Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

DURHAM, N.C. – LaunchBox Digital is preparing to unveil the seven startup companies it has been helping prepare to seek outside investment, and Gov. Bev Perdue will be on hand to deliver keynote remarks at “Demo Day.”

A big crowd of well over 200 people – including many potential investors – is already expected for the kickoff of the new companies that are backed financially and guided in business development by LaunchBox.

“Demo Day” begins at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Bay 7 venue in the American Tobacco Historic District that is across the street from the Durham Bulls stadium.

“Come join local, regional and national investors to the event of the season,” promised LaunchBox Executive Director Chris Heivly in an e-mail invitation. “The ‘one’ event you don’t want to miss this year,” he added.

LaunchBox is keeping the names of the startups as well as details about their plans and products closely held until the event.

However, the seven do represent a variety of opportunities:

  • Group buying
  • Social media
  • Wireless healthcare
  • Cloud computing
  • Social gaming

Each company will make an 8-minute business case presentation to the crowd of potential investors.

The startups have all been through a three-month program designed by LaunchBox to help them prepare for launch – or further growth.

LaunchBox screened applicants before investing as much as $20,000 in each in exchange for an equity share. LaunchBox also provided each with a board of advisors to help the founders focus on:

  • Problem identification refinement
  • Goal and milestone setting and tracking
  • Product – features, functionality and problem solving
  • Business model development and analytics
  • Strategy development
  • Demo Day preparation

These seven firms represent the first group sent through the LaunchBox “business accelerator” program, which is modeled on similar ventures in Silicon Valley and Colorado.

Based in The American Underground at the American Tobacco Historic District, LaunchBox also provides the companies with office space and support services.

Registration information is available here.

(Note: The American Tobacco Historic District is owned by Capitol Broadcasting, the parent firm of Local Tech Wire.)

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