Adam Orsborn (left) and Nate Peaty (right) are founders of the startup company Arxchitect, which is based in Winston-Salem.

The growth of the Triad and statewide business technology startup sector has prompted a need to expand an annual demonstration event to a second day.

The Demo Day, hosted by Flywheel New Ventures and Venture Café, will be held in downtown Winston-Salem on Thursday in Bailey Power Plant and Friday in Wake Forest BioTech Place.

“This event is a true testament to the involvement of entrepreneurship program partners and investors from all around the state,” says Peter Marsh, co-founder of Flywheel and an investor in the New Ventures concept.

“This is the largest event of the year celebrating early- and growth-stage startups outside of the CED Tech Ventures conference in Raleigh.”

Marsh said registrations and exhibiting companies are both up more than 50% for the event, which includes several format changes and 45 exhibiting startups from the Triad, Charlotte and Western North Carolina.

“We invited investment firms from around the region to interview and (grade) startups that will be on the demo floor Friday,” Marsh said. “They will select 10 startups to do lightning-round pitches on the main stage at 2 p.m.

Marsh said organizers elevated the speaker portion of the event, featuring Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines speaking on the topic of “the state of entrepreneurship.”

Keynote speaker is Henry Ammar, who is described as “a serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He is founder of Make It Happen Life and operates a real estate investment company.

Another featured event will be companies graduating from the New Ventures 2019 summer accelerator program presenting their business models and customer developments at 3:45 p.m. Friday. There are participating companies based as far away as Philadelphia, as well as from Charlotte.

More than 300 investors, Triad co-founders and general business community members are expected to attend the presentations. There is the potential for companies to gain up an average of $50,000 in inception-stage funding.

“This is a pivotal moment for these companies,” said Adrian Smith, director of the New Ventures accelerator and program manager for Flywheel and Mixxer.

“It’s their opportunity to begin to transition from inception stage to growth by demonstrating proof of concept and market traction.”

Among the local New Ventures participants are:

  • Gift’d of Winston-Salem, run by Janet McKay Smith and Alison Gifford. They bill their company as a customized gift card service for local businesses — “the Redbox for gift cards.”
  • Re(FüL) of Winston-Salem, run by Cliff Duhon. Its focus is on integrating biometrics, exercise plans, nutritional analysis and meal plans to fuel athletic performance.

“We really wanted to increase the amount of attending investors this year, and that’s how we came up with the idea of them forming judging teams to work the demo floor,” New Ventures investor Fletcher Steele said. Steele is president of Pine Hall Brick Co. Inc. of Winston-Salem.

Program tracks include “The Future of XR, Healthcare, Cybersecurity and Aviation” all of which are regional market focuses.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on private equity investment.

For the full program and speaker roster, go to

Flywheel, a provider of rental networking spaces, is moving by October to the eighth floor of 500 West Fifth Tower. The group provides a community work space, co-working spaces, for startups, consultants and freelancers.

Its membership was at 135 as of late June, including services, nonprofits, educational, corporate and startup companies. The number of employees at companies range from one to 16.

The move into the 18,035-square-foot space will more than double Flywheel’s space.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.



Load comments