Venture Connect Summit Leaders Announced

RTP, NC, October 22, 2019 — The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) today announced five leaders for Venture Connect. As Summit leaders, they are leading the strategy for this annual event along with the CED team. “We are thrilled to have such successful, experienced entrepreneurs and leaders providing their expertise to ensure that this event is a major success,” said Ravila Gupta, CED’s President and CEO.

The Summit leaders will help bring together the tech and life science worlds with their unique, and expert experience as leaders, CEOs, founders, board members, investors, and more to make Venture Connect an event you don’t want to miss.

The 2020 Summit Leaders

Bill Hawkins, Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic

Steve Nelson, Co-Founder at Carbon, Inc.

Melissa Smith, Managing Director, Head of Specialized Industries, Middle Market Banking, J.P. Morgan

Mike Capps, Founder/CEO Diveplane Corporation

Sheila Mikhail, CEO, President, Co-Founder AskBio

The Upcoming Summit 

Redefining the traditional conference, Venture Connect, is a new three-day experience, March 17-19, 2020 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Recognizing the innovation potential across the Tech & Life Science communities, we are focused on creating an environment that supports stronger connections, valuable programming, and learning for all. At Venture Connect you will experience: 


Nonstop programming and workshops over three days, packed full of both technology-rich and life science-focused content that will equip you with the knowledge you’re looking for to take your venture to the next level. 


Be a part of the largest gathering of innovative tech and life science companies under one roof in this region. This powerhouse event showcases the strength of our growing ecosystem and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunities that await.  


A three-day agenda loaded with some of the nation’s top talent in the tech and life science industries on topics you want to explore. Past speakers have included: John Doerr, Jim Goetz, Clayton Christensen and John Carreyrou.


Venture Connect offers companies the unique opportunity to present their scaling plans to investors and potential partners over 3 days. Join along with over 135 national and local companies live on-stage as they present their company goals to gain visibility and potential backing. 


Venture Connect draws in over 1600 attendees and over 200 investors from across the nation. We also provide a designated meeting space for 1:1 meetings and in-app functionality to enable meetings. Creating new connections has never been easier!

Who Attends? 

  • Venture Connect creates an environment where attendees can connect to the resources they seek. Who are they?
  • Regional start-ups and growth-stage companies that are scaling fast.
  • Local and out-of-state investors looking to connect with scaling ventures.
  • Corporate and strategic partners who are highly invested in the NC ecosystem. 
  • Community resources aligned with accelerating the growth of companies.
  • Explorers looking to connect with others in the ecosystem.

How to do I register? 

You can attend Venture Connect as an Entrepreneurial Company* or General Attendee.  A ticket will include – three days of nonstop content, a keynote lunch, networking receptions, one-on-one meeting access, and more.  

Early registration will begin in early November and run through February 14. Early ticket prices are $350 for entrepreneurial companies and $650 for General admission. Regular rates begin on February 15 and prices increase to $500 and $950 respectively, so visit the CED website to get your tickets early! 

Media interested in attending the conference should contact Kristina Sandine at

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