Friday Nooner: Tim Scales Went From Theater Kid To American Underground

This week, the Friday Nooner team of Pete, Joe and returning guest host/ GrepBeat social media guru Jackie Sizing welcomed American Underground’s new(ish) executive director Tim Scales to the show.

The GrepBeat trio and Scales gave rave reviews to the crowd, food and venue for GrepBeat’s second annual Startups to Watch event, which was held last night at The Pit in downtown Durham. (Read about the winners here.) Tim called Startups to Watch “the event of the season” while Pete went with “wildly successful,” and they’re both right. Tim also notes that four of the 10 Startups to Watch were members of American Underground.

The team also talks about how Hurricane Ian is changing things for folks at GrepBeat office, including Joe’s kids schoolwork but not including Pete’s running schedule, at least thus far.

Here are some highlights from today’s episode:

  • Jackie talks Exit Stories, hosted by Jurassic Capitals partner Kevin Mosley, and gave some spoilers about the upcoming season. She gave rave reviews for this past week’s guest Greg Clary, who Joe said speaks “very slowly,” or perhaps Joe’s brain moves “very quickly.” Jackie also teased viewers/listeners to watch out for an especially awesome Exit Stories episode featuring Robbie Allen, which drops next Tuesday.
  • Pete reveals Tim Scales as a theatre kid—and once again reminds the audience of his Williams College education—and Tim shared that he drove a Honda Civic around snowy Massachusetts in the first year of his 10-year career in the theatre. Tim sees overlap between mentoring entrepreneurs and artists, although not because he thinks startup founders are “prima donnas” like Pete implied. Once Tim decided to change his career to tech by earning an MBA at Duke, Tim ran a startup called Civic Rise which brought him to the American Underground as a member. After shuttering the startup he found a permanent role at the organization as Director of Growth in February 2020, plunging him immediately into the challenge of sustaining growth during a pandemic.
  • Looking forward, Tim and AU are examining the future of work in a post-pandemic world, including intentionally sustaining both in-person and virtual community. “We own what we do best,” said Scales, which is curating in-person connections. Be on the lookout for AU events next week including the Black Founders Exchange events on Thursday and Friday and a Content Creators meetup at the AU on Wednesday.
  • Following a question from Joe about the impacts of volatile markets on local AU founders, Scales talks how stock market plummets have impacted startups in the AU. One area he said is a big impact is fundraising and scaling, but the challenges are encouraging founders to keep their heads down and focus on sustainable growth as they increase their fundraising timelines from 12 months to up to 36 months.

You can catch the episode on LinkedIn here or Facebook here.

Or on YouTube:

Auditory learners can listen (and subscribe to!) the podcast version: