The Rise of Global Startup Cities

Durham is No. 4 on a new global list of venture capital funding per capita, according to a report by the Martin Prosperity Instutute and urbanist/scholar Richard Florida.

The report looks at the 20 global metros with the most total funding, a list whose top five are San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

When funding is analyzed on a per-capita basis, the top five metros are San Jose ($2,146 per capita), San Francisco ($1,415), Boston ($665), Durham ($475) and San Diego ($434).

Greensboro is No. 15 on the list, with $97 per capita.

Read the full report by the Martin Prosperity Instutute and urbanist/scholar Richard Florida.


The 50 Best College Hotels

The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club on the campus of Duke University is the No. 1 college hotel in the U.S., according to a report from college selection website College Rank.

The Carolina Inn at UNC-Chapel Hill is No. 8 on the list.

Parents, alumni and visitors of universities who don’t want a cookie-cutter hotel experience, look no further. Below is a list of 50 unique hotels with above-and-beyond services and accommodations, all in close proximity to some of the country’s best colleges and universities.

University visitors want to stay somewhere that truly embraces university culture. From on-campus hotels, to boutiques that allow pre-game tailgating in their parking lots, this list has it all. Many of these establishments offer complimentary transportation to and from university events and are within walking distance of shopping, dining and nightlife. These hotels reject the “just a place to sleep” mentality, offering a memorable experience for every visit.

Our selections were based on the following criteria:

• Ratings from AAA, Forbes Travel Guide and TripAdvisor
• The little things that make an experience great, like in-room microwaves and safes, bathrobes and complimentary newspapers
• Facilities, such as fitness and business centers, dining options and parking access
• Proximity to university campuses and activities
• Involvement with university culture

If you are looking for a fabulous hotel, then look no further than our Top 50 College Campus Hotels.

See the enire list on College Rank.


Why Durham is the Perfect Place to Plant Some Roots

For newcomers, how would you describe our current real estate market?
Inventory right now is very tight. I think a lot of people are realizing what a great place Durham is to live, and they don’t want to move away. When a house does come on the market, it gets snapped up quickly. I think it speaks volumes about what a great town we live in. … If you look at the Triangle, Durham is still the most affordable – you get the most house for your money.

What’s the average turnaround time on the market right now?
The last study I saw said 2.9 months, meaning that at the rate that people are buying, if nothing new came on the market, we’d be out of things to sell in 2.9 months. That’s very low.

How did we develop such a strong market?
You look at what Durham has gone through during the past 10 years – the revitalization of downtown, which is now the happening place in the Triangle with the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the American Tobacco Campus, the central district with all the restaurants and the art spaces and the hotels – it’s just a wonderful place to spend time in. We’ve got great universities, like Duke University and North Carolina Central University. … You’ve got other areas like The Streets at Southpoint – that area was nothing 12 years ago, and look at all that’s there now with restaurants, shopping and things to do. Durham has become a destination. It’s no longer this sleepy little town.


Iron Yard completes ATC move, Raleigh renovations still underway

2016 could be a banner year for code school Iron Yard Academy in the Triangle. That’s according to Dana Calder, campus director for Durham.

In addition to revamping American Underground’s downtown Raleigh space – set to be open well in time for its first classes in spring – it just completed a move at Durham’s American Tobacco Campus.

Iron Yard, named one of TBJ’s Companies to Watch in 2016, has moved into a space that Calder estimates is about one and a half times bigger than where it debuted two years ago, she says….


And the winner is…2015 Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge:

Online and Text Vote Winners:

1st Place – $5,000 – #6 – Coalition to Unchain Dogs             

2nd Place – 2,500 – #26 – The School for Creative Studies  

3rd Place – $1,000 – #36 – Animal Protection Society of Durham     

Celebrity Choice Awards:

Celebrity Choice Award – #1 – 30 – Bee Downtown              

Celebrity Choice Award – #2 – 41 – Seeds  

Celebrity Choice Award – #3 – 24 – Schoolhouse of Wonder

Special Community Awards:

Wool E Prime Cut Award – #28- Active Heroes, Inc.            

DPAC Community Star Award – #21-Scrap Exchange           

Community First Award – #12-Civitan International                             

ATC Tenant Celebrity Choice Award Ballot Sponsored by FHI360 – $500 – #15 – Student Action with Farmworkers     

Special thanks to our sponsors Fox50,, Pure-Line Plumbing, Mosca Design, Intellicom and FHI360.


Durham’s American Underground Leads Nation on Entrepreneurial Diversity, Sees Major Increase in Funding

“Startup Capital of the South” Announces Milestones with Video by Local Hip Hop Artist and Entrepreneur Professor Toon

Today, the American Underground — a Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub — shared nation-leading figures on diversity and funding to a crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and political leaders at the hub’s annual meeting. Keynoting the announcement was a special collaboration with local hip hop artist and entrepreneur Professor Toon and Saleem Reshamwala of KidEthnic.  Click HERE to see VIDEO.

Founded in a storage basement six years ago, the American Underground has rapidly grown into the region’s most robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, deemed by CNBC to be “the Startup Capital of the South.”

Key figures from the report include:

  • A 40% increase in venture funding over 2014 + 83% of companies that sought funding received it. This upends conventional wisdom on the availability of funding in the southeast.
  • A 30% increase in jobs created
  • 29% of the American Underground’s businesses are led by women, 22.4% are minority-led. Nationally, approximately only 1 percent of startup founders are black and 8 percent are female (according to CB Insights).
  • Durham is hot. In just two years, seven companies have exited to the tune of $1.5 billion.   


The full report can be viewed and downloaded here.

Congratulatory video from Steve Case.


  • Adam Klein, chief strategist, American Underground
    • “The numbers we’ve seen in 2015 show there is a lot of important startup activity originating in the Triangle from a wide range of entrepreneurs. We’ve been able to buck trends regarding diversity in tech that for many are aspirational talking points. We’re actually doing it here in Durham.”
  • Professor Ted Zoller of UNC-Chapel Hill
    • “The American Underground has become the dominant hub of entrepreneurship in the Research Triangle region, serving to create an entrepreneurial identity for the region and a supporting founder-driven culture of execution.”
  • Karla Monterroso, vice president of programs, CODE2040
    • “The American Underground is pioneering not only what it looks like to bring a diverse community into tech, but how to have the capital and culture of inclusion set-up so their diverse constituency can thrive.”

Social Media:

About American Underground
The American Underground — one of eight Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America — launched five years ago in the basement of an old tobacco warehouse at the American Tobacco Historic District. It now encompasses close to 100,000 sq ft of space in three locations in Raleigh and Durham as well as a strategic partnership with open source leader Red Hat to offer an office in Silicon Valley. Founding partners include Coastal Federation Credit Union, the Research Triangle Park Foundation, Durham Chamber of Commerce, Duke University, Fidelity Labs, NC IDEA and Capitol Broadcasting Company.


How a start-up hub made good on diversity goals

“DURHAM, N.C. — The American Underground, a campus for entrepreneurs here, established a bold goal at the start of 2015: To build the most diverse start-up hub in the country inside of two years. This statement raised some eyebrows but, after nearly a year of experimentation and hard work, Durham is building not only a thriving start-up scene but a richly diverse one.”

Read more in USA Today.


Four Observations About Startup Ecosystems After 4,000 Miles on the Road

“Supporting the vibrancy of local economies outside of large metropolitan areas is not a new policy objective. It is embedded into the fabric of the United States. As Phillip Longman pointed out in a recent Atlantic piece, the founders created the Senate, in part, to ensure smaller and less populated states had a chance to fully take part in the American experiment. The Constitution contained the Postal Clause which guaranteed the delivery of mail to remote communities. After the advent of the railroad, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 to protect smaller communities from rail rate price discrimination, and later the Federal Reserve system situated member banks in numerous cities so that not all monetary policy would be conducted in New York. Taken together, these efforts — and others including varying pieces of antitrust legislation as well as regulatory regimes for public utilities — ensured innovation could be churned out of different corners of the country.”

Read more in the Huffington Post.


These 10 Unique Coffee Shops In North Carolina Are Perfect To Wake You Up

“Confession : I’m addicted to caffeine. I can’t start my day without a piping hot cup of coffee with cream and two sugars. Honestly, I don’t understand how people don’t drink coffee. The taste, the smell, the caffeine. But having a coffeemaker and going to a coffeehouse are two totally different experiences. As a freelance writer, my desk is usually at a local coffeehouse, but finding the perfect one can be a serious challenge.”

Between atmosphere, beans, selections, and caffeine…these ten are the best in North Carolina.