Raleigh / Durham

Home to three Tier 1 research institutions, the Raleigh / Durham area (commonly referred to as the Triangle), has been bustling with activity as of late. In the past two years alone, there have been six exits north of a billion dollars. Due to the combination of a low cost of living and a high quality of life, startups have moved from all over the world to take advantage of the opportunities the Triangle area offers. The presence of Research Triangle Park, which consists of 190 companies employing 50,000 workers and 10,000 contractors, offers the ecosystem opportunities for both recruiting talent and for partnerships with multinational corporations. In keeping with the tradition of Southern Hospitality, the Raleigh/Durham community is open to newcomers and is very supportive. The angel community is quite developed, and founders usually do not face many hurdles when they are raising their seed round. However, due to the immaturity of the ecosystem and the lack of a major VC investor, Series A funding may be more challenging to raise. Additionally, the suburban sprawl of the metropolitan area makes “creative collisions” between members of the community difficult.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.


  • The Raleigh/Durham area is home to three Tier 1 research institutions that produce some of the best talent in the country, and at a very affordable rate.
  • Research Triangle Park is responsible for 190 companies that 50,000 employees in diverse tech-related fields. This provides the region with corporate talent, industry expertise, and with possible opportunities for corporations to be customers and partners.
  • North Carolina, and the Southeastern region of the United States in general, has a relatively low cost of living, attracting young people and families from all over the country to work and live in the beautiful RTP area.
  • There is enough early and seed stage capital that it's reasonably easy to get funded, mainly due to the sizable angel community.
  • The community is very supportive, making it very easy for entrepreneurs to arrive and become connected very easily. A well connected, close-knit community is important when building communities.
  • Prominent verticals include B2B enterprise, life sciences, and some consumer products.

Risk Factors

  • Funding for post-seed, Series A stage startups is lacking. This leads some companies to leave the Triangle area for funding at that very vulnerable stage.
  • The community is still young, making it challenging for startups to receive valuable feedback and mentorship from experienced founders.
  • Despite the presence of Research Triangle Park, the ecosystem has not done a good enough job of taking advantage of the corporations via possible partnerships/customers.
  • The Raleigh-Durham area is mostly suburban and sprawling, making “creative collisions” between community members less likely.

Market Indicators

Notable Success Stories


Key players

Market timeline

Suggest a change