What We Learned at Startup Grind Global

A Huge Success for Triad NC

This year our growing startup community achieved a significant milestone by making its presence known at one of the largest and most diverse tech gatherings in the world, the Startup Grind Global conference held each February in Silicon Valley.

The co-directors of the Triad region Startup Grind chapters (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and Lake Norman) raised funds and organized a delegation of eight growth-stage startup companies to attend.

In the words of one of the delegation members, Kevin Doubleday with blockchain database company Fluree:

“SG Global 2019 wasn’t just another startup conference – it was an essential event to fill every unique need a startup may have – from meeting industry partners, getting constructive feedback, securing angel/VC interest, and capturing leads.”

“We’ve come back from SG Global with incredibly promising sales prospects, potential partnership with Fortune 500/Fortune 1000 companies, and multiple follow-up investor meetings. Those are three of the most important areas of impact for company growth – and we walked away from SG Global with all three covered.”

Our Mission at Global

We had a two-fold objective at Global – to immerse our startups in a global network of investors and entrepreneurs, and to promote out vibrant regional startup ecosystem to both startup and investors under the banner of PTRP’s “NC – Carolina Core” brand.

The conference was an outstanding success on both counts. We set up a regional sponsor table with a backdrop promoting the “full stack” of programs and resources available in our region, flanked by tables for each of our attending startups.

Over two days we:

  • Made over 500 elevator pitches, non-stop over 24 hours
  • Met 42 with seed-stage and VC investment firms out of over 180 attending
  • Networked with 200 SG directors and HQ staff
  • Joined over 8,000 event attendees
  • Saw the power of a global community at work with 160 countries and 600 cities represented
  • Cheered Fluree’s mainstage pitch as a top-50 company
  • Enjoyed over 10,000 local and 1,000,000 global media impressions

A Community Effort

The Triad Region startup community has grown into a highly productive and collaborative ecosystem providing infrastructure, programming and capital access for startups from inception through growth. Connection beyond our region to global knowledge and capital networks is critical for our success. That’s why attending this conference is so important.

We were able to spread the word that we are an “Affordable, Full-Stack Startup Community” with great quality of life. The attendees heard us loud and clear – we got the attention of startups that will be checking out our programs.

Almost every investor we spoke with stated that are looking for startups with a focus outside the major markets. I’ve been on the phone all week in follow up conversations with investment firms that want to know more.

This was truly a team effort. The startup delegation fielded companies that have benefitted from Flywheel New Ventures, Launch Lab Greensboro, Winston Starts and many other programs.

The Flywheel Foundation coordinated a fundraising campaign to make the conference affordable for the startups, with major contributors including the L. David Mounts Foundation, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Venture Café, Storr Office, Wildfire Marketing, and may individual donors through a GoFundMe campaign.

Delegation Companies

Leading Role – Cofounders Hannah Ashford and Micheal Oder – Creators of Reality Port – a shared workspace that allows you to seamlessly collaborate and work within VR and AR on your own projects or with collaborators around the world. Based in Winston-Salem, NC.

Swipeby – Founder Carl Turner – turns any Restaurant into a virtual drive-thru giving customers maximum convenience and a interface allowing them to explore local meals visually and with a swipe. Based in Winston-Salem, NC.

MotorCo Technologies, Inc.  – Cofounders Neal and Sara Simpson – Travel applications with immersive 360 – focused on the Visitor Bureau market to help cities sell conventions. Based in Cary, NC

One Donation – Founder – Graham Treakle – Driving corporate CSR and engagement through payroll integration of charitable giving, allowing employees to self direct their community mission. Based in Winston-Salem, NC

Petrics – Founder Ed Hall –  A leading pet health technology ecosystem combining a nutritional database and feeding application with smart pet beds and feeding systems. Base in Wilmington, NC.

Wellnecity – Founder Johnathan Quinn – Empowering employers with self-funded benefits to take control of their population data, provide analytics and insights, and drive down the cost of wellness and healthcare.  Based in Winston-Salem, NC.

Fixional – Cofounder – Pierce Gaynor – Fixional makes an AI-powered editorial tool that helps publishers review and revise writing at scale. Based in Cary, NC

Fluree – Cofounder – Brian Platz – FlureeDB is a database purpose-built to fit the requirements of modern enterprise applications, while providing blockchain capabilities for data security, workflow efficiency, and industry interoperability. Based in Winston Salem, NC

Connect, Engage, Inspire at Global Scale

What truly sets the Startup Grind Global Conference apart is the global reach and the rich diversity of attending startups and presenters. Over 200 startups were selected to exhibit in two large circus tents from 32 countries and seven continents. More than 8,000 attended the two-day conference on February 13 and 14, and the presenter list was the who’s who of the global tech community. A second conference is held later in the year in London.

Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community network, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 1,500,000 entrepreneurs in over 600 chapters. They nurture startup ecosystems in 125 countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Startups.

The cornerstone of the Startup Grind global community is monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs build their businesses, connect with strategic partners, and secure funding. The Triad region Startup Grind chapters host 22 events annually with fireside chats, a summer party that is a “gathering of the tribes” and a winter chili-cookoff party.

What the Startups Have to Say

It’s been one week since we got back and it’s taken that long for all of us to recover from what felt like running a marathon in unseasonably cold and rainy weather that greeted us in Redwood City. But it was more than worth it.

Just ask some of the attending delegation founders….

“The CONNECTIONS! We had the most amazing dialogues with innovative companies for potential partnerships and strategic investment opportunities. If you want to meet innovative, knowledgeable, and highly experienced people in tech, this is the event! The connections you can make at this conference could change your business overnight.”

Ed Hall, founder of Petrics

“I came away with a healthy list of potential solution partners, channel partners, and investor candidates.  …well worth the trip. BCG Digital Ventures, Insight Partners, Deloitte Innovation, and several business executives that wanted to explore us as an extension to their existing value propositions with clients.”

John Quinn, founder of Wellnecity

 “Silicon Valley is still the global mecca for start-ups. Going there gave us confidence, validation and expanded our network unimaginably. We primarily got a lot of great validation and energy from the event. Competing with hundreds of start-ups at an event like this and still to get press interactions, investors’ attention is a great motivator. We were also able to gain valuable feedback from super smart industry leaders and peers. Especially for us being often connected with food delivery – even though we don’t have anything to do with that, it was great that everyone saw the value we are bringing to our users and customers and most people could see them self as customers. We also got a lot of leads to investors.”

Carl Turner, cofounder of Swipeby

Thank You!

Will we be sending another delegation next year – you bet.

And this time we will be encouraging everyone to apply through the Startup Program that SG Global runs for even more connections and exposure. We will be starting that effort early during the summer.

Thanks again to all the startups, programs and sponsors that made our delegation’s trip to Global possible!