Reporting live from Triangle Startup Factory’s “Pitch Day” …

The five “graduates” have made their pitches and are now meeting with investors over lunch.

We’ll be back later with more details.

One firm is seeking $750,000. Another is looking for $500,000.

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Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, warned the crowd that political fallout from the “fiscal cliff” debate in Washington could have far-reaching impact on investors and entrepreneurs if a deal is not struck.

“I am more optimistic than pessimistic,” Heesen said in the second keynote address of the day.

Changes in tax policy, particularly on capital gains, would especially hurt wealthy individuals who are often angel investors – the important first-stage backers of many ventures.

“Angels are extremely tax sensitive,” Heesen said. 

If politicians strike a deal that businesses find acceptable, Heesen said 2013 could be a very good year for capital markets and investment.

More companies are likely to “exit” through going public on Wall Street or be acquired, Heesen said.

He also expects acquisitions to increase.

“Many companies are investing in research and development by acquiring other companies,” Heesen explained. “They are not doing R&D internally.”

Many firms are “sitting on the sideline” with significant capital reserves. In a good market, Heesen said companies will start acquiring companies that they don’t have to buy in order to boost R&D rather than in most cases now where he says larger firms are buying “companies they have to buy” for product, competitive and market share reasons.

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Duke Professor Aaron Chatterji kicked off the day with an upbeat keynote about the importance of entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs are going to change the world,” said Chatterji.

He noted technology developed by dreamers of building a better future are crucial.

“Entrepreneurs are the solution to healthcare …”

“Entrepreneurs are the solution to education …”

Chatterji also touted the strengths of the Triangle, including talent and its universities 

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Five companies will soon be making their investment “pitches” to approximately 100 venture capitalists and angels.

Among the attendees is Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, who is speaking at a CED event Thursday evening.

Dave Neal, partner of the Factory along with Chris Heivly, describes today as the next step in the “fund-raising journey” for the five firms that are graduating, so to speak, today.

They do so already with $50,000 in financing provided by the Factory for selection in the program. (A sixth firm selected dropped out very early in the months-long process.)

A crowd of entrepreneurs, service providers and other members of the tech community have pushed the crowd size at the Bay 7 venue in the American Tobacco Historic District to an estimated 300.

The five firms (previously highlighted at WRAL Tech Wire), are:

AI Patents

Able Device

Offline Media

Alekto

PopUp