Overwhelmed and humbled.
Chawla also told me that his pitch and subsequent win brought back memories of the first time he pitched his social media archiving company in 2012 when he had no customers, no employees and no funding—the Triangle community got behind him and his idea anyways. He said, “to get this far and come out with a win reinforces that building a company here (in Durham) is exactly what we should be doing.”
Towards the end of his pitch, Chawla took an unexpected turn—he stopped talking about his company and began talking about how he and his team were proud to be “Made in Durham.”
He joked that ArchiveSocial had “milked every opportunity” the Triangle offered to propel his business further. He went on to demonstrate how his team turned that local support into local impact—every Triangle municipality and county is now an ArchiveSocial customer.
Thus, ArchiveSocial’s win—and the Triangle’s selection as a stop on Case’s third Rise of the Rest tour—isn’t just validation for Chawla and ArchiveSocial, but for the Triangle community and the ecosystem it’s built to support startups like ArchiveSocial.
Throughout his day in the Triangle, Case reinforced and highlighted the Triangle’s successes, even joking that he didn’t know what he was doing here, that the region doesn’t need his help highlighting the entrepreneurial ecosystem given recent successes like MATI Energy’s recent Google Demo Day win and the major exits of companies like Automated Insights and Bronto over the past two years.
As Adam Klein, the lead organizer for the day-long tour says, “We have a lot to be proud of. Steve has now invested four times in the Triangle in the past 18 months via Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day and now the Rise of the Rest Tour. It’s clear this ecosystem is producing results and generating not only regional but national interest.”
And when I asked Case what the Triangle could learn from other regions he’s visited, he pointed to a couple areas we could improve (like broadcasting our story), but not before saying that other regions could and should learn from the Triangle’s commitment to collaboration and diversity.
Allyson Burns, the senior vice president of communications at Case’s firm Revolution LLC., compared the Triangle to a city like Austin—its community is impressive and unique.
Case’s visit was important because, according to Klein, it adds, “outside fuel to continue building the scene,” and offers some valuable national media exposure. As for the future, Case says the region should continue to strive to be inclusive and increase diversity throughout the startup ecosystem. The Triangle can also do a better job of telling its story to the rest of the country. The responsibility to do that lies with each individual, he says.
Tuesday was a celebration of the work that’s already been done to position the Triangle to rise and the companies, organizations and people that have the potential to build the region’s future. But if the events, milestones and people celebrated Tuesday are any indication of what is to come, the Triangle won’t be considered a region on the rise much longer, but as a region that has already risen.