Undergoing Changes

You may have noticed that the CED Website and member-area are undergoing changes. We're working to better serve you. Our blog will remain here, covering member news and stories from the Triangle.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Spring Interning with CED

Guest post by CED's Spring Intern Claire Strickland, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication

My internship at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the Southeast’s largest entrepreneurial support organization, was a rewarding and educational experience. Located in the heart of the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, CED embodies the innovative spirit that continues to characterize the Triangle. Not only did I grow professionally, I also gained insights into the area’s growing tech and life science industries.
(L-R) CED's Jane Royall and Claire Strickland
working registration at the CED Life Science Conference 2104
As a marketing and development intern, my day-to-day responsibilities included, but not limited to, updating the community calendar, promoting entrepreneurship-focused events through online marketing (social media, blogging), and developing promotional materials. I worked directly with Jane Royall (CED’s Development Manager) to assist with planning events and strategically organizing online promotion campaigns around these events. I also helped execute the social media plan for CED’s LifeScience Conference. Through Twitter alone, CED reached about 1 million users' timelines during the conference.

In addition, I completed several research presentations on CED’s development. One focused on organizations similar to CED and their various marketing approaches. Another presentation focused on rebranding and marketing CED’s annual Tech Venture Conference. Finally, I had the opportunity to attend several CED events, such as its Life Science Conference and Annual Meeting, where I met many prominent local entrepreneurs. My exposure with those individuals was both stimulating and fun.

With an open and friendly office environment, I never felt as if my duties at CED were menial. There is a real sense of community and collaboration at CED. Interning under a group of individuals who’re so deeply passionate about what they do has been an incredible experience. I learned key time management, communication, writing, marketing, and research skills that I can’t wait to apply to my future career. If you’re interested in learning more about the Triangle’s exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem, I highly recommend this internship! In fact, they need some for the summer!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cresa Represents Nutanix with Office Space Expansion in Durham, NC

Durham, N.C. — April 10, 2014 — Due to unprecedented growth in their operations, Nutanix, the leading provider of advanced datacenter infrastructure solutions, has executed a new lease increasing their office space from 2,687 square feet to 16,593 square feet. Marlene Spritzer, CCIM and Edwin Yarbrough IV of Cresa Carolinas, and Mike Mordaunt of Cresa San Jose, recently represented Nutanix on the expansion to North Carolina and the expansion of their space in the Research Triangle Park submarket to the Measurement Building in Downtown Durham. Cresa is the nation’s largest corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents owner occupants and tenants.

Nutanix plans to take possession of 16,593 square foot facility in August 2014. Cresa Carolinas’ Project Management group will provide project oversight for the expansion and move into the new office space in Durham. The new location provides Nutanix with numerous amenities such as closer location to restaurants, housing, hotels, recreation and other amenities important to Nutanix’s professional team.  

“Durham’s reputation as the epicenter for growing businesses makes the location a strong fit for Nutanix’s office expansion plans,” said David Freeman, vice president of finance at Nutanix. “We actively sought a location that provided modern solutions for our team members and this revitalized area of Durham became a clear choice for Nutanix.”

About Cresa
Cresa is an international corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants and specializes in the delivery of fully integrated real estate services, including: Transaction Management, Project Management, Strategic Planning, Corporate Solutions, Site Selection, Lease Administration, Capital Markets, Mission Critical Solutions, Relocation Management, and Facilities Management. For more information, visit www.cresa.com.

Sallie Jarosz

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The View from the Outside

Guest Post by CED's Dhruv Patel, Director of Programs

Part of CED’s mission is to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.  I just spent the last 10 days traveling from one side of the country to the other spending time with investors - VCs, Angels and corporate. My goal was to be an ambassador for the region, but more importantly build relationships that may one day be the right connections to help our companies grow and succeed.

Here’s what my week looked like:

  • On March 26 -28th, I attended the National Angel Capital Association Summit in Washington D.C.This annual event is where we learn about trends in angel investing and most importantly connect with groups interested in investing in the region. There are over 600+ angel investors from around the world in attendance with a strong showing from the southeast angels. See ACA’s summary of key events - http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/blog
  • From DC, I flew to the west coast for a week.  I was part of the Raleigh-Durham contingent at the Google for Entrepreneurs first Demo Day in Mountain View, San Francisco.  

While I was there, I used the opportunity to reconnect with supporters of the Research Triangle region now living in these areas and introduce new groups to the region. You may recall, CED President Joan Siefert Rose talked about “CED 3.0” and the role CED can play with our partners to accelerate the region and how we can help make the most impact for the companies we serve. 

     My observations (b/w ACA Summit and West Coast Trip):

Angels Are For Real and on the Rise
The 2013 Halo Report was released at the ACA Summit, which finds angel activity on the rise with more deals closed in 2013 vs 2012. California continues to lead the most number of deals as well as the largest share, yet angel investments overall are becoming more evenly distributed across the rest of the nation. In 2013, 67% of angel group dollars were invested in California, New England, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast.  The same five regions completed 63% of the total deals.

Here is a really great Infographic that provides a snapshot on deal size, sectors, most active funds and geography (would love to see the Triangle on there).

Other key trends from my trip to the ACA Summit include the fact that syndication is critical and is a growing trend among Angel groups. Also, family offices are increasingly playing a big a role – writing bigger checks and actively investing. 

Role of Technology on Syndication
The ACA Summit had a strong showing of funding platforms including the Funders Club, Health Fundr, Gust etc. enabling syndication, crowdfunding to deal sourcing.  Thanks to the promise of the JOBS Act and crowdfunding, there were many platforms pitching and recruiting angels to join (Funders Club was the headline sponsor). Keynote speaker Dave McClure of 500 Startups is a big believer of these fundraising platforms. Why? Democratization of investing removes geographic boundaries and creates an environment that puts entrepreneurs first. 

     General Solicitation 
     What a mess! - Enough said. Why? See link - http://bit.ly/1mUH7eR 

Regional Partnership (and Coordination)
The trip to the west coast was a good example of a model partnership. The trip was organized by the American Underground (which is a Google Tech Hub) and included RTP Foundation, Exit Event, Idea Fund Partners, Bull City Ventures and CED. Collectively, we were the strongest contingent representing a region at the Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day and Google was impressed by the commitment the region was showing.

Lack of Understanding and Visibility of the Triangle

I talked with nine VCs while in Palo Alto. Four of them had been to the Triangle, looked at deals, but never invested; some had LPs from the Triangle, invested several years ago, but have lost touch. The remaining firms had heard of the Triangle, but didn't know about the region enough to consider investing. All of them agreed that they don't see or hear about the Triangle much except occasionally when a Triangle company travels to pitch to them.

Over Capitalization of Silicon Valley
Yep, that is correct. Increasingly the VCs are looking outside the Valley for deals. Why? It just is too expensive to invest there - the valuations are out of whack. The frothiness of the Bay Area culture is working for us.  The VCs I talked with have a strong interest in learning more about companies in the Triangle and have committed to working with us on identifying potential deals. This is a great opportunity for us...we need to go full throttle.

Our Companies Can Hold Their Own Among the Best in the Country
I hope you heard about Windsor Circle's victory at the Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day. If not, see here.  Despite some very stiff competition from some of the best companies from Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota...we crushed it. I got a chance to talk to the judges post-event and they commented on the impressive roster of customers from both Windsor Circle and Automated Insights. Not only did we bring home the coveted trophy :-), Steve Case invested $100K each in both companies (can't hurt to have Steve Case as an investor). 

To Sum It Up
We have a lot of work to do, but the good news is investors are interested in the Triangle. It is up to us to coordinate and organize our region for maximum impact and most importantly, to celebrate our successes.

By the way, while I was gone, our region had two IPOs (Square 1 Bank and Scynexis), an acquisition (NephroGenex by Baxter Healthcare) and several funding events (Keona Health, Phononic Devices, WaterplayUSA, Validic and Aspetia).  We have a lot going on and we need to be talking about it.

Hat tip - Adam Klein and the American Underground (Google Tech Hub) are helping put our region on the map.

Additional coverage on the Google Demo Day and ACA Summit:
Google Demo:

ACA Summit:

See ACA’s summary of key events - http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/blog/

Monday, April 7, 2014

Congratulations to SQBK!

As many of you know Durham's Square 1 Bank went public March 27, 2014 on NASDAQ (SQBK).  CED is extremely proud to have Square 1 Bank as a member and great supporter of entrepreneurs. The bank has supported us for many years through membership, sponsorship, service on the Board of Directors and conference steering committees. Not to mention, banking and providing essential capital to many of the area's most promising companies.

Thanks to Square 1 Bank Vice President Zack Mansfield (CED alumnus) for sharing this photo of the team representing Durham on the big day in NYC!

Square 1 Bank also created a thank you video for all its clients/friends around the country: http://youtu.be/FHuMKfUWOuw. Take a look!

Congratulations Square 1 Bank from your friends at CED!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cree’s Mark McClear to Speak at ProductCampRTP

Mark McClear, vice president of applications engineering at Cree LED Components will be the keynote speaker for ProductCampRTP to be held on Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Perimeter Studio and Conference Center located in Morrisville.  McClear will share the Cree story of becoming the market leader by innovating a 100-year-old product, the light bulb.  McClear heads LED Lighting Applications Development and Global Application Engineering Technology centers. 

Additional topics for the day include:

  • Mobile First: it's more than just a mantra, it's culture change 
  •  Product Visualization 
  • Draw What You Think 
  • How to talk to Nerds: Practical advice on how to communicate with technical people 
  • Market Research on Shoestring
  • Pricing your products and services (the non "salesy" approach 
  • Product Strategy Lessons from Apple 
  • The Power of Purposeful Connection: Networking, Referrals and Follow Up 
  • Cool Product, But Who Cares? Leveraging PR, Marketing, and Advertising to Get Customers 
  • A Look at the Pragmatic Marketing Model and Its Power to Effectively Bring Products to Market

ProductCampRTP is the Triangle’s most innovative conference.  Touted as an “unconference,” the free event provides tools and information on how to build products for business, entertainment, education and government.
This event is sponsored by The Morrisville Innovation Foundation, Eliassen Group, Pragmatic Marketing and Proficientz.  In kind sponsors are Capitol Coffee Systems, Costco, GNC at Park West Village, Perimeter Studio & Conference Center, Telepathic Graphics and Zoe’s Kitchen.

About ProductCampRTP
ProductCampRTP is part of an international network of free, user-generated unconferences that provide product managers and marketers with an opportunity to learn, share and network. All of the workshops are participant-driven and the session topics include product development, management and marketing. 

CONTACT:  Andy Roth

Phone: 919-592-5052 
Email:  prez@productcamprtp.org