Something's happening here - and it's clear: Startup boom time
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Editor's note: Adam Klein is chief strategist at the Durham and Raleigh based startup hub network known as the American Underground.
DURHAM, N.C. - It’s well known among area entrepreneurs that something big is happening in the Triangle. And increasingly, people outside of startup circles understand, perhaps more vaguely, that good things are brewing.
Two recent developments underlined the potential and excitement -- one of them being the proverbial ‘front page news’ and both of them tied to an essential ingredient of entrepreneurial success: connectivity.
Last week, Google announced it will engage with seven Triangle metros, including Durham and Raleigh, to see whether it can bring Fiber here. The service delivers internet connectivity at a fantastically fast rate. High-speed fiber is exciting and important not just for tech start-ups, but for anyone with an idea and a need to connect to the rest of the world to see it through.
Some might think that high-speed broadband simply means the ability to download eight movies at a time. Others might say we have all the broadband we need and that there really is no need for speeds this fast. Of course, all that was also said that about railroads, highways and computers. The fact is, we can’t predict where innovation takes us, nor should we let bandwidth be its primary constraint.
That is why Google’s announcement is such good news to startups. For us, bandwidth is our highway, our railroad and our canvas. Everything we do uses that connectivity as the platform upon which our ideas breathe and our innovations come to life. Our region has long recognized this, which is why so many community stakeholders came together to support North Carolina Next Generation (NCNGN) and its pioneering efforts to bring faster networks. Fiber’s possible arrival here only advances the NCNGN vision.
The same week that the Fiber news broke, the American Underground startup hub opened its third location and first outside of Durham: The American Underground@Raleigh. Just as high speed fiber connects entrepreneurs, so too do physical places where innovators can trade ideas, challenge assumptions and link up with new resources.
Linking the burgeoning startup ecosystems in Durham and Raleigh through joint networking, regional shared access and programming is the kind of breakthrough that Triangle advocates have sought for decades.
Density, it’s well known, is good for entrepreneurs. So is speed. And what’s good for entrepreneurs is good for the economy on the whole. Over the past few years, the rapidly growing Triangle ecosystem has seen two acquisitions of more than $100 million (Durham’s DigitalSmiths to TiVo and Raleigh’s ShareFile to Citrix). We’re going places -- together and fast!
Adam Klein is chief strategist at the Durham and Raleigh based startup hub network known as the American Underground.
(Note: American Underground is operated by Capitol Broadcasting, the parent firm of WRALTechWire.)
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