UPDATE: The CED Tech Conference has been postponed due to the impending approach of Hurricane Florence. CED is planning to reschedule the event to early 2019. An exact date will be announced soon.
Counting decades of impact through the largest and longest-running tech conference of its kind in North Carolina, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development is hosting its 34th annual program to boost the state’s tech economy even further.
This year’s CED Tech Conference, held at the Raleigh Convention Center, features live presentations and an expo featuring nearly 60 companies of a diversity of industries. A lineup of speakers including experienced entrepreneurs, investors and execs will present on topics ranging from investment trends to AI and machine learning to blockchain.
CED Director of Entrepreneurship Jay Bigelow, who also leads the organization’s Connections to Capital service, says that the annual CED Tech Conference always promises entrepreneurs good exposure to investors and partners that could potentially accelerate their core mission and promise.
“In the networking hall, early stage companies get exposure to all attendees at the event, from the big guys to angel investors to lawyers, accountants and consultants, in one place for a day and a half,” he adds. “There really isn’t another gathering of this size in the state with this kind of exposure.”
Bigelow also said that he and the CED team have seen substantial interest in the Triangle from growth-stage investors in Chicago, New York and elsewhere from funds that have not visited the region before.
“This tells me that the reputation of the region is higher and they believe there are growth-stage companies here that they can invest in,” Bigelow says. “We’re gaining a reputation as a place that has more mature businesses.”
Several non-local investors will be present at the conference, such as New York-based Greycroft and Radian Capital, South Carolina’s VentureSouth, River Cities Capital Funds in Ohio, and Florida-based Ballast Point Ventures and Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. Local investment firms, including SJF Ventures, Cofounders Capital and IDEA Fund Partners, will be in attendance as well.
CED selected a group of 25 founders from North Carolina companies to present on the main stage at the event. Their representing industries range from mobile health to finance to consumer products to cleantech. Down the hall, over 30 companies will be showcasing their products and services at tables set up in the networking area.
Throughout the event’s schedule, a lineup of speakers will discuss disruptive technologies, AI and machine learning, blockchain and the global economy, among other topics.
- Bull City Venture Partners General Partner Jason Caplain, who will lead a panel on investing trends
- AARP Innovation Labs Director Nigel Smith
- SAS Executive VP, COO and CTO Oliver Schabenberger
- Infinia ML CEO Robbie Allen (formerly CEO of Automated Insights) and Diveplane CEO Michael Capps (formerly president of Epic Games)
- Bandwidth Cofounder, CEO and Chairman David Morken
- IBM Fellow and VP of Blockchain Technologies Jerry Cuomo
- AvidXchange SVP of Growth, Innovation and Strategy Red Maxwell
There will also be a series of “CxO” workshops focused on HR, sales, strategic operations, network-building and other areas. These mini-sessions are geared towards founders, CEOs, executives and their respective teams.
Customer Experience Director Kelly Rowell said the idea of these workshops is to provide content that’s “just as valuable or more valuable to the CEO and founder as it is to their teams, but also appealing to [team members] beyond the executive level.”
Another distinctive component to this year’s program is a CED Tech Conference After Party, held just down the street from the main event venue. On Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m., conference attendees are invited to meet up at the Lincoln Theatre for a networking gathering with live music and free drinks. CED has partnered up with Pendo to co-present this event, and they encourage all members of the tech community—including employees of local tech companies—to come out and join the party.
CED says you do not have to be a registered conference attendee in order to attend the party.
Rowell says CED expects a turnout of 600 and 800 attendees.
The online registration window has passed, but tickets will be available on-site at $375 for CED’s entrepreneur members, $625 for non-member entrepreneurs, $675 for CED members and $775 for non-members.
Tickets cover the full two days, plus one-on-one meetings, drinks and appetizers at the networking reception on Wednesday, breakfast and lunch on Thursday. Entrepreneurs will also get access to an exclusive pre-conference workshop with local founders Joe Colopy, Matt Williamson and Jesse Lipson on Wednesday morning, along with an exclusive investor reverse pitch.