RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Each week, the exclusive WRAL TechWire Triangle Startup Guide is updated. Here are some of the latest updates and additions. These weekly updates are part of our Startup Monday lineup.
This resource from the Small Business and Technology Development Center has everything businesses need to know about marketing their products online. The 46-page guide includes content calendars, worksheets and practical steps covering everything from messaging and strategy to keywords/SEO to social media.
Duke University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program operates a private LinkedIn group where members can get updates, ask questions, share ideas and opportunities, and stay in touch with the campus’s growing network of founders, investors, researchers, creators and business leaders. You can join it here.
Through its annual Tech Innovation Index, NC TECH provides a detailed snapshot of how the state’s metro areas compare to other top regions nationwide. Launched in December 2021
, the report measures tech innovation across three categories: tech talent supply, talent demand and innovation. The latest edition ranked two Triangle hubs—Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary—within the top 10 metro areas. Find the 2023 index here
and more TechWire coverage here
We updated an existing listing on the “Inspiration/Advice/More Resources”
page, which offers a variety of resources for startup founders. Here’s the latest information on Duke University’s inventor scene:
Check out this interactive infographic
from Duke University’s Office of Translation and Commercialization (OTC), featuring stats about the campus’s invention activities. The data includes startup formation statistics alongside the number of invention disclosures, agreements and patents OTC received over the last year. The 2023 report counts 325 inventions, 486 patent applications, 104 issued patents, 125 active startups and 15 new ones. Licensing revenue set a new record, topping $102.5 million.
RIoT and the City of Raleigh have teamed up
to host the Connected Triangle+ Reverse Pitch Contest. Startups will pitch their products/services across three topics: Transportation, sustainability and digital equity. Municipal leaders, technical experts and investors will then pick the most promising solution. The winner will get accepted into the RIoT Accelerator Program and an opportunity to run a local pilot project.
The Fuqua Show is a podcast run by students at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The show features dozens of interviews with students and alums working on a range of projects and startups, from social ventures to sports businesses to health care. It also sometimes brings on Fuqua faculty and staff to share their professional journeys and leadership lessons.
This is an edit to an existing listing, “Industrious: Wells Fargo Capitol Center,” in downtown Raleigh. The space recently changed management and rebranded, so we wanted to update the title, link and description:
New title: The Commons
Address: 150 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Description: Industrious, a national working chain, opened its second Raleigh location in August 2020. The space has since rebranded to The Commons, managed by Highwoods Properties. Spanning 27,000 square feet, this location offers private offices and suites for teams, a shared workspace for individuals and virtual memberships. Members get access to a range of amenities, including a podcast studio, a wellness room, community events and happy hours, private phone booths and conference rooms.
Other recent updates
Every year, local entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo releases his “Triangle Tweener” list of promising companies in the RTP area. After its launch in 2015, the list was published annually on Medium and in local media. In 2023, Wingo and his team introduced an interactive database
for the 250-plus companies in the mix, including 51 new names added this year. Read more TechWire coverage here
In the “Competitions, Grants & Other Funding section, we added this video from last year’s Pitch Please event, an annual pitch competition hosted by Raleigh Founded. The 2023 edition is coming up on Sept. 13 in Raleigh: https://wraltechwire.com/event/pitch-please-competition/
RD (Retinal Degeneration) Fund
The RD (Retinal Degeneration) Fund is the Raleigh-based venture arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a nonprofit in Maryland. Launched in 2018 with over $70 million under management, the fund mainly targets companies with products nearing or in the clinical testing stage. Its investments typically range from $2 million to $5 million. Read more TechWire coverage here.
More recent additions
We’ve added the Triangle’s newest startup
investor, RTP Angel Fund, to the “VC and Angel Groups”
RTP Angel Fund launched in August 2023
with $3 million raised from over 50 investors, including local VC and angel leaders from IDEA Fund Partners, RTP Capital and Triangle Angel Partners. The fund targets early-stage companies seeking their first institutional backing, particularly focusing on those with the potential to deliver 10X returns. Rounds will range from $100,000 to $250,000, giving startup
s critical funding and additional mentorship as they scale their ventures to attract future investments.
The annual Big Launch Challenge is a chance for startups to pitch for $15,000 in cash prizes, as well as additional capital opportunities. The event is hosted by The Launch Place, an investor based in Danville, Virginia. The organization has expanded its presence in the Triangle market with an RTP office and several local startups in its portfolio. In a decade of hosting the competition, The Launch Place has awarded $189,000 to 19 companies (as of 2023). Winners sometimes attract later investments from The Launch Place.
RIoT Foundations launched in 2023 to help early-stage entrepreneurs and small business owners jumpstart their ventures on a solid footing. The free, four-week program guides participants through business development best practices, the Lean Canvas business plan model, customer/market validation and financial management. While RIoT specializes in educating tech startups through its popular RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), Foundations is open to businesses in any industry.
We made two other additions last week for the Accelerators and Mentorship Programs section.
We updated the First Flight Propeller listing with a link to TW’s latest article. I also embedded this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmaojifzssM
We have two other updates this week for the Accelerators and Mentorship Programs section.
First Flight Venture Center’s Propeller Program
Launched in 2020, First Flight Venture Center’s Propeller Program uses a design thinking framework to help tech and life science ventures identify and communicate their value to potential investors, partners and customers. Read more TechWire coverage here.
The next cohort, starting in September 2023, will center around ag tech startups. Apply here.
2.) We also added UNC’s Venture Catalyst program, which is seeking fellows for its next cohort:
UNC’s Venture Catalyst Program
UNC Chapel Hill’s Venture Catalyst program matches graduate and postdoctoral students with faculty-founded startups. Fellows and founders work together on market research, business development, customer discovery and other areas critical in bringing scientific and social ventures to the market. Read more coverage here.
Applications are open for the next round of fellows through July 23 at 5 p.m. The program will run from August 2023 to April 2024.
Here are the latest:
We updated the “Competitions, Grants & Other Funding Sources” section with a new listing: Venture Atlanta, an upcoming pitch event currently accepting applications from Southeast-based startups. While the guide mainly lists Triangle-specific resources, we occasionally add regional or national programs with a large impact, such as South Carolina’s prominent DIG SOUTH Tech Summit. Venture Atlanta attracts over 1,300 attendees and 350 investment funds across the Southeast annually, with more than 30 North Carolina-based startups in its alumni network.
Venture Atlanta is one of the Southeast’s premier startup conferences, featuring a pitch program targeting tech-enabled, seed- to growth-stage startups looking to raise funds over the next 1.5 years. North Carolina-based companies regularly headline the annual pitch event, with nearly three dozen local startups in its alumni network as of mid-2023. The conference launched in 2007 and now draws over 1,300 attendees and 350 investment funds per year. Its events have catalyzed $7.5 billion in investments and over $17 billion in exits.
Applications are open for the 2023 edition, held Sept. 27-28 in Atlanta. The deadline is July 28: https://wraltechwire.com/event/application-deadline-venture-atlanta-startup-showcase-live/
2) We added new data on the Triangle Tweener Fund to the “Venture Capital and Angel Groups” section. Here’s the updated listing (with changes in bold):
Triangle Tweener Fund
The Triangle Tweener Fund is a sort of “index” targeting early-stage startups in the Triangle area. The fund mainly invests in companies featured on the Triangle Tweener List, an annual roundup of the region’s most promising tech startups compiled by local serial entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo.
The Tweener Fund launched in December 2021 with support from more than 20 Triangle-based entrepreneurs. By mid-2023, it had grown to 144 investors and deployed over $4.6 million into 72 local startups across 86 investments.
OTHER RECENT UPDATES
We’ve added an upcoming pitch event to the “Competitions, Grants & Other Funding” section of the guide:
Start-Up Stadium is a Shark Tank-style pitch event that launched in 2019 as a feature of the annual BIO Impact Ag and Environment Conference. Early-stage biotechnology startups present five-minute pitches to a panel of experienced investors across the agricultural and environmental industries. Participants will get feedback and potential funding to help take their ventures to the next level.
The program targets entrepreneurs who have raised less than $10 million and are focused on food/farm innovations, sustainable fuels, and bio-based manufacturing. The 2023 event will be held in Raleigh.
Applications are open for this year’s program, taking place this September at the BIO Impact Conference in Raleigh.
Be sure to check out this post about why your startup might benefit from an accelerator program: Accelerating your startup’s growth: How joining an accelerator can help
Two earlier changes were made in the “Venture Capital & Angel Groups” section:
1.) We added QHP Capital to the list:
Raleigh’s QHP Capital funds middle-market life science and pharma companies offering tech-enabled solutions to critical challenges in the medical field, such as reducing the cost of care, improving efficiency and minimizing unnecessary procedures. As of 2023, the firm has around $2.5 billion in assets under management. Read more coverage here.
2.) We also updated an existing listing (originally added in 2019) to include new information about the firm’s scope and projects:
Durham-based Leyline Renewable Capital invests in development-stage renewable energy projects across the solar, wind power and battery storage markets. The fund has backed a few projects in North Carolina, including distributed generation and utility-scale solar energy developments
Last week’s update features the addition of the City of Raleigh’s new Small Business Insights tool, which launched last week. Details are below, along with two screenshots of the tool (from this page).
Headed by Raleigh-based Black Dollar Corp., Raise Up! is a free platform where small business owners, startup founders and organizations can request funding, sponsorships, donations or other forms of support from the broader community. The platform serves as a crowdsourcing tool for financial assistance and resources.
1.) We’ve updated the listing for Duke’s Office of Translation & Commercialization, which oversees the university’s tech transfer and commercialization activities. The updated description (with the latest data in bold) is below:
Check out this interactive infographic
from Duke University’s Office of Translation and Commercialization, featuring stats about the university’s startup activity and impact. The data reflects the number of inventions, agreements and new startups coming out of Duke. The 2022 report
shows 316 invention disclosures, 450 patent applications, 107 agreements, 116 issued patents, 14 new startups created and $95.7 million in total revenue.
2.) We’ve added TechWire columnist Jes Averhart’s podcast:
Jes Averhart, a local entrepreneur and former executive director of Leadership Triangle, hosts the Reinvention Road Trip podcast. Launched in 2020, the program features women founders sharing their insights on a range of subjects, from burnout and imposter syndrome to leadership strategies and successful pivots.
Other recent changes, additions:
Durham-based Primordial launched in April 2023
to support pre-seed and seed-stage software ventures in the Triangle. The firm spun out of local VC investor Colopy Ventures
, headed by serial tech entrepreneur Joe Colopy. Primordial targets business-to-business and business-to-consumer startups with recurring revenues under $500,000 per year. Less than a month after its creation, the firm announced two investments in local startups based in Durham
And there’s this news from Raleigh:
In April 2023, the City of Raleigh launched a series of in-depth “Startup Roadmaps” to help local businesses navigate the business formation process in their respective industries. Links to each roadmap are below.
- Restaurants: This section covers zoning, special districts, the site plan review process, hiring licensed design professionals, building and sign permits, outdoor seating, curbside pickup zones, food service and alcohol regulations, city beer/wine licensing, and more.
+++We are in the process of making several changes to our interactive map listing incubators and coworking spaces. We’ve added a new site and updated several links to spaces in the Triangle.
Watch for the changes here.
Pull-Up at Provident is a free monthly event that brings together Durham’s bustling community of startup founders and small business owners to connect for networking and support. The program includes workshop sessions covering hot topics such as legal considerations, tax preparation, contracting certifications, budgeting, and tips for raising capital and landing grant funding. The series is held at Provident1898, a Durham-based coworking space home to a diverse and growing community of entrepreneurs and creators.
Two more resources were recently added to the “Inspiration, Advice & More Resources” section. Details + links below.
1.) I added Sarah Glova’s recent report on The Wright Village to the list of “Startup Hubs Series” stories.
In July 2022, TechWire launched a series of in-depth reports
profiling the Triangle’s startup hubs—communities supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Read to get an inside look into how the local startup ecosystem operates:
2.) I also added NC IDEA’s customer discovery guide. Summary:
NC IDEA’s multimedia Customer Discovery Guide features several videos, bite-sized steps for customer interviews and additional guidance for startups interested in applying to the organization’s grant programs.
More recent additions
- Oak City Biz Labs update in the COVID relief section at the bottom of the grant funding page.
Calendar link for the deadline: https://wraltechwire.com/event/application-deadline-oak-city-biz-labs-grants/
2. We updated the existing listing for CED’s Venture Report on the inspiration/advice/more resources section. It now includes information on the latest report, published last week:
CED Venture Report
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s annual Venture Report provides an overview of North Carolina’s innovation economy, including the latest data on equity funding, deal flow and exits. The 2022 edition
tracked $4.2 billion in capital raised by 246 companies across 269 funding events. The Triangle accounted for 84% of venture investments, followed by Charlotte, the Triad, and then the western and eastern sides of the state. Read more TechWire coverage here.
More recent updates:
This annual report, produced by the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH), is a comprehensive source of data and trends demonstrating the vibrancy of North Carolina’s tech sector. The latest edition (2023) reports on the workforce and economic trends permeating the state’s base of over 25,000 technology establishments. Read the report here
and more TechWire coverage here
Raleigh Founded’s Innovators’ Guide to Raleigh is packed with information about the Oak City’s growing startup scene, including a recap of the previous year’s developments, success stories, plans for the future, and more. Read the latest (2022–23) edition here
The echoSystem training program is geared towards entrepreneurs with ideas for new products/services and existing businesses pursuing growth. Through a series of in-person classes, participants learn how to attract customers, conduct market research, devise marketing strategies and finance their businesses. The free program launched in 2023
from Durham-based echo
, the product of a merger between local nonprofits Audacity Labs and Helius.
More recent additions
This update applies to the VC/angel groups section:
Established in 2022, Jemison Alexander is a Chapel Hill-based venture capital firm investing in early-stage startups that have at least one founder who identifies as female. With initial investments typically ranging from $250,000 to $500,000, the firm is open to companies of all sectors. However, it’s especially interested in ventures pursuing digital health, SaaS, enterprise, consumer, finance and climate solutions.
- We’ve recently added TechWire’s latest Tweener Fund coverage and some new information to the existing listing in the VC and Angel Groups section of the guide. Updated description below (in bold):
The Triangle Tweener Fund is a sort of “index” targeting early-stage startups in the Triangle area. The fund mainly invests in companies featured on the Triangle Tweener List
, an annual roundup of the region’s most promising tech startups compiled by local serial entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo. The Tweener Fund launched in December 2021
with support from more than 20 Triangle-based entrepreneurs. By the end of 2022, it had grown to over 125 investors and deployed $2.8 million into 48 local startups.
Run by the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center in Chatham County, this 10-week accelerator guides emerging entrepreneurs through the process of validating their business concepts using the lean startup strategy. Next Level participants will narrow down a target market, test and prove their ideas, and learn how to pitch to investors. Classes are free and located in Pittsboro.
Other recent updates apply to the inspiration/advice/more resources section:
1.) We’ve added Tom Snyder’s recent column about the Triangle’s tech scene:
Tom Snyder, a local tech leader and head of Raleigh-based RIoT, reviews
the Triangle tech scene’s top accomplishments since the mid-1980s. The column offers a brief history of the leading organizations supporting local startups, from CED to NC IDEA to Raleigh Founded.
2.) We’ve added RTP’s newly released 2022 Community Impact Report, which recaps the RTP ecosystem’s growth last year:
Research Triangle Park’s annual Community Impact Report provides a look into the continued growth of the RTP ecosystem. It includes an overview of RTP’s newest projects, partnerships and initiatives, along with a list of accolades and recent announcements about companies expanding or relocating to RTP. The latest report
documents the community’s growth in 2022, reaching over 375 established companies and startups and more than 60,000 employees.
Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business launched its first Camel Accelerator cohort in 2021
, aiming to bring together students, new business owners and mentors to help local startups grow. The annual program selects 10 to 20 North Carolina-based entrepreneurs who are female, minority or reside in a rural area. For 10 weeks, participants learn sales and marketing tips, connect with mentors, expand their networks and get connected to educational resources. Sessions are held in a hybrid format via Zoom and at Campbell’s Buies Creek campus.
Also updated is our Launch Chapel Hill listing with new data from its website
(the updated portion is in bold below), and I replaced its old logo with a new one (see attached).
Launch Chapel Hill, a coworking space and incubator, has an accelerator program open to early-stage startups. It offers entrepreneurs on-site tools, resources and knowledge they can use to grow their ventures, covering areas like business models, how to evaluate market timing and assessing certain risks or growth potential. Since its founding in 2013, the program has graduated more than 170 startups, which went on to gain over $105 million in revenue and raise $63 million in capital.
As a side note: Applications are currently open for the spring 2023 Launch Chapel Hill cohort. The deadline is Jan. 5.
More recent additions
Every year, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Venture Connect conference brings together over 1,000 local and regional entrepreneurs, in-state and out-of-state VCs, and other investors and stakeholders. The event features a much-anticipated pitch competition, in which high-growth startups present their products/services to gain visibility among investors, other entrepreneurs, corporate executives, potential customers and talent. The program eyes scaling companies in the tech, biotech, agtech, food innovation and consumer packaged goods markets. As of 2022
, Venture Connect’s 6,700 alumni companies had raised about $6 billion in funding.
- Here is startup financing news from Wolfpack Investor Network and Harbright Ventures:
Wolfpack Investor Network strikes partnership with Cary-based Harbright Ventures
- The Durham Success Summit recently opened applications for its Summit Scholars and Founders programs. The Summit Founders program to the “Accelerators/Mentorship Programs” section, as it’s relevant to local entrepreneurs.
Hosted by the Durham Success Summit, the Summit Founders Program is a free, six-month incubator offering training, mentorship and seed funding for ventures founded by Black men ages 16 to 24. Cohorts meet weekly in person and gain access to the Success Network, an online networking community. Separate from Summit Founders, the Durham Success Summit also hosts a three-month Summit Scholars Program for professionals to hone their networking and leadership skills.
Duke Angel Network recently changed its name
to Duke Capital Partners. The existing listing on the “Venture Capital & Angel Groups
” page has been changed to include the new name, along with some new information about its average investment and portfolio statistics. The updated listing is below:
Duke Capital Partners (previously known as the Duke Angel Network) funds student- and faculty-led startups, so long as the ventures have a founder, executive/board member or major investor who’s a student, alum, employee or parent. The group invests in early-stage companies, with its average contribution ranging from $500,000 to $2 million. As of November 2022
, Duke Capital Partners’ portfolio features over 40 companies that went on to raise more than $900 million.
In light of the NC Department of Commerce opening its latest round of One NC applications
, I updated the “One North Carolina Small Business Program” listing to include additional information about reimbursements, as well as the number of recipients (over 340 companies) as of 2022. I also added the new logo. The updated listing is below:
Administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, this state program offers grant-matching to NC-based startups that have received Phase I awards from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) federal programs. It also reimburses businesses for a portion of the costs of preparing and submitting SBIR or STTR proposals. Since 2006, One NC grants have supported more than 340 companies (as of November 2022). Read more TechWire coverage here.
Recently, Allstacks announced it had closed a $12.3 million fundraising round, NC IDEA announced the five individual winners of annual awards, and Greensboro-based fractional jet ownership company disclosed it had raised $16 million in new funding.
Taking off: Fractional ownership firm Jet It flies away with $16M in new funding
Week of Oct. 24:
Recent updates include the addition of 2ndF to the VC and angel groups section.
: With a focus on bringing the Triangle’s inclusive growth to the national stage, 2ndF aims to establish minority education programs, drive more growth in the tech sector, and invest in early-stage startups at both the angel and venture levels. The organization was founded in 2022
by Raleigh entrepreneur Bill Spruill, co-founder of the now-exited Global Data Consortium. Read more TechWire coverage here.
We added a new “Startup Hubs” feature:
We also added NC TECH’s latest Tech Innovation Index report:
Through its Tech Innovation Index, the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH) provides a detailed snapshot of how the state’s metro areas compare to other top regions nationwide. Launched in December 2021
, the annual report measures tech innovation across three categories: tech talent supply, tech talent demand and innovation. The latest edition ranked two Triangle hubs—Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary—within the top 10 metro areas. Find the 2022 report here
and more TechWire coverage here
Durham, Raleigh crack top 10 metros in new tech innovation study
Oct. 10 updates
We’ve added last week’s “Startup Hubs” feature to the “Inspiration, Advice and More Resources” section:
Recently, we’ve made two new additions:
- Equity Raise Podcast: Produced by American Underground and hosted by entrepreneur Naya Fela Powell, the Equity Raise Podcast features diverse startup founders sharing their experiences, how they overcame barriers, the lessons they’ve learned along the way and more.
Coworking and daycare? Yes – that’s what makes Blush Cowork in Cary unique
From earlier updates:
Bull City Summit Podcast
: The Bull City Summit launched in 2022 as a multi-day festival to connect the region’s entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and creatives. As an extension of the event, the Bull City Summit podcast features interviews with local and national entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors and more.
And here’s looks at new hub listings added recently in Chapel Hill and Pittsboro:
Heading: Industrious Chapel Hill – The Gwendolyn
Address: 101 Glen Lennox, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Blurb: This coworking space opened in summer 2022 near UNC-Chapel Hill’s east campus and U.S. Highway 15/501. It features private offices for small teams, network memberships for hybrid workers and virtual addresses for businesses and individuals. The space is owned and operated by Industrious, a New York-based coworking firm that first expanded to the Triangle in 2015.
Photo (attached below)
Photo caption/credit: Industrious
Heading: 79°West Innovation Hub
Address: 367 Freedom Pkwy Suite 130, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Blurb: 79°West Innovation Hub opened in August 2022 to provide office suites, conference rooms, coworking and programming for Chatham County’s growing entrepreneurial community. The space is situated inside MOSAIC, a 44-acre mixed-use development in Chatham Park.
Photo (attached below)
79 West Innovation Hub