Guest Columnist

Column: Startups converge at Paradoxos

Guest ColumnistJune 3, 2013 

Joe Procopio

Here’s a warning to Triangle-area entrepreneurs who started a startup before starting a startup was cool.

As the Triangle’s startup scene continues to evolve, convergence is going to become the norm. Events are going to get bigger, flashier and louder. Entrepreneurs are going to walk into rooms and see a lot of people they don’t recognize.

Those events with the greatest value will remain standing, get bigger and bring more still-desperately needed eyes and attention to the Triangle’s startup ecosystem.

Paradoxos, a two-day festival in downtown Durham that starts Thursday, is one of those events. It has the intent to harness “the power of ideas, collaboration, and what’s to come.”

It’s the largest merger of local startuptopia since this past fall when ExitEvent, Startup Summit, Internet Summit with its mini-music-fest IS Rocks – headlined by a Connells reunion – all happened the same week.

Paradoxos was spearheaded by startup hub American Underground, accelerator Triangle Startup Factory, CED, Downtown Durham Inc., creative shop Paragraph Project, PrettyFab PR and the Durham Chamber.

The idea was to integrate the entrepreneurial community with other known regional industries.

The festival has been subtly introduced over a six-month period with cryptic tweets that led to a website (paradoxos.com) that perpetually released more information about the event. The intent of the marketing campaign was to produce a curious vibe that promotes the nature of the event rather than the speaker list.

“This is about getting a bunch of interesting people together to have conversations about what’s next for the Triangle,” said Adam Klein, co-organizer of Paradoxos and chief strategist at American Underground.

Paradoxos kicks off Thursday morning at the Carolina Theatre with Triangle Startup Factory’s Pitch Day, in which the Spring 2013 graduates of the TSF program present to an audience of well-known investors. Paradoxos will provide a serendipitous opportunity to show more of Durham to the big shot venture capitalists who will be coming in from around the country.

“I wanted a huge celebration,” said Chris Heivly, TSF’s executive director. “We’re doing good, but I wanted something even bigger to show exactly how good we’re doing.”

On Thursday night, Major Bull, an informal networking event, will include the area’s startups and the general public, and will be fueled by the wares of eight local breweries.

Paradoxos also includes The Next, a series of TedX-style talks in Fletcher Hall at the Carolina Theatre and block parties at ReverbNation, FullSteam Brewery and Bull McCabe’s.

According to Klein, Paradoxos is meant to be an annual event, and he hopes it will get bigger and more inclusive each year.

Joe Procopio is a serial entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. Follow him at @jproco or joeprocopio.com.

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