As you know, we've been following the adventures of four Duke students (now grads) who started a company called StartEmUp.com, whose goal is to identify e-commerce and Web-based companies born among late night bull sessions in college dorms or over coffee at the local Starbucks. Their success have been remarkable. We were happy to be among the first to note their determination, and since then, outlets such as CNBC, Time, and The Wall Street Journal have picked up on their story. Of course, they've been great fans of our site (thanks for wearing the shirts guys!).
Now, they are about to embark on a new venture. Starting next Tuesday, they will be launching in Washington, DC their "JumpStart2K" conference series, which they term "an educational forum that aims to link talented young entrepreneurs with the advisors, service professionals, and investors necessary to better equip them for a foray into the new economy." Other conference sites will be Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
With recent backing from Arthur Anderson, StartEmUp.com will have a number of key entrepreneurial players and venture capitalists at the conferences. Among the speakers in Washington will be Jim McDermott, Founder, Stamps.com, Raymond Sozzi, Jr., Founder and CEO, Student Advantage, Inc., Christopher Klaus, Founder and CTO, Internet Security Systems, and Matthew Pittinsky, Founder and Chairman, Blackboard, Inc. In addition, their business plan contest for students, which last year offered $20,000 in services to the winner, now carries a $100,000 startup services package. If you are interested in attending, visit their registration page for more information and to sign up. College students may attend for free. Attendance for service providers and professionals is only $50.
Finally, we wanted to give a gratuitous plug to the first company StartEmUp identified, Hideaway.Net, a truly outstanding Internet security content and service provider. Amazingly, Hideaway was started by a couple of Duke freshmen, and they have built an impressive business. We used them to do a complete and comprehensive evalution of our site's security after we were hacked a few times, and they did a tremendously professional job. If your business ever needs a security evaluation of your site or server, we would highly recommend this company. (And, no, we don't have any financial interest in them, but we wish we did!)