Robbie Allen is a serial entrepreneur, data enthusiast, UNC sports nut, and the founder of Startomatic (which will use technology and automation to make it easier for people to cut through the red tape of starting a business).
He is a Senior Advisor at Infinia ML, a team of machine learning experts focused on delivering business impact for enterprise organizations. Infinia ML helps companies use data to automate business processes and achieve new breakthroughs.
Previously, Robbie founded and led Automated Insights, whose natural language generation software helps automate content production for The Associated Press, Yahoo!, and many others. Automated Insights was successfully acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2015, and Robbie currently serves as the company’s Executive Chairman. Before starting Automated Insights, Robbie was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco.
Robbie has authored or coauthored eight software books, owns six patents, and has spoken at a variety of conferences including the O’Reilly AI Conference, Strata, SXSW, and the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. He holds two Master’s degrees from MIT and is completing his Ph.D. in computer science at UNCChapel Hill.
D’Shawn Russell is a true southern belle. Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, she spent summers picking homegrown fresh fruit, swimming in the ocean during the day, and catching lightning bugs at night. As an adult, she held on tight to her sacred memories of attending church all day with her grandmother and then settling in to eat a satisfying meal made with love.
She began making candles that would honor the joys of southern living and provide a creative outlet for her sense of nostalgia. When she started giving them away as gifts, the response was so well received that she decided to take this newfound passion of hers and share it with more people. Thus, Southern Elegance Candle Company was born.
D’Shawn won the 2019 Bunker RDU pitch competition, participates in the monthly CEO Circle, is in 300+ retail locations, and recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10ksb program.
Thom is President and CEO of NC IDEA. He is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor and works with entrepreneurs, governments, universities and NGOs around the world to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset needed to grow vibrant economies.
During his seven-year tenure at the Kauffman Foundation, he directed the Foundation’s programs addressing entrepreneurial education, mentoring, access to capital and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems. Thom also led Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a school dedicated to advancing community deployed experiential-based entrepreneurial education.
Thom has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Entrepreneurship, addressed the United Nations Assembly on Entrepreneurship, lectured at conferences around the world and serves on multiple boards including Innovation Fund America and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina.