Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide to VCs, angel funds, coworking spaces, support organizations and other resources available to active or aspiring tech entrepreneurs in the Triangle. [Note: We don’t include those firms or resources that focus on life sciences, as that’s not in our bailiwick.] You can contact us at email@example.com with any feedback or suggestions. We hope this helps!
Venture Capital Firms
Active Triangle Firms
Management Team: Jason Caplain (General Partner), David Jones (General Partner)
Typical check size: $250K to $2 million
Fun fact: Jason Caplain lost a scooter race to GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy, as seen here.
Skinny: BCVP makes early stage tech investments nationwide, but primarily in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Experience is especially important to them as they tend to invest in serial entrepreneurs. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule; maybe your startup will be one!
Management Team: David Gardner (General Partner), Tim McLoughlin (Partner)
Typical Check Size: Initial Investment is around $400K-$500K with larger follow-on investments
Fun Fact: CB INSIGHTS ranks Cofounders Capital as the most active VC in North Carolina.
Skinny: Cofounders Capital is an early-stage seed fund for B2B software startups, including pre-revenue companies, focused primarily in the Triangle and elsewhere in NC. CFC is currently investing out of its $31M Fund II. The firm tends to be the first institutional money in a startup and is more hands-on than some of its peers, frequently encouraging newbie firms to work out of its Cary offices for a stretch.
Management Team: John Cambier (General Partner), Lister Delgado (Managing Partner)
Typical Check Size: $100,000 to $750,000 per seed round, and up to $1.5M in a company’s lifespan
Fun Fact: If the ALL CAPS ever made you wonder if IDEA Fund Partners and NC IDEA were related somehow, the answer is yes. IDEA Fund is essentially a spin-out startup of its own.
Skinny: IDEA Fund makes seed and early-stage investments in tech startups in North Carolina and elsewhere in the Southeast, especially in Florida. If you’re hoping for an investment from them, best to start laying the groundwork early: “It is not a good idea to ask us for money before we know you.”
Typical Check Size: $1M-$10M
Skinny: SJF Ventures invests in socially impactful high-growth companies with more than $1 million in annual revenue.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Typical Check Size: $200K-$3M
Skinny: Social Venture Circle invests in social ventures throughout the world.
Location: Danville, Va., and RTP
Typical Check Size: Up to $500K
Skinny: The Launch Place invests pre-seed and seed funding in technology companies including nanotech, alternative energy, medical devices, and other technologies.
- Have a founder or an executive who is a UNC alumnus, parent, faculty member, or student
- The company must be raising Series A funding of $3-$10 million CAN typically participates in syndicated financing with top-tier angel groups or institutional investors
- Must be headquartered in the United States
The Carolina Angel Network is part of the Triangle Venture Alliance
- Have a founder, executive, or board member who is a Duke alumnus, parent, faculty member, or student
- Series A equity or seed capital of $300K-$3M or syndicating later-stage equity financings with an existing institutional lead investor
- Located in the United States
The Duke Angel Network is part of the Triangle Venture Alliance
- Have a founder, executive board member who is an NC State alumnus, parent, faculty member, or student
- The company must be raising seed or Series A equity capital of $250K-$5M or syndicating later-stage equity financings with an existing or new lead investor
- Located in the United States
The Wolfpack Investor Network is part of the Triangle Venture Alliance
Additional Angel Networks
RTP Capital focuses on seed and early-stage investment opportunities in technology-centric or low technology-driven businesses.
Triangle Angel Partners is an angel fund that invests in companies within a half-day’s drive of the Triangle. TAP’s funds (TAP I and TAP II) have raised $6.7M in total.
The Unicorn Angel Network provides support and funding to North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics-related ventures. As of July 2019 it is actively seeking its first investments.
- Located in downtown Cary, this coworking space is within walking distance to restaurants, stores, and coffee shops.
- For an additional cost, members receive phone answering services, a business address, and mailing services.
- Vibe is a coworking space that strives to empower female entrepreneurs.
- 1789 Ventures is open to all UNC undergraduate and graduate students for them to explore their entrepreneurial curiosity.
- Carolina Coworking is located at the core of Chapel Hill’s innovation district.
- Launch Chapel Hill serves as a business accelerator and as a coworking space.
- All American Underground locations are Google Startup Tech Hubs, one of only 11 around the country.
American Underground @ Blackwell
American Underground @ Main
American Underground @Market
- Recity Network is a coworking space for social ventures in the Durham community.
- UnBound is located in Durty Bull Brewing Company in downtown Durham.
- WeWork’s amenities include phone booths, coffee, conference rooms, high-speed internet, and fruit water.
WeWork One City Center
WeWork Durham I.D.
- Yes, it’s true, American Underground has a Raleigh location!
- HQ Raleigh members can work alongside over 500 local Raleigh innovators and entrepreneurs.
HQ Raleigh Capital Club
HQ Raleigh Gateway
HQ Raleigh Warehouse District
HQ Raleigh @ NC State Centennial Campus
- Each Industrious location has a cafe that serves fresh fruit, pastries, beer, and coffee.
- Loading Dock amenities include an onsite notary, mailing services, and free parking. Plus they are pet-friendly!
- Nest Raleigh is dedicated to providing members with a modern working space with tons of amenities.
Map of Coworking Spaces
Small Business Centers
Services: Free counseling, seminars, and online entrepreneurship training are just some of the ways that Small Business Centers aid local businesses.
Chapel Hill: Small Business and Technology Development Center
University Entrepreneurship Centers
Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative: Fuqua School’s Center for Entrepreneurship encapsulates the entrepreneurial spirit through clinics, programs for students, and a focus on social innovation in entrepreneurship.
Shaw University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center: Located Southeast of Downtown Raleigh, Shaw University’s Entrepreneurship Center aims to inspire, encourage, and connect with startups.
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Entrepreneurship Center: Kenan-Flagler sponsors several programs including Launch Chapel Hill. Launch Chapel Hill’s application is open to all residents of the triangle area.
CED: The Council for Entrepreneurial Development provides resources to companies to aid business growth. Over 400 companies are members of CED.
NC IDEA: NC IDEA works closely with entrepreneurs to help launch or scale their startup. They also offer a range of non-dilutive grants and mentorship programs, including:
- LAB: Since 2012 over 200 companies have participated in a four-week intensive program aimed in guiding entrepreneurs to create a successful company. Entrepreneurs receive support in identifying their target market and contacting potential costumers.
- MICRO: Through the MICRO grant, NC IDEA awards up to $10K to early-stage startups. In addition to receiving monetary support, recipients of Micro are paired with a mentor to guide them through their journey as a business.
- SEED: The SEED grant provides $50K in funding and mentorship to innovative startups during a span of 6-12 months.
- SOAR: SOAR provides mentorship to female entrepreneurs and NC IDEA grant recipients.
One North Carolina Small Business Program: The One NC Small Business Program helps small businesses develop and commercialize innovative technologies to benefit the general population. In the process, it helps high-tech businesses attract more funding to the state―keeping home-grown technologies in North Carolina and creating more well-paying jobs. Part of the NC Department of Commerce, the One NC Small Business Program also provides matching non-dilutive grants to companies receiving federal SBIR/STTR grants. (Note: Whether the grants program continues depends on the FY 2020 NC budget.)
WRAL TechWire Startup Guide: An excellent, thorough and interactive guide to the resources available to Triangle entrepreneurs.
Duke Law Start-Up Ventures Clinic: Looking for legal advice? Duke Law’s Venture clinic has got you covered! Student attorneys provide free advice and assistance to early-stage ventures.