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

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Potential investors and entrepreneurs looking for inspiration will have a record field of startups to look over at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s 28th annual venture capital conference.

A total of 77 early-stage firms will be pitching their products and business plans at the event, which is set for April 27-28 in Raleigh at the Convention Center.

Of the presenting firms, all but four are from North Carolina.

“The strong showing of entrepreneurial companies is a sign that the economy is trending up,” said Joan Siefert Rose, president of CED, in a statement. “People are more willing to start companies when they think there is a likelihood of attracting customers and investors. The fact that we are seeing such a diverse group of companies is a very positive indicator that confidence is returning to tech sector.”

The CED also noted that tickets for the event are almost sold out.

Presenting companies represent a wide variety of specialties ranging from software as a service to cleantech and nanotechnology.

Some of the presenting firms are well known, such as Appia (formerly PocketGear), Digitalsmiths, StrikeIron and Zemph Sound Innovations. Many are truly emerging, such as new games studio Lab Rats. 

For the list of presenting firms, read here and click on “Demo Room” tab..

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