Moise Khayrallah, CEO and co-founder of Aerial BioPharma, is kicking off the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s $2 million capital fundraising campaign with a gift of $200,000. It’s the biggest single gift CED has received in its 30-year history.

In a statement, Khayrallah said entrepreneurial support in the region helped launch his own venture and he is committed to the CED’s efforts to drive more startup growth.

“I always tell entrepreneurs that you cannot succeed by yourself, no matter how strong, how smart, how fast, or how skillful you are,” Khayrallah said. “You really need an ecosystem around you, and that’s what CED has provided for 30 years. Looking forward, CED has an excellent vision to spur economic growth in the Triangle and across the state by helping companies make the leap from startup status to growth-stage success. I encourage everyone to support this campaign.”

In January, Aerial sold a narcolepsy drug candidate it had been developing in a deal with a potential worth of nearly $400 million.

The CED is calling its capital campaign #OnTheRise, and as the nation’s largest such startup group celebrates year No. 30 the funding drive is off to a fast start.

Capitol Broadcasting, the parent company of WRAL TechWire, has contributed $150,000 to the effort.

Another $200,000 has already been raised from other groups and individuals.

A previously announced gift from the economic development group NC IDEA of $250,000 is included in the drive, giving the CED $800,000 of its target. That gift was announced in January. 

The CED will host the first in a series of three parties in the Triangle Thursday night to celebrate its 30th “birthday” and to bring more attention to the new fundraising effort. 

The organization now has more than 700 corporate members and works with more than 4,000 people

“When it started 30 years ago, CED was the first of its kind — and an idea way ahead of its time,” said CED President Joan Siefert Rose. “Today it has become the largest entrepreneurial support organization in the country, which is a testament to visionary founders and the board members who furthered that vision over three decades. And now, successful entrepreneurs who have benefited from CED’s network are stepping up to provide leadership and ‘pay it forward’ for the next generation starting and growing companies in the Triangle.”

The CED’s headquarters are located in The American Underground, a shared office complex located in the Capitol-owned American Tobacco Historic District.