Announcing the opening of Momentum Learning, Inc at American Underground

• Momentum Learning, Inc has opened for business in the American Underground as a training company with the aim of serving the Triangle’s tech market.

• Momentum will offer courses for career changers and professionals along with customized training for organizations. 

• Momentum’s immersive code education courses expect to start early 2018 for career changers seeking career opportunities as software developers. 

• Momentum is in partnership with the American Underground to bring industry driven talent development and training into the ecosystem. 

• Momentum’s founders were founders of The Iron Yard’s campus in Durham in 2014 and both served in senior leadership positions for the company. 

Raleigh/Durham, NC – (November 29, 2017) – Momentum Learning, Inc has officially opened to serve the tech and business community in the Triangle as the premier place for transformative professional education. 

In partnership with the American Underground, Momentum will be a center for  transformative education that meets the needs of the modern workforce by supporting career changers and professionals.  

Momentum’s primary offering is a 3-month immersive code-education course designed to provide the skills needed for people to earn jobs as professional software developers. Pending approval from the state, Momentum expects to start immersive courses in spring 2018 and will offer courses throughout the year between Durham and Raleigh.  

Momentum will also offer customized training for organizations and has already taught its first custom training for a local software company. Additionally, Momentum will offer a suite of part-time classes for developers along with free crash-courses for those looking to enter the industry.  

Momentum was founded by two former members of The Iron Yard’s leadership team. Jessica Mitsch, formerly an executive at The Iron Yard is leading Momentum as CEO. Clinton Dreisbach, a former instructor and Director of Academics at The Iron Yard will serve as Momentum’s CTO in charge of curriculum and instruction.  

Both Mitsch and Dreisbach were founders of The Iron Yard’s Durham campus, which opened in 2014. Mitsch oversaw national code school operations for The Iron Yard, a position she earned after running a successful startup operation with The Iron Yard in Durham. Tied with Dreisbach, who is the technical mastermind behind Momentum, the two are a strong force to start and lead Momentum.  

“I have worked in tech ecosystems across the country and am proud to be from Raleigh/Durham. We have an impressive tech and startup community and we’re incredibly excited to focus on building Momentum and continue to grow the Triangle as a premier place for talent” Mitsch says.  

Additionally, Momentum has a board comprised of Adam Klein, Director of Strategy for Capitol Broadcasting Company Durham + Rocky Mount, who brings a unique perspective of the local ecosystem and resources from CBC’s network. Doug Kaufman, CEO of Transloc is also on the board, tying in the perspective of a tech employer.  

The Iron Yard announced its closing nationwide this summer and wrapped up its operations in Raleigh/Durham last month. Momentum has taken over the leases on both spaces The Iron Yard occupied: one in Durham at AU’s American Tobacco Campus and the other on Fayetteville Street downtown Raleigh.  The partnership with the American Underground goes beyond real-estate. The companies plan to work alongside each other to continue boosting the Triangle area as a center for talent and innovation.  

“Momentum will make the Triangle’s tech talent pool even richer, boosting our national standing and benefiting everyone from our startups to our maturing companies to our full fledged corporate juggernauts,” said American Underground Executive Director Doug Speight. “We look forward to watching Momentum graduates move through the ranks, supporting our culture of innovation and perhaps becoming startup founders themselves.”    

You can sign up for additional announcements and information at or by contacting For more on the American Underground’s perspective, please contact   


American Underground exec takes on bigger role

“Adam Klein, who has directed the American Underground startup hub since 2012, is taking on a bigger role with AU corporate parent Capitol Broadcasting. Replacing Klein at the AU is Durham entrepreneur Doug Speight.

CBC, which also is the parent of WRAL TechWire, WRAL and the American Tobacco Campus in Durham among other properties, made the announcement Thursday.

Klein will serve as director of strategy for CBC properties in Durham as well as Rocky Mount effective Jan. 1. He will “lead efforts to advance” the American Tobacco Campus as well as Rocky Mount Mills, an emerging mixed-use development. His previous title at AU was chief strategist.”

Read more at  WRAL Tech Wire.


Upstate leaders drawn to Durham’s focus

“For years, the city of Durham has been teeming with aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs looking for spaces to grow their businesses.

In 2010, their call was answered with the founding of American Underground, a low-cost month-to-month rental office and co-working space for startups and budding companies.

“American Underground was a solution to solve the real estate problem for entrepreneurs because traditional leases didn’t work for entrepreneurs,” said Phillipe Charles, director of communications and member experience with American Underground. “We wanted to create a center of gravity for the entrepreneurial community and not just Durham, but the (Research Triangle) as a whole.”

The need for a strong entrepreneurial region was one thing that stood out for dozens of upstate South Carolina business, government, education and nonprofit leaders visiting the Raleigh-Durham region Wednesday.”



Startups key at tobacco campus

Business incubator thrives at NC site inspiring GE plans

DURHAM, N.C. – Transforming 1 million square feet of crumbling brick buildings into ­in-demand office, residential and retail space is one thing. But building a robust entrepreneur support system is another.

Durham, North Carolina, seems to have found the secret to success for both challenges.

And those experts are willing to share the formula that led Durham business incubator American Underground to more than quadruple its space – and expand from one to five locations – in only five years.

Read more in The Journal Gazzette.


NC Tech Madness

“ExitEvent and Adzerk partner to launch March Madness-style competition to name the most promising startup in North Carolina.”

Read more at ExitEvent.


American Underground Hires Silicon Valley Connector as Director of Partnerships

Aisha Lewis to Spearhead Growth of the Entrepreneurial Network at Home, Across the Country and Abroad

DURHAM, N.C. (February 20, 2017) – West coast native and Silicon Valley connector Aisha Lewis has been brought aboard to head partnerships for the American Underground. Aisha will begin March 20.

Her role will encompass the management of the American Underground’s portfolio of existing partnerships including Google for Entrepreneurs, Duke University, Coastal Federal, Lincoln Financial, Research Triangle Foundation and Fidelity Labs. She will also be responsible for identifying and pursuing new partnership opportunities designed to support the more than 275 startup companies in the American Underground.

Aisha will expand the post previously held by Jes Averhart, who took over as head of Leadership Triangle in January.

Aisha’s Background

Aisha comes to the American Underground after working most recently on the Residency Program at Code2040 in San Francisco. Prior to that, Aisha worked at LivelyHoods, a startup in Nairobi, Kenya that creates sales jobs for youth in developing urban markets. She also worked for Isidore Electronics Recycling, a Los Angeles based company that provides highly skilled work for previously incarcerated people with an emphasis on environmental responsibility. Aisha earned her degree from the University of Southern California where she graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration.


Google Touts Durham Tech Hub w/ New Motion Graphic

The Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE) Partner Network — of which the American Underground is a member — is a group of world class startup accelerators, co-working spaces and educational providers from around the world, which we connect to Google and to each other.  We provide high quality programming, an international network and financial resources to help these organizations grow faster.

GFE partners gain immediate access to high quality Google-led programs like Google Demo Day, an event aimed at showcasing startups from around the world to Silicon Valley investors, and Exchange, an immersion program to help founders gain access to industry experts and new markets. Google’s financial sponsorship is designed to help partner organizations to build out new or successful initiatives such as supporting women in entrepreneurship or hosting Google product trainings, often done in partnership with our local Google employees. 

Click on the MORE INFO to see the Graphic.


American Underground team adding new co-working concept in downtown Durham

“A new co-working space out of the American Underground team is about to debut in downtown Durham’s Kress & Co. Building on Main Street.  Gridworks Durham is being advertised as a co-working and small office space that targets the freelance and small business community. It’s a change of pace from American Underground, which focuses on entrepreneurs.”

Read more in the Triangle Business Journal.