By RICK SMITH, Local Tech Wire editor
DURHAM, N.C. – Two entrepreneurial businesses and the startup organization long dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find paths to success will soon have a new home in Durham.
Other business are expected to join them, too.
The is moving to new space at the in Durham. Located across the street from the Durham Bulls Stadium, the is set to open this October.
Joining the CED as initial tenants are:
• , which works with entrepreneurs launching new businesses, and
• , a new venture focused on gaming companies.
The joint moves and the launching of the project geared to provide space for startup companies was formally announced Tuesday morning at the ATC, as it is called.
The American Underground, which is being converted from basement space currently used for storage, is the latest expansion of space at the sprawling former tobacco complex that is owned and operated by Capitol Broadcasting, the parent of WRAL.com and Local Tech Wire.
Covering 26,000 square feet, the space will include:
- Individual tenant suites
- Individual offices
- Shared conference rooms
- A 60-person classroom
- A shared break room and arcade
The CED is moving from space it has occupied for the last four years at the Alexandria Technology Center.
“We really like the idea of shared facilities,” said CED President Joan Siefert Rose. “The ATC is exactly the place for us to be. We love the whole concept of an entrepreneurial center, and there are so many technology-related companies already located in the complex.”
Rose is already familiar with the ATC, having worked at WUNC radio, which maintains its studio there.
By being part of the ATC, the CED also will “generate more foot traffic” and give the organization “more opportunities to be engaged” with other entrepreneurs and companies, Rose said.
The CED will utilize some 2,400 square feet for its nine employees, according to Rose.
Other tech tenants include venture capital firm Intersouth Partners and Bronto Mail.
The ATC is losing GlaxoSmithKline as a tenant as the drug giant moves to consolidate space for its U.S. headquarters operations.
The Underground, however, is geared to attract smaller companies that can benefit from shared facilities such as conference and training rooms.
Joystick Labs, which recently launched with more than $500,000 in backing from several investors (including Capitol), sees the Underground as “exciting space,” according to Juan Benito, one of the firm’s founders.
The four partners in Joystick currently “operate virtually” but plan to move into some 2,000 square feet of space, Benito said.
By being near so many other firms, facilities and such other benefits of ATC as restaurants, Benito said the Underground promises “a lot of cross-pollination” opportunities.”
Chris Heivly, a founder of LaunchBox Digital, noted that locating at the Underground positions the firm at what he calls “the evolving creative hub” of the Triangle.
LaunchBox works with startups, providing $20,000 in funding as well as mentoring and support from other entrepreneurs in exchange for 6 percent equity in the startups.
Many of the executives LaunchBox works with are “25, 28, 22, 32 years old,” Heivly added. “They like to be surrounded with their kin, and the ATC is already a focus for many of those in that age group.”
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