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Cucalorus Unveils Highlights Of New Startup-focused Conference

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 16, 2015
The Cucalorus Film Festival announced Friday some of the presenters who will be in the spotlight during a new program billed as focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Cucalorus Connect, which will include more than 50 events, is being held at the same time as the festival this year, Nov. 11-15. Key conference presenters include Galen Buckwalter, the founding chief science officer at eHarmony and creator of the company’s technology; Chris Heivly, a founder of MapQuest and now a managing director of The Startup Factory in Durham; Tim Mather and Greg Avola, co-founders of Untappd, a social media platform for craft beer junkies; Dan Tynan, editor in chief for Yahoo Tech; Joan Siefert Rose, president of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development; and lead principals from the crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Seed&Spark, a news release said Friday afternoon.

Another featured is a virtual reality lounge “to share the most mind-bending new works in a rapidly growing and emerging field,” the release said.

The film festival, held annually throughout downtown Wilmington since 1994, partnered with the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), tekMountain and Wilmington Downtown Inc. for the Cucalorus Connect conference, aiming to attract local and national entrepreneurs to the Port City.

Dan Brawley, Cucalorus Film Festival director, said in a previous Greater Wilmington Business Journal story that Cucalorus Connect is a brand merger, in a way, that will build on what the CIE started with the Coastal Connect program last year.

Each day, Cucalorus Connect will begin at Thalian Hall’s ballroom with a Connect Coffee Hour, followed by keynotes and panel discussions on Thalian’s Main Stage, Friday's release stated.

"Each morning’s session will also feature several rocket pitches, called the Port City Pitch, providing new companies a stage to present their ideas and start-up aspirations. Following a lunch break, Connect events resume with panels and workshops at Ironclad Brewery on North Second Street and Bourgie Nights on Princess Street. Daily schedules end with social events, cocktail gatherings and workshops, and the virtual reality lounge. Panel programs continue through the weekend at both Ironclad and Bourgie Nights," according to the release.

A complete schedule for Cucalorus Connect can be found on the film festival's website.

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