The final countdown is underway to InfoTech 2002: “Innovation with a Purpose”, set for Wednesday at the Sheraton Imperial.

The show is presented by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), in partnership with TiE Carolinas and Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The event, which begins tonight with an invitation-only reception at Red Hat, will feature a slate of presenting companies, a lineup of speakers and panels and even a new twist. Three new Demo Company awards to be given at InfoTech 2002 to the most outstanding demo companies.

The CED has selected the 20 companies to deomonstrate their technologies and products. They include three Charlotte-based companies: Mindvalve, Convey Systems and Waveguide Solutions, as well as AIMS of Durham, BUILDERadius in Asheville, Raleigh-based Peopleclick and Productivity Point International, ProxyShield of Reidsville, SmarthPath in Morrisville and Durham-based Scynthematix.

Also presenting are Alphanumeric Systems of Raleigh, Durham’s BrontoMail, CipherOptics of Raleigh, DeltaSphere of Chapel Hill, Greensboro-based Guardianet, IIPSys in Raleigh, LVL& Systems and Pinpoint Networks of Cary, Durham-based SiliconMobius and TogetherSoft, based in Raleigh.

“InfoTech 2002 is broadening its focus from young entrepreneurial companies to include the entire spectrum of entrepreneurial development from university labs to the innovative entrepreneurial development of larger companies,” Kevin Flynn, partner at Daniels & Daniels and Selection Committee chair, said in a statement. “Historically, the added exposure from participating in the demo room has been a great boost for young companies. This year, we have the added benefit of review by industry leaders and analysts.”

Host of speakers

Howard Anderson, the founder and president of consulting firm The Yankee Group, will deliver the keynote address at the InfoTech conference. Anderson, who also is founding partner and senior managing director at YankeeTek Ventures, will speak at 8:30 AM Wednesday.

Anderson recently was named one of the 25 most important people in the communications industry by Network World. The Yankee Group is one of the world’s better known analysis firms. Anderson also is active in venture capital, helping co-found Battery Ventures and now involved with YankeeTek, an incubator for high-tech business in Cambridge, MA. He also teaches two classes on entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Other speakers including: Marc Lautenbach, general manager for Global Small and Medium Business at IBM; Mike Guthrie, general partner for TPG Ventures; Frank Brick, chairman & CEO of Arsenal Digital Solutions; Roger Dick, CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC; Glenn Kline, managing partner of Academy Funds; Keith E. Miller, managing director at GE Equity; Dede Ramoneda, VP of IT systems delivery for Progress Energy, and Mary Sutton, VP of human capital for Red Hat.

InfoTech 2002 will feature multiple panel sessions, including “The Investors’ Appetite for IT deals,” “Alternatives to VC Financing,” “Technologies Present & Future-A Journalistic View,” “An Analyst’s Outlook on the IT Horizon” and “The CIO Perspective – What the Buyers Want.”

“The Investors’ Appetite for IT Deals,” features Guthrie from TPG, David Cardenas of Olympus Partners, Keith Miller from GE Equity, Mark Rostick with Intel Capital. “Technologies Present & Future – A Journalist View” will include Lee Gomes, a Boom Town Columnist with The Wall Street Journal; Jason Kelly, technology reporter for Bloomberg; Penelope Pasturis, Forbes senior writer; Jai Singh, editor-in-chief of CNET News.com ; and Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism professor and WABC-TV “Tech Guru”.

Other panels include “Winning Leadership Strategies in a Challenging Environment”, “International Tactics in Managing Burn Rate”, “Counting the Money – Changes in Your Financial Landscape”, “Good Company or Good Product? ” and “Motivating Employees – When Options Aren’t an Option”.

InfoTech 2002: www.cednc.org/infotech/2002