Startup executives and employees who are outspoken in their opposition to the recently passed Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act ramped up their efforts Monday with the launching of a website filled with anti-HB2 comments.

“For the first time in a long time, I’m embarrassed to be in NC. Shame on you,” posted Brooks Bell, founder and CEO of the Raleigh-based startup that bears her name.

“Startups Against HB2” is the name of the website (, and its stand is clear: (The site launched the same day several technology-focused business advocacy groups told WRAL TechWire in response to questions about whether they were taking a stand on HB2 either said they were exploring the matter or had no position or comment.)

“HB2 is wrong — for people and business. This site is a new and growing list of small businesses who know North Carolina can do better.”

Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill passed by Republican members of the General Assembly, has defended the bill.

Scores of technology and life science businesses with operations in North Carolina have also criticized the bill.

The startup group says HB2 already is having a negative impact in three areas:

“Out of state investors are delaying and even cancelling investments in North Carolina companies. Since 75% of institutional investment for North Carolina companies came from out of state last year, this poses a big risk.

“Other major startup cities such as San Francisco, New York and Seattle are banning non-essential state travel to North Carolina.

“North Carolina based companies looking to hire the best talent from around the country are no longer able to do so.”

Last week, the head of Google Ventures said he was “uncomfortable” with possible investments in North Carolina companies.

Jason Miller, co-founder and CEO of Raleigh-based WedPics, fears HB2 will hurt his company and others in both recruiting and hiring.

“The impact of HB2 can be felt in out-of-state recruiting attempts as well as our ability to continue to raise out-of-state capital,” Miller wrote. “This is not our NC. This bill is not us.”

Calls to sign a repeal petition

The group also is asking people to sign a petition calling for repeal of the law.

“This type of legislation is not good for economic development, harms our ability to attract capital and talent, and discourages people to stay and start their companies here,” the petition reads.

“We strongly urge the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature and Governor Pat McCrory to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session. Our hope is that through strength in numbers, we can tell the world that North Carolina is, in fact, a wonderful place to start and grow a business.”

Among the organizers behind the effort is HQ Raleigh, a shared office space and startup development-focused company in Raleigh and Charlotte.

“Based on feedback from many of our member companies, we are working on a petition specifically for NC startups to take a public stance against HB2,” a spokesperson said via email.

Jason Widen, a founding partner of HQ Raleigh & Charlotte, is a big supporter of the effort.

Taylor Mingos of Durham-based, also is supporting the website. He is the founder and CEO of Shoeboxed.

Companies with statements included on the website include:

  • MATI Energy
  • WedPics
  • Envested
  • Spreedly
  • Windsor Circle
  • The American Underground

Statements from larger tech companies that were made to the twitter hashtag #WeAreNotThis also are noted on the website, including Red Hat, Lenovo and Citrix.

The group says HB2 is discriminatory and bigoted.

“HB2 bans our government from ensuring that our friends, our families, and our coworkers are protected from discrimination, the website says.

It adds: “Bigotry harms business

“North Carolina competes globally to recruit, train, and retain the most talented people in the world. It is imperative that our laws demonstrate that we value the civil liberties, spirit of inclusion, and the diversity of North Carolina’s workforce. Divisive, regressive legislation like HB2 does just the opposite.”