Innovate Raleigh Live Blog

We will be covering the 2015 Innovate Raleigh event live on September 10th. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Be sure to also follow @innovateRaleigh on twitter and use #Innovate365 to chat with others. You can also follow us @verge_NC.

Please excuse any misspelling of names. I will fix as soon as possible afterwards. 

1:30PM Doors open. Great crowd. Good food. I got stuck at a table with Derrick Minor.

2:20PM The anticipation is building for Mital Patel’s grand open. I spot Scott Moody. Ashton Smith, J King White, James Saules, Dan and Jeff from Vaporware, Zenyfit, and many more innovators.

2:30PM Jenny Hwa welcomes the crowd to the 4th annual Innovate Raleigh Summit. Thanks Allyson Sutton and Candice Young – the team behind Innovate Raleigh. Marry-Ann Baldwin and Terry Lomax also recognized as co-founders.

2:37PM Mital takes the stage (sans cool sneakers).

2:38PM Centerline’s video kicks off! (I’m sure I’ll have a link to post soon).

2:40PM The panel takes the stage. Mitchell Silver announces the panel. Currently New York City’s parks commissioner. Context of the panel: Raleigh is a fast growing city, and will continue to grow at record speeds. Raleigh’s median age is 39.1…and mentioned a lot of stats I couldn’t keep up with.

2:45PM How would you describe Raleigh’s cultural identity?

John Kane to go first – 20 years ago downtown Raleigh was not a desirable location. Shouts out to RTP for getting back into the mix.

John Holmes – Using urban developments like North Hills to create community.

Patrice Gilmore – Holt Brothers construction – 20 years ago Raleigh was known for technology. Big difference between now and then. Sees this area as

Sam Crutchfield –  grew up in Raleigh. Things have really changed in terms of diversity in a good way the last few years.

Katherine Hogan – did not grow up in Raleigh. Grew up in NYC – been here 10 years. We are unique because we are a capital city but still a smaller city. Quantity of universities, research, tech companies, and history in design make this area great.

2:50PM What keeps Raleigh authentic? Change is coming, how do we embrace it?

John Kane – most communities say they want change, but they really don’t. Just look at our downtown and surrounding areas. We are becoming a real city!

John Holmes – The rise of the creative class. Raleigh Denim. Breweries. etc.

2:53PM: Sam Crutchfield – thank goodness Raleigh isn’t Charlotte. (He might need security later).

Taking a quick break..

 3PM: How do you plan for a place where most of the generation is older, but how to you grow as a city and balance the younger generation with the old?

Katherine – Need housing that’s affordable, accessible, and of adequate size.

John Holmes – seems to be a great idea to invest in a city built of multi-generations.

John Kane – millennials are looking for mixed-use, the boomers are also looking for that too. There’s an overlap of being able to walk to starbucks, retail, and nightlife.

Patrice – sophistication has helped and will continue to help this city be great.

3:07PM How do we grow and keep it eclectic?

Patrice – providing different options…just not high-rises in downtown. Also great suburban areas.

Sam – things are growing and changing, niches are being created that offer different opportunities for different folks. Uses 5 points as an example of how pockets of new areas have exploded. Lilly’s pizza…yum.

3:10PM Questions from the audience.

Taking a break. Can’t hear the questions :/

3:27PM Closing remarks from panel

John Kane – Transit is moving in a positive direction. Key to future success.

John Holmes – Raleigh’s defining moment is right now. How to we move forward will really define us.

Patrice – make sure we include everyone in our identity and value in all of our view points moving forward.

Sam – Raleigh is already great, but about to take off in so many ways. Stay engaged with us.

Katherine – Interesting times for Raleigh. Need to get people to move here and stay here.

Battery is going to die :/ Had to hotspot my phone for WiFi. Sorry gang!

Diversity in the Triangle – a list of women and minority entrepreneurs

As our community continues to grow, more and more women and minority entrepreneurs are launching, leading, and growing amazing companies. Take Tatiana Birgisson of Mati Energy Tea, she went out and crushed the Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day and Anil Chawla, the founder of Archive Social, took home the $100K from Steve Case’s Rise of The Rest tour. These are just two of the many great examples of awesome people we have right here in the triangle.

With the help from folks like Derrick Minor and Ellie Gamache of American Underground (much thanks!), I started to comprise a list of females and minorities in the entrepreneur scene along with business resources / mentor-ship available to both females and minorities

Woman led companies, entrepreneurs and investors in the Triangle:

Food and Beverage:

Slingshot Coffee Company
Mati Energy Tea
Raleigh Raw
Videri Chocolate Factory
Raleigh Brewing
Simply B Gluten Free
Gadabout Food
Bombshell Brewing
AC Restaurants (Ashley Christensen)
Fiction Kitchen
The Cupcake Shoppe
ORO Restaurant
Bida Manda
Pie Bird
Cast Iron Group (The Cookery/ Dashi)
SweetPea Bakery
YAWP bars
Escazu Chocolate
Nighthouse Kitchen & Bakery
Yellow Dog Bread Co.
Empress Room
C. Grace
Sweets By Alexandria

Clothing / Retail:

Vital Plan
Edge of Urge
Scout and Molly’s
Raleigh Denim
High Cotton
Nora & Nicky’s
Moon & Lola
Martian Creations
Lyf Shoes
Impress Coffee
Lisa Stewart Designs
Kenda Kist Designs
Dear Hearts
Clique Publique
UVO Luxury
Ramble Supply Company
Arrow + Sage
Textile Scents


Hostel Rocket
Sprout Pharmaceuticals
Imangi Studios
Wiser Systems
ArtHive Online
Albright Digital
Akili Software
MedPro Rx
Remedy Health
Axial Exchange
Thrive 47
Task Torch
Clave BIOdesign
Mlinzi Vaccines
Intelligent Campus Solutions
Nine Oak Media

Marketing / Professional Services:

Brooks Bell
Greenroom Communications
One Woman Shop
TJA Accountant
The Paystub People
WunderBar Translations
MMI Public Relations
Crossroads PR & Marketing
Sepi Engineering
Carolyn Scott Photography
Mulkey Engineering
Phreckles Photography
Simply Photography
Esther Campi (Campi & Co)
HeskethOak City Labs
Abby Nardo Photography
BWPW Photography
Glenwood Agency


Innovate Raleigh
Leadership Exchange
Headbands for Hope
Redress Raleigh
Activate Good
Umstead Hotel & Spa
NC Theatre
Visual Art Exchange
SOAR Triangle
e51 Community
Raleigh Arts Collective
Nicole Wicker Consulting
Change The Triangle
Shannon Andrews Consulting
Art of Cool Project
HEAT Studios
Turn Me Loose
Live Work Play

Women doing awesome things and involved in the scene:

Mayor Nancy McFarlane
Christina Motley
Delisa Alexander
Noreen Allen
Sheryll Waddell
Heather Allen
Jan Davis
Jennifer Meeks
Carter Worthy
Liz Tracy
Allyson Sutton
Samantha Attard
Molly Demarest
Ellie Gamache
Jennifer Stanigar
Jes Averhart
Laura Baverman
Melissa Kennedy
Amy Huffman
Lizzy Hazeltine
Reagan Reynolds
Dana Calder
Jessica Mitsch
Cicely Mitchell
Kelly Sexton

Minority Led companies, entrepreneurs and investors:

Food and Beverage:

J Anthony’s BBQ Sauce
Lonerider Brewing
Eschelon Experiences
Nickelpoint Brewing
Bida Manda

Clothing / Retail:

Martian Creations
Nyla Elise


Global Data Consortium
Archive Social
BioPharma Advisors
Singh Development
Remedy Health
ELXR Health
Global Market Resources
Maintec Technologies

Marketing / Professional Services:

Sepi Engineering


Parks Hospitality


Office Hours – HQRaleigh, American Underground, The Startup Factory, Groundworks Labs, and many more local organizations widely publicize that they hold free office hours with local professionals. To my knowledge, no one has ever been turned down based on gender or race.

Structured programming – Organizations like CED, SCORE, and Entredot have structured programs to help small (and established) businesses get off the ground. Most of their programming is free, but some events and programs do have a small cost.

Soar Triangle – Backed by Google, the yearlong program offers tailor-made mentoring and investment opportunities for four female-led startups.

Black Girls Code – Based out of American Underground @Main, BGC focuses on girls aged 7-17 in hopes to help fuel the passion for a STEM focused career path.

E51 Coffee Connections – Peer mentoring groups, which are part of the new Entrepreneurial Ecosystem powered by women. Contact for more info.

Derrick Minor’s email – The most comprehensive entrepreneur and startup focused event list delivered right to your inbox every few weeks. To sign up visit

American Underground has launched an initiative to have its membership be comprised of at least 50% females and minorities. To back this up they’ve hosted events and organizations such as Black Girls Code, partnered with CODE2040 to launch an Entrepreneur in Residence program to support minority led firms and launched Soar Triangle to close the funding gap for female led firms.

Of course I couldn’t possibly cover everyone and every resource. If I’ve missed something, please feel free to either comment on the blog or email me