Blacksburg: A networked, open-source community for competitive excellence

March 27, 2012  //  The Lyric Theater

Summers, a serial entrepreneur who specializes in Internet software companies for the consumer and enterprise markets, spoke about Project Blacksburg, the growing of an open source community. Why does a high tech global entrepreneur like Summers choose to live and actively invest in Blacksburg instead of Cambridge or Silicon Valley? In his Community Voices talk, Bob Summers presented an enlightening vision of Blacksburg, a networked, open source community positioned to advance to the next tier of competitive excellence. What are the resources, the relationships, and the know-how Summers sees? How are the town, the university, and business working together? What has he learned in the TechPad space where collaboration and cooperation, idea sharing and resource exchange are defining a rich culture for innovation and creativity?

BOB SUMMERS founded 460 Angels, a local group of over 30 accredited investors in the Blacksburg/Roanoke region. He then started TechPad, a 6,000 square foot space in downtown Blacksburg serving more than a dozen software companies with 30-plus young entrepreneurs.

In his role as entrepreneurial evangelist, Bob serves on the boards of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) and the Virginia Tech Entrepreneur Club at Pamplin College. Through the RBTC Pitch Clinic young entrepreneurs have the opportunity to learn how to pitch their technology ideas and projects by making presentations to Summers and some of the 460 Angels investors. In two years, more than 50 companies have gained experience and established crucial relationships with investors.

Summers builds scalable software products. Friendeo, iSpQ VideoChat and BuddyVision have reached more than 3.5 million customers in 196 countries. Microsoft published his book, The Official Microsoft Netmeeting Book in 1998. Summers was the Montgomery County Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.