After startup rockstar Paul Singh spoke at the DigSouth conference in Charleston, Jim Roberts was the first person in line to talk to him afterward.
Roberts, founder of the Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) and Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs, wanted to talk to Singh about the speaker’s 2016 Results Junkies Tech Tour. Traveling in a Ford truck pulling an Airstream trailer, Singh has been connecting investors with startups and discussing entrepreneurial best practices at cities across the country.
Soon after that discussion in Charleston, Roberts had assembled enough sponsors to bring the Tech Tour to Wilmington.
Thanks to sponsors such as Hutchinson, Live Oak Bank, Adam Shay CPA, Williford Houston & Co. CPAs, Ironclad Brewery, tekMountain and the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Results Junkies Tech Tour is slated to be in Wilmington Oct. 3-7.
“It puts a spotlight on Wilmington,” said Roberts, who started NEW in 2015 after leaving UNCW’s CIE program. “He’s a very high-profile person.”
Singh is one of the co-founders of the acclaimed accelerator program 500 Startups.
“He is an angel investor, and he is a venture capitalist,” Roberts said of Singh. “He is looking for companies to invest $100,000-$250,000 in the startups that he likes. Someone like Paul meets thousands of people every year. It just takes that one introduction to lead to a new investor.”
For his part, Singh hopes his tour can bring expertise and venture capital dollars to parts of the country that aren’t (yet) well-known tech hubs.
Singh will bring several investors with him to Wilmington, giving locals exposure to investment sources outside of the region.
With sponsors covering the expenses of the tour, the local events are free to entrepreneurs, though some require advanced sign-up.
“This is not a conference where everyone sits in the same room for three days,” Roberts is quick to point out. Indeed, sessions will be held in various locations around town and independently of each other. “They are really for different audiences.”
Of particular note is a lunch event Oct. 5 in which local companies, including GE, will discuss the problems they need someone to solve.
“We have a lot of first-time entrepreneurs who are creating solutions for some things that aren’t really problems,” Roberts said. This event will show local startups the areas where they can direct their focus.
“That’s a much better way to build a company,” Roberts said.
Another session will specifically be for wealth managers who want to learn more about becoming angel investors.
To see the full schedule and sign up for events, go to resultsjunkies.com/tech-tour.