CED’s new Program Manager, Matt Melloy sat down with us to tell us more about himself.
What do you enjoy about supporting entrepreneurs?
What I love about working with entrepreneurs is being a part of an exciting environment where creative and passionate individuals are willing to take huge risks to turn their innovative ideas into successful companies. Over the past ten years I’ve worked on startup teams and launched my own startup venture. To me there is nothing more satisfying than using my knowledge, training, and personal experience to help other entrepreneurs pursue their passion, find success, and avoid pitfalls along the way.
Prior to CED, what’s the coolest event you’ve been a part of for entrepreneurs?
The coolest startup event that I ever got to work on was definitely a conference called East Meets West (EMW), which I developed, launched and managed while working for Blue Startups, a tech accelerator in Honolulu, Hawaii. The goal of the conference has been to showcase Hawaii’s unique entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as to bring together prominent thought leaders from across the Pacific. The first two conferences that I helped manage received tremendous support from the local Hawaii business community as well as our global partners. Since I left Hawaii, EMW has continued to attract an international audience and a growing number of high profile speakers.
What aspects of the Triangle’s growing entrepreneurial community attracted you here?
I have always heard and been curious about the dynamic and rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the Triangle. I’ve been working in small, yet competitive, startup communities for a long time. When I had the opportunity to be a part of such a mature and exciting market like the Triangle, the choice was obvious and I couldn’t pass it up. It also helps that this area continues to receive high marks for “Quality of Life”. It just seems like a fun place to live. And my two little nieces also live here.
Having moved from Orlando, what are the top 3 things you are most excited about as a new Durham resident?
Outdoor activities are number one; I’ve always loved living in areas with a lot of camping, hiking, and canoeing opportunities and there definitely doesn’t seem to be any shortage of that around here. Number two is related to number one so this might be cheating, but I do love this location. The Triangle seems to be perfectly located between the beaches and the mountains so you really have the best of both worlds here. Finally, number three has to be the local food and events. If I’m not getting out of town on the weekend, there always seems to be something to check out in the Triangle area, whether it be a music festival, a craft beer event, an NHL game (I grew up in Minnesota), or, of course, a startup related activity. I also kept hearing about the amazing restaurant scene in Durham. In the short time I’ve been here, I have to say, the food I’ve had definitely lives up to the reviews. Overall, Durham seems like a nice-sized, accessible city with lots going on here in town and within a short drive. I’ve also heard people like basketball here, so I guess I’ll have to brush up on that.
Will you visit the NC mountains or beaches first? (We’ve got both here!)
I’ve always loved the mountains so I think for my first trip out of town I’ll probably head West. I can’t wait to check out Asheville and Boone. I’ve heard the new Sierra Nevada brewery is a great place to hang out. I don’t want to offend, but I’m not sure the beach will compete with Hawai’i but I’m definitely looking forward to visiting there as well.
Do you have a favorite NC restaurant/bar/beer yet?
I have to say, the craft beer scene around here is pretty amazing. I’m an aspiring home brewer with, sadly, very little success. I know I’m going to sound cliche but I’m a hops guy. I’ve become a fan of Foothills Hoppyum, Wicked Weed, and there’s a pretty good IPA I had over at Lynnwood Brewing Concern. I also loved the authentic Chinese food (and the beer) at Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh.
Meet Matt in person at the CED Tech Venture Conference next week.