12. What would a discussion of startup in 2012 be without a nod or two to the wantrepreneurs. First, I cautioned against labeling every idea-level entrepreneur and networking opportunity into the wantrepreneur bucket in When 16-Hour Days Just Aren’t Enough, but then I also came out and slapped them in Startup Isn’t a Lifestyle.
11. The emergence of Raleigh as a startup community was a big deal in 2012. I wrote a couple things on this, including a piece calling for the end of the Raleigh vs. Durham argument, which got me invited to a lot of “discussions” over the next few months. Then in September, we held our first Startup Social in Raleigh, and it was a massive success. That’s covered in Scaling a Startup Community.
10. With too many years of startup behind me, and after talking to founders on a local and national level, I came up with The Top Two Things Early Stage Startups Need the Most. The reason this shows up here is because of the subtitle for the article: And Why They’re Both Not Going To Happen.
9. No doubt, Chris Heivly is the hardest working man in the Triangle. His biggest endeavor here is the still-seems-brand-new, one-of-a-kind startup accelerator Triangle Startup Factory, which hit its stride in 2012 as it graduated its first class and announced its second in Triangle Startup Factory Picks Six Startups for Fall Session.
8. Speaking of Heivly, beyond his TSF and Triangle Tech Talk, he’s also Tech Jobs Under the Big Top, which held its fourth installment in October. I took the liberty of turning that into a story about making the jump into startup in Making Working at a Startup a Viable Option.
7. The most dramatic startup story of 2012 was definitely Raleigh Startup dejaMi Gets Booted From Office and the follow up in which they landed at HUB Raleigh. It was incredible to see the startup community come together to help one of their own. And to this day, whenever Justin Miller calls me, I answer with “What did you get kicked out of now?”
6. Any time you give away money, people pay attention. And when you give away a bunch of money to deserving entrepreneurs and have been doing it for years, you have a great story. NC IDEA has shown up in ExitEvent several times, as have their current and former grant winners, because they’ve laid perhaps the most solid foundation for startup growth in the Triangle. Of all those mentions, NC IDEA Announces Spring 2012 Grant Winners was the most popular.
5. Early in 2012, I started having conversations with Brooks Bell about HUB Raleigh. I had been working with Innovate Raleigh, the Raleigh Chamber, and Wake County Economic Development to help figure out what the Raleigh startup commitment should look like. Brooks mastered the idea with HUB Raleigh, and Monica Chen did a fantastic job breaking the unveiling in Exclusive: HUB Raleigh Unveiled Today in Downtown.
4. I’m not Startup North Carolina, and I never was. I was approached with the idea a long time ago, and sat in on a lot of calls, including an hour-long conversation with original proposer Scott Case. In the end, I just couldn’t wrangle the time commitment to make it happen in any serious fashion, so I started having conversations with some local people who I thought could. One of them was Mital Patel, who is currently running with it. As a result of all of this, however, I was able to break the launch of Startup NC in Startup North Carolina Launching August 20th.
3. In Calling The Higher Education Bubble, I debated the waning usefulness of a college degree outside of engineering and the sciences against skyrocketing tuition and a bleak outlook for jobs. Maybe instead of blowing six figures on a liberal arts degree, one might better spend their time starting a company. This touched off a good deal of debate, and I stand by the premise.
2. We dug into one of the biggest and most deserved raises of 2012 in Raleigh’s Knowledge Tree Raises $4.75 Million Series B Round, back in July. I had met Daniel Chalef a couple times before the announcement, and he and I had an awesome conversation about the long and winding road he went through (and every startup goes through) to get to that point. I still see Daniel and Peter Mollins everywhere — they’re two of the hardest working entrepreneurs in the area.
1. It’s no secret that money talks, and that the top two articles on the list (outside of reviews, which kill) are successful fund-raising stories. Everyone loves PlotWatt, and Luke Fishback’s use of science and stats in a green vertical made for the most compelling story of the year in Durham’s PlotWatt Raises $3 Million Series A Round.
But like the Knowledge Tree article, the PlotWatt article, and I like to think all the articles that appear on ExitEvent, go several levels deeper into the story behind the facts and the figures to bring you something no one else is giving you: Solid writing about startups from the entrepreneur’s perspective. No press-release BS, no schadenfreude, no filler.
And we’ll take this promise into 2013. Read ExitEvent, get something different. Join ExitEvent, get something useful.
Have an amazing year.