For as long as I’ve known Adam Klein at the Durham Chamber, I’ve heard important people say nice things about him. I’ve documented my jealousy quite clearly in previous articles, acutely disguised as admiration.

Startup Stampede came out of the Durham Chamber back in March of 2011, and offered free space, some infrastructure help, and (the key component) advice and mentoring from local successful entrepreneurs and service providers. It was a homegrown effort and worked with very early stage startups.

The second Stampede built on the first and, thanks to a broader application pool, worked with companies a little farther along. Two of those companies, Archive Social and RxAnalytics, are being accelerated at Triangle Startup Factory as we speak, which underlines the success of the Stampede program.

If Durham is a Triple-A baseball team in the League of Startups (and if anyone is thinking of starting yet another startup organization, I just gave you your name), then the Stampede is the successful Double-A club feeding players up through the farm system.

Single-A? Someone’s garage.

Earlier this year, Klein veered, with Downtown Durham Inc’s Matthew Coppedge, to create The Smoffice, an idea so crazy that it had to work, and one that was lauded for its unique approach to supporting a startup.

Unique is good.

Tonight, the third iteration of Startup Stampede kicks off with a launch party — and this version does things a little differently.

Different is good.

Moving on Down

Most significantly, the Stampede is moving to the American Underground for this session. As a result, they’ll be working with accelerator Groundwork Labs to bring in a high caliber group of entrepreneurs to spend time with the companies.

For the People

This group of participants, 12 in all, are more diverse than your standard software companies, and include, for the first time, startups in arts & music and consumer products.


There’s only a thin wall separating Adam’s desk from Triangle Startup Factory’s Chris Heivly and Dave Neal, meaning not only will Adam get to hear brand spanking new curse words, but he’ll be able to do a few things on the fly to take advantage of the resources and energy right next door.

My favorite part about the Stampede and The Smoffice isn’t even what they are or what they can do for the ecosystem. These are programs coming out of a Chamber of Commerce, an association that, and Chamber people have agreed with me on this, usually doesn’t have an affinity for the startup world.

If we’re in a community where a Chamber can create a Stampede, think about what that community as a whole can produce.