The sentiment is heard loud and clear at local events. Investors and entrepreneurs—most local, some not—believe that the Research Triangle is becoming a premier startup hub not only in the Southeast, but nationally and globally.
Next month, a handful of Triangle startups will have the chance to prove that point, representing the region in two premier pitch competitions.
36|86 — Triangle Trio takes on Nashville
Three local startups will head to Nashville June 6-7 for the 36|86
pitch competition, which features 36 top startups from across the Southeast.
How It Works
The recently-completed 36|86 Southern Series was made up of three smaller April events in Birmingham (Ala.), Atlanta and Raleigh. At each event, four regional winners were selected for a bid to the larger 36|86 competition. Along with those 12 startups, 24 additional competitors were chosen from throughout the Southeast.
For the winner: $50K in prize money
For the field: Large audience of investors and media members from throughout the country.
RocketBolt (Durham) — Southern Series regional winner. RocketBolt is an automated sales assistant that measures engagement levels on websites to determine likely customers, and then offer ways to contact those customers. Its a portfolio company of The Startup Factory and the national Dorm Room Fund (affiliated with First Round Capital). Reveal Mobile (Raleigh) — Southern Series regional winner. Uses beacon technology to gather data surrounding mobile usage and help tailor a highly targeted, relevant advertising experience for mobile users and publishers. Formerly known as StepLeader Digital before a pivot last summer. Shipedge (Durham)— One of 24 representative companies selected from throughout the Southeast at large. Cloud-based supply chain management software, founded in 2010, helping e-commerce retailers streamline order fulfillment operations.
Features 36 startups in total, with eight different states represented (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia). According to the 36|86 website, the field includes 10 different industry clusters, and the 36 companies have raised a combined total of more than $20 million in capital.
The pitch competition is interspersed with panels and individual speakers, with a mix of accomplished entrepreneurs and investors. Headliners include Square co-founder Jim McElvey, Tyson Clark of Google Ventures, Gotham Gal Ventures’ Joanne Wilson, Scott Kupor of Andreesen Horowitz and executives from Sony Music.
38|86 is billed as a combination of entrepreneurship and “Southern Culture,” featuring a Monday night “Street Fair” event with music, Nashville cuisine, local distilleries and breweries, pop-up shops, and more. Its organized by LaunchTN, a public-private partnership that promotes entrepreneurship and startup investment in Tennessee. Here's the full schedule.
1776 Challenge Cup — Triangle Presence in Global Competition
How It Works
This global pitch competition involved more than 3,000 companies from 54 cities around the world competing in qualifying rounds over the past year, with 70 advancing to global finals event from June 7-10 in Washington, D.C.
The finals event is organized into two sections, which competed separately in semifinal rounds. They are:
- Health, Money and Security
- Cities, Education, Energy, Food and Transportation
$175K in total cash prizes
$1 million in potential investment for one winner
Tom and Jenny’s (Durham) — Tom and Jenny’s is not officially “in” the global finals field, but is eligible for a “People’s Choice” entry into the field after competing in a regional competition. It is one of nine companies eligible for public voting, which ends at noon on May 11th (Vote here). Three companies chosen by public vote will join the field in June. Founded by a dentist, Tom and Jenny’s creates healthy, all-natural candy that helps build strong teeth, and is on the verge of a major increase in production. The company is a recent NC IDEA grant winner and alumnus of the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator program.
70 startups from around the world grouped into seven clusters: Education, Energy/Sustainability, Food, Health, Money, Security and Smart Cities.
Hosted by Washington D.C. incubator 1776, which houses startups that operate within highly regulated industries and puts on events that bring together entrepreneurs, corporations and legislators. The event runs June 7-10, with an opening keynote on Tuesday (June 7th) followed by three nights of pitches and post-competition receptions. Here's the full schedule.