Inspiration, Advice & Resources
Podcasts, tips, recommendations, market data and other resources for beginning entrepreneurs in the Triangle:
The Angel Resource Institute’s annual HALO report offers an inside look at the latest angel investing trends across the U.S. The 2020 report analyzes 2,198 transactions, focusing on seed and Series A-stage companies. It shows that the Southeast is the country’s second most active angel investor region, accounting for nearly 16% of deals. The report also notes that early-stage life science and health care companies in the Raleigh/Durham area appear to be sourcing funds from outside investors in California, New York and Chicago.
BLNC (pronounced “blink”) is an extension of NC Department of Commerce offering one-on-one consultations to people interested in starting a business, small business owners in need of general support, and entrepreneurs interested in moving to North Carolina. BLNC helps business owners navigate topics like regulatory requirements, licensing stipulations, small business training and more. BLNC also assists existing businesses with state resources to find needed talent from NCWorks.gov (a free state job-posting site) to custom training with community colleges.
Check out this interactive infographic from Duke University’s Office of Licensing and Ventures, 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 2020 report shows 405 invention disclosures, 105 agreements, 17 new startups created and $65 million in total revenue.
CASE in Point is a podcast produced by Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), a division of the Fuqua School of Business. The program features interviews with innovators, entrepreneurs and executives from social ventures and impact investing firms.
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Innovators Report provides an overview of North Carolina’s innovation economy. It includes the latest data on funding, deal flow and exits.
The 2020 edition reported a record $3.4 billion raised by 187 North Carolina companies across 223 deals. More TechWire coverage here.
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s newsletter and blog are two great tools to help you stay updated on the latest news, events, resources and programs within the Triangle’s startup ecosystem. The blog also contains tips and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and mentors. You can sign up for the newsletter on CED’s homepage and check out the blog here.
The City of Raleigh has a useful resource package to help businesses of all stages of growth. It contains information on building site selection, zoning and permits, financial programs, education and training, and more business resources.
Here’s a roundup of more than 30 startup books, video series and podcasts produced in the Triangle.
In July 2020, WRAL TechWire launched a new column from Donald Thompson, a prominent local investor and entrepreneur. In his weekly column, Thompson shares leadership advice spanning a variety of subjects, from funding to hiring to diversity and inclusion efforts.
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has a Duke Fuqua Insights blog where Duke faculty members and experts share details on some of the studies and research they’re working on. A lot of the subject matter is relevant to entrepreneurs, including how to succeed at crowdfunding, CFO and CMO surveys, and improving communication between operations and finance teams. There’s also a Duke Fuqua Insights YouTube playlist, where professors and experts summarize their findings.
Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative offers a comprehensive resource guide specifically geared towards social impact startups. The guide includes information on social entrepreneurship fellowship programs, funding opportunities, venture support, suggested reading, and more.
DurhamBusiness360, a resource provided by the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, offers a comprehensive overview of the steps new business owners need to take to start and grow a business in the Bull City. The site guides entrepreneurs and small business owners through the process of registering their business, planning an opening/launch, marketing, emergency preparedness, filing taxes, and more.
Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) produces an interview podcast in which DHIT Co-Founder and President Michael Levy sits down with leaders in the digital health, life science and biotech communities to discuss the future of healthcare.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has compiled a helpful list of Raleigh business incentives, available resource space, reports, plans and publications, and more resources for new businesses or existing businesses that want to relocate to downtown Raleigh.
EntreDot, a mentorship program for startups and nonprofits, has developed a comprehensive collection of vlogs offering step-by-step advice to entrepreneurs. EntreDot Founder Bill Warner provides an overview of several topics relevant to founders—everything from market research and sales to technology and development to financing to HR and management. Check out the playlist here. Subscribe to the YouTube channel here.
This new podcast is hosted by seasoned Triangle investor Tim McLoughlin, who is a partner at Cary-based VC firm Cofounders Capital. Every week, he shares tips on VC and angel investing and interviews other investors. The first two episodes featured Walk West CEO Donald Thompson and Mindshift Capital Venture Partner Marcia Dawood.
NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues hosts a podcast, called “First in Future: Where Emerging Ideas Take Flight,” featuring interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs, elected officials, researchers and innovators who are helping lead North Carolina’s future.
Launched in 2020, Founded Connect is a new podcast from Raleigh Founded (formerly HQ Raleigh) that interviews Triangle-area resource providers and the people who run them.
From Scratch! is a video web series featuring one-on-one interviews with innovators and entrepreneurs in Raleigh.
Wellistic, a startup based in HQ Raleigh, is building a network of wellness providers and partners where companies can get discounted rates for their employees. As a way to give back to the startup community, Wellistic makes this program free for companies with less than 25 employees (minimum of five employees). This is a helpful resource if you’re a founder of a startup or small business with a small team. More details here.
Talking Shop is a video series from Research Triangle Park-based startup prototyping lab Hangar6. The monthly series features a one-on-one discussion with entrepreneurs and innovators from the Triangle area. Episodes are streamed on Hangar6’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
IDEA Fund Partners, one of the Southeast’s most active early-stage venture capital firms, publishes articles about a variety of startup-focused topics on their Medium page.
The Kenan Institute, a unit of UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, produces research and analysis of trends in business and entrepreneurship. Read the reports to get the latest insights on private equity funding, small business investment gaps, industry market research and more.
Local Leaders Offer Advice
TechWire’s contributors offer startup advice:
- Chris Heivly: Don’t let your dinosaur brain set your startup attitude
- David Gardner: The art of urgency, the one attribute every successful startup founder demonstrates
- David Gardner: Startups must accept reality of boards, oversight to land funding
- David Gardner: Five questions to ask yourself before you become an entrepreneur
- David Gardner: Why startups must master the art of forecasting
- Donald Thompson: It’s OK not to be OK: Leading and succeeding in an era of uncertainty
- Jim Roberts: Why startups should seek federal grants as a source of capital
- Nick Jordan: 7 obstacles to overcome for success in healthcare IoT
- The NC Biotechnology Center’s company directory is a helpful tool for anyone interested in starting a life science startup in the Triangle or in North Carolina in general. It’s a good way to check out peer startups and connect with local resources.
- NCBiotech also offers free and open access to their extensive market research collection, which includes over 400 life science research reports. Check out NCBiotech’s guide to market research for more.
- Another great resource is NCBiotech’s core labs directory, which includes university-based laboratory facilities, most of which are available for use by outside companies.
The NC Broadband Infrastructure Office‘s OneMap tool offers insights on broadband service availability across the state. Companies and individuals can use these resources to find broadband service offerings in their area.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce has a helpful suite of resources available for businesses and nonprofits, including a list of state grants and incentives, site search data, economic development reports, labor market analysis and more.
Produced by the NC Department of Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation, the North Carolina Innovation Index tracks the state’s performance in the innovation economy across 40 measures. Comparing the state’s metrics with national trends, the report shows North Carolina’s progress in a competitive landscape.
The North Carolina Secretary of State oversees record-keeping and registration for business entities operating in the state. The office also handles the trademark duties in North Carolina to help businesses protect their intellectual property. The Secretary of State’s website has a helpful resource guide packed with information for anyone who’s looking to launch a business in North Carolina.
On NC State Entrepreneurship’s YouTube channel, you’ll find pitches and interviews featuring student founders, 101-style videos on topics like market research and networking, and overviews of startup programs and other resources for innovators on campus.
NC State’s Poole College of Management hosts a web series called “Startup Stories,” featuring alumni entrepreneurs and business leaders sharing their success stories.
The North Carolina Technology Association (or NC TECH) posts interviews, webinars, panel discussions, workshops and more resources on its YouTube channel.
The National Venture Capital Association (or NVCA) provides legal document templates to free up time for entrepreneurs and investors so they can focus on growing their ventures. Designed to be used in venture capital financings, the legal model templates include items such as term sheets, stock purchase agreements, voting agreements, management rights letters, and more.
This podcast, hosted by UNC Entrepreneurship Center Director Ted Zoller features the stories and insights of entrepreneurs who hustled their way to success. The program is part of the Entrepreneurs Genome Project, which involves the research of students in UNC’s Entrepreneurs Lab course. Subscribe here.
NC State’s Poole College of Management hosts a podcast featuring university faculty and industry leaders sharing their perspectives on thought leadership.
Raleigh Founded’s 2020 Innovators Guide to Raleigh is packed with information about the Oak City’s growing startup scene, including a recap of 2020 developments, success stories, plans for the future, and more.
Bob Ingram, general partner at Durham-based Hatteras Venture Partners, has been instrumental in helping to build up the Triangle’s technology and life science ecosystem. In this feature from TechWire, Ingram shared his view of the Triangle’s growth and what’s needed for the future. His insight can give entrepreneurs some perspective on their community—past and present.
Check out this video from the Research Triangle Regional Partnership about how the Triangle is a hot destination for business:
Research Triangle Park’s 2019 Community Impact Report provides a look into the continued growth of the RTP ecosystem. It includes an overview of RTP’s newest infrastructure projects, partnerships and initiatives, and a list of some of the companies that have expanded or relocated to RTP. Read the report here.
The Small Business and Technology Development Center’s Intellectual Property Guide provides education for small businesses and inventors on the potential time and financial investments that may be involved with developing an invention and maintaining intellectual property rights. The guide goes in depth into patents and manufacturing, with helpful references and other resources. PDF here.
Starter U is the Brian Hamilton Foundation‘s free, self-paced online course teaching everything entrepreneurs need to know to start, run and grow a business. Instruction is led by Hamilton, together with other local entrepreneurs like Bobby Martin (founder of Raleigh-based Tilly) and Scott Ogle (former CEO of Sageworks). It also features video interviews with DJ Joe Bunn, Jake Finkelstein of Method Savvy, and other startup founders and CEOs.
This is Wake Technical Community College’s central hub of free resources for local entrepreneurs. StartUp at Wake Tech offers free business counseling, workshops and seminars, how-to guides and other content to help anyone start or grow a business in the area. The program launched in September 2021.
Founded by local entrepreneur Robbie Allen, Startomatic is a software platform that offers the ability to take an idea and turn it into a company with a domain name, logo, website, and email and social media accounts. The service also helps beginning entrepreneurs to process the necessary legal paperwork and state filings needed to start a business. More TechWire coverage on Startomatic here.
The 2021 State of the Region Address, delivered by RIoT Executive Director Tom Snyder in February 2021, lays out the progress, opportunities and threats facing the Triangle over the course of the year. Snyder addresses the pandemic’s impact, the environment, the economy, diversity, equity and inclusion, and broadband. Read it here.
In this podcast, local entrepreneur Brian Hamilton shares his practical approach to building a bootstrapped business that’s focused on prioritizing getting customers.
Hosted by local entrepreneur and investor Donald Thompson of Walk West, this podcast features interviews with startup founders, VCs and community leaders, who share their experience and advice.
Hosted by local entrepreneurs Dave Gold and Justin Minott, The Enlightrepreneurs Podcast features interviews with startup founders and small business owners, who share their entrepreneurial journeys and lessons learned along the way.
Aaron Dinin, founder of local startup RocketBolt and an entrepreneurship instructor in Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, frequently writes on Medium about his experiences as an entrepreneur. His blog posts cover several topics of interest to entrepreneurs, including how to navigate the fundraising process, how to pitch to potential investors, how to market your product, and more.
From September to October 2021, WRAL TechWire produced a six-part multimedia series covering Raleigh’s most promising startups with “unicorn” potential (a term designated for companies surpassing the $1 billion valuation mark). Click the links below for an inside look at the companies profiled:
- Raleigh data startup is working to protect world against fraud – a story of ‘Tomorrow’s Unicorns’
- Artificial intelligence startup in Raleigh has the smarts to be a billion dollar company
- ‘Edge computing’ is tech’s next frontier – and Raleigh startup EDJX is a pacesetter
- Alexa on steroids: Raleigh startup Pryon explores new frontiers for smarter assistants
- As global supply chain teeters, this Raleigh startup unravels knots with blockchain
- Sky’s the limit for Triangle cybersecurity startup protecting clients in age of ransomware
The series was complemented by a LinkedIn Live series dubbed “Chats with the Founder,” which you can watch here.
Presented by the NC Biotechnology Center, the Transformation Talks podcast offers an in-depth look at the life science community in North Carolina.
The organizers of Triangle Small Business Week, an annual event, have set up a helpful resource package for local entrepreneurs on their website. It has contact information for local Chambers of Commerce and economic development agencies, among other resources.
Every year, local entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo releases his “Triangle Tweener” list of promising companies in the Triangle. Check out the latest edition if you want to get your feet wet in startup without taking the plunge yourself. The 2021 list features 227 companies, with six exits and $201 million in capital raised in 2020. Read more TechWire coverage here and here.
On its YouTube channel, UNC Chapel Hill’s Entrepreneurship Center posts a variety of interviews, workshops, webinars and entrepreneurship trends reports for local startup founders and teams.
Wake County Economic Development’s website offers a host of business resources including information about the Triangle’s largest industries, demographics statistics, workforce development data and more useful tools for businesses and investors. You can also read their latest annual report to get a sense of local trends in the job market, investment, development, talent attraction, competitiveness, and more.
This piece from Inc. Magazine covers North Carolina’s positioning as a “bustling epicenter” for tech startups, talent and culture.
This locally produced podcast features favorite quotes, business stories that teach valuable lessons and sales/marketing best practices to apply to life and work. It’s hosted by Triangle-based marketing expert Keith Washo, president of KDW Consulting President and co-founder of Startup Summit, alongside co-host Vijay Damojipurapu, author and head of product and marketing at San Francisco-based Vimana.
Your Back Yard Raleigh provides content and resources for startups and small businesses in Raleigh and Wake County. On its website, Your Back Yard hosts a directory of locally owned stores, restaurants and service providers in Raleigh. It also posts interviews, webinars and advice videos on its YouTube channel.
If you’re a UNC Chapel Hill student who wants to get more plugged in to I&E clubs on campus, this helpful list is for you.