HQ Raleigh’s expansion to Charlotte announced last week and its continuing growth in Raleigh is generating a great deal of buzz in the startup community. So what are the factors driving the growth as recounted in its annual report? Is there more expansion coming? What’s the mission?

A Q&A with HQ Raleigh’s Allyson Sutton, who is director of marketing, offers some insight.

Yes, more expansion is coming. But the HQ team remains committed to helping startups in Raleigh.

Yes, HQ Raleigh has a big mission – to develop the southeast’s “largest network of inclusive entrepreneurial communities.”

Here’s the slightly edited Q&A:

  • Is HQ Raleigh making a capital commitment for more facilities in Greensboro and in Charlotte? If so, how much?

Do you mean in addition to our current expansion? If so, then no.

We are currently only committed to our expansion in Raleigh and the facility improvements at Packard Place.

Our team in Greensboro is behind the facility there.

  • Why does HQ Raleigh believe these expansions make sense? What’s the ROI?

Hopefully we shared the vision behind our expansion plan in the original press release …

[Here’s what two of HQ Raleigh’s founders said:

[Christopher Gergen, Founding Partner of HQ: “We’re thrilled to be building this network across North Carolina to help catalyze community and economic development and position our state as a true hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

[Jason Widen, Founding Partner of HQ: “This partnership will enable us to provide even greater value to our network of members and sponsors. We’re creating statewide connectivity, energy, and opportunity for our entrepreneurial members and their supporters.”]

It’s all about building economies of scale and creating the entrepreneurial density that will attract more startups and investors to NC.

  • Did Packard Place and the Greensboro group need HQ Raleigh’s support to expand in Charlotte and to open in Greensboro?

Yes, both expansions are based around partnership.

The HQ Raleigh team has shared our proven procedures, policies, etc to help activate these other communities.

  • How does HQ Raleigh management/ownership ensure that HQ Raleigh continues to receive the focus, attention and investment that has made HQ Raleigh such a fast-growing venture? 

It’s all about community – we continue to partner with key local groups like the Chamber, CED, the local universities, and are always looking for new and creative ways to bring programs, resources, and benefits to the Raleigh members.

Plus a big part of what we do is getting increased exposure for the companies housed at HQ, and that continues to drive focus to our space.

  • Are further expansions available in the future and if so, where? What should potential partners make available in way of information to attract HQ Raleigh’s interest?

We are on a mission to become the SE’s largest network of inclusive entrepreneurial communities, so yes, other expansions could be on the horizon.

A great partner is someone who’s core values align with ours, who shares a similar entrepreneurial mission, and who is already a leader in the local startup community.

  • What are next steps for growth of HQ Raleigh in Raleigh? What about opening HQs in Durham? In Chapel Hill? In Cary? Have you considered Wilmington and/or Asheville?

We have a building expansion in the works in the Warehouse District.

There are some other great spaces doing wonderful work in those NC communities you mentioned, so at this time, we are not expanding there.

  • Why invest in these real estate operations as opposed to startups directly as angels? Or have you made some angel investments?

Startups need support in many different ways.

While we definitely work very hard to connect the angel community to our members and vice versa, we also curate resources that are vital to their success, like free mentorship opportunities, affordable space, connections and networking, potential hires, student interns, local accelerator programs, local corporate contacts and more.

  • Do any of the startups locating in your space exchange equity in their companies in return for space and support?

We do not have an equity model.