roland Reynolds of Industry Ventures, Janet Yang of Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Mark Rostic of Intel Capital, Don Rainey of Grotech Ventures, Lenard Marcus of Edison Ventures, Trevor Kienzle of Correlation Ventures, David Jones, CEO of Peak 10; John Lawrence of Longworth Venture Partners, Matt Shapiro of Second Market,; Cater Griffin of Updata Partners, an Ron Shah of the Stripes Group, among others.


Venture funding fell 10 percent, number of deals declined in 2012

Friday, January 18th, 2013

NVCAIf it seemed harder to raise money last year, it was. Venture capitalists invested less money in 2012 than in 2011, the first such decline in three years, according to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and PricewaterhousCoopers MoneyTree report.

In the Research Triangle, NC, which has bustling startup hubs in Durham, Raleigh, and Cary, companies raised less money than in any year since 1997, despite something of a rebound in the second half of the year.

Analysts say economic uncertainty and volatility as well as Facebook’s less than stellar IPO performance contributed to the caution on the part of VCs.

Venture funds invested $26.5 billion in 3,698 deals in 2012, a 10 percent decline in dollars and 6 percent drop in the number of deals.

Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, however, looked on the bright side, saying that fewer funds and deals will lead to “a more disciplined environment,” in which better companies will get funded and many “me-too” firms copying other successful companies will not.

The full set of statistics are on the NVCA web site.


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.


Durham, NC fund first licensed by SBA Early Stage Capital Initiative

Monday, January 7th, 2013

SBAHatteras Venture Partners of Durham, NC, is the first licensee in the Early Stage Innovation Funds initiative, a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) capital investment program.

Hatteras Venture Partners (HVP), a venture capital firm based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., focuses on seed and early stage opportunities in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, and related opportunities in human medicine.

HVP was selected because it demonstrated that it has a strong team with a clear, focused strategy and a track record investing in an undercapitalized region.

Promoting innovation and job creation

“The New Year is the perfect time to celebrate new businesses and win-win opportunities like the Early Stage Initiative,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

“The Early Stage Innovation Funds initiative promotes American innovation and job creation by encouraging private sector investment in early stage small businesses.  And by licensing funds like Hatteras Venture Partners IV, we can expand entrepreneurs’ access to capital at no cost to taxpayers.”

High-growth, early stage companies commonly experience a gap in the availability of funding between $1 million and $4 million levels.

The Valley of Death

This gap is often referred to in the venture capital industry as the “Valley of Death.”  Since January 2006, less than 10 percent of all U.S. venture capital dollars went to seed funds investing at those levels, and approximately 70 percent of those dollars went to just three states:  California, Massachusetts, and New York.

The Early Stage Innovation Funds initiative targets this gap by licensing and guaranteeing leverage to funds focused on early/seed stage investments. SBA’s improved licensing times under its SBIC debenture program complement the Early Stage Innovation Funds initiative.

SBA has committed up to $1 billion in SBA-guaranteed leverage over a five-year period for selected Early Stage Innovation Funds using its current SBIC program authorization. Licensed Early Stage Innovation

Funds can receive up to a maximum of $50 million in SBA-guaranteed funding to match their privately raised capital. Early Stage Innovation Funds must invest at least 50 percent of their investment dollars in early stage small businesses.

Open Table Diner’s Choice top 100 U.S. restaurants named

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

OpenTableIf you’re looking for that special restaurant in which to wine and dine a potential big ticket customer, woo a business partner, or just to have a great meal while at home or on the road, OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), a provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners guest management solutions for restaurants, has named the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the United States.

These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration.

Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category along with that restaurant’s rating relative to others in the same metropolitan area and the average number of restaurants reviewed by diners who reviewed that restaurant.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. according to OpenTable diners.

2012 Diners’ Choice Award Winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S.

Acquerello – San Francisco, California
Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California
Altura – Seattle, Washington
Andrea at Pelican Hill – Newport Coast, California
Annisa – New York, New York
Artisanal Restaurant – Banner Elk, North Carolina
The Ashby Inn – Paris, Virginia
Atelier Crenn – San Francisco, California
Auberge du Soleil – Rutherford, California
Bacchanalia – Atlanta, Georgia
The Belvedere – Beverly Hills, California
Bibou – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Binkley’s Restaurant – Cave Creek, Arizona
Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, Virginia
Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York
Bouchard Restaurant and Inn – Newport, Rhode Island
Bouley – New York, New York
Café Provence – Prairie Village, Kansas
Café Renaissance – Vienna, Virginia
Canlis – Seattle, Washington
Capital Grille – Kansas City, Missouri
Capital Grille – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Carpe Vino – Auburn, California
Castle Hill Inn – Newport, Rhode Island
Chachama Grill – East Patchogue, New York
Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse – Downers Grove, Illinois
Charleston – Baltimore, Maryland
Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina
Chez Francois – Vermilion, Ohio
Chez Nous French Restaurant – Humble, Texas
CityZen – Washington, D.C.
Commis – Oakland, California
Cottage Place Restaurant – Flagstaff, Arizona
Daniel – New York, New York
Daniel-Lounge Seating – New York, New York
Del Posto – New York, New York
Eleven Madison Park – New York, New York
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Forestville, California
Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina
Fountain Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The French Laundry – Yountville, California
The French Room – Dallas, Texas
Geronimo – Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Goodstone Inn & Estate Restaurant – Middleburg, Virginia
Gracie’s – Providence, Rhode Island
Gramercy Tavern – New York, New York
Hannas Prime Steak – Rancho Santa Margarita, California
The Hobbit – Orange, California
Jean Georges – New York, New York
Joseph Tambellini – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JUNGSIK – New York, New York
Kai – Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona
Keiko à Nob Hill – San Francisco, California
King Umberto – Elmont, New York
The Kitchen Restaurant – Sacramento, California
La Ciccia – San Francisco, California
La Folie – San Francisco, California
La Grenouille – New York, New York
L’Auberge Chez Francois – Great Falls, Virginia
Le Bernardin – New York, New York
Le Vallauris – Palm Springs, California
Le Yaca – Williamsburg, Virginia
L’Espalier – Boston, Massachusetts
The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, California
Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii
Manresa – Los Gatos, California
Marcel’s – Washington, D.C.
Marinus-Bernadus Lodge – Carmel Valley, California
Menton – Boston, Massachusetts
Michael’s – South Point Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada
The Modern-Dining Room – New York, New York
n/naka – Los Angeles, California
NAOE – Miami, Florida
Nicholas – Red Bank, New Jersey
Norman’s at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando – Orlando, Florida
The North Fork Table & Inn – Southold, New York
o ya – Boston, Massachusetts
ON20 – Hartford, Connecticut
Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon
Palace Arms at The Brown Palace – Denver, Colorado
Per Se – New York, New York
Perry Street Brasserie – Galena, Illinois
Providence – Los Angeles, California
Restaurant Alma – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Restaurant Iris – Memphis, Tennessee
Rover’s – Seattle, Washington
Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar – Galveston, Texas
Saint Jacques French Cuisine – Raleigh, North Carolina
Saison – San Francisco, California
Scalini Fedeli – New York, New York
ShinBay – Scottsdale, Arizona
Sonoma – Princeton, Massachusetts
Splendido – Beaver Creek, Colorado
Studio at Montage Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, California
Tony’s – St. Louis, Missouri
Tosca Ristorante – Washington, D.C.
Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
VOLT – Frederick, Maryland
Woodfire Grill – Atlanta, Georgia

Diners can also read more about the Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. by visiting OpenTable Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter’s “Dining Check” blog.

Buystand puts control in the hands of buyers of active lifestyle products

Friday, December 7th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Joe Davy

Joe Davy, CEO of Buystand, which lets buyers set a price for active lifestyle products they want to buy.

Deals, deals, deals: discounts are the byword of online shopping these days, but usually, sellers are deciding how much the discounts should be. A Durham, NC-based startup, Buystand, wants to change that.

Buystand, says CEO Joe Davy, “Is the world’s first completely buyer-driven marketplace for active lifestyle clothing, equipment and footwear.” That includes everything from boots to mountain bikes and skis.

“Originally the brainchild of Ted Kraus and commercialized by Ted Kraus and Bill Brown at 8 Rivers Capital, which Davy says “works like an incubator for ideas, going through the patent process and funding them,” Buystand launched in beta about a month ago and already has hundreds of retailers, 250 brands, and thousands of customers signed up.

Davy, who joined the company after taking a course Brown, who is managing partner at 8 Rivers, taught at Duke University Law School, presented the company’s business plan at the Startup Summit that preceded this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC in November.

Innovative companies from early stage to pre-IPO looking for funding may want to apply to present at TechMedia’s next event, The Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, in March. SEVC is now accepting applications.

Davy explains that at Buystand retailers let the buyer tell them what they want pay for certain products. That lets retailers see what their products are worth to buyers and lets brands see what they’re worth compared to their competitors’ products.

The retailer can decide at what price it wants to sell.

Control in the hands of buyers

“It puts control back into the hands of buyers,” says Davy. “There has never been a company before that let buyers come in and say what they’re willing to pay for a physical product, although it does happen in the hotel and travel markets. We’re inventing that model for products.”

Davy says this startup differs from many others – including the last one he ran – solve “What amounts to a big problem for a small number of people. They’re building a better widget or solving a very niche problem. What we’re doing appeals to a universal desire. It’s a much better way to shop, not just for a few people, for 90 percent.”

Customers already seem to like it. “People are using this multiple times a month. They’re not only happier when they pay the price they want to pay, but it translates into them spending substantially more money,” he says.

The firm has lots of room to grow. “It’s an $83 billion market,” Davy says. “And no one else is being innovative in the space right now. A lot of people are doing daily deal sites, but those crush brand equity and undermine the future sales of retailers.”

There are plenty of places to buy used products, he notes, including eBay and Craig’s List. “Buystand is for people who want a brand new product from retailer but don’t want to pay full price,” he says.

People have adopted it quickly, he adds. “We saw traction in just a few weeks,” Davy says.



Southeast Venture Conference accepting applications for presenting companies

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

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.

High growth innovative technology companies from young firms to the pre-IPO stage have an opportunity to present 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 now 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.

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.


Durham expanding its increasingly robust startup ecosystem

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Artist’s rendering of the new Durham @Main Street site for startups, expected to be ready by spring.

Durham, North Carolina is expanding it’s increasingly vibrant startup ecosystem.

The American Underground — located near the Durham Bulls baseball stadium, is expanding to a downtown space custom designed for early stage startups.

The Research Triangle area, long known as a top U.S. technology hub with tenants such as IBM, Cisco, Glaxo Wellcome, RTI and others, has also generated startups that became industry leaders such as SAS, Red Hat, Bandwidth and Quintiles.  Not only Durham, but Cary and Raleigh are also evolving strong startup support systems.

The new Durham space, located at 201 West Main Street, the new space is an extension of the award-winning American Tobacco Historic District, home to the original Underground hub as well as many sizable mature companies, and strategically located between Research Triangle Park and world-class universities.

Space for 50 startups

Underground @Main Street, as the expansion hub is known, weighs in at 22,000 square feet with room for about 50 startups (see list below of already-committed companies).

The space — expected to open in the spring — covers two floors and will employ lessons from around the tech world to foster the collaboration, learning, and connections young companies need to thrive.

The City Center building at 201 West Main Street, owned by Self-Help, has a history of hosting entrepreneurial initiatives including the Bull City Startup Stampede and now houses prominent technology companies PathCentral and Blogads.

The new @Main Street site adds to Durham’s growing startup hub, which already boasts close to 100 early stage companies in residence,  The Triangle Startup Factory accelerator, and packed networking events.

Partners put muscle in the ecosystem

Underground leaders recruited regional partners, including the Research Triangle Park Foundation. Says CEO Bob Geolas: “We believe in investing in the entrepreneurial community and we are committed to making those investments and partnerships work. RTP is focused on regional entrepreneurship that will create more jobs and educational opportunities for our state.”

NC IDEA — a catalyst for young, high-growth, North Carolina tech companies — will sponsor relevant content for entrepreneurs via events, networking and other programming.  University partners include Duke, NC Central, NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More information on their plans is coming in early 2013.

Bandwidth, a Triangle-born company that has grown into one of the nation’s largest telecommunication providers, and Yealink will equip startups at @Main Street and @American Tobacco with complimentary phone systems.

“Bandwidth and Yealink believe in the revolutionary power of startups,” says Bandwidth marketing chief Noreen Allen. “As they grow and succeed, we want to be right there supporting them.”

Growing Ecosystem Earns Broad Community Support

Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative is another key supporter. The program seeks to coordinate and enhance the university’s capabilities in education, research and translation to enable both commercial and social entrepreneurship.

“American Underground will help us reach an important goal  — connecting Duke with the vibrant community of entrepreneurs in Durham,” said Eric Toone, the new director of the university’s Initiative.

Self-Help Vice President Tucker Bartlett noted, “The Underground @Main Street fits well with our 30-year mission of fostering small businesses, and empowering communities to provide broader opportunities for everyone. The redeveloped City Center building has been key in helping revitalize downtown Durham, and we look forward to the birth and growth of more successful ventures here.”

@Main Street’s roster of startups already includes Sqord, Archive Social, StartupSpot, Pluribus Systems, Green Plus, Synchear, Impulsonic, Mint Market, SalesTags, Privateer Digital Media, SongBacker, Thryv, iKlaro, HaitiHub, and PlusDelta Technologies.

Interested companies should visit to apply for space @Main Street.


American Underground infograpic

Video about the Durham entrepreneurial ecosystem

A list of Durham-based startups with Web addresses

Facebook air-cooled its NC server farm even in Southern summer heat

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Facebook's forest city data center

Inside Facebook’s Forest City, NC data center, which is cooled with fresh air and a misting system.

Facebook cooled its servers at its Forest City, North Carolina facility using only fresh air even during the Southern summer in which heat reached as high as 102 degrees, the company says. How did they do it?

They allowed temperature to rise to 85 degrees inside the server farm, demonstrating that servers can run in warmer environments.

Facebook pioneered the air-cooled server farm concept at its Prineville, Oregon facility, but wasn’t sure it would work in the South, where the temperature and humidity are much higher in the summer.

In the past, server farms have kept the temperature a cool 68-74 degrees using energy-sucking air conditioning to offset the heat generated by the servers.

In a blog post, Facebook’s Mechanical Engineer wrote that to make the air cooling system work in North Carolina, “We expanded the environmental conditions on the high end.” They increased the upper end of the server temperature range to 85 degrees and allowed humidity to rise to a maximum of 90 percent RH as opposed to 65 percent RH.

Lee said that fortunately, relative humidity was low on record hot days, allowing its misting system to provide all the needed cooling.

Facebook today debuted a video tour exploring the inner-workings of the data center. See the video here.
Facebook’s facilities in Forest City are among the most advanced and energy efficient in the world. At 355,000 sq ft., each of the two data center buildings are the size of three football fields. More than 1,500 people worked on the first building, clocking in more than a million hours.
Those same crews immediately went to work on a second building, to help Facebook — which now counts more than one billion users — keep up with its unprecedented growth. Many of the innovations featured in the data center originate with Facebook’s Open Compute Project.

Facebook will describe its air-cooled center designs at teh Open Computing Summit in Santa Clara, CA, Jan. 16-17.


Summer accelerator program seeks NC university student entrepreneurs

Monday, November 12th, 2012
American Underground

artist’s rendering of the American Undergroun at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC

Groundwork Labs, a “no strings attached” technology accelerator located in Durham, NC, has announced a special program in summer of 2013 for a select group of entrepreneurs at five North Carolina universities.

A team from each school will be chosen to participate in the Groundwork Labs program, enabling the student teams to workvalongside the other companies in Groundwork Labs.

The teams will receive mentorship, marketing, legal, financial, and business plan advice from industry experts, and free office space in the entrepreneurial hub of North Carolina, Durham’s American Underground.

Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina, and Wake Forest University will select a team from their business plan competitions to join Groundwork Labs.

Bridge from University programs

“Underground Summer is a bridge from the excellent programs that the Universities have established,” said John Austin, Director of Groundwork Labs, “This experience will enable the students to experience the broader entrepreneurial community in the Triangle.”

Groundwork Labs enables technology startups to bootstrap, prepare for grant or angel funding, or apply to an accelerator. The program is similar to other mentor-driven accelerators except Groundwork does not make an investment nor take an equity stake in the company. This is made possible through the sponsorship of NC IDEA and their mission of furthering economic development in North Carolina through helping startups.

Since opening in February, 2012 Groundwork Labs has accelerated 23 startups. Three of these companies have won NC IDEA grants, two have received grants from other sources, one has its first seed investment, and two have been accepted into Triangle Startup Factory.

Student entrepreneurs should contact their respective schools regarding participation

Don’t put all your eggs in one startup basket

Monday, November 5th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Aaron Houghton

Aaron Houghton of Boostsuite is among the serial entrepreneurs, venture captialists, angel investors and digital marketing experts participating in the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Tuesday through Thursday (Nov. 6-8).

One of the major mistakes many first-time entrepreneurs make, says Aaron Houghton, who is now on his 15th startup, is investing everything you have in your first company.

“Lots of times,” Houghton says, “entrepreneurs put everything they have in their first company. If that fails, it is financially devastating and can ruin personal relationships.”

Instead, he says, “The right way to start is so that you can recover if it is not an immediate or longterm success. You have to be comfortable with failure and understand how to embrace it and recover.”

Houghton, currently founder and CEO of Boostsuite, was previously with Preation and email marketing firm iContact, which he co-founded with Ryan Allis while both were students at the University of North Carolina in 2003. It sold to Vocus for $169 million.

“I never put all my net worth into any of my companies so I could always recover, although I’ve definitely taken a good amount of risk along the way. Until iContact, I never had a big exit.”

Houghton gets high marks from other Research Triangle area entrepreneurs we talk to for his latest startup, Boostsuite, which  is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It takes about a minute to set up and use.

Houghton joins 120 other digital marketing experts, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and executives from top digital brands at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Tuesday through Thursday this week (Nov. 6-8). He’ll be discussing “The Art of the Startup” at the new event this year, the Startup Summit on Tuesday.

Startup survival tips

Making sure you can recover from a failed startup is number one on Houghton’s top three pieces of advice to other entrepreneurs.

Next, he says, is that “It’s all about the people. There are not that many people in the entrepreneurial space with the talent you need, so treat your people well.”

Startups entail risks for staff, not just founders and CEOs. They often pay less than regular positions with major firms, and job security is not one of their job benefits. “Not that many people are willing to work in the startup space,” says Houghton.

Those software engineers and marketing pros who do like that startup juice tend to be in a limited talent pool.

So, says Houghton, “Don’t treat them as a short term resource. You’ll need them again in your next startup.”

Test, test, test

Finally, he says, “Get as much feedback about your product as you can as early as possible. I’m a strong believer in the lean startup model. You build a set of assumptions then test each as soon as possible. Eight of ten may be wrong.”

He adds, “It has gotten so easy to test with users now. You can throw a site up on social media and tell people you’re doing pre-enrollment for a beta test. You can get feedback via email or tools in the product.”

You can also use online tools such as It will let you watch a video of a real user trying your product features.

Joe Procopio, another serial entrepreneur, founder of Triangle-based, will also participate in the Startup Summit. He offers some advice for riding the startup roller coaster.

Integrated approach needed for sophisticated digital marketing

Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Dana Todd

Dana Todd will expand on the thoughts expressed here at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.

By Allan Maurer

Nowadays, Chief Marketing Officers “Are some of the most advanced creatures on the planet,” says Dana Todd, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Performics.

Todd, a pioneer of the search marketing industry has 17 years of experience in all forms of digital marketing and is a co-founder of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization.

She’ll be discussing advanced topics in search marketing at the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, joining 120 other thought-leaders, technology mavens, marketing experts and up to 2,000 attendees.

Today’s problems in search marketing “Go way beyond linking strategies and SEO,” says Todd.

A more integrated view of digital marketing needed

“You have to take a more integrated view of digital. Search is still a significant portion, but tactics have to be welded together.”

At Internet Summit, she says, she’ll focus on two major themes: Providing the consumer with a richer customized experience; and helping measure the value around those experiences.

“Talk about engaging consumers and being engaging and it’s all about connecting the dots between all the elements of a campaign,” Todd says.

A richer experience in search means you’re no longer just talking about “tiny lines of text.” Both Google and Yahoo have rolled out much richer ad units, she notes. They allow consumers to view photos and videos inside of search ads.

“Marketers need to find resources to take advantage of those. That means you need more pictures, videos, and a better sense of the inventory going into product listings.”

Blending social into paid search

Social networking is also becoming a necessary and important part of the equation, she adds.

“You’re going to see a lot more blending of social into paid search,” she says. Those connections will drive people to the advertiser’s Twitter and Facebook networks. “So you cover a lot more of the decision journey, not just down the buy funnel.”

Then, when consumers see friends endorsing a company or product, “The social layer becomes a personalization layer.”

But just getting a lot of fans on Facebook or Twitter followers is “last year’s tactic.” Now, the emphasis should be on creating more in depth friendships.”

Don’t ignore Google Plus

Todd also warns advertisers and companies not to ignore Google Plus. “They’re integrating it in search,” she says.

“Think about how Google could potentially connect everything.”

They could do it through a single ID, the way Facebook does with its open graph that allows you to connect to many sites via its login. “Google is trying to get into that,” Todd says. “They can connect your actions with everything tied to your gmail and Google Plus accounts.”

A lot of unfinished business in local

Next year, Todd notes, combined mobile and tablet use is expected to exceed desktop computer use. What does that mean to advertisers? “About 40 percent of queries on a mobile device are tied to a local intent,” she says. “That means marketers need to pay a lot move attention not just to coverage but to accuracy in local and find ways to engage and delight users in that local experience.”

A quarter of all searches next year are likely to be locally focused. “That’s really big,” Todd says.

Google and Yahoo are both rolling out a number of local enhancements.

Coupon opportunity is significant

That means “The coupon opportunity is significant. You can drop an offer right into a cell phone search result and also click-to-call. But think about tracking that and what it means to you, because that’s the connection currency in mobile.”

She also thinks we’ll be seeing a lot more emphasis on remarketing. We’ve certainly noticed that in our own online shopping experiences already. If we look at a product on Tiger Direct (Comp USA) but don’t buy, they hit us again with email offers.

While Todd notes there is a great opportunity in remarketing, “It’s controversial for some advertisers. Some think it’s a little creepy to follow people with messages after they left your site. Other’s find it’s phenomenal.”

The numbers bear that out because doing so leads to a 20 percent recapture.

Advertisers can become even more sophisticated and aggressive about that now, she adds. “You can find people who visited a competitors site.”

Next, marketers have to consider measuring results, attributions, and reporting. See part two: It’s all about the data

Or, you can catch her presentation at the Internet Summit. We can tell you this: she has so much take-away information we could barely keep up with it all.

Where can you get the latest on mobile and digital marketing?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Internet Summit crowd

The 2012 Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8 offers unparalleled networking opportunities and speakers from top digital brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Klout, Pando Daily, comScore, Mashable and IBM among many others.

Want to know how to make sure your business is mobile ready without spending a fortune? Concerned about how social media can be a legal landmine? Need insight into the science of Facebook engagement? Those are just a few of the topics on the agenda at next week’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, which is quickly filling available seats.

The 2012 Internet Summit, this year including the Startup Summit, brings more than 120 technology and digital marketing thought-leaders to the Raleigh, NC, Convention Center next week (Nov. 6-8) but fewer than 150 seats remain if you want to join them.

This year the Internet Summit features speakers from brands that include Google, Twitter, Adobe, The Weather Channel, AOL, Cisco, IBM, Forrester, PBS, Klout, Mashable, bing, and many others.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve interviewed a number of speakers participating in the event, which draws up to 2,000 attendees annually.

CIO challenges, mobile app development, riding the startup roller coaster

From past experience we know these previews offer only a taste of the banquet of take-away insights offered each year:

CIO challenges include several balancing acts – From Chad Smith at 3 Birds Marketing, who was named this year’s CIO of the Year by the North Carolina Technology Association. He’s on the CIO/CTO challenges panel.

How You Can Get More Results from Your Business Website (first of several articles from Boostsuite with great tips on creating, optimizing, and promoting your business website. Successful serial entrepreneur Aaron Houghton, CEO and founder of Boostsuite will discuss how to drastically lower the risk you take when you launch your new startup.


Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Fasten Your seatbelt: three tips on riding the startup roller coaster. Serial entrepreneur Joe Procopio, a networking expert and software developer who runs Triangle-based Exit Event, on keeping your eye on the ball.

Get your ground game down with mobile before you try trick plays – Bill Leake, CEO of Apogeeresults, has a wealth of practical advice on how to tackle what a business really needs in the mobile arena.

Vince Baskerville of Atlanta’s Trip Lingo on Tracking the mobile wild west: engagement is key.


Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson, Attorney with Poyner Spruill, is among the 120 digital media experts participating in the Internet Summit, Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.

You’ll also learn that Social Media Can be a landmine for businesses,” from Poyner Spruillattorney Elizabeth Johnson, who discusses legal issues of concern.

Robert Hancock of Smart Online, which has reinvented itself as a mobile app firm, will offer some best practices for mobile app development.

Randy Brown, director of the Virtual Heroes division of Applied Research Associates, will talk about “Serious games now invading the military, medical and corporate worlds.

Matt Peters, co-founder & creative director, Pandemic Labs, during his presentation at the Internet Summit in November. His company has done significant research since then on how brands can increase their Facebook engagement.

Matt Peters, co-founder and director of Pandemic Labs, a Boston-based firm that sells social media marketing and analytics services. Peters will present his “Science of Facebook engagement,” and tell you about Two changes that will boost your Facebook numbers, among other inside information based on data. (Peter’s will also speak at the Dallas Digital Summit in December.

Stephen Wellman, editor in chief at Geek Media, which publishes Slashdot, will discuss how to engage with online communities.


Stephen-Wellman, editor-in-chief at Slashdot and other Geeknet sites.

Other top speakers slated for the event include:

  • Jodi Kahn – President, iVillage
  • Duane Forrester – Sr. Product Manager, Bing
  • Scott Calise – Director of Digital Research, MTV Networks
  • Don Hoang – Director of Business Development, Klout
  • Liz Thorington – VP, Ad Sales, The Weather Channel
  • David Perry – Biz Development Executive, Google
And that’s just a sample.

This year’s event includes a new new mini-conference — the Startup Summit – focusing exclusively on digital entrepreneurship.

  • Over 120 top thought leaders & industry innovators sharing insights on topics that matter to you
  • More than 60 presentations & panels covering topics like Customer Engagement, Social Media Trends, Mobile Apps, Analytics, User Experience, Big Data, Gamification, Cloud, Search Marketing and much, much more!
  • Network and connect with around 2,000 of your peers
  • Dedicated Tech Track for IT Professionals, from the cubicle to the C-suite
  • IS Rocks – our new Music Festival at the conclusion of the conference featuring more than a dozen bands to close down IS12 in style!
  • 16 in-depth workshop sessions in our Pre-Conference led by expert interactive and marketing pros.

Register now.


Three tips for getting the most from professional networking

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

networking While some executives may shy away from in-person networking in favor of email these days, according to a new Robert Half survey, “It shouldn’t be a substitute for more traditional approaches,” says Robert Half Management Resources President David King.

“Participating in face-to-face dialogue is still fundamental in developing successful connections, particularly for business development and hiring purposes. In-person meetings build rapport in a way that electronic communication cannot,” King says.

His firm offers these tips on getting the most from your professional networking activities:

1. Strike the right balance. Meeting in person takes more time and effort but can deliver much more value in the long run.

2. Develop relationships through meetings and referrals and then stay in touch online to keep communication lines open.

3. Don’t wait until you need something to reach out or you will weaken your ties to your network. Be visible and stay in touch on a regular basis.

Next week you have a chance to network with top digital media, technology and marketing thought-leaders and up to 2,000 potential clients, partners, or employees, at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.

This year’s event includes several new events: The Startup Summit and numerous opportunities to network one-on-one.

CIO challenges include several balancing acts

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Chad Smith

Chad Smith, CIO, 3 Birds Marketing. Smith is on the CIO/CTO panel at the upcoming Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8.

Being a chief information officer (CIO) involves more than guiding a firm’s technology  initiatives, says Chad Smith, CIO at Chapel Hill, NC-based interactive marketing company 3 Birds Marketing. “A lot of times, I’m the traffic cop between the business and the technology side of the company,” he says.

Smith obviously has a handle on the CIO position. He was recently named CIO of the year by the North Carolina Technology Association and Triangle Business Journal, and is on the CIO/CTO panel at the upcoming Internet Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center Nov. 6-8. He’ll join thought leaders from top brands such as Google, AOL, IBM, bing, comScore, Klout, Twitter, Mashable, Forrester, and Adobe at the event, which expects up to 2,000 attendees.

The CIO of the year award goes to those who use IT in innovative ways to create a competitive advantage for their firm.

Smith said it was an honor to be chosen, “especially among such distinguished colleagues. The Triangle’s technology community is a vibrant, active one filled with the brightest and best. It’s one of the reasons 3 Birds chose to locate here.”

3 Birds Marketing sells a digital platform that helps clients engage customers across multiple channels, including social media, e-newsletters, blog posts, and also handles 3-campaigns and reputation management. It’s cloud-based products are sold as software-as-a-service, and Smith hastens to add, and “as software with service.”

CIO challenges

One of the toughest aspects of being a CIO, Smith says, “Is getting the business requirements for what we want to do and transform that into a product that supports 600 clients. It’s always a challenge as your team and client base start to grow, building an infrastructure to support rapid growth.”

Kristen Judd, president and co-founder of 3 Birds, said, “With the release of the Wire 1.95, our team has created a comprehensive, fully integrated software solution that has robust functionality and an extensive library of content ranging from articles to images to social media posts to campaign creative.”

She added, “Chad has been able to balance the rapid growth of our platform, against the need for functionality enhancements, and he’s done so while managing to create and foster our outstanding development team.

The company, launched in 2009, has grown from five on staff and 10 clients to 45 employees, including 10 developers, and 600 clients. It is focused on the automotive sector because its founders had expertise in that industry, but is looking at expanding services to additional verticals.

Keep the user experience intuitive

Smith says that among the challenges he faces as CIO at 3 Birds Marketing is “Finding talent to come to Chapel Hill from a development perspective. There are over 126 open jobs similar to ones we were looking to fill in the Triangle.”

Others include balancing features in the company’s product. “Making sure that what we roll out maintains the user experience so that it is intuitive. That’s a challenge.”

To meet it, he recommends, “Keep your fundamentals the same to maintain consistency in how users interact with your app so you don’t have to constantly retrain users.”

We’d vote for that attitude. Many of the software products we have used over the years introduce new versions that change so many fundamental aspects re-learning it can be a pain – and that even applies to browsers and operating systems.

But, it can be a “Constant battle,” says Smith. “A lot of times developers who think differently than designers. We take a lot of time to make sure our product is designed with the user experience in mind and challenge developers to meet their needs.”

Smith received a BS/BA in computer business information systems from the University of Arkansas. Before joining 3 Birds, Smith held a position at Transamerica Worksite Marketing where he served as business system application manager.

His past experience includes two years as a principal consultant at Edgewater Technology, as well as eight years with Acxiom Corporation, a global data management and IT consulting firm.

Building apps and making databases, he has worked for Blockbuster, American Express and CitiBank.

Originally from Arkansas, Smith has also lived and worked in the United Kingdom and Japan during his thirteen years in the industry. He relocated to North Carolina to join the 3 Birds team in 2010.

Online Marketing Tasks that Matter Most (Part 3): Content Promotion

Monday, October 29th, 2012

By Ryan Kettler

marketing scrabble tilesIn the first two articles on How Anyone Can Get More Results From a Business Website from Boostsuite, we discussed how to create and optimize new content for your website in order to attract more visitors. Today, we will talk about how you can promote that content for maximum results.

Good content requires good promotion. Just because you wrote the world’s greatest article on barbeque sauce does not mean any grilling fanatics will instantly know about it. You need to spread the word. This will drive traffic to your website, it will extend the lifespan of your article and will generate more interest faster than just relying on your existing visitors and the search engines.

Here’s a quick list of places you should be promoting and sharing your article once it’s ready to go:

  • Create a new page on your website and add the full text of the article to the page
  • Write a quick blog post introduction to the article and include a link to the full article
  • Highlight the article in a section of your email newsletter and add a link to the full version
  • Save the new article page on your website as a PDF file and email it to your sales team. Give them a one line description of the exact problem that the article solves so that they can easily identify which prospects in their pipeline will benefit from receiving it.
  • Post a short article introduction to your online support community or customer forum
  • Post the article in one of your LinkedIn Groups and ask for feedback from the group’s members
  • Create a poll or ask a question about something mentioned in the article on your company’s Facebook page
  • Create five different iterations of your article’s main headline and post each version on Twitter over a few hours. Include common hashtags that are relevant to the audience and article content.

It’s imperative to include links back to the full text version of the article on your website from each of these places. The goal here is to use promotional channels that you already have and to tease people with the information that they’ll only find by clicking back to the full article on your website.

You don’t need to do all of these at once, but more is always better. If you have only a website and a Twitter account, it’s just fine to begin there. You can always add more social properties later on.

If you write and share good content the search engines will notice it and social users will distribute it, creating more inbound links to your website.

Quality inbound links important

Inbound links are important for search engine optimization as the more quality links you have coming to your website from known sources, the more authority and trustworthiness you have with the search engines. More authority means a higher likelihood the search engines will show your website higher in their results.

Congratulations, just by starting a website content creation, optimization and promotion process your company now has a distinct marketing advantage over most of your competitors. Although most of our suggestions are very simple, most companies fail to even get started.

A small investment of your time into your business’s website is guaranteed to provide more visitors and customers over time at a very low cost. Stay tuned for the next article in this series as we’ll tell you exactly how to measure the progress your website is making as you execute the steps we’ve described so far.

Boostsuite’s founder and CEO, Aaron Houghton is among the entrepreneurial thought-leaders participating in the two-day Startup Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-8, where he’ll discuss how to drastically lower the risk you take when you launch your new startup.

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is a sports fanatic, beer connoisseur, Internet marketing zealot and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found sampling the latest IPAs and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.

BoostSuite is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners. Unlike current products that bewilder and discourage small business owners, BoostSuite allows novice web marketers to build more website traffic and convert more online visitors into customers and leads for their businesses. BoostSuite is free and takes only one minute to set up, is easy to learn, and can be used by anyone.


Startup Summit bringing entrepreneurial expertise to Raleigh event

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Internet Summit 12Entrepreneurs, VCs, Accelerators and Incubators will converge at the Startup Summit on Nov 6-7 in Raleigh. The event will feature 16 showcase demo companies in addition to 8 panels & presentations on the most pressing issues facing startups in 2012.  Startup Summit precedes the 5th Annual Internet Summit Conference held Nov 7-8 presented by TechMedia.

You’ll be all fired up and ready to conquer your space after hearing from national, regional and local Research Triangle startup founders, VCs such as Scott Maxwell, founder of OpenView Venture Partners, Laura Witt of ABS Capital, Dayna Grayson with North Bridge Venture Partners, and both Jason Caplain and David Jones of Southern Capital Ventures, among others.

Startup CEOs include Sarah Lacy, founder and editor of tech site, Pando Daily, David Morken, founder and CEO of, and Aaron Houghton, co-founder and CEO of Boostsuite, and Robbie Allen, founder and CEO of Automated Insights.

Attend the 2 day event and networking reception for just $95.  Confirmed speakers include:

* 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 Grayson, Principal, North 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
* Aaron Houghton, Co-Founder & CEO, BoostSuite

Register here:

Get your ground game down with mobile before trying trick plays

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Bill Leake

Bill Leake, CEO of ApogeeResults, is a veteran of McKinsey & Co. and Dell Computers. He is one of 120 digital marketing thought-leaders participating in the Internet Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-8.

Ad agencies may try to sell on the idea of letting them build you an expensive mobile app. That’s fine for some companies, “But others might not need to spend that money,” says Bill Leake, CEO of

Leake has created one of the 20 largest independent online marketing agencies in the United States. Apogee has been instrumental in building dozens of “Internet Retailer 500” and “Software 500” and venture capital backed companies. It works with top global brands such as Whole Foods, IBM, SAP and Hewlett Packard.

While iPhones and tablets have made mobile much more of a real thing, “There is still a lot of hype about mobile,” says Leake. “It’s more of a real thing, but still not for everyone. Folks don’t do a lot of hard core research or interactivity that takes a lot of typing on a smartphone. You have to keep in mind how everything changes on mobile.”

Leake is one of 120 thought-leaders, game changers and marketing gurus participating in this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, which this year includes a Startup Summit sponsored by TechMedia’s 2013 Southeast Venture Conference set for Charlotte, NC in March.

Back to marketing basics

Leake suggests the way to approach mobile is to “Get back to the basics of marketing. Who is your customer and how does he like do things? Do you want a mobile app or just a mobile web site? The Google Places piece of Google Plus offers a free mobile web site and probably 50 percent of businesses would do just fine with setting up a Google Places profile.”

“People are getting snookered with mobile apps instead of microsites. Sometimes a mobile app is a game changer, but many get lost in the Apple store. The world is littered with mobile apps no one can find.”

Instead of spending $100,000 on a mobile app, he suggests, “Spend $20,000 on the app and $80,000 on media so people find it.”

You need to be in the mobile pool, he adds, “But it may not be time to dive in from the 50-foot high board. Stay in the shallow end unless you have the budget top learn and fail.”

Get your ground game down

Putting it another way, he says, “Get your ground game down before doing trick plays. Really complicated apps are trick plays with a high failure rate.”

One of the best approaches to a mobile strategy, he says, is to “Let it be an extension of what works well in other places. It’s going from beach volleyball to indoor. It’s not a new game. The form factor just changes a little.

Too many ad agencies tend to view their clients as their artistic patrons, Leake says. “I’ve run into so many creative types who believe the client lives to support their art.”

When a client asks how much they need to spend on a web site, the agency says, “How much was your SBA grant? That’s how much you need to spend.”

They use expensive, slow-loading flash art work. “It’s the height of arrogance,” says Leake. “Flash can be good if embedded in a humble way that downloads a quick bit of HTML saying we have this other thing to show you, but you can bypass it if you want to. But just waiting 20 seconds with no explanation? It’s like the news networks telling you what to believe every night.”

They will judge you on speed

Similar arrogance leads to overdone mobile projects. “A lot of times,” Leake says, “you just need a first level mobile app. People on mobile will judge you on speed. Have things far less graphic with fewer functions.”

All of which, he notes, “Flies in the face of what the typical creative agency wants. They can’t build as much with text as they can with moving pictures.”

Focus, he says, “On what you are trying to do and what your clients are doing. It doesn’t need to be award-winning; it needs to be good enough.”

Think about building something “reasonably” stable that doesn’t need to be replaced every six months, he suggests.

Consider such elements as how to minimize data input challenges. “Thumbs are a pain in the rear,” he says. You have to realize that typing is not the same as on a regular keyboard.

Bring hyper local to the fore

Right now a lot of retailers should be thinking about how to use mobile to defend against the Amazons of the world. So a mobile app or web site should let users know, can they get a certain product? Is it in the store? Will they match lower prices?

“What we’re not seeing enough of is sending mobile ads to someone sitting in a coffee shop within walking distance of a store.”

Also, he says, “Mobile should not be viewed as an isolated silo. It needs to integrate into a full marketing strategy. It’s mission critical for some, but in a lot of cases it’s not. You’re not going to choose what car to buy on a smartphone.”

Marketers also need separate strategies for smartphones and tablets, he adds. “People toss around the word “mobile” casually and apply it to both.”

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



Startup movie night offers documentary look at Durham

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

DurhamDVDBy Joe Procopio

Tonight (Oct. 17) at 7:00 p.m., Argyle Social founder and CEO Eric Boggs will present Startup Movie Night at Motorco in Durham. The film, Durham: A Self-Portrait, is a documentary by Emmy-winning filmmaker Steven Channing and covers over 100 years of Durham History, from the birth of the tobacco era and “Black Wall Street,” right up to the Duke Lacrosse case.

Channing will also provide remarks.

The film ends its story a few years ago, and that’s right about the time Durham began its evolution into an up-and-coming and much-hyped startup hub. So it makes sense that over 100 people from in and around the entrepreneurial community here have already signed up for tonight’s screening.

But why a movie night?

Well. You’ve got to know the guy. It’s not just a movie for entrepreneurs anywhere. It’s this movie, for these entrepreneurs, in this city.

Funny story:

Right around ten years ago when I was at startup number eight, someone in HR there got the wacky idea to take everyone out on a field trip to see, the independent film that chronicled the rise and subsequent spectacular fall of new media company govWorks.

The documentary traced the rise and fall of a dot com in the heady early years of Internet commerce.

HR never talked to me about things like this. I pushed out the product, they did the teambuilding. But having already seen, I made the case that this was probably not a good idea. In fact, it was an awful idea. It was akin to showing Pop-Warner football players 90 minutes of The NFL’s Most Horrible Injuries Hosted by Joe Theisman.

Needless to say, at the end of 90-minutes, morale at that startup hit an all time low.

This is not that.

Boggs is all about Durham, and he’s also about documentaries. He sits on the board of the Southern Documentary Fund, which provides financing, workshops, feedback, and distribution to independent filmmakers in the region. Much like an incubator.

A little while ago, he screened Durham: A Self-Portrait for his Argyle employees and investors.  The response was so positive (and motivating) that he decided to do it again and expand.

The result was the organization of Startup Movie Night, sponsored by The Southern Documentary Fund, American Underground,Triangle Tech Talk,
Synergy Commercial Advisors,
BoostSuite, Argyle Social,Appia,
PMC Commercial Interiors, and
Haworth Office Furniture.

Knowing Boggs’ appreciation for docs and Durham, the film is somewhat an obvious choice, but it’s also the right film for the audience. The vibe that permeates startup culture is the same one that has built the name for Durham over the last several years. So in charting where you’re going, it helps to know where you came from, and this film, for these people, does just that.

That’s the plan, anyway.

If you’re not already registered, you can RSVP via the Eventbrite.

For a review of by TechJournal editor Allan Maurer see: review.

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio (@jproco) is a serial entrepreneur who currently heads up product engineering for startup Automated Insights, which is also StatSheet. He also founded and runs startup network ExitEvent. You can read him at