Friday Nooner: Archie O’Connor Gears Us Up For Raleigh-Durham Startup Week

Welcome back to another edition of GrepBeat’s Friday Nooner! Today’s guest is Archie O’Connor, the co-founder of the (mostly) free Raleigh-Durham Startup Week, which will return to the Triangle next Tuesday through Thursday, April 18-20. (We wrote a full preview of the event here.) GrepBeat will be hosting a happy hour to cap Tuesday’s events from 5-7 p.m. at Bull McCabe’s that’s even better than free—your first round will be courtesy of our sponsor, Dualboot Partners. (Please register here so we know how many to expect.)

This week GrepBeat published a story on Durham-based Bionic Health, the latest startup from serial entrepreneur (and former For Starters host) Robbie Allen. The fact that Bionic Health raised $3M led to a long discussion-slash-argument between Joe and Pete about the 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man—who was also dubbed the Bionic Man—that focused on how much less the tech that fueled the Bionic Man would cost today, given Moore’s Law.

In more local news, Teamworks (GrepBeat neighbors from right across Parrish Street) raised $65 million in a Series E funding round and has made a number of acquisitions over the last year. Joe said the Triangle is filled with tech companies that partner with private equity firms to make “tucked-in” acquisitions as a way to grow their businesses. For Teamworks, its goal is to dominate sports technology and eventually have a successful exit. As he has before, Joe advises a startup to have at least $100 million in annual revenue before going public.

Here are some highlights from guest Archie O’Connor’s time on the show:

  • Archie said Raleigh-Durham Startup Week is a “super connector” event oriented towards startup founders that will provide a “master class” of information to attendees. A number of entrepreneurs and founders with success stories (like Joe) will advise those just getting started and serve on discussion-based panels on various issues in the startup community. And, an impressive group of Triangle VCs and investors will host office hours to give one-on-one advice to founders. 
  • Compared to other tech conferences at hotels filled with “fake plants and bad coffee,” RDSW will take place at multiple locations in Durham (on Tuesday and Wednesday) and Raleigh (Thursday). Each day will feature 16 panels as part of four “master tracks” of programming, capped by socializing and drinks. All but the evening events are free, though for the record Tuesday’s GrepBeat Happy Hour is also free.
  • Archie said he and his team bootstrapped this event just like many of them bootstrapped their own companies. Startup Week is fueled by genuine community interest and founders wanting to spread their knowledge. Last year was the inaugural in-person event, but Archie and his co-founder Chris Heivly (a former Friday Nooner guest himself) have been planning since before the pandemic. 
  • He also added that Startup Week is one step towards catalyzing a series of community-building events to celebrate the broader culture in the Triangle.

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

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