Raleigh conference showcases N.C. tech sector

Sep. 18, 2013 @ 07:24 PM

Allison Wood finished singing under the bright lights with a flourish, raising her arm with fingers extended on her last note.

She sang Wednesday as part of a pitch to try to win new investors for a business she co-founded, Chapel Hill-based LCMS Plus Inc.

The start-up is working to build a business for an educational computer system for schools of medicine and other health fields.

Wood said they need investors to help them add staff. She said she hoped the song would get attention.

“We just have to find the best investors, some wicked smart investors, and together we’ll take (it) all the way,” she sang.

She was one of a string of entrepreneurs who made two-minute pitches at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2013, which brought investors and entrepreneurs together at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Hosted by the Durham-based nonprofit Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the conference included pitches from aspiring tech entrepreneurs, as well as talks from executives at larger companies such as Bronto Software, a Durham-based email marketing company that now employs about 170 people.

Entrepreneurs pitched a range of new businesses and products. The participants included Wake Forest-based FokusLabs, a start-up that’s working to build a business for a wristband that vibrates to help provide focus to people with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

It also included Raleigh-based Platinix LLC, which was spun out from an N.C. State University materials science laboratory. Brian C. Iezzi, Platinix’s co-founder and director of business development, said that the company wants to build on research into a material they believe can be used to more cheaply make fuel for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

As for LCMS Plus, the company is a spin-out out of the Duke School of Medicine. Wood said health-related schools have complex and different computer system requirements. The system was initially built internally for the Duke medical school, she said, and was spun out in 2011. She said other schools are using the system and others are knocking at their door, so they’re looking to raise money to hire additional developers.

The pitches at the conference showed the maturity of the technology sector in the state, said Joan Siefert Rose, president of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, in an interview at the conference on Wednesday.

The conference started 29 years ago, she said, to get North Carolina and the Triangle on the map for investors looking for opportunities.

Now she said there’s a competitive system for entrepreneurs that want to pitch, and they also showcase later-stage, more established businesses.

“There’s a lot of really interesting ideas out there,” she said.