It takes a region to build a region.

A delegation of Triangle entrepreneurs and community leaders (complete list below, representing Startup NC, went to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for a gathering of regions involved in the Startup America partnership. The Startup America Partnership, by way of background, is an organization supporting startup ecosystems around the country. The initiative was launched at the White House in 2011, with the Kauffman Foundation and Case Foundation providing initial funding. Scott Case, former Priceline CTO, is now CEO of the Partnership.

Some might recall that Startup America initially visited the American Underground in the fall for a regional conversation about accelerating the Triangle’s entrepreneur community. For this visit to DC, Startup America brought 11 states in for presentations to the head of the Small Business Administration, the White House Chief Technology Officer, and others.

That said, I wasn’t sure what we’d get out of a trip to Washington. I am still thinking through ways we could better partner with the Federal government but for now I want to emphasize another point.

There is a lot of startup activity happening across the country.


At the Kauffman Foundation’s “State of Entrepreneurship” address Tuesday, several speakers commented that the groundswell of entrepreneurship in the country is unprecedented. Everyone is chomping at the bit to start a company. For me, that manifested itself in hearing states like Nebraska and Arizona talk about how they were going to be the next great place for entrepreneurs (State plans were outlined in detail).


If I had to bet on a state or region taking that title, I wouldn’t bet on the one with the best or boldest idea but the one that executes like none other. Most of the ideas we heard from the various states overlapped. Capital, talent, education–the soundtrack was pretty much the same.

There isn’t a secret sauce in this business.

If I’ve learned anything in spending the last few years with our region’s entrepreneurs it’s that ideas are a dime a dozen. What matters is getting something to market, attracting customers, and operating masterfully.

The Triangle ecosystem is off to a good start but we need more people jumping in and sparking new initiatives and supporting existing ones. And we need that involvement from all areas – government, non-profits, startups, and universities. A region that can bring those assets together and execute will easily carry the day and become a national and international story.

There is a great opportunity to spark some of this activity coming up on March 16. The Research Triangle Park is hosting an event called ‘180°: Entrepreneurship in the Triangle’ that is gathering a bunch of fun speakers for some informal but insightful talks. Free beer and food and I even hear they are going to have a DJ. Check out their website ( for details to be announced soon.

Here’s the bottom line: if you are passionate about this region, we need you involved in building it. Please talk to to someone about ways to plug in. Come out to the RTP event and let’s get to work!

Startup NC members

The Startup NC team:

  • Brooks Bell is the founder of Brooks Bell, named the #1 Best Place to Work in the Triangle in 2012 the TBJ. In 2011 she was named one of the 40 Under 40, adding to a long list of honors. In 2012, Brooks co-founded HUB Raleigh, a 7,000 square foot co-working space, incubator and community for high-growth, high-impact startups.
  • Chris Heivly is the Managing Director of Triangle Startup Factory. Previously he has been COO of Ultimus, President & CEO of Agular Systems, founder and President of, Global New Media Marketing Director at Accenture, Vice President & Managing Director of 77 Capital, and a co-founder of MapQuest.
  • Adam Hill is the director of Packard Place, the hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in Charlotte. It develops fast-growth businesses and allows many startups to be housed in one physical location in the heart of Uptown.
  • Adam Klein is the Chief Strategist for the American Underground, the central station for ascending entrepreneurs which is home to startups, investors, mentors, and accelerator programs. Coming in April, the American Underground will open a new campus (called @ Main Street), extending its reach to 80+ startups over 50,000 square feet of space.
  • Mital Patel, focuses his boutique law practice on serving entrepreneurs, business owners / executives, and technology startup companies. Mital’s was previously an entrepreneur himself.
  • Scott Moody founded First Talent Ventures to serve Southeast, as well as source early stage opportunities for VC’s including Stonehenge (FL) and Sierra Ventures (CA). Scott is the co-founder and CEO of AuthenTec, raising $70M in venture capital and leading its IPO in 2007. The company was recently acquired by Apple.
  • Rick Terrell is a key player in Startup NC and a maker at Charlotte IP. He is an expert in cloud computing and embedded systems.

(Editor’s note: Adam Klein is the Chief Strategist for the American Underground, the central station for ascending entrepreneurs which is home to startups, investors, mentors, and accelerator programs.)