Adam Klein, one of the leading drivers behind entrepreneurship efforts in Durham while a staffer at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, is taking on a new role as chief strategist at the American Underground.
“At times it feels like our region’s entrepreneurial strategies are equivalent to trying to catch lightning in a bottle,” said Michael Goodmon, vice president of Capitol Broadcasting Company. “Adam’s job will be to put a concerted strategy in place to collectivize and capitalize on our entire region’s initiatives so we’re presenting the Triangle as the place to be for investment and opportunity.”
The American Underground is a startup hub located at the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham. Capitol launched the Underground in 2009.
Klein helped launch the Bull City Startup Stampede as well as the “Smoffice,” a program that put a startup company in the front of a downtown Durham restaurant earlier this year. He starts his new job on Aug. 7.
Matthew Coppedge, director of marketing for Downtown Durham, worked with Klein, the “startup strategist” for the Durham chamber, in putting together the programs.
Klein won’t be limited to the Underground, Capitol noted in the announcement.
The Startup Stampede has recruited 36 companies to downtown Durham through three programs that included a package of office space and support services. More than half of those chose to remain in Durham when they exited the program.
The Underground is home to numerous startup companies as well as the Triangle Startup Factory, Joystick Labs, Groundwork Labs, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and venture capital firm Idea Fund Partners along with the affiliated NC IDEA economic development group.
“We view Adam’s new position as a logical progression of Durham’s strategy to intensify our efforts as a hub for entrepreneurs. While the last two years were spent getting us into the game, the next two years need to be spent taking it to the next level,” said Casey Steinbacher, chief executive officer of the Durham Chamber, in a statement. “We will stay committed to supporting these efforts as an important part of our economic development efforts in partnership with our entrepreneurial community.”
(Note: Capitol Broadcasting, the operator of the American Tobacco district, is the parent firm of WRAL Tech Wire and WRAL.com.)