it’s time to make the connections that make a difference

 MARCH 17-19, 2020 | Raleigh Convention Center

Redefining the traditional conference, Venture Connect, is a new three-day experience. 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.

be a summit sponsor

What motivates you to become a summit sponsor? Whether it’s premium visibility or plenty of face-time, we have a package to fit your needs.

become a sponsor


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.


Companies applying are ones who:

Offer solutions to increase productivity and efficiency in business.

Integrate digital technology with the intent to streamline everyday life.

Create solutions that improve quality of life and well being.

Full details on application process click here below

Company Application


The Summit attendees are ones that are:

Scaling start-ups and growth stage companies.

Local and out-of-state investors looking to connect.

NC Corporate and strategic partners.

Community resources aligned with the growth of companies.

Explorers looking to connect with others.


Company Application period has us so excited!

Join in the game and get entered to win a Summit pass!

For full drawing details and rules click below.

Drawing on December 13th

Chance Drawing


Companies that integrate digital technology with the intent to streamline everyday life.

E-Commerce | Smart devices | Digital health


Companies that offer solutions to increase productivity and efficiency in business. 

Artificial Intelligence | Augmented Reality | Big Data | Cyber Security


Companies creating solutions that improve the quality of life and well being of the human race.

Healthy Consumer | Therapeutics | Advanced Diagnostics

Nov 11 – Feb 14
Feb 15 – Mar 11
Mar 17 – 19


421 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Rate: $169 plus taxes
Cut off date: Feb. 24 at 5pm Eastern Time
Reservations: 800-325-3535
Ask for CED Conference rate

Book Here


616 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
$189 plus taxes, includes full breakfast
Cutoff date: March 4 at 5pm Reservations: 919-856-0017 reference group code VCS

Book Here

Where will Venture Connect be Held?

Venture Connect will be held March 17-19 at the Raleigh Convention Center: 500 S Salisbury St, Raleigh, NC 27601 General Information: (919) 996-8500 Web:

Are any sponsorship opportunities available for the Summit?

Yes, sponsorship packages are available in a wide range of options. A sponsorship can provide your company with high-profile visibility to a large number of influential executives and decision-makers in attendance. See our sponsorship package for details.

What is the nearest airport? Raleigh/Durham International Airport?

(RDU) is the nearest airport to the Raleigh Convention Center.

Am I allowed to record any of the Summit sessions or events?

No, any unauthorized recording of the Summit sessions or events is strictly prohibited.

Will anyone be taking pictures during the Summit?

Yes, pictures will be taken during the Summit. By registering for the Summit, you acknowledge that there is a possibility your picture may be taken.

Educational Workshops


More info to follow

Life Science and Tech CEO Breakfasts


Invite only. More info to follow

Evening Receptions

Proceeding closing keynote each night // Relax

More info to follow

Tech and Life Science Investor Dinners


Invite only. More info to follow

what you can expect

This powerhouse event is clear evidence of how strong our tech and life sciences ecosystems really are.


Entrepreneurial Companies Onstage


Regional and Out-of-State Investors Onsite


Summit Attendees


1:1 Meetings


The summit is a collaborative effort that brings together the ecosystem, as well as out-of-region supporters interested in entrepreneurial activity in North Carolina.  Sort highlighted speakers and summit chairs by selecting a category below.

AllSpeakersSummit Leader

physicist and a biotech entrepreneur

Safi Bahcall

Safi is a second-generation physicist and a biotech entrepreneur. He received his BA summa cum laude from Harvard and his PhD in physics from Stanford.

Founder and CEO of Amicus

John Crowley

John Francis Crowley is a biotechnology executive and entrepreneur and the chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics. He co-founded Novazyme Pharmaceuticals with William Canfield, which was later acquired by Genzyme Corporation and founded Orexigen Therapeutics.

bill hawkins

Summit Leader

Bill Hawkins

Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic

Mr. Hawkins is retired Chairman and CEO of Medtronic and currently a corporate director serving on public and private boards as well as non for profit boards. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering and is an AIMBE Fellow.

Mr. Hawkins currently serves as Lead Director and previously served as President and CEO of Immucor (a private equity backed company) from October 2011 to July 2015.  Prior to Immucor, Mr. Hawkins served as Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, one of the worlds’ largest and most innovative medical technology companies. Mr. Hawkins assumed the role of CEO in 2007 and became Chairman of the Board in 2008. He joined Medtronic in 2002 as SVP and President of Medtronic Vascular. He served in that role until June 2004. From 2004 until August 2007 he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Medtronic.

Prior to Medtronic, Mr. Hawkins served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Novoste Corp. Nasdaq (NOVT) and held senior leadership positions at American Home Products, Johnson & Johnson, Guidant Corp., and Eli Lilly & Co. He began his medical technology career with Carolina Medical Electronics in 1977. 

Mr. Hawkins received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and biomedical engineering from Duke in 1976, where he also conducted medical research in pathology. He then went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, in 1982.

He is a Senior Advisor to EW Healthcare Partners, a leading private equity firm investing in life sciences. Mr. Hawkins serves as a Director of Avanos Health NYSE: AVNS. He is Chairman of the Board of Bioventus, and 4Tech; a cardiology startup in Ireland, and on the Board of Virtue Labs, Baebies, Cereius, AskBio, Cirtec Medical, Biogen (BIIB: NASDAQ) and Tissue Tech.  Mr. Hawkins is the past Chairman and Co-Founder of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (“MDIC”) and past-president of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (“AMIBE”).  Mr. Hawkins was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2011 and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board. He is on the Executive Committee and the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.  Mr. Hawkins is Chair of the Board of the Duke University Health System.  He is a member of the NC Biotech board and serves on the Board of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation Society.

Mr. Hawkins also serves as a Member of the Advisory Boards at Arboretum Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, HealthQuest Ventures, and past member of A*STAR SERC Cluster Advisory Board in Singapore, and the Biomedical Research Council of Singapore.”

Summit Leader

Steve Nelson

Co-Founder at Carbon, Inc.

Steve served as Carbon’s launch CEO. After raising the original Series A funding from Sequoia Capital, he became the initial Chairman of the company.

Steve is also Co-founder of re—inc, a purpose-driven, global lifestyle and wellness company founded by 2019 World Cup Champions, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, and Meghan Klingenberg. Additionally, he is an advisor to Chopra Global and its not-for-profit partner, The Chopra Institute, with world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine, Dr. Deepak Chopra, MD. Steve is also lead investor in and board member of Diveplane Corporation, a technology company dedicated to keeping the humanity in AI.

Steve has served on the boards of many companies, including Blue Cross of North Carolina since 2002 until today, where he recently concluded a four-year term as Chairman. Steve was also Managing Partner at venture capital firm, Wakefield Group, for 14 years. He joined Wakefield after 19 years of executive and general management experience in technology, software, business services, and cloud computing businesses, including at Quokka Sports and NBC/Quokka Ventures. He was formerly VP of the Americas for Informix Software in Menlo Park, CA. His business career began at IBM, where he served for 14 years in Chicago and White Plains, NY, and then ultimately as VP and General Manager in San Francisco.

Steve received his B.S. degree in Business from Wake Forest University. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees at Wake Forest, the Board of Visitors at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and was Foundation Board Chair at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

melissa smith

Summit Leader

Melissa Smith

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

Melissa Smith is the Head of Specialized Industries for JPMorgan’s Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries (MMBSI) business. She leads a team of national managers responsible for industry verticals including Agribusiness, Apparel, Beverage, Emerging Growth, Life Sciences, Media and Entertainment, Technology, and the Middle Market Financial Sponsors Group. The industry teams provide traditional banking services and investment banking solutions to mid-cap sized companies across the country.Melissa is also responsible for the Government, Healthcare, Higher Ed, and Not-for-Profit businesses within MMBSI and sits on the Management Committee for the Commercial Bank.

Prior to joining MMBSI, Melissa spent 3 years as the Northeast Group Head for Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries (CCBSI) where she also served on the Management Committee. Since joining CCBSI she has acted as the Regional Chair for the Northeast Market Leadership Teams and as Senior Sponsor for the CB Columbia recruiting team.

Melissa joined the firm in 1998 in Public Finance and has spent most of her career in the Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB), most recently as the Head of EMEA Investment Grade Finance in London. As part of her role running the DCM business in Europe, Melissa was a co-chair of the Debt Underwriting Commitments Committee (DUCC), a member of the EMEA balance Sheet Committee, a senior sponsor of the ED Connect program in EMEA and a member of the Analyst and Associate Development Council.Prior to her London move, she spent 14 years in the Debt Capital Markets group in New York as the Head of the Consumer, Retail, Healthcare and Chemicals team.

Melissa received a BA in Political Science from American University and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Since 2009, she has served on the Board of Trustees of American Ballet Theatre.

Summit Leader

Mike Capps

Founder/CEO Diveplane Corporation

Dr. Michael Capps is a well-known technologist and CEO of Diveplane Corporation, which develops transformative technology that keeps the humanity in AI. Before co-founding Diveplane, Mike had a legendary career in the videogame industry as president of Epic Games, makers of blockbusters Fortnite and Gears of War. His tenure included a hundred game-of-the-year awards, dozens of conference keynotes, a lifetime achievement award, and a successful free-speech defense of videogames in the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s survived trending on Twitter, iPhone launch events with Steve Jobs, and raising two toddlers. Michael began his career with post-graduate degrees at UNC, MIT, and the Naval Postgraduate School; for his research in VR, he was one of 50 scientists featured in SIGGRAPH’s historical documentary on computer graphics. He has keynoted dozens of conferences, and remains a regular host of television series on the Discovery and Science Channels.  

Summit Leader

Sheila Mikhail

CEO, President, Co-Founder AskBio

Sheila Mikhail co-founded and was the initial CEO of AskBio from 2002 through 2007. Ms. Mikhail left the company to become CEO of NanoCor Therapeutics, Inc. Most recently, Ms. Mikhail co-founded and was CEO of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc., which in 20 months raised $50 million, advanced a therapeutic for GAN into the clinic, completed Pre-IND studies for the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy therapeutic, and built a GMP manufacturing facility. Bamboo was acquired by Pfizer in August 2016.

Trained as a lawyer, Ms. Mikhail practiced law for over 15 years, including a law firm that she founded, Life Sciences Law, which serviced clients such as Bayer, Gilead, GSK, Sanofi, and Aventis. Ms. Mikhail also practiced with Ropes and Gray in Boston. Ms. Mikhail earned a JD, with honors, from Northwestern University; a finance MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago; and a BS, with highest honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

thanks to

A special thank you to all of our Summit sponsors and partners. View all of our highlighted sponsors and partners below.

J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan

Headline Sponsor

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Track Sponsor


Track Sponsor


Premium Featured Content Sponsor

Wyrick Robbins

Premium Featured Content Sponsor

Hutchison PLLC

Tech Investor Dinner Sponsor

Red Hat

Featured Content Sponsor


Featured Content Sponsor

Pfizer CentreOne

Networking Sponsor

Research Triangle Foundation

Networking Sponsor


Reception Sponsor

Veracity Logic

Reception & Signature Drink Sponsor

North Carolina Biosciences Organization (NCBIO)

Life Science

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Economic Development

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