Early-stage startups seeking money weren’t the only companies taking the stage at CED’s Tech Venture Conference.

This year organizers also set aside time to allow six North Carolina growth stage companies to tell their stories. It’s a first for the annual conference but it offers a way to showcase North Carolina companies that have made progress from their startup beginnings, explained CED Program Director Dhruv Patel.

Are these companies forming the next wave of Triangle firms to go public? So far, 2013 has been a strong year for RTP-based firms hitting the public markets, including Quintiles, ChannelAdvisor, HEAT Biologics, LipoScience and Chimerix along with non-tech firms Stock Building Supply Holdings and Ply Gem Holdings. All the firms were honored with awards from CED with Gov. Pat McCrory presenting them.

Which firm will be next? Perhaps one of the following.

Each of the featured companies is based in the Triangle.

  • Bronto Software

The Durham company’s cloud-based marketing platform gives retailers and other companies the ability to push sales through e-mail, mobile and social media campaigns. CEO Joe Colopy founded Bronto in 2002 after leaving Red Hat. The company’s software platform is now used by more than 1,200 brands worldwide such as Timex, Samsonite and Gander Mountain.

Bronto’s automation platform includes a marketing database that can store a marketer’s contacts and track them with various events. The capability gives a marketer a way to find and analyze information to drive repeat business from customers.

Bronto has ranked on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies for the last five years. The company generated $22 million in 2012 revenue and is profitable. Bronto has achieved all of this growth without taking a dime of institutional investment.

  • Netsertive

While local advertising is moving online, small businesses are finding a hard time making digital ads pay off for them. Netsertive’s technology automates digital advertising and channel marketing programs. The Morrisville company offers these capabilities through its cloud-based software.

Founded in 2009 and bootstrapped in its first year, Netsertive has gone on to raise money from two rounds of venture capital funding from investors including RRE Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners and Greycroft Partners. CEO and co-founder Brendan Morrissey says Netsertive is not currently seeking additional capital investment.

But Netsertive is growing. Since its founding, the company has grown to more than 100 employees and will finish the year with a headcount of between 130 and 140 people. Revenue in 2012 was $9 million. Morrissey said that Netsertive is on track to do better than twice that in 2013.

  • Overture

Mike Aquino, president and CEO of Overture, prefers that his company is not regarded as a telecom company. Telecommunications companies are clients of Overture. But Aquino insists that tech company that happens to have telecom customers.

“We are not in the telecom space, we are in the technology sector,” Aquino said.

Overture provides “carrier ethernet” to companies, boosting the capacity of a network to handle the increase in traffic. Overture customers include Verizon, Windstream and AT&T. But even though Overture boasts many telecom customers, Overture is really a technology company that is a “gatekeeper to the cloud.” Many of Overture’s customers use the company’s technology to connect their customers to an array of cloud-based offerings.

Overture now has more than 450 customers in more than 45 countries around the world. The company employs 200, mostly in its Morrisville headquarters. Aquino announced at the Tech Venture Conference that Overture had recently completed its series E round of financing raising $11.74 million. The company in May raised $8 million and said at the time that it had the opportunity to boost that haul to as high as $11.7 million. On Wednesday, Aquino said that the round consisted of $8.37 million from current investors and $3.37 million from new investors.

  • ReverbNation

Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum are well known acts in the music industry. But what is less well known is that they’re among a long list of artists who signed on with Durham startup ReverbNation before they were known by mass audiences. ReverbNation provides online tools and services to musicians to help them promote their music and connect with fans.

“Bands do operate like small businesses,” said CEO Michael Doernberg. “They come to us to do the things they do every day.”

To date, ReverbNation has served more than 3 million artists, managers, record labels and venues. The company adds 55,000 new ones each month. The tools, provided as a software-as-a-service offering, empower independent musicians who no longer need to rely on the backing of a record company to reach audiences.

ReverbNation now employs 85 people in offices in Durham, New York, Los Angeles and Bucharest. Doernberg said that the company has raised $10.1 million in venture capital investment but he’s not looking to raise any additional capital now. ReverbNation’s annual revenue is more than $17.7 million; the company has $6 million in cash.

  • StrikeIron

StrikeIron CEO Sean O’Leary acknowledges that it’s not always easy to explain what the Cary company does. To put it simply, he says that StrikeIron helps big data companies make money off of their big data assets.

StrikeIron manages application programming interfaces for its customers. Companies looking to get content out to customers used to do so primarily through websites. But now there are any number of options including web applications, mobile apps and cloud computing. StrikeIron’s cloud-based platform enables its customers to manage APIs. The software allows businesses to reach customers through any communication channel. The company has struck partnerships with several high-profile companies including Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce.com.

Last year, SAS Institute licensed StrikeIron’s digital platform for API management.

O’Leary says that there aren’t a lot of companies that do what StrikeIron does. At one time, there were five API management companies. But two have been acquired in recent months. Meanwhile, the API management market is estimated to be $500 million, according to Gartner. That leaves StrikeIron positioned to strike more business deals for its services.

  • WebAssign

Alex Bloom, president of WebAssign, calls his Raleigh company the Triangle’s best kept secret. WebAssign offers an online instructional system intended to help teachers and students. The company was founded by physics John Risley, a physics professor at N.C. State University who specialized in physics education. From its beginnings in 1997 as a pilot tool for several N.C. State classes, the company has grown to more than 8.5 billion users since its 1998 commercial launch.The company focuses on STEM education – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

WebAssign has never strayed from its roots. The company is headquartered on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus and roughly one-third of its employees have teaching experience. And other than students and teachers, the company has never had to answer to outside interests. WebAssign has never taken any venture capital money.

But another feature sets WebAssign apart from others. Last year, WebAssign started the transition to becoming an employee-owned company. WebAssign also became a benefit corporation, or B-corp. The designation means that unlike for-profit corporations that place shareholders interests above others, WebAssign’s top priority will be its mission – education.

“We created the benefit corporation to put the business interest in line with the social mission,” Bloom said.