Good morning from Nashville!
It was an early morning at RDU Terminal 1, but fun seeing friends from Square 1 Bank, Pendo, Reveal Mobile, GoldenKey and Bull City Venture Partners all heading to 36/86 South, a conference aimed to be the largest tech event in the Southeast.
Reveal Mobile, a Raleigh-based mobile ad tech startup, and GoldenKey, a Durham startup with a first-of-its-kind real estate platform, are among six North Carolina startups pitching in a competition happening throughout the three day festival at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in the heart of Music City.
Besides pitches, the conference has speakers, panels and workshops tailored to entrepreneurs and investors in the Southeast.
Pendo CEO Todd Olson sits on a panel today discussing, “How to use geography as a growth asset.” With more than $20 million in Silicon Valley capital, 100 employees and plans to hire at least two developers a month yet this year (among other staffers), he certainly can speak to that topic.
His lead Series B investor, Logan Bartlett from Battery Ventures, leads a discussion on investing in the region. And headliners include serial entrepreneur and Revolution founder Steve Case, who famously toured the Southeast on his Rise of the Rest Tour, FedEx CEO Fred Smith and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Square 1 Bank and Bull City Venture Partners (along with locals Idea Fund Partners, Queen City FinTech and River Cities Venture Capital) are among more than 80 investors in attendance this week. Chris Heivly is also in the lineup—he’ll do an “Ask Me Anything” this evening on all things Techstars.
The investor access is the big play for the 36 Southeast startups pitching at 3686. Most are in the hunt for post-seed stage capital—they’ve collectively raised $36.3 million so far. Neither GoldenKey or RevBoss have participated in many live pitch events, their CEOs told me, but this one promises access to a large group of Southeast investors in a city where they’ve already got customers.
Says Tommy Sowers of GoldenKey, who’s raised $3.4 million (and recently focused on building Silicon Valley awareness), “This will give us broader exposure to different sources of funds and people more focused on the region.”
He’ll pitch the B2B side of his startup, called GoldenDeal, which lets large asset managers and other real estate buyers use a single platform (with on-demand licensed agents) to transact deals regardless of U.S. market.
RevBoss CEO Eric Boggs, who raised $1.1 million in 2015, hopes to build investor relationships now that the company’s sales prospecting platform is live and SaaS sales are growing 10 percent month-over-month.
It’s an exciting time to be in Music City. The Predators are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals just a couple blocks from the Symphony Center. The CMA Music Festival kicks off Thursday, and we’ll get a taste of it with live music during tonight’s street festival.
Culture is clearly Nashville’s strength, and it’ll be played up even more with pop-up boutique makers, local food and craft cocktails made with Tennessee liquors. Drink sponsors are all local too, including Music City Light, HEROES American Vodka, Chattanooga Whiskey, Belle Meade Bourbon and the intriguing Chocolate MoonPie MoonShine.
The festivities kick off at noon CST. Stay tuned for updates!