Friday Nooner: RIoT’s Tom Snyder Talks Future Of RIoT, Virginia Tech Football

This week, the GrepBeat team of Pete, Joe and re-occurring co-host Jackie welcomed RIoT Executive Director Tom Snyder to the show.

Jackie gave Pete (and viewers) a live lesson in Photography 101, and Pete talks about his success taking photos in Pendo’s wicked cool penthouse HQ at last night’s Demo Day event for CED’s GRO Incubator. Pete reveals that he was early to college classes—did y’all know he went to Williams College?—and Jackie gave the weekly GrepBeat roundup, including the long-awaited release of Robbie Allen’s Exit Stories feature and the GrepBeat team’s Shark Tank host preferences after Apex-based “The Woobles” received investment from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner (Jackie shares that she is more of a Barbara Corcoran fan herself).

Tom Snyder reveals that the “R” in “RIoT” stands for… nothing! “It works for us,”  Snyder said, of the letter that used to stand for “Raleigh” and then “Regional” before RIoT’s expanding presence made those descriptors too limiting. Tom gives the RIoT origin story—the Wake-Forest based Wireless Research Center (WRC) bought up high-tech lab equipment for “pennies on the dollars” in the depths of the ’08 recession to provide low-cost space for innovators, and RIoT eventually spun off to further support entrepreneurs. The organization is now active in Raleigh, Wilson, N.C. and Stafford, Va., and soon (perhaps) in Denver, Colo.

Here are three takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • RIoT’s core thread is data. This allows them to work with people in a variety of markets, from pet cremations to smart cities. The top three things they look for in companies are interesting, meaningful problems to solve; coachability of founders; and being “fun.”
  • So what does “IoT” (Internet of Things) mean in a changing, data-driven world? “Every company is a data company,” Snyder said, from embedding hardware to collecting data to automate processes across sectors. The future of IoT? Realtime data and edge computing, Snyder said. Joe points out that this is the precursor to the Matrix and Nanobots, and begs mercy for the GrepBeat team if Snyder becomes leader once computers (or Woobles) become sentient.
  • After Snyder’s brief but dramatic exit due to internet connectivity woes, the team talked about last week’s UNC-Virginia Tech football game. Snyder’s team (the wrong team, in this Tar Heel’s humble opinion) lost, but fortunately for him, his premium tickets were only $40.

You can catch the full episode on LinkedIn here or Facebook here.

Or on YouTube:

Auditory learners should listen (and subscribe!) to the podcast version: