Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

peaceloveunderstanding

The Triangle and startups

40 posts in this topic

As an outsider, it looks like the Triangle is having terrific success bringing all sorts of high-tech, bio-tech, companies, but they are mostly facilities of mega-corporations. The element that sets California and Boston apart is missing,

Startups.

Boston, the Valley in California, and even Seattle and Austin are so far ahead on this level.

Is it the culture? From what I've seen, the Triangle is dominated by the big corporation types. Stanford has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit that its Triangle equivalent Duke doesn't have.

Is it the lack of capital? The big VCs (Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, etc) are mostly on the west coast, but have offices in Boston, some in Austin.

Is it something else?

Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Seems to me more startups have come out of NC State and NC State ventures than Duke - Red Hat is the big one that immediately comes to mind. I think centennial campus is doing a pretty good job of this? But I may be wrong.l

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps Dan can comment more, but I was under the impression from the paper and such that the start-up environment here was active.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread started to drift down the wrong path with personal insults being said. The offending posts have been deleted, and I'm watching this thread to make sure nothing further happens like that.

Nobody here is trying to insult anyone else or anyone else's region. The original poster made a reasonable statement about lacking VC and startups in the triangle; some other posters disagreed and provided counter-examples. That's the civilized manner in which this discussion needs to carry on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several start ups but not like Silicon valley. There is no place like San Jose area for starts ups. I work with people in SV every day and travel there often. It is in their blood.

For VC, there was an IP attorney from Charlotte a while back on this board who commented that he sees so much VC coming into Raleigh, it was unreal. Something like 100's time more than any other region in NC or the southeast. And an IP attorney would know and see that.

There was a lot of tech and software in RTP/Raleigh/Cary but to be honest, the days of starting a SW firm and selling for millions does not happen like it use to and like it happened in Raleigh in the 1990s. Companies are being more selective on what they buy along with the SW boom of India and any other town in the US. There are so many smaller SW companies here from that time period that go under the radar. Look at SoftPro which was started by a former SAS employee. There are hundreds of guys/companies like that in The Triangle.

I do think the boom here is the bio-tech and pharma which is hard to understand unless you are a player in that industry. But it is here.

I am not so sure that Austin in "far ahead" of RTP/Raleigh. I work in High tech and yes, we see stuff in Austin but I hate to burst the bubble on Dell, it is not High tech. It is a overgrown PC company that gets its technology from OEMs. IBM and Lenovo in RTP run circles around Dell in technology. Now Austin has locations for such Cali companies like Applied materials and others, but just that, sites. RTP/Raleigh has hidden gems like Sony/Erickson, NetApps, Red Hat and SAS.

But the big deal is bio/pharma and it takes a few years to bloom.

Also, someone posted says something about "regressive RTP laws" which I guess I do not understand. If someone does not want to be in RTP, there are numerous buildings, land, etc right outside of the boundaries and that is where thousands of people work. Lenovo, SAS, etc are all outside RTP.

(edited by orulz to remove last paragraph addressing flaming and boosterism)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The overwhelming economic development strategy in this state is business recruitment. While this has some benefits its left RTP and NC primarily with branch hi-tech manufacturing plants. Its a shame that more resources aren't invested in entrepreneurial programs and technology transfer initiatives at our universities. There are very few regions in the US, and world for that matter, that can match the research capacity of Triangle universities. This should be much more of a focus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SAS, Red Hat, Quintiles, Cree, Tekelec, Trimeris, Red Storm, other software and semiconductor and biotech firms ... those are a few I can think of that I had some contact with over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Anecdotally, I think a disproportionately large portion of the people moving to Raleigh are families looking for a stable job.

There are lots of smart people here, but I wouldn't want to try luring them away from their stable jobs with the prospect of long hours and uncertain success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The start-up activity here is very vibrant, however, many of the smaller start-ups don't get the notority until they sold. Most remain relatively small. Embrex (out of NCSU) was just sold for a couple $100 million. I would say SAS, the gold standard in statistical analysis software, is a fine example of a Triangle start-up. Add GeoMagic, Red Hat and Motricity to the list. There are so many bio businesses in different stages of defelopment its hard to list but I think Biolex is the next star. Metabolon is another future star. Trimeris was a start-up out of Duke as well as Nitrox. Micelle (Hangers Cleaners) is out of UNC. Nitrox is another company out of Duke, as is Serenex. The list could keep going. Cree is another.

Southeast VC Conference

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The start-up activity here is very vibrant, however, many of the smaller start-ups don't get the notority until they sold. Most remain relatively small. Embrex (out of NCSU) was just sold for a couple $100 million. I would say SAS, the gold standard in statistical analysis software, is a fine example of a Triangle start-up. Add GeoMagic, Red Hat and Motricity to the list. There are so many bio businesses in different stages of defelopment its hard to list but I think Biolex is the next star. Metabolon is another future star. Trimeris was a start-up out of Duke as well as Nitrox. Micelle (Hangers Cleaners) is out of UNC. Nitrox is another company out of Duke, as is Serenex. The list could keep going. Cree is another.

Southeast VC Conference

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of tech companies were wiped out or weakened in the dot com bubble. art.com started here, but was bought out by a better-finaced west coast competitor. The same went for a company I worked for, Total Sports. They created on-line viewing of games, but didn't bother to patent anything, kept turning down offers, and eventually merged with a well-financed, horribly run SF company (quokka.com).

The Triangle is a good mix of established operations with large R&D presences -- IBM, Glaxo Smith Kline, Cisco, Nortel, EPA, etc. -- and home grown businesses -- SAS, Cree, Red Hat, Motricity, Quintels, etc. There are a few "not ready for prime time" players around as well -- rpath, a Red Hat spin-off, and parta, an automated/robotic pharmacy dispensing machine.

UNC and Duke looked at patent transfer as the "selling out" of academia. NC State did not have this problem -- the patent for "easy eggs" came from work done there. Centennial Campus was created to facilitate practical applications for university research. Duke does not have an equivalent (other than the hospital) and UNC's Carolina North is years away from bearing fruit.

Also, five to ten years ago, the best and brightest graduates from the universities had to leave for other areas, due to few entry level positions in the area and no start-up infrastructure here. That is starting to change, but slowly. The Triangle is not as big as the other established areas, but is better positioned to become the next big thing than any other area of the country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UNC and Duke looked at patent transfer as the "selling out" of academia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a couple of people at Trimeris and know one of the problems with Fuzeon was the route of administration (IV injection) but they have been working with another company to use another introduction system which is like getting a pin prick. Unfortunately its a protein so it can't go through the digestive tract or it will be degraded immediately (what in pharmacology is called the "first pass effect"). The drug itself is pretty effective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I recently met with partners at 10 VC firms in the region and asked their opinion on the number of startups in the Triangle. Their replies were:

1) the science here is top notch, there is no idea shortage.

2) experienced management talent here is hard to find. About half of the VCs say that they are easily able to recruit experienced management to the triangle from other regions.

3) About half of VCs said that NC (and the South in general) simply is not producing an 'entrepreneurial class' of experienced managers (e.g. individuals who have run startups before). It was suggested by many of these VCs that failure is stigmatized in the South to such a degree that people here are reluctant to take the risk of starting a firm due to the high social costs of failure. This cultural condition is the opposite of the Silicon Valley culture which (at least during the boom years) valued the experience of failure.

Folks on this thread have done a good job discussing other, more significant, issues impacting the local entrepreneurial environment. While culture certainly isn't the only significant factor here it was interesting that half of local VCs felt that regional culture may be stifling local entrepreneurship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there is a growing younger entrepreneurial class in the Triangle in electronics and the computer industry which will be become and continue to be the majority of successful start-ups. Life sciences/biotech are too risky and the returns are too delayed if ever seen-thats one of the reasons why there has been so much diversification in this area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work in High Tech and was at a business dinner with some top players in RTP and some Silicon Valley Executives. It was interested to hear them talk about some of the RTP firms and how so many people/companies/VC is attached to the technology that is created out of companies in RTP. Firms from around the world that may not be located here but are working to intertwine or work off technology based here in the Triangle.

So where there is VC and creation in RTP, there also is attachment from VC around the world from the stable companies in RTP like Nortel, SonyErickson, IBM, etc.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There will be $44 billion of VC looking to invest at the conference in Cary at the end of the month. 1/3 of the 27 companies are from the Triangle.

VC Conference

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting story about Google having an office in Chapel Hill doing software development. The original company was bought out by Google.

Story

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have decided to post every time a Triangle start-up receives VC to demonstrate the points made on here.

Story

Story

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.