Hatch This – November 2 to 4

A mash-up of an accelerator, a hackathon, and a weekend-long party, HatchThis groups attendees in teams with expert mentorship to launch a business in a weekend!

Here are 8 EPIC reasons why you should attend Hatch This 2018:

1. Win a $5,000 Seed Fund
2. Win a $20,000 Business Support Prize Package
3. Win a $6,500 Tech Talent South Scholarship
4. Connect with 35 Expert Business Mentors (offering $25,000 worth of consulting time)
5. Network with Top CEOs, Elected Officials & Partners
6. Learn how to Build a Business in a Weekend
7. Private Pitch Training
8. A full weekend of Food, Beer, Swag, and Innovators!

Get Tickets Now


Meet the Hatch This 2018 Pitch Judges


Thom Ruhe, President & CEO, NC IDEA FOUNDATION

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.


Councilwoman Gwen C. Wisler, Vice Mayor of Asheville

Gwen Wisler graduated from Ohio State University in 1981 with a BSBA (summa cum laude). Wisler worked for Price Waterhouse from 1981 through 1993 in the Auditing Department; she served numerous publicly-held and privately-held clients including Turner Broadcasting Company and Carnival Cruise Lines. From 1993 through 1999, Gwen had various senior financial roles at Cobb Partners, New World Communications and Sunbeam (later American Household). In 1999, Wisler moved into operational roles as the President and CEO of Eastpak, First Alert and Coleman Powermate. She served as the CEO of The Coleman Company, an $800 million outdoor recreation company.  Gwen worked as an operational consultant for several private companies including The Sharper Image and Cott Beverages.

Currently, Gwen owns Asheville Profits LLC; in return for operational consulting work, clients of Asheville Profits give time to local non-profits. She serves on numerous non-profits boards and one for-profit Board of Directors. In 2013, she was elected to the Asheville City Council. In 2015, her fellow Council members elected her Vice Mayor. Gwen was re-elected to City Council and as Vice Mayor in 2017.


Jim Phillips, Founder Partner of Vu Partners

Jim is a founder of Vu Partners. Jim has experienced the entrepreneur’s journey from several different perspectives. Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit, Jim offers strategic guidance to business owners as they build value and determine the next stage for their organizations. The combination of experience as an entrepreneur, board member, angel investor and investment banker informs his approach as he works with our clients and serves on the boards of several fast-growing technology companies including Peerfit, The Anti, Pacesetter Technology, RF Smart and Breezy HR. ​

Previously, Jim was President of BuildOnMe, an artificial intelligence software company, and a co-founder of Harbor View Advisors, a middle market investment banking firm. Prior to Harbor View, Jim was President of Vurv Technology where he helped grow the company from a 30 employee, closely-held start-up to a dynamic, venture-backed company with more than 350 employees. During that time, Vurv became a global leader in the talent management market, providing software applications to streamline strategic human resources processes such as hiring and employee performance management. As President, Jim’s role included management of operations as well as sourcing of capital and M&A activity. During Jim’s tenure, the company raised $33 million of venture capital from top-tier venture firms and executed three successful acquisitions and one divestiture. Jim was also a member of Vurv’s Board of Directors from 2003 until its successful sale to Taleo Corporation (now part of Oracle) in 2008.

Prior to that, Jim was a Partner in the Investment Banking Group at Thomas Weisel Partners and worked as a senior investment banker for Montgomery Securities in San Francisco. Jim also worked as an M&A specialist for Financo (formerly a division of Shearson, Lehman) and Dean Witter Reynolds in New York.​


Terri King, President of Coldwell Banker King

Terri is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and Mom to a teenager. Her business is real estate.  She invests in real estate companies, real estate agents, and real estate deals. She started her current company, Coldwell Banker King, in 2011 during the worst housing crash since the Great Depression.  Using an unconventional business model, she managed to make it profitable in just two years and a major player in the regional marketplace within five. Terri holds a B.S. in Animal Science from North Carolina State University and a Master of Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. She is a 7-generation Asheville area native and a long-time student of the science of personal achievement. Terri believes in using her gifts and talents to create solutions so people can move forward in life.



Jeff Kaplan, Director of Venture Asheville

Jeffrey Kaplan is the Director of Venture Asheville, an organization which serves as a catalyst for high-growth startups by building entrepreneurs and getting companies funded. Prior to joining Venture Asheville, Jeffrey instructed in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida, is a published author in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy, launched and sold pet-tech startup Dogphrendly as an alumnus of the Groundwork Labs accelerator in Durham, and was Product Owner and Consultant in digital product development at Anthroware. There’s over 10 more years of experience ranging from being the Director of Partner Relations at Charlotte Ed-tech startup Proctorfree, being sales manager in a Tampa Bay call center, dropping out of a PhD at Indiana University, being a Middle School teacher, and a hosting a weekly Trivia Night at a bar called “Beer Pit” – but you’ll have to get Jeffrey out on a kayak or grab a drink to hear those stories.


Jake Sorofman, CMO of Pendo

Jake Sorofman is CMO of Pendo, a Raleigh-based SaaS provider that provides user insight, user guidance and user communication for digital product teams. Founded in 2013, Pendo is backed by Battery Ventures, Spark Capital, Meritech Capital and Sapphire Ventures, Pendo has raised $106 million and counts more than 600 customers, including Zendesk, LexisNexis, Coupa, Gainsight, BMC, and Sprinklr. Before Pendo, Jake was VP and chief of research at Gartner, Inc., where he focused on CMO topics and marketing trends. Prior to that, he spent 16 years in marketing leadership roles with venture-backed software companies.