Big names top Startup Summit lineup; event founders have plans to expand


DURHAM – Startup Summit, an event series that aims to educate and connect local entrepreneurs and investors, is hosting its second annual full-day conference in October. And bigger things are coming in the future, the organizers say.

The event is packed with panels, keynotes, breakout sessions and networking, all taking place October 10 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Archie K. Davis Conference Center. The lineup features top investors and entrepreneurs in the Triangle speaking about their experience with growing successful businesses.

The program kicks off with a keynote from Bob Young, co-founder and former CEO of Red Hat, who will deliver a talk on how founders can build an early customer base to fund their startups. Then, an investment panel will cover fundraising best-practices, with Elaine Bolle of RTP Capital, Lister Delgado of IDEA Fund Partners, Thom Rhue of NC IDEA and Tye Nordberg of Atrium Strategic Fund and David Gardner of Cofounders Capital (moderator).

Tickets to Startup Summit are $85 (or $20 for students).

WRAL TechWire readers can get a 25%-off discount using this link.

The audience can attend breakout sessions covering mental health and startup success, best-practices on hiring top talent and landing the right job, sales success and a guide to early liquidity.

PDI Drywall Inc. Founder and CEO Mikki Paradis, will also deliver a keynote about her experience being a woman CEO in a male-dominated industry.

Next, Walk West CEO Donald Thompson will moderate a panel about diversity, with speakers Teri Harrel of Red Hat, Melanie Sanders of Walk West, John Samuel of LCI Tech and Jamelle Eugene of Gryppers.

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To close the event, Pendo CEO Todd Olson and Spiffy CEO Scot Wingo will present “13 Tips for Scaling a B2B or B2C Business.”

Startup Summit’s agenda also includes “Investor Office Hours” with top VCs and angel investors from around the Triangle, including Bull City Venture Partners, Cofounders Capital, IDEA Fund Partners, IMAF-RTP, NC IDEA, NC State’s Wolfpack Investor Network, RTP CapitalTriangle Angel Partners and UNC’s Carolina Angel Network. Attendees can also spend their breaks at “Consulting Corners” to speak one-on-one with experts in sales, hiring, marketing, business intelligence and funding.

Startup Summit Co-Founder Keith Washo says the goal for the event is to “help startups and entrepreneurs learn and apply what they learn to reach the summit of success in both their personal and professional lives.”

Washo started Startup Summit in 2018 with Mark Bavisotto, who previously led the Triangle chapter of Startup Grind until stepping down to focus on running Startup Summit full time.

Last October, the inaugural Startup Summit conference brought in around 250 people at NC State’s Hunt Library. Startup Summit also runs quarterly “Learn and Network” nights, the latest of which included a talk with Eric Wagner, CEO of Apex brewing company BruePrint.

Photo shoot: Names, faces in the big crowd at Startup Summit

Talking tech in Triangle: New ventures, diversity, cash, connections at Startup Summit

The series will soon be expanding beyond the Triangle and up the east coast to New York, Bavisotto’s home state. Startup Summit is going live with a conference in Rochester on October 24 and planning to launch a chapter in Buffalo by Q1 2020.

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Washo and Bavisotto are also bringing the program to Charlotte soon, planning a holiday “Learn and Network Night” and a half-day day conference in March 2020.

“We chose Charlotte because it’s like a sister brother city to Raleigh—being close in proximity—and has a growing startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem that often gets overlooked when it comes to resources and funding to help startups thrive,” Washo says. “We believe with a Startup Summit offering present in Charlotte, it can be a valuable resource to help people succeed more in their startup and entrepreneurship endeavors.”

“We believe at this rate if Startup Summit keeps growing we can be at 50 chapters throughout the U.S. in five years, specifically in under-served cities that really need startup and entrepreneurship resources,” Washo adds.

Startup Summit 2019





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