Monday, July 14, 2014

Don't just take our word for it...four NC entrepreneurs share why the CED Tech Venture Conference is worth it

Attention CED Members & Entrepreneurs: The deadline to apply for Demo & Showcase opportunities at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2014 is this Thursday (7/17). Apply now 

Justin Benson, Spreedly
"Spreedly has presented at the last two CED Tech Venture events. While we ultimately raised our seed round with money from outside the Triangle, the conference helped us build important connections to VCs with an eye on a Series A round. There are several other reasons why we find the event to be very helpful. First, it's very hard to replicate the invaluable experience of telling your story live on stage in front of a group of investors and other participants. Second, you are also presenting to possible future employees and/or local partners- the HR and sales side should not be ignored. Finally, the more interesting and high-caliber companies that present, the more likely the visiting investor pool is to grow in the future. So it's also a  "pay it forward" strategy. See you at the conference this year!"
David Rose, PRSONAS
"Thank goodness I didn’t let the CED Tech Venture Conference 2013 fly past. Putting PRSONAS front and center at the two-day Raleigh gathering was one of the best decisions I’ve made . . . as a result, our young company generated: 1) More than 100 in-depth interactions; 2) 10 new potential partner and solid customer leads; 3) A radio interview with Business Radio X; 4) A speaking invitation at a prestigious industry conference; 5) An invitation to write this guest blog you’re reading right now; 6) Timely and relevant material for three company-generated blogs and 10 social media posts which will be read and shared for weeks to come. That’s a lot to accomplish for a two-day event! If only all my decisions turned out that well, I’d sleep a lot better at night." Read More
Matt Williamson, Windsor Circle
"It is often said that investors look for lines, not dots. Seeing an entrepreneurial company for the first time is a "dot." Seeing that same company several more times provides more "dots." Connect those dots and you have a line. When Windsor Circle first launched in 2011, we participated at the CED Tech Venture Conference as a Demo Company and provided our first "dot". Our team and our seed investors provided some nice buzz and put us on the map as a company to watch. In 2012, we were excited to present at Tech Venture again to provide our next "dot" . . . being a Demo Company at CED Tech Venture has been a powerful tool for helping us establish our line, and we're excited about what lays ahead." Read More
Phil Verghis, Klever
"September 17, 2013 was a big day for us at Klever (Knowledge Lever). This was the day we were planning to exit our beta, go live, and the day we spoke as one of the 2013 CED showcase companies. Though it took a lot of time to prepare for both events, I dont: regret it one bit. Here’s why: 1) ExposureAs a relatively recent transplant from Boston, it was a good way to meet people in the local startup ecosystem; 2) Connections: On the demo floor, we met with two executives who have since taken an active part in giving us continued feedback. We made connections with prospective customers/investors/service providers; 3) Paying it forward: Another good reason to participate is connecting with fellow entrepreneurs who are in the same boat. It’s easy to share and give back when people are at different stages in their startup journey. We are looking forward to coming back in 2014!
To be considered for a main stage Showcase Company pitch, all interested companiesmust apply by Thursday, July 17th. A selection committee will review all applications and the official lineup will be announced in early August.

Demo & Showcase Application Deadline: Thursday, July 17
Apply now


For more information about the CED Tech Venture Conference and benefits to entrepreneurs, please visit: www.cednc.org/techventure.

Understanding the Content Marketing Hype: What It Means for Business Owners



Guest Post by Christina Motley, Christina Motley LLC   

 

Content marketing is among the hottest buzzwords in the marketing community. In fact, some considered 2013 to be the “Year of Content Marketing.” If you Google this term, you will find 877 million results in less than 2 seconds. So, what exactly is content marketing? And, what can it do for your business?

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable action.” Marketing formats include news, videos, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles and photos.

The list above may seem like the standard marketing tools with which you’re already familiar. You may be wondering, “What makes content marketing different?” The difference is that the focus of content marketing is on communicating, not selling, to your prospects and customers. The ultimate goal is to inspire brand loyalty by providing consistent and valuable content.

As a business owner, how can you successfully incorporate content marketing into your existing marketing strategy? The following takeaways from the Content Marketing Boot Camp by the American Society of Professional Education (@ASPE_ROI) will shed some light on this subject.

Top Three Things to Know about Content Marketing

  • Know Your Audience – The more you know about your target audience(s), the better you can tailor content to them. Among the things to know are their occupation, age, gender, marital status, education level, interests, geographic location, household income and where they consume their information.
  • Attention is the New Currency – In content commerce, you compete with every other fragment of life that is demanding your audience’s attention. Thomas Davenport and John Beck say, “Unless companies learn to effectively capture, manage, and keep it–both internally and out in the marketplace–they’ll fall hopelessly behind.” Read their groundbreaking book The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business.
  • Less Than 8 Seconds – This is all the time you have to capture someone’s attention on a web page, according to an Associated Press (AP) survey. The survey reported 17% of page views lasted less than 4 seconds while views over 10 minutes were only 4%. 
Six Tips for Rising Above the Noise 
  1. Thought-Leadership Position your business as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to stand out from the crowd. Provide consistent information about your area of expertise or industry. For example, look at Lisa Barone’s video, What Stuttering Taught Me About Running a Business.
  2. Stop Selling and Start Helping – Your target audience is inundated with marketing messages. Traditional marketing tactics no longer have the same impact in our multi-tasking society. According to Nielsen, 88% of U.S. tablet owners use their devices while watching TV. This means your content needs to be better, focused and more helpful than your competitors’ to grab and hold someone’s attention.
  3. Where’s the Good Stuff? Gather valuable and relevant content using mobile apps like Zite, It analyzes millions of articles daily, delivering the best of your favorite magazines, newspapers, authors, blogs.
  4. Show Don’t Tell – This is an essential best practice tactic of content marketing. Videos continue to rise in popularity. In fact, YouTube is currently the second largest search engine. Platforms like Instagram and Vine continue to grow in popularity with 130 million and 13 million users, respectively.
  5. Do Better – Start small and make gradual improvements. Effective content marketing requires patience; so don’t take on more than you can manage. Consistency is also key to delivering regular and valuable content.
  6. Analytics, Analytics, Analytics – Content marketing is constant and an investment. It is critical to measure and evaluate the data behind the content – page views, shares, likes, comments, etc. – to adapt, adjust and experience content marketing success. 

Content marketing may be among the hottest search terms, but it is a strategy that’s here to stay. Invest the time and resources into building and implementing a content marketing strategy.

To guide you through this process, download your free white paper: Key Components to an Effective Content Marketing Strategy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is the Triangle Investing in the Wrong Things?

Originally posted by Bill Spruill on the Nctechocrat Blog. Bill is a mentor in CED's Venture Mentoring Service and current member of the Board of Directors.

Read a interesting article this a.m. in the WSJ by Chris Mims. His premise is that Silicon Valley investors have in general stopped focusing on investment in hard technology and innovation in order to focus dollars on things like faster delivery and better social networking.

I found this to be interesting as it ties into a set of thoughts I’ve shared with my network around how the Triangle community should differentiate itself by focusing on its strengths in material science, agritech, computer visualization, nanotech and hospitality (yes did you know NCCU has a top class hospitality program?).

Currently much of our investment and company building focus has been applied towards deals that compete with SV type deals. These are companies that drive eyeballs, focus on advertising or attempt to produce the next world class app that will shake the iUniverse or Android user base. One of my most admired entrepeneurs (and a friend of mine) in the area was a top student in the Chemical Engineering program at NCSU but he is focused on a social dynamic problem that is interesting but not a innovative BIG problem to solve.

I’m a big believer in playing to your strengths. Our strengths are our abilities in hard science and technology. We as a community should consider aligning ourselves towards these strengths versus feeding into an investment bubble that is possibly unsustainable over the long haul.
It might be harder and require a longer term investment horizon but the results could be so much larger and impactful on the global stage. The article is here

Monday, July 7, 2014

Five Reasons Why Tech Venture Conference is a Can't Miss Event

CED’s Program Intern Kim Sikkel shares her thoughts on five reasons why you don’t want to miss CED’s Tech Venture Conference. Stay tuned to the Start Something blog for a number of upcoming updates from entrepreneurs and speakers in the weeks to come!
 
1)      Tech venture is a great opportunity to learn. Whether you’re interested in Digital Health, Design Thinking or Data, CED Tech Venture is pulling out all the stops to help you learn more about the future of tech and how the IoT revolution will change our lives. You will hear from the best and brightest in the field on a number of provocative topics, keeping your “techie” status well in check. Take a look at our agenda here.
2)      Did we mention the best and brightest? Check out our wonderfully diverse speakers list online and you will find that Alec Sokolow (Oscar nominated screenwriter), Philip Alvelda (founder of TaDa and MobiTV), and Vincent Padua (IBM Watson), among others, will be joining us in September to share their knowledge and tips for success.
3)      You’ll definitely want to network. Not only will we have great speakers on stage but hundreds of fellow tech leaders (entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners, etc.) present to learn from and share ideas with. You never know who you might bump into—your next investor, partner, or mentor could be waiting around the corner.
4)      It’s a great opportunity to get exposure for your start-up. If you’re an entrepreneur, apply to be a showcase company and pitch your ideas to an audience or reserve a demo table to showcase your product alongside other companies. 600 attendees will get exposure to your company and you’ll be in good company with the rest of the region’s best and brightest. The deadline to apply is Thursday, July 17th.
5)      Support the NC entrepreneurial community. Come be amazed and inspired by your peers and the fellow tech community as we continue to build something really special. We are confident you’ll come away with the opinion that NC is playing a starring role in the future of all things tech.
Check out our Tech Venture page on the CED website for all the information you’ll need – from registration, to entrepreneur information, to speaker biographies and the agenda. See you in September!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Arbovax Closing In On Vaccine For Chikungunya


RALEIGH, N.C., June 19, 2014 – Arbovax, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, has successfully demonstrated in an animal model the efficacy of its vaccine technology for the treatment of Chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus that has recently emerged in the US.  “There was a major outbreak in the Caribbean that started last December in St Martin and quickly spread to other islands. To date there has been over 130,000 cases, so it was only a question of time before it came to the US and we have an effective means to combat it,” said Arbovax CEO Malcolm Thomas.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 17, 2014 there are 80 confirmed cases of Chikungunya in thirteen states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  Fifty seven of those cases are in people who recently visited the Caribbean. Once a person becomes infected, there’s an incubation period of three to seven days.  The most common signs of the virus are fever and multiple joint pains. The virus is not usually fatal but extremely painful; it arose in Africa in the 1950s, the name “Chikungunya” comes from the Makonde language meaning ‘bent out of shape” describing the contortion brought on by the pain of the virus.

The Arbovax core technology is a whole virus vaccine developed by Drs. Dennis Brown and Raquel Hernandez of North Carolina State University. In animal tests, the vaccine has shown that it can provide a practical and cost-effective means to fight chikungunya and other mosquito borne viral diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.


Contact:

Malcolm Thomas

President and CEO
Arbovax, Inc.
(919) 655 0412 x301
mthomas@arbovax.com
www.arbovax.com

Monday, June 30, 2014

Angel Investors, Entrepreneurs to Earn their Wings at Angel Resource Institute’s Educational Workshops



WILMINGTON, NC – The Angel Resource Institute (ARI) is hosting two educational workshops for angel investors and entrepreneurs in Greensboro, N.C., July 10 and 12. ARI, a global nonprofit dedicated to education and research in the early-stage space, will present Valuation of Early-Stage Companies and Funding High-Growth Ventures. Greensboro resident and ARI lead instructor Troy Knauss will lead the four-hour courses, sharing his personal experiences as both an exited-entrepreneur and investor. Early bird registration is now open; early bird registrants receive an exclusive rate and a signed copy of Knauss’s book, Get In Get Out: 100 Rules for Successful Start-Up Deals. Seating is limited. For more information, visit www.haloworkshops.com. Participants may register at www. haloworkshops.com/register/.

“I know first-hand how risky and competitive the market is for startups,” Knauss said. “ARI empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, insight, and realistic expectations to get the capital they need to fund their ideas.”


ARI’s workshops are designed to get entrepreneurs and investors on the same page, both before and after a deal. These programs walk attendees through proven best practices in angel investing. Valuation of Early-Stage Companies is a critical course for the life of any early-stage deal. Knauss will review the fundamental approaches to properly valuing an early-stage company while comparing start-ups in North Carolina and the southeast to national data provided by ARI’s Halo Report. Funding High-Growth Ventures details components of the deal that are valuable to both investors and start-ups. The course includes a how-to guide and detailed explanations of building, growing and exiting businesses. 


For more information on these programs or to schedule an interview with Troy Knauss, contact JJ Knight at 910.523.5503 or email her at
jj@angelresource.org.

About ARI –
The Angel Resource Institute, founded in 2006, is an innovative nonprofit that focuses on delivering top-notch education on proven best practices in angel investing to both entrepreneurs and investor, as well as providing the most robust data trends in angel investing through the quarterly ARI Halo Report. ARI’s commitment to producing premier education and research is rooted in its relationship with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which originally developed ARI. ARI is currently expanding its research initiatives to countries such as India, Canada, Australia, Scotland, and England, with global education workshops already delivered in Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, India, Turkey, Australia, Hong Kong, Poland, England, Mexico, Indonesia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore.