DURHAM – Back in 2013, CloudFactory was a relatively unknown tech startup launching out of American Underground.

Since then, it’s been on a meteoric rise, relocating to Durham’s historic S.H. Kress & Co. Building and raking in around 156 percent quarterly revenue growth.

On Wednesday night, CloudFactory was named “Startup of the Year” at AU’s fifth annual year-end celebration at The Cotton Room in historic Golden Belt Durham.

More than 300 people packed into The Cotton Room for AU’s fifth annual year-end celebration.

More than 300 people packed into the ballroom for the event, which debuted an awards program, “The Undies,” sponsored by Google Fiber.

“CloudFactory has seen 156 percent quarterly revenue growth, and 95 percent growth in total employees including Nepal and Kenya,” noted Doug Speight, AU’s executive director, in a salute.

In accepting the award, CloudFactory CEO Mark Sears paid homage to humble beginnings at AU.

“Like so many other startups, we opened our Durham operation five years ago in a 200 square foot office space at AU with big plans for growth,”Sears said in remarks ahead of the event.

“We’ve now expanded to 7,000 square feet with room for 50+ team members, and the AU community has been a vital partner in our growth. We’re excited to continue our partnership and build on our contribution to this vibrant community of entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers.”


Here are some fast facts about CloudFactory as provided by AU:

  • 95 percent growth in total employees – from 2,041 to now 3,970 (all full-time plus all our workers in Nepal & Kenya)
  • Hiring 25+ people in triangle over the next 12-18 months
  • 3,600 Cloud Workers in Nepal and Kenya
  • 27 current Durham-based employees, up 100% from recent expansion in June 2017
  • 61 percent growth in number of total clients
  • As the company grows rapidly, the client churn rate is less than four percent
  • In September, closed an additional $5,200,000 in venture capital

All statistics are through the end of the third quarter ending Sept 30.

To help manage a global company, CloudFactory leaders host weekly lunches for staff at every location around the world to discuss personal wins (family milestones, birthdays, kids getting into college), business wins (development milestones, client successful marketing events) and a key company culture topic.

Fresh from $7.3M funder, CloudFactory moves into new space

Other winners included …

Nominated by American Underground members and selected by the hub’s team of seasoned mentors, other winners of the 2018 Undies are:

The AU – one of eleven Google for Startups tech hubs in North America – launched seven years ago in the basement of an old tobacco warehouse at the American Tobacco Historic District.

It now encompasses close to 125,000 square feet of space at three locations in downtown Durham. Founding partners include Google for Startups, Lincoln Financial, Coastal Federation Credit Union, Duke University, Fidelity Labs, and Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent company of WRAL TechWire.

At the end of the awards ceremony, Speight raised a glass for a toast.

“Join us in celebrating all of the wins from our member companies, all of the wins for our partners, and all the wins to come. Raise your glass. Cheers to the future,” he said.

“Cheers to what this region needs, and cheers to you celebrating your accomplishments.”

Before the event, Speight noted: “2018 has been another fantastic year for the American Underground and the Triangle’s startup ecosystem.

“Our teams have realized unprecedented growth and the majority have reached an outstanding milestone of being cashflow positive–a unique metric for any startup.”