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.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
Acquired for $93m by
IPO'ed for $85m on
Acquired for $100m by
Up and coming startup
One of the original founders of the groundbreaking mapping service MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.1 billion), Chris created The Startup Factory in 2012 as the most highly capitalized technology accelerator in the southeast, and Durham's only equity accelerator. Read our interview with Chris here.
Adam serves as the chief strategist at American Underground, a rapidly expanding space that provides a thriving community of coworking, events, training, and accelerator classes for rising startups. In 2014, American Underground was designated a Google For Entrepreneurs tech hub.
At Cofounders Capital, David oversees a free startup accelerator and early stage seed fund focused on B2B software ventures in the Triangle. Prior to founding Cofounders Capital, he has been the founder or co-founder of multiple successful companies in the Triangle including ProviderLink, Report2Web, DBBasics, OnSphere and PeopleClick which was purchased for $100 million.
Derrick is an active community builder in the Raleigh startup ecosystem. In his capacity at the City of Raleigh, his core focus is on startups and growth companies that have a desire to scale but have been unable due to challenges in the marketplace. Derrick helps local startups and growth companies making strategic connections for them to the appropriate resources and relationships to help them grow.
Lauren serves as a Principal at SoarTriangle, whose mission is to close the funding gap that exists for female entrepreneurs. She teaches periodically at Duke University, where she built Fuqua's Center for Consulting Excellence, and serves as the Groundworker-in-Residence at Groundwork Labs.
As COO of Forward Impact, Jason's mission is to unleash the impact potential of next generation entrepreneurial leaders. This work includes supporting community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs including HQ Raleigh, ThinkHouse, and Leadership exCHANGE.
Jesse founded ShareFile which he sold to Citrix in 2011. He now serves as the VP & GM of Data Sharing at Citrix, where he is responsible for the vision, market direction and product strategy behind the company's data platform. Jesse is also a Cofounder at HQ Raleigh.
As President of CED, the oldest and largest entrepreneurial support organization in the country, Joan is at the forefront of providing business support, mentoring, investor outreach, public relations, and other services to entrepreneurs. Previously, Joan had a career in commercial and public broadcasting.
John serves as the Director of Groundwork Labs, a community for selected entrepreneurs to test their idea and get expert guidance before they take their next step, whether that be getting their first round of funding, gaining admission to an accelerator, or bootstrapping their company to revenue. Previously he was the Director of Groundwork Labs' sister accelerator, Joystick Labs, which focused on the video game industry.
Joe Velk is a seasoned venture capitalist with over 20 years of investment and company building experience. Before Contender Capital, Joe was one of two investing partners at The North Carolina Enterprise Fund (NCEF), a $20 million evergreen venture capital fund based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park area.
Established by local visionaries in 1984, CED was created to identify, enable and promote high-growth, high-impact companies. In the +30 years since it was founded, $8.5 billion has been raised, collectively, by CED entrepreneurial member companies1984
Starting off in the basement of the American Tobacco Campus, American Underground has grown into two sites in Durham and one in Raleigh that house more than 240 startups ranging in size from solo entrepreneurs to a business with 70 employees.2010
After teaching himself how to code, Jesse Lipson founded ShareFile in 2005. He grew the SaaS company to over 4 million users, and then sold the company to Citrix in 2011 for $93 million.2011
Founded by Jesse Lipson, Chris Gergen, and Jason Widen, HQ Raleigh is founded as a unifying, shared workspace designed to empower, foster, and cultivate companies that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact.2012
As the most highly capitalized technology accelerator in the southeast, and Durham's only equity accelerator, The Startup Factory offers $50,000 for 7.5% equity, and startups receive hands-on mentorship, and access to our ever-widening network of active angels, veteran startup founders, and experienced technology experts.2012
Red Hat's move to Downtown Raleigh has put the company closer to the heart of the Triangle's ecosystem. The company is leasing 380,000 square feet of office space.2013
Pharmaceutical company Quintiles IPOs on the Nasdaq for $947.4 million.2013
Tivo's acquisition of Digitalsmiths gives the company its first foothold in the Raleigh/Durham area.2014
Bull City Venture Partners closes a $26 million fund. Limited partners include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Cisco, venture capitalist Brad Feld, Grosvenor Capital Management, Industry Ventures and Red Hat.2014
David Gardner raises a $10 million fund to invest in local startups.2015