Monday, February 9, 2015

"The Woz" to speak at Charlotte startup conference

The guest list for what's been touted as the largest showing of promising startups and eager venture capitalists to hit Charlotte now includes the man who co-founded Apple.

Steve Wozniak, who with Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. in 1976, will be one of the featured speakers at this year's Southeast Venture Conference, an assembly of top venture capitalists and private investors waiting for a chance to pour their money into hopeful tech companies.

Often called "The Woz," Wozniak is a Silicon Valley tycoon and electrical engineer who is credited with inventing the first personal computer, and recently revealed that Apple did not actually start in a garage.

We first blogged about the Southeast Venture Conference last month, but apparently organizers didn't confirm Wozniak as a featured speaker until late last week.

The conference, in its ninth year, will be held at the Le Meridien hotel Mar. 31 to April 1. It coincides with the Charlotte Venture Challenge, a startup pitch competition that has drawn more than 200 early-stage companies in the past.

This year, finalists will be able to pitch to investors attending the Southeast Venture Conference, putting them in contact with more than 600 top-tier investors, some of whom belong to Fortune 500 companies.

"The combination of SEVC and the Charlotte Venture Challenge offers the region's most promising entrepreneurs an opportunity for great a great chance to learn from knowledgeable panelists and iconic speakers, such as Steve Wozniak," said Paul Wetenhall of Ventureprise, UNC Charlotte's incubator which hosts the venture challenge. "