Some arm twisting by the American Underground is sending PRSONAS to Silicon Valley in search of cash – and a lot of publicity.

PRSONAS, the Durham- and Wake Forest-based startup developing “interactive holograms that help attract, automate, and analyze customer engagements,” will be representing the American Underground at Google Demo Day on June 8.

Two of the three Demo Day winners came from the AU. And PRSONAS CEO says heading Valley way is major news as it gains traction will seeking investors.

“We are actively raising an A round of funding so being selected for Google Demo Day will certainly help us get noticed by investors that most likely have never heard of us before.” says David Rose.

“I’ve been engaging with only East Coast VC firms to date. Google Demo Day will hopefully help me make connections with several Bay Area investors – even if we don’t win.”

The American Underground track record at Demo Day is a good one. MATI Energy won two years ago, and Windsor Circle came home the winner in 2014. Analytics firm MIRA went West last year.

If PRSONAS wins or shows well enough against 12 other competitors to attract funding, the startup will owe a big thank you to Adam Klein, the chief strategist for the Underground.

“Adam … talked me into applying for Google Demo Day,” Rose explains. “I decided to stop applying for pitch contests, [other such events] some time ago so I could stay focused on growing the business.

“When Adam noticed that I hadn’t applied as the deadline approached he twisted my arm until I agreed to apply. Full credit to Adam!”

Klein says PRSONAS was one of three companies from the Underground he nominated to Google. The AU is one of 12 Google Entrepreneur hubs, and 13 representatives will be in the Valley. Google then selected PRSONAS.

“Google Demo Day is one of our signature events. With two of the past three teams being from the American Underground, this is a great feather in our region’s cap,” Klein points out.

“If you talk to Mati and Windsor Circle, both have also said that participating in and winning helped them with their Series A fundraising and national press outreach. Google Demo Day is a national stage and spotlight in front of the best investors.”

PRSONAS, which now has six full-time employees plus several contractors, has raised $800,000 to date from a number of angel investors, including: Robbie Allen, Brian Handly, Tom Rabon, Petra Weishaupt-Smith, Pilot Mountain Ventures and Charlotte Angel Fund.

For more details about Demo Day, see: