“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.