The @bigfleet beat: January's startup community news & events | CLT Blog
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The @bigfleet beat: January’s startup community news & events

Posted on 9 Jan 2012 by bigfleet

Each month, Jim Van Fleet distills the city’s startup community news and events into a single, easy-to-read digest. You can get this same information delivered directly to your inbox by signing up here.


Thanks to CLT Blog for the opportunity to find some new readers!

The new year is a time brimming with possibility.  It’s natural to resolve to do better or to be better.  Whether it turns out that way or not, it’s a natural time to try a new commitment.

Education is going to be a recurring theme for this newsletter in 2012, and as of this writing, over 220 thousand people have made a commitment to learn to code during 2012 at CodeYear. When I first saw the link just a few days ago, the number was about 20 thousand.  Will you be learning to code this year?

Ben Craig Center

I haven’t doubted of the desire and capability of UNC Charlotte to aid those in the entrepreneurial community, and I was further impressed after attending a session on Leveraging University Resources at the Ben Craig Center.  Director of the University Career Center, Denise Dwight Smith spoke about the variety of options that businesses have for providing work experience for college students, along with the benefits of exercising those options.  Barry Burks, Associate Director of the Charlotte Research Institute, spoke about the PORTAL building in addition to the nature of the partnership between UNCC and Charlotte businesses.  I was particularly interested in the Senior Design Project that all UNCC seniors must complete, as some of them can be sponsored and defined by industry very economically.  Also, no one should underestimate the abilities of a reference librarian, and Betty Ladner was there to inform us of their availability at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNCC.

If you have experience with any of these programs (good or bad), or plan to take advantage of them in 2012, please say so in the comments!


Labs on 15th Launch

Thursday, January 19, 2011, 6 PM
Cost: Free
Venue: Area 15 (map)
Host: Area 15 and Philip Dodds

The Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte is near and dear to my heart, and not only because I live there. Area Fifteen has been hosting Charlotte BarCamp for the life of the series, and one of its original driving forces Philip Dodds and his wife Amadea Unisa Dodds are launching a new youth technology education program there to run through the first half of 2012.

10 to 15 children will be receiving letters like this one (PDF) inviting them to be a part of a curriculum aimed at helping them begin a life of programming websites. The computers at Area 15 (donated by Muzak) may represent the only chance some of these children have to experiment with technology– a chance many of us may take for granted concerning our own children.

As the letter says “this is a time for makers.” Won’t you consider attending to find out how you can help these children get skills that could change their lives forever? I won’t be able to make this meeting, so I would really appreciate your consideration by lending a hand to help make this project a success. There’s some pizza in it for you!

CRTEC w/ Chris Siefken, CIO of Beanstalk Data

Wednesday, January 11, 2011, 7 AM
Cost: Free with $150 annual membership, but you must apply for membership first.
Venue:  AT-NET Services, Inc. (map)

One area where Charlotte excels is delivering valuable content to technical entrepreneurs.  Some of you may be interested in CRTEC, the Charlotte Regional Technology Executives Council, where my CEO Chris Halligan chairs the Events committee.  They are a membership organization that has started charging $150 a year for membership, but if you are able to attend 7-9AM meetings, it’s well worth it.  Speakers have included OtherScreen president Garth Moulton, UNCC College of Informatics Chair Yi Deng, SQLite inventor Richard Hipp, and Jim Di Piante, project manager for IBM’s Watson project– remember the Jeopardy playing machine?  80% of the revenue from membership funds up to $4,000 in scholarships to the UNCC College of Informatics, so a lot of your money goes to an excellent educational cause.

January’s meeting features Chris Siefken, CIO of Beanstalk Data on how they are using NoSQL to track, analyze and aggregate their incoming data in real time.  NoSQL is already an important topic and trend in the computing world so I’m excited to attend.

Bits and pieces

Ignite Charlotte 4 Call for Speakers

You can apply to speak at Ignite on January 10.  You might be surprised at the results of speaking publicly about a personal or professional passion; Ignite Charlotte has had a major impact on my life.  If you are interested in sponsoring Ignite, an event that’s accustomed to packing the Neighborhood Theater with forward-looking Charlotteans, you can contact my wife Megan at meganvanfleet at

Save the Dates

Charlotte BarCamp 7 will be on April 21, and Charlotte Startup Weekend 4 will be the following weekend, April 2729.

Freedom Riders closes Series A

Freedom Riders, a company planning to “take the petroleum out of Medicaid”, has received its Series A funding. We look forward to hearing more about their efforts to make a difference by cutting health care costs while helping the environment.

Packard Place maps and initiatives

The team at Packard Place has done an assessment of the Charlotte startup ecosystem, and will be having meetings during the coming months to marshall efforts in the city to help fill the gaps.  Review their map of the entreprenurial support system in the Queen City. Do you see anything missing?  If so, leave a comment!

Blog at the Charlotte Observer

I was excited to see a business blog at the Charlotte Observer start covering a similar landscape.  This coverage may help the city of Charlotte take its entrepreneurs more seriously.

NC IDEA Finalists and Winners

NC IDEA formally announced their winners, and two Charlotte companies are among them, with mailVU and InfoSense joining OtherScreen as the three Charlotte recipients this year.  You can read more at the NC IDEA website or at the CBJ


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