Startup Ecosystem

Business, academia and government converge in the Research Triangle Region to create an innovative environment and hub for entrepreneurs. The region's low cost of living combined with its coworking spaces, startup accelerators, networking opportunities and local industry expertise fosters an innovative startup ecosystem.

Meet Your Neighbors

Each year Scot Wingo, Founder of Spiffy, compiles a list of 'Triangle Tweeners' - technology start ups headquartered in the Triangle Region. Tweener graduates are companies that were created in the region and have continued to thrive here including companies like Bandwidth, ChannelAdvisor, Red Hat, Relias and SAS, to name a few.

Click for a directory of startups thriving here, and continue scrolling to learn more about the resources cultivating the Triangle Region startup ecosystem.

See For Yourself Why Many Consider The Triangle Region The Ideal Location For Startups

American Underground

The Start Up Capital of the South

The American Underground launched in 2010 on the American Tobacco Campus, North Carolina’s largest historic renovation. As a division of Capitol Broadcasting Company, we built upon eight decades of local relationships to help connect our startups to the region’s best resources, thought leaders, media, and entrepreneurial support systems. Today, it supports 275+ startups across four locations, includes 10,000 digital members Triangle-wide, and has been dubbed the “Startup Capital of the South” by CNBC. Inspired by Durham, North Carolina’s century-old entrepreneurial legacy, American Underground is building the counter-story to Silicon Valley– a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement.


  • 935+ companies connected (and counting)

  • 31% companies female led

  • 30% companies led by a person of color

  • 83% AU companies have earned revenue

  • 3,156+ jobs created since 2014

  • $158M raised by AU companies since 2014

Learn More

When you join the American Underground, you join the Google For Startups Tech Hub Network, getting access to some of the world’s best tech and business resources. The AU is one of nine Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in the U.S. Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of  coworking spaces and community programs across 140 countries. It is a pioneers in inclusive innovation with nearly 30 percent of our startup companies led by women and 28% led by founders of color.


Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: Black Founders is a week-long immersion program focused on addressing the funding gap for startups led by Black founders. Established in 2016, this program displays how American Underground and Google for Entrepreneurs strive to move the needle on diversity by addressing the key components to building a successful business: mentorship, training, and access to capital.

With funding from NC IDEA, Startup Stampede, is a two-month incubator program focused on consumer product companies looking to scale their online sales. Companies must complete a successful crowdfunding campaign or have over $25,000 in annual revenues to join.

HQ Raleigh

HQ fosters inclusive communities of entrepreneurs through shared workspace creating lasting economic and social impact in the world.

HQ Raleigh is creating a collaborative environment that empowers high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs to create purpose-driven businesses that leave the world better than they found it. A community of more than 150 members across multiple locations in Raleigh and more than 500 companies across the state.


  • 230+ companies

  • $58M+ capital raised

  • 500 new jobs created in 2018

  • 103K sq/ft of space

  • 600+ members

Learn More

In 2018, HQ Raleigh announced a partnership with NC State University’s Centennial Campus. The partnership will repurpose approximately 20,000 square feet of industrial space in the Partners I building on Centennial Campus as the new home to NC State’s popular Entrepreneurship Garage program. By the end of the year, HQ will have over 103,000 square feet to accommodate even more creation and purpose driven innovation, and increase its economic and social impact.

The partnership will help to bridge the gap between universities and the private sector as well as provide a talent pipeline and tons of new resources and space to all existing HQ members.


Frontier RTP

In the heart of Research Triangle Park, The Frontier campus offers creative work spaces for nearly 100 businesses and 500 employees. Frontier RTP provides creative, affordable and flexible workspaces and co-working for emerging companies and entrepreneurs. Offering both indoor and outdoor environments and robust programming and networking opportunities, Frontier RTP convenes a community of doers and makers exploring new ideas and charting their path forward.

From 100 square-foot offices to 100,000+ square-foot office buildings, there is something for everyone at The Frontier.

  • The only free co-working space in North Carolina

  • Flexible, affordable lab and office space for startups

  • Home to more than 100 growing companies

  • Provides educational resources, fitness classes and networking opportunities

  • Central to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill

Learn More

Triangle Incubators & Accelerators

Alexandria LaunchLabs // The premier startup platform for early-stage life science and agtech companies. Alexandria LaunchLabs provides move-in-ready office/laboratory space, shared equipment and services, creative amenities, access to startup capital through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, and engagement with Alexandria’s world-class network. Located in the Research Triangle Park.

American Underground //  Supporting 275+ startups across four locations, includes 10,000 digital members Triangle-wide, American Underground been dubbed the “Startup Capital of the South” by CNBC. Located in Durham, American Underground is building the counter-story to Silicon Valley– a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement.

BD Technologies and Innovation // In the Research Triangle Park developing the next-generation technologies aligned with BD business strategies. BDTI also accelerates the development of early-stage life sciences companies working with our company via collaboration, licensing or incubation.

Biolabs // Located in a unique biotech coworking facility in downtown Durham. Our aim is to attract the most ambitious startup companies in life sciences. This premium open lab space and office space favors collaboration. The lab is equipped with top-of-the-line research equipment, with additional services to help resident companies reach their milestones faster.

Bunker Labs RDU // A national non-profit, created by military veterans for veterans to start and grow businesses.

Center for Advanced Hindsight // Based at Duke University and run by Dan Ariely, this program provides research testing, support and resources for innovations exploring solutions in health and financial decision-making.

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship // The central hub of entrepreneurship and innovation at Duke University. It houses all of the university’s programs and initiatives supporting technology ventures and small businesses.

Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network // A sophisticated and active network that helps create debate, dialogue, and productive connections between Duke entrepreneurs. DukeGEN has over 8,000 members from Duke’s entrepreneurial community and supports students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of Duke.

First Flight Ventures // high-science, high-impact incubator located in the heart of Research Triangle Park. Established in 1991 to serve the initial needs of entrepreneurs and early stage science companies. FFVC offers 25,000 square feet of leasable office and laboratory space for up to 40 emerging high-science, high-impact companies.

HQ Community // HQ fosters inclusive communities of entrepreneurs through shared workspace creating lasting economic and social impact in the world.

Joules Accelerator // Provides clean energy startups with training, mentoring, access to utilities and introductions through its bi-annual non-equity Catalyst program in Charlotte. In 2018, the Joules Accelerator, together with partner Research Triangle Cleantech Clusterreceived a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand the program’s support for Triangle-area startups. Since its founding in 2013, Joules has helped create at least 90 jobs, $15 million in investments and seven pilot projects.

Pinkubator // Founded by Cindy Eckert, an incubator of groundbreaking businesses by and for women.

NC Idea Labs // An early-stage accelerator program that uniquely offers services for free to participating startups/teams, without taking an equity stake in the company. The focus is on establishing or growing a customer base, developing a solid business model and preparing founders to pitch and raise capital after graduating from the program.

NC State University Entrepreneurship // Entrepreneurship is a fundamental priority at NC State in Raleigh. That’s why the university has invested in spaces that facilitate collaboration and innovation among students, faculty, alumni and emerging area startups.

RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) // provides robust support for Internet of Things companies and intellectual property to commercialize products and bring them to market. IoT startups and corporate innovation teams should apply to participate in the next iteration of the 12-week high-touch program. RIoT represents a network of technologists, engineers, business leaders, academics, policy makers, and entrepreneurs, all of whom have a stake in the Internet of Things industry.

SCORE // A nonprofit, supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, that provides a host of programs and events designed to support small businesses through education and mentorship. The organization has a local chapter serving the Chapel Hill/Durham community.

Shaw University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center // An incubator and startup support center serving Shaw students and Raleigh community members with daily workshops, mentoring sessions, lunch-and-learns and a speakers series with experienced entrepreneurs. The space, located in Southeast downtown Raleigh, opened last year in partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

The Launch Place // Fosters an environment for new and serial entrepreneurs to raise capital and garner the support system needed to take their products and/or solutions into the market place. Located in the Research Triangle Park.


Flexible Office Space


Coworking spaces


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Raleigh-Durham Flexible Office Landscape

What's next in the evolving world of flexible office space via Cushman Wakefield