Triangle Startup Guide refresh: Check out the latest updates, including ‘Start-Up Stadium’ | WRAL TechWire

Triangle Startup Guide refresh: Check out the latest updates, including ‘Start-Up Stadium’ | WRAL TechWire

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.

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. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 10, at 5 p.m. (Calendar link)


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. (Read more WRAL TechWire coverage here and here.)


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 Raleigh.

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.

Other news:


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

  1. Oak City Biz Labs update in the COVID relief section at the bottom of the grant funding page. 

Calendar link for the deadline:

      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.
2.) 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.

Previous updates

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.

2ndF: 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:

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