Key Takeaways from Raleigh-Durham Startup Week 2023

By The Momentum Team ● 04/25/2023

Key Takeaways from Raleigh-Durham Startup Week 2023

By The Momentum Team ● 04/25/2023
takeaways from raleigh-durham startup week 2023

This year, at the 2nd Annual Raleigh-Durham Startup Week, founders, investors, educators, corporate partners, and entrepreneurs of all sorts came together to learn, grow, connect, and celebrate the local tech startup community. This three-day, in-person event took place April 18th-20thApril 20th and focused on four tracks: Design, Development & Product Management; Legal & Finance; Startup 101; and Tech & Society. These tracks were used as the basis for discussion themes, as multiple talks took place simultaneously.

Some of the Momentum team members, including Co-Founder and CEO Jessica Mitsch Homes, had the pleasure of attending this year’s event. Their key takeaways are below.

Takeaways from RDSW 2023

The best way to work towards climbing the software development ladder is to showcase your ownership/leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

“Climbing the Software Developer’s Career Ladder” with Anjana Mohanty, Director of Product & Engineering at Spoonflower, provided some insight and advice to software engineers looking to advance in their roles. 

First and foremost, showing ownership and leadership skills are crucial. Early in your career, this may look like taking direction well and knowing when to ask for help. As you progress, you will start to help set direction, understand the customer impact of what the team does, and balance cost-cutting measures. Another key skill to have is communication, which will start by communicating your needs clearly and progress into helping the team move toward consensus, and then eventually building consensus cross-functionally. This also includes translating technical terms to non-technical colleagues as you work with people outside of the engineering team. Then, the next step for an engineer after technical competence is enhancing your problem-solving skills and learning to break problems down. You can get better at this by raising your hand for a small project and start participating in the “what are we building?” conversations. An additional tip is to try to avoid the “where are you with project x?” questions from managers and instead proactively keep them updated on your status. Get comfortable showing work in progress; don’t wait until it’s done.

Creating a high-performing, customer-obsessed engineering team requires experimenting with new ways to lead.

Shay Frendt, VP of Engineering at Glide, hosted a discussion titled “Four Patterns for Creating High-Performing, Customer-Obsessed Engineering Teams.” Engineering projects often require you to adjust your approach, so this discussion dove into four ways you can tackle some problems you may face: recompute, learn, pitch, and rest. One way is to recompute by pausing a project or shifting project staffing, and another is to look for evidence of learning in your team by doubling down or spotting new opportunities. Or, you can allow your team to brainstorm and pitch solutions. This will not only bring ideas to light, but it will show who is most connected with the customer, help engineers translate their thoughts, and decrease workload for leadership. Finally, remember that rest is necessary, both physical and mental.

“If you’re problem-obsessed, you’re customer obsessed.” – Shay Frendt, VP of Engineering at Glide

The Raleigh-Durham startup community is full of promise.

On the final night of Raleigh-Durham Startup Week 2023, Momentum’s Jessica Mitsch Homes led a panel discussion titled “Starting Strong – Stories of Local Startup Founders” featuring three panelists: Tina Tang, Co-Founder & CEO at Bristles, Inc.; Rachael Classi, Founder & CEO at Tiny Earth Toys; and Bernard Worthy, Co-Founder & CEO of LoanWell. While these three founders all had different paths, their stories embody the true spirit and determination behind startups in the Raleigh-Durham area. Rachael and Tina both founded their companies during the pandemic, and their success helped highlight entrepreneurs finding opportunity amid a downtime. Also, Bernard and Rachael were both really focused on using their company to make a long-term change in the world. Bernard hopes to benefit Black founders, and Rachael wants to reduce plastic waste and change how the next generation views consumption of goods. Most notably, all three of these founders have benefited from an active local tech community in Raleigh-Durham for funding, mentorship, and growth.

“Growth mindset is the single biggest thing we look for in people.” – David Spratte & Kasper Kubica, Co-Founders at Carpe

Looking Ahead

Raleigh-Durham Startup Week is a wonderfully unique opportunity for those in the local tech and startup community to come together. Over three days, individuals across the corporate ladder shared their thoughts with each other to help educate, grow, and unite the community. Whether you are an associate software developer, a team lead, a CIO, or simply an individual with an interest in tech or startups, RDSW 2024 is a cannot-miss event. 

Contact us today to further discuss our takeaways from Raleigh-Durham Startup Week 2023 and what this event means for the local tech community.

Recent Posts

Apply Now

Learn more about the admis­sions process and sub­mit your appli­ca­tion in 3 easy steps.