Monthly Archives: Jun 2014

Inaugural Demo Day Success!

HQ Raleigh was proud to host the first-ever ThinkHouse Demo Day. The eight ThinkHouse fellows have been working for months developing and refining their business ventures with help from the program’s mentors and resources. Their experience culminated at Demo Day, where they each pitch for five minutes to a group of potential investors and supporters. The event was a tremendous success for HQ Raleigh and ThinkHouse.

Co-Founders of ThinkHouse, Jason Widen and Christopher Gergen, are extremely excited to see what the fellow’s futures hold. ThinkHouse Raleigh, located in historic Boylan Heights, is just the first for Widen and Gergen. They plan to expand the program nationally, impacting thousands of recent graduates eager to explore their entrepreneurial ventures.

Widen and Gergen are currently selecting the second class of ThinkHouse Raleigh. Applications are due by June 15th and can be found at

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Invest in Yourself

Entrepreneurs are possibly the most conceited people. Don’t misunderstand me, this is a good thing because when no one else believes in you you have to keep believing in yourself to be successful. Entrepreneurs will always and forever be their own biggest advocates, their number one cheerleader, and sole benefactor. The best investment that one can make is an investment in oneself, no small feet but something that everyone can afford. The risk is high but the potential return is high, a fact that all entrepreneurs know well. So go ahead, believe in yourself, don’t wait for permission, and get a little egotistical (lets keep it in moderation though, shall we?).

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Fun Facts

It is always interesting to take a look at the research on entrepreneurship, especially since the profession varies so vastly from person to person. The commonalities amongst entrepreneurs are a good tell if you would be a successful entrepreneur yourself. Although, there are exceptions to every rule and in that light, anyone can be an entrepreneur. Check out the full info-graph here.


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When I Grow Up

I have recently had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the ThinkHouse Fellows to pick their brains on what make them, well, them. One of the questions I asked was “what did you want to be when you grew up?” I have always noticed a pattern amongst friends and family members between their childhood toys and activities and their later professions. Of course there are exceptions to every rule but in my experience chefs usually played around in the mud or with Play-Doh while engineers were almost always Lego fanatics. Our Fellows had some interesting answers.

Sean Maroni told me that his dream job was always changing as a kid. He was interested in everything and tried it all. He, like my example above, was a ‘Lego nerd’ and later studied Engineering at NC State. He was also interested in rocketry. After listing a few more interests he explained to me something extremely profound. He told me that all of the adults around him were highly impressed in his applicable math and science skills but what truly interested him the most was his ability to reach people and get them involved. When he launched rockets, he sent email blasts. When he was interested in a television show, he made a podcast so people could listen to his insight. No one taught him how to do these things but he taught himself in order to spread his knowledge. Today, Sean calls himself a systems designer. Which is exactly what he did as a kid! He uses his math and science skills to facilitate learning and involvment. His company BetaVersity provides shipping container spaces furnished with state of the art technologies and design to foster hands on learning. His life goal is to expand his system designing abilities to affect people on a global scale.

Cameron Lilly, very seriously told me he wanted to be a part of Star Trek when he was younger. No, not Spock, but Cameron Lilly, in the future, on a ship, exploring planets. He made sure I knew the distinction between this this and being an astronaut. Cameron is now working to create technology to help execute dangerous jobs like delivering medical equipment to unstable locations in a robotic fashion. He essentially, is creating the future that he so desperately wanted to be a part of.

Keegan Guizard has been a long time skate boarder, surfer and anything extreme sport-er. It is no shocker that he said he wanted to be a professional skate boarder when he was younger. When his elementary school teacher asked the same question of him some ten years ago he responded “I want to be a professional skate boarder and marry a beautiful, rich wife”. Needless to say, his dream has not changed that much. He is taking a much more realistic approach to incorporating skateboarding into his lifetime career however by creating Collegiate Skate Tour. He calls himself a ‘lifer’ as he is adamant about having skateboarding in his life until the day he dies.

I think we forget how empowering children and their minds can be. Even trying to remember our own thoughts, feelings and dreams as a child can teach us so much. Please let us know what you wanted to be when you grew up and what you are doing now.

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Look Mom, I’m on TV!

abc11 logo


Yesterday, June 3rd, the ThinkHouse was featured on ABC 11 Eye Witness News.

“RALEIGH (WTVD) –You know MTV’s iconic reality show — the Real World. We’ve got something like that in Raleigh but with real smarts.

Instead of drama and conflicts, this house is full of local entrepreneurs brainstorming ideas and creating the next big thing.

ThinkHouse is an intense nine-month experience that gives entrepreneurs the environment, resources and skills to launch successful ventures and build profitable companies.”

Click here to view the video!



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