The inaugural Grep-a-palooza will be held on Thursday, June 9, at the Durham Convention Center. The full-day conference will focus on early-stage tech startups in the Triangle. Get your tickets here.
Here’s some of what you have to look forward to:
8:30 a.m. Registration, Coffee and Networking
9:10 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:15 a.m. Opening Keynote: Todd Olson, Pendo CEO
10:00 a.m. Morning Networking Break
10:30 a.m. Panel #1: Early-Stage VC Funding Outlook, moderated by CED’s Hunter Young
11:15 a.m. GrepTank (our take on Shark Tank)
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Panel #2: Getting To Growth Stage And Beyond, moderated by Spiffy CEO Scot Wingo
1:45 p.m. Panel #3: Start The Presses! (aka Getting Media Coverage For Your Startup), moderated by GrepBeat’s Pete McEntegart
2:30 p.m. Afternoon Networking Break
3:00 p.m. Closing Keynote: David Morken, Bandwidth CEO
3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks
4:00 p.m. After-Party (at Bull McCabe’s, 427 W Main St)
Here’s a deeper dive on each session:
Opening Keynote: Todd Olson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Raleigh-based Pendo, which helps companies deliver digital experiences that users love. If you chart a line from Todd’s start as a 14-year-old coding (for pay) for MBNA Corp to being CEO of a unicorn, it would seem that his path has been straight up and to the right, much like Pendo’s. But reality is rarely that simple, and this serial entrepreneur has experienced his share of setbacks along the way.
Panel #1: Early-Stage VC Funding Outlook
Moderator: Hunter Young, Head of Capital, CED
Panelists: Joe Darcy, Principal, IDEA Fund Partners; David Jones, General Partner, Bull City Venture Partners; Tim McLoughlin, Partner, Cofounders Capital
What It’s About: We’ll discuss the latest trends in the funding outlook for early-stage startups. Such as: Has the pandemic-inspired Zoom Revolution made capital more mobile than ever? How (if at all) do recent stock market woes and rising interest rates impact the checks that VCs write? What’s the best way to land a check for your startup?
Judges: Alex Biermann, Portfolio Analyst, VentureSouth; Jan Davis, Founder of Davis Growth Partners; Eva Doss, President & CEO, The Launch Place
Presenting Startups: Sorry, no spoilers!
What It’s About: In our twist on Shark Tank, three Triangle startups (names to be revealed onstage) will present in front of our panel of judges. The judges will grill each of the startups and then decide how—and whether—to allocate their (fictional) $2 million in capital. Audience members will also have a chance to pick the startup they’d most want to invest in.
Panel #2: Getting To Growth Stage And Beyond
Moderator: Scot Wingo, CEO, Spiffy (among many other things)
Panelists: Chris Geiss, Co-Founder and CEO, Seguno; Melissa Phillippi, Co-Founder and CEO, WorkDove; Ricci Wolman, Co-Founder and CEO, Written Word Media
What It’s About: Led by serial entrepreneur Scot Wingo as moderator, this panel of growth-stage founders will discuss the many hurdles that need to be cleared to go from $0 to $1M in annual revenue. Of course, getting there doesn’t mean that the race is won. Rather, it brings a whole new slate of challenges to go from $1M to $10M—and, ideally, beyond.
Panel #3: Start The Presses! (aka Getting Media Coverage For Your Startup)
Moderator: Pete McEntegart, Managing Editor, GrepBeat
Panelists: Chantal Allam, Writer, WRAL TechWire; Lauren Ohnesorge, Senior Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal; Sarah Segal, Founder, Segal Communications
What It’s About: Founders often hope to get positive media coverage of their startups. What’s the best way to achieve that? Should you hire a PR firm? Will flattery get you everywhere, or even anywhere? What’s the best way to break through the inbox crush? And how important is getting press, anyway?
Closing Keynote: David Morken is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bandwidth, which went from humble beginnings in a spare bedroom in 1999 to its current status as a publicly-traded company that has also spun off several other successful companies. Bandwidth is currently building a sprawling new HQ in Raleigh that will include a soccer field, a gym, an amphitheater and a Montessori school. A former Marine, David will describe how he’s built a “spirit-oriented” company and what that means to him.
After-Party: Please join us at Bull McCabe’s, which is just down the block from the Convention Center at 427 W Main St. Attendees will have two tickets in their registration packet that they can cash in for free drinks at the event. Though the After-Party will be open to all, whether or not they attended Grep-a-palooza.