Dean's Leadership Series

April 15, 2021 - 12:00 PM to April 16, 2021 - 12:59 PM

The Unicorn Club: A Conversation with Two Founders of Charlotte’s Billion Dollar Startups

Unicorns refer to entrepreneurial ventures that reach a valuation of $1 billion or more. According to one report, the chances of achieving startup success at the unicorn level are about 1 in 5 million. The Charlotte region has three companies in this elite club. No two unicorns are alike. In this interactive conversation, the CEOs and founders of two of these companies will discuss the secret to their success, how their companies have found the right growth opportunities, what it takes to be a unicorn, and what their growth means for the Charlotte region.

Thursday, April 15
Noon-1 p.m. via Zoom

Michael Praeger, CEO and Co-Founder, AvidXchange
Abhishek Mehta, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Tresata


Justin Webb, Belk Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation


About the Speakers

Abhishek Mehta is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Tresata, a data and analytics automation company using AI & ML to automates complex business processes made intelligent with data. Launched in 2011, he has shaped Tresata into one of the most innovative, and fastest growing software companies in the world with a vision to ‘enrich life’. In 2018, he led a strategic investment in Tresata, leading it to becoming a ‘unicorn’ – one of the very few private software companies valued at $1 Billion. Abhishek is recognized as one of the most influential thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in the world of Big Data & Advanced Analytics.

Michael Praeger is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AvidXchange, the leading provider of on-demand accounts payable and payment automation solutions. Since founding AvidXchange, Michael has led the company to secure the coveted title of Global Unicorn by CB Insights three years in a row, with a $2 billion-plus valuation by investors, 5,500 customers and 600,000+ suppliers nationwide. Michael was named the 2018 Business Person of the Year by the Charlotte Business Journal as well as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the FinTech category in the Southeast.

Justin W. Webb is the Belk Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation in the Belk College of Business. His research interests include understanding the contextual and individual influences on the entrepreneurship process, market-based solutions to poverty in base-of-the-pyramid markets, entrepreneurship within the informal economy, and family firm dynamics. He is also a founding member of the Social Impact Research Lab – a group of scholars dedicated to working with nonprofit and for-profit organizations to improve the implementation of their poverty solutions.


About the Series

The Dean's Leadership Series aims to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Belk College of Business and give back to the Charlotte community by welcoming distinguished guest speakers, executive business practitioners, and thought leaders who will share their insights and experiences regarding current challenges and future opportunities facing our business community. Each Dean’s Leadership Series session will bring together a panel of experts who will shed light on a pressing topic facing business leaders.

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