If you don’t know the ExitEvent Startup Social lore, the whole thing started as a joke a little over a year ago, turned into an experiment, and then exploded into a monthly entrepreneur-and-investor-only event that attracts over 200 of their ilk.
A couple months ago, we added what became a wildly popular startup news source powered by a world-class writing team and a network of over 400 entrepreneurs.
But the intent was never to take over Durham. It was to take over the world.
We just got a little closer to that.
Last week, we broke the story of the founding of new downtown Raleigh accelerator HUB Raleigh by entrepreneurs Brooks Bell (of Brooks Bell), her husband Jesse Lipson from Sharefile (now Citrix), Christopher Gergen (Bull City Forward), and Jason Widen. Entrepreneurs embarking on this new journey of helping other entrepreneurs. Very awesome.
We didn’t break that story by being the first ones to spit out the press release, we got there after having several conversations with Raleigh public and private sector leaders, Raleigh entrepreneurs, and Raleigh investors. Those conversations led to talk of a more strategic approach to how I’m doing ExitEvent and how I can, as I’ve always intended, expand while adding value to the greater startup ecosystem.
Then came planning. Now comes execution.
Thus, we’ll be holding our first out-of-Durham experience in downtown Raleigh, a couple of days into the operation of the only incubator of its kind, on Tuesday, September 18th. If you’re a verified entrepreneur (and logged in), you can RSVP here. If you’re not verified yet, you can fill out the form to the right (and please give us all the information on your startup that you can fit).
For ExitEvent, having our first Raleigh Startup Social at HUB Raleigh is big deal for two reasons:
1. It’s a New City (Sort Of)
Without even offering our first delicious sip of beer in Raleigh, there are already 75 active entrepreneurs from 61 Raleigh metro area startups in the ExitEvent network, including KnowledgeTree, Zift Solutions, dejaMi, Organic Transit, Greensky Wind Systems, and even some of the gamers like Nakai. Plus seven investors including VC (Southern Capitol Ventures) and angel (Triangle Angel Partners).
Most of the 75 have been to a Startup Social in Durham. I’m sure these people know others, and I’ll get them on it.
The Startup Social at HUB Raleigh will look, sound, and smell exactly like Startup Social you’ve come to know and love. There will be no speeches, no sponsors, no name tags, no BS.
Only this time the Raleigh people don’t have to drive (as far). The Durham people do, and should, because even though both cities have their own thing going on, the two of them together could do a serious amount of damage.
This is the first independently run opportunity for Raleigh and Durham entrepreneurs to put their heads together, and I’m pumped to be a part of that.
2. It’s a Second City
Not second as in inferior, second as in the first 11 Socials were in Durham, the 12th will be in Raleigh. You might say we needed 10 do-overs to get it right before going on the road.
Also, the 13th will be in Durham. The 14th? Charlotte. At least that’s what we have planned.
Like I said, I never meant ExitEvent to be about Durham or the Triangle or even North Carolina. ExitEvent is about a new kind of startup, and it’s about a new way to build an ecosystem for said startups.
Here’s where it gets a little scientific. The real trick of ExitEvent is using concepts like automation, reuse, and scalability both offline and online to produce a hub (not a HUB, a hub) that can spoke off to any location that has or needs a stronger startup ecosystem.
I’m just as excited about the possibilities that Raleigh holds for creating the same kind of comprehensive database of entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and resources that we’ve already put together for Durham. I’m thrilled about adding the interactions, services, and features that have worked to “keep the vibe alive” between Socials.
In that, I’ll be working over the coming weeks to add functionality that will let you interact with the Raleigh, Durham, Triangle, and NC startup ecosystems (or all of them). In the meantime, I’ll be more than happy to buy you hardworking awesome people a (ridiculously great Mystery Brewing) beer in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday, September 18th.
This whole start your own company thing? It’s not a fad. It’s progress. And we’re happy to push progress forward into another city, partnered with some really great and trailblazing entrepreneurs.