Most entrepreneurs would say that the only constant in the startup world is change.
September 23, 2015
American Underground Transitions Raleigh Campus From Working to Training
The Iron Yard will expand to Raleigh in 2016, but 25 startup teams at American Underground will have to find new offices to make room.
And that’s proving true with the startup campuses that house those entrepreneurs too. A month after American Underground (ExitEvent’s parent company) announced its third expansion in downtown Durham, today, it reveals a plan to transition its Raleigh campus from a hub for 25 local startup teams to classrooms and offices for fast-growing The Iron Yard code school.
The change, says American Underground Chief Strategist Adam Klein, “is really a chance to have a long term talent pipeline for the Raleigh and Triangle ecosystem, and with a trusted partner.”
The good news is access to a full-time coding program in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Since opening in Durham in June 2014, The Iron Yard has become a popular and respected way to learn coding skills and get a job as a junior developer at a local technology or startup company. 108 students have been trained in Ruby on Rails, Front End or Python Engineering at the school, according to Director of Global Campus Operations Jessica Mitsch, and though she won’t reveal job placement figures, she said the number is significant.
Recruiting and hiring continue to be huge challenges for local companies, and this is one organization serving that need.
But the bad news is that 25 teams have to find new homes starting November 1. And for a startup—venture-backed or still trying to prove itself to investors—every hour spent focusing on anything other than product, sales, team building or fundraising matters. The point of campuses like American Underground, HQ Raleigh and The Frontier are to make real estate the least of a startup founder’s concerns. Today, it became one for the companies with offices at American Underground in Raleigh.
“You don’t want to lose momentum,” says Rob Burns, CEO of PredictifyMe, an [email protected] company with seven employees. He got the news this morning and immediately headed out to inquire about space in Raleigh’s warehouse district.
“Anyone who has flexible space should be stopping by here this afternoon and marketing it to everybody,” he says.
The Iron Yard has been a boon to Durham companies. Spoonflower and Validic have both put employees through the program, in addition to hiring its graduates.
Justin Thomas, CEO of CrossComm, has hired two of his eight employees out of The Iron Yard. He appreciates that candidates have “demonstrated with their wallet that this is a serious profession” and that they graduate and are ready to be mentored.
“The last thing you want is to hire a developer who thinks they know everything and doesn’t want to learn from anyone else,” he says. “Individuals we’ve interviewed and hired really have a desire for mentorship and that’s a positive for us.”
Though change is hard, Klein and team are dedicated to helping the displaced teams land smoothly. In coming days, they’ll help to connect the teams with other real estate options in Raleigh.
They’re also excited to help The Iron Yard expand its impact locally.
“There are companies moving to new locations and that will diminish the number of startups in AU initially,” Klein says. “But over the next three to five years, by adding hundreds of new software developers into the Raleigh tech community, the lasting impact will be a lot greater.”