Dig South adds investors, national journalists to festival

While there are a number of well-known companies presenting at Dig South Conference this year, such as Inc. magazine and BuzzFeed, the two speakers festival creator Stanfield Gray is most excited about aren’t household names.

After announcing the lineup of presenters for the 3rd annual event to be held April 28-May 2, Gray said some of the biggest “gets” this year are two big venture capital firms: BlueRun of Silicon Valley and Revolution LLC, which was created by AOL founder Steve Case.

Cheryl Cheng, a partner of BlueRun, will speak on behalf of the firm, while Revolution will be represented by director Bobby Ocampo and managing partner Tige Savage. They will participate in a panel discussion on how startups access capital, with tips on connecting with the right investors for certain businesses.

Gray said involving prominent investors in the festival is a substantial part of its overall mission to prop up Charleston’s budding tech industry.

“They are very curious to see what’s happening in the Southeast, and it’s helping us build the pipeline from Charleston to Silicon Valley, to get investors interested in looking at the companies here and get excited about what they’re doing,” Gray said. Ocampo said Dig South is “a must for anyone involved in the technology scene in the Southeast.”

The festival has also ramped up its roster of journalists. A major chunk of the speaker lineup represents publications such as Rolling Stone, Wired, Paste, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today and others. Gray said part of the reason for that is to keep pushing Charleston’s tech scene onto the national media’s radar.

“For us, that’s significant because they want to come here and present and meet companies, but they’re also taking Charleston seriously enough to feel like it’s worth their time to ... pay attention to it,” Gray said. “Last year we had a number of reporters who came and presented and then wrote a number of columns too while they were here.”

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906.