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WELCOME TO THE STARTUP MOUNTAIN SUMMIT

Join startup founders from across the Southeast for 2 days of inspiration, education, and networking. Learn from the best speakers in the startup industry and take your startup to the next level.

This year, learn from hands-on workshops and join in unique opportunities with Adventure Networking opportunities.

2 DAYS • 2 WORKSHOPS • 10 SPEAKERS
CONNECTIONS

STARTUP MOUNTAIN SUMMIT
2023 EDITION

The 2023 Startup Mountain Summit was an incredible event that combined amazing speakers, over 160 in attendance, and it fostered incredible connections from 7 states. Below is a listing of the past speakers, the previous event schedule, and addtional information.

Please Note That the 2024 Format Differs Slightly with New Opportunities to Connect with Adventure Networking, Workshops, and a New Line Up of Speakers That Will Share Their Stories, Tips, and Frameworks to Achieve Success.

2023 SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Oct. 25th

WELCOME PARTY

Fischman Gallery

SPEAKERS

6 PM

Sign Up &
CHECK IN

6-10 PM

WELCOME PARTY

@ Fischman Gallery
133 N Commerce St
Johnson City, TN

Thursday, Oct. 26th

SUMMIT DAY 1

ETSU Martin Center

SPEAKERS

9-10 AM

JOHN PHILLIPS
Founder + CEO of PRIMEAUX CUTLERY

10-11 AM

ASIA ORANGIO
Founder + CEO of Demand Maven

11-12 PM

LUKE THOMPSON
COO of ActionVFX

12-1 PM

LUNCH

1-2 PM

ROB WALLING
Founder of Tiny Seed & MicroConf

2-3 PM

NETWORKING

3-3:20 PM

Heath Guinn
President + Sync Space Entrepreneur Center

3:20-4:20

GREG DIGNEO
Founder + CEO of Content Guppy

7-10 PM

INVESTMENT

Networking Event
@ Fischman Gallery
133 N Commerce St
                              Johnson city, tn

Friday, Oct. 27th

SUMMIT DAY 2

ETSU Martin Center

SPEAKERS

9-10 AM

SAMANTHA LANE
FOUNDER + CEO OF ORIGAMI DAY

10-11 AM

NETWORKING

11-12 PM

RODOLPHE PIERRE-LOUIS
Founder + CEO of ActionVFX

12-1 PM

LUNCH

1-2 PM

PANEL DISCUSSION
Having the Strength to Lean on Others

2-3 PM

GLEN YELTON
Global Head of ESG at Invesco

3-4 PM

JOE MCKENNA
Cloudwise Academy

6-10 PM

AFTER-PARTY

@ Yeehaw Brewery
126 BUffalo Street
Downtown JC

STARTUP MOUNTAIN SUMMIT
2023 RECAP VIDEO

THE 2023 LINEUP WAS INCREDIBLE!

WE LEARNED FROM
THE BEST SPEAKERS

The Speakers are experienced entrepreneurs that have launched and scaled startups like yours. They will inspire, teach, and share the tools you need to move your startups forward.

Rob  Walling

Rob Walling

Co-Founder, TinySeed, MicroConf, Startups For the Rest of Us Podcast

Rodolphe Pierre-Louis

Rodolphe Pierre-Louis

CEO • ActionVFX

Asia Orangio

Asia Orangio

Founder/CEO DemandMaven

Greg Digneo

Greg Digneo

Founder/CEO, Content Guppy

Luke Thompson

Luke Thompson

COO, ActionVFX | Founder, The Operations Guide

John Phillips

John Phillips

CEO, Phillips Forged

Samantha Lane

Samantha Lane

Founder, Origami Day

Joe Mckenna

Joe Mckenna

CEO, Cloud Wise Academy

Karlee Goodwin

Karlee Goodwin

Founder, Spark Women

Glen Yelton

Glen Yelton

Global Head of ESG at Invesco

Aundrea Salyer

Aundrea Salyer

Chief Business Development Officer, Kingsport Chamber

Ryan Hayes

Ryan Hayes

Lead Software Engineer at Global Payments Inc

Heath Guinn

Heath Guinn

President, Sync Space Entrepreneur Center

Kiki Schirr

Kiki Schirr

MC, Author, Investigator, and Marketer

Jose Castillo

Jose Castillo

Host & MC

David Nelson

David Nelson

Executive Director, FoundersForge

THE SUMMIT IS DESIGNED
FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

If you are an aspiring founder, already launched, or an existing business that is thriving, then the Summit has been designed for you. Makers, artists, and ecosystem builders will also thrive at the Summit.

The content of the Startup Mountain Summit is focused on the business side of startups and small businesses. It is industry agnostic and the content is tailored towards growth, connections, and inspiration. You will also have plenty of opportunities to connect with other founders, investors, and supporting organizations to grow your network.

INSPIRATION

Hear inspiring stories on how others launched, scaled, and existed their businesses. You will also be given the inspiration to apply what you learn in your own business through new tools and techniques that successful founders are sharing.

GROWTH

Forget the growth hacks.
Learn how true rapid-growth happens and how others achieved it through sustained best practices. You will also learn about venture capital, bootstrapping, and alternatives to both.

CONNECTIONS

Meet other founders, investors, and supporting organizations in unique ways. Make a full weekend around the Summit and meet someone axe throwing or on a chill bike ride through the mountains.

JOIN US AT THE 2024 SUMMIT

The Startup Mountain Summit will be an unforgettable experience that will help move your startup forward. Get your tickets now before they sell out.

Bringing the whole team? Contact Us for special pricing.

INVESTOR PASS

$349 $249

  • 2-Day Admission
  • Lunch Included
  • Breakfast Included
  • VIP Investor Event
  • Startup Directory
  • VIP Investor Lounge

FULL SUMMIT

$349 $249

  • 2-Day Admission
  • All Speaker Sessions
  • Hallway Track Lounge
  • Lunch Included
  • Welcome & After Party
  • Investor Event Access
  • All Networking Events

MEET JOHNSON CITY

Rich in History, Tech and Outdoor Activities

Best Places to Live

TOP 10

Diversified Metros in US

ETSU NAMED TOP ADVENTURE COLLEGE

By Blue Ridge Outdoors

TOP 10 HOTTEST ZIP CODES IN AMERICA

By Realtor.com’s

STAY CONNECTED

Join our newsletter to be the first to hear about
ticket sales, speakers and unique experiences at the Summit.

WHAT OTHERS
ARE SAYING

Startup Founders from across the Southeast and beyond are coming together to be inspired, learn from each other, and make connections that will last a lifetime.

Meeting other founders that are have been through the same challenges I’m facing always helps in ways I never knew were possible. I can’t wait to meet more startups!

Lauren Glass
Co-Founder, Personality Pool

I can’t wait to hear from the speakers and meet the investor network that will be attending this year’s summit. It is rare to be able to expand your connections in such a short period of time.

Kay Baker
CEO, Green Llama

Learning from this lineup of speakers is going to be extremely helpful. We are looking forward to learning from their experience and advice on what we can be doing to grow FytFeed.

Dennis Ashford
Co-Founder, FytFeed

GET INSPIRED
& CONNECTED

Half startup conference and half startup retreat to the mountains, the Startup Mountain Summit provides the ultimate experience for early to mid-staged startups. 

 

Startup Mountain goes beyond the “What do you do?” style of networking to get you connected. Enjoy a local craft beer while axe throwing with investors, crowd around a fire while you make s’mores, or hop on a local eBike for a quick trip with other founders. 

TOPICS

BOOTSTRAPPING VS. FUNDING: WHICH PATH SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Speaker: Rob Walling, Founder of Tiny Seed & MicroConf

The popular startup narrative is that you cannot start a company without venture capital. Rob Walling has bootstrapped five companies, raised funding for one, and invested in more than 150. He’s lived all sides of the funding debate and in this talk he’ll run through a thought process to help you decide which path you should choose.

GET UNSTUCK: UNLOCKING 7-FIGURE GROWTH

Speaker: Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, Founder & CEO of ActionVFX

Join Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, Founder & CEO of ActionVFX, for a transformative talk on breaking free from the entrepreneurial rut. If you’re working tirelessly but not seeing results, this session is your guide to unlocking 7-figure growth. Leveraging his experience from bootstrapping ActionVFX to Hollywood success, Rodolphe offers practical steps to help you pivot from stagnation to exponential growth.

ASK BETTER QUESTIONS, GET BETTER ANSWERS: HOW THE JOBS-TO-BE-DONE FRAMEWORK CAN UNLOCK GROWTH THROUGH INSIGHTS

Speaker: Asia Orangio, Founder + CEO of DemandMaven

You’ve been down the road before — you interview a few prospects, ask them a bunch of questions, and land on a few clear features to go and build. You build them. You’re excited, the prospect is excited (or at least they seem to be). You come back and say “Okay I built the thing! Now use it? Maybe also pay extra for it?” and that’s when you get the dreaded blank stare. Or worse — you hear nothing at all. They completely ghosted. What happened? Didn’t we build what they wanted? Weren’t we on the same page? Here’s the thing: it all comes down to the questions we ask, how we ask them, and how we interpret what we’re hearing. This is true for product, marketing, and pretty much any customer-facing function. In this talk, we’ll cover:

  • introduction to the Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework
  • how you can ask better questions to get better answers
  • common pitfalls of research projects
SHAPE YOUR TIME: BUILD YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT BURNING OUT

Speaker: Samantha Lane, Founder, Origami Day

Have you ever stopped to think how you spend each day is how you spend your life? If you are not happy with how you are spending your days, listen up! As a business owner, you are in charge of your days. So, how do you shape your time to be present in life while being even more productive in your business? How do you build without burnout? Invest the time in this session and learn how to make the most of your time through a few simple steps.

FORGING YOUR OWN PATH: FROM SCRAP METAL TO AUGMENTED REALITY

Speaker: John Phillips, CEO of Primeaux Cutlery

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to create something from nothing? Join artist John Phillips in his inspiring journey, from hammering scrap farm implements in his garage to becoming one of the world’s top knife makers. You’ll hear first hand the trials, tribulations and amazing victories that come along with forging your own path.  Discover how John evolved from Phillips Forged Knives alone in his garage metal to launching his new innovative brand PRIMEAUX, which is taking the leap into the world of augmented reality, where they have pioneered a platform that allows you to design your very own custom cutlery, that is all handcrafted in their Knoxville, TN studio.

SMALL BUDGET, BIG IMPACT: LEVERAGING AUTOMATION IN YOUR STARTUP

Speaker: Luke Thompson, COO of ActionVFX

Think a small budget is a limitation? Think again! Explore the myriad ways automation can help you maximize your startup’s efficiency and impact. From eliminating time-consuming tasks to improving customer interactions, this session will guide you through versatile strategies designed to stretch every dollar further. Don’t miss out on essential tips for smarter, more cost-effective business scaling.

 

The Triad of Sustainable Success: Learn how combining authenticity, entrepreneurship, and stewardship paves the way for thriving businesses and impactful legacies.

Speaker: Glen Yelton, Global Head of ESG at Invesco, Inc.

Topical Overview –

  • Authenticity: The currency of trust, celebrating unique identities, and building genuine connections.
  • Entrepreneurship: Seeing market needs, crafting solutions, and reflecting individual or group passion and vision.
  • Stewardship: Ensuring long-term sustainability by caring for resources, focusing on lasting impact, and considering the broader community and environment.
  • The Synergy: When combined, these concepts lead to businesses that thrive and inspire, and leaders who leave a positive legacy.
  • Action Steps: Embrace personal authenticity, foster innovation, and prioritize long-term impact over short-term gains.
BUILDING WORLD CLASS TEAMS IN THE AI-DRIVEN ECONOMY

Speaker: Joe McKenna, CEO of CloudWise Academy

In this talk, you’ll learn the crucial mindsets to make you successful and resourceful in the AI-enhanced world. If you’re short on time but big on ambition, come listen to how Joe learned the hard ways so you don’t have to. From small businesses to early stage startups and beyond, you can put these principles to work right now.

 

3 STARTUP MARKETING STRATEGIES TO GROW A MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS

Speaker: Greg Digneo, Founder + CEO of ContentGuppy

Marketing your startup seems to be one of the biggest challenges that most entrepreneurs have despite all the options.  Greg Digneo has helped build one bootstrapped company to $10mm and is now building another successful company by using just 3 marketing strategies. 

 

PANEL DISCUSSION: HAVING THE STRENGTH TO LEAN ON OTHERS

Moderator: Karlee Goodwin, Founder, Spark Women, SHRM-CP

Participating Speakers: Jose Castillo, President of Flavor, Inc., Aundrea Wilcox, MBA, CEcD and Executive Director of KOSBE, Ryan Hayes, Lead Software Engineer at Global Payments, Inc., and Samantha Lane of Origami Day.

As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that you have to do everything on your own. However, the truth is that nobody can succeed entirely alone. In this workshop, we will explore the power of leaning on others and building a supportive network of peers and learn from the experiences of other driven entrepreneurs.

We will cover a range of topics, including:

  • The benefits of building a support network of other entrepreneurs
  • Techniques for cultivating strong relationships with other entrepreneurs 
  • The importance of vulnerability and authenticity in building trust and connection with others
  • Strategies for effectively communicating your needs and asking for help when you need it
  • The role of mentorship and sponsorship in helping you achieve your goals

The workshop will be highly interactive! You will have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded Founders, share your experiences and insights, and learn from the experiences of others.

UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES WITH LAUNCHTN'S INVESTTN PROGRAM

Speaker: Heath Guinn, President of Sync Space

LaunchTN’s InvestTN program is a unique opportunity for Tennessee startups to receive a matching investment when raising capital. Heath will cover this program and other ecosystem opportunities provided to the region.

SPONSOR
STARTUP MOUNTAIN

The Startup Community in the Southeast is an untapped resource for your company. Gain access to a community of entrepreneurs and start building a strong relationship today.

MOUNTAIN SHERPA SPONSORS

tva
baker donelson

STARTUP MOUNTAINEERS

FoundersForge Logo
High Road Agency
Launch Tennessee
ETSU CBAT
RJP
Launch Tennessee
Incredible Towns Tri-Cities
BrightRidge
Katz Americas
Sync Space
Launch Tennessee
Incredible Towns Tri-Cities

BASECAMP PARTNERS

JC Chamber of Commerce
ETSU Research Corporation
Business Journal
YeeHaw
City of Johnson City
Create Appalachia
ETSU Innovation Lab