Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Breaking News: Google Selects Durham's American Underground

Durham, NC.  A community where, among other things, entrepreneurs are regularly greeted by opportunity and support.  That sort of support makes this morning's announcement by American Underground that it will become part of an exclusive Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network all the more important. Durham is now one of of seven hubs throughout North America in the network that supports entrepreneurs and provides a stimulus for the economy in local communities.

“The American Underground is making great strides to ensure every entrepreneur in our network has an unparalleled opportunity to launch, grow and succeed,” said Adam Klein, chief strategist, American Underground. “Being selected as a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub means that the 100-plus startups in our network are one giant leap closer to being the companies that capture imaginations and create jobs here and, as they grow, around the country.”

American Underground, along with Durham's other incubators, has really helped to drive that message home. "In Durham, the common refrain is more likely to be 'How can I help?' rather than 'Good luck with that.'" said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "Entrepreneurship has been part of Durham's DNA for hundreds of years, so this announcement is one that has implications for economic development across the board - tourism included," she added.

Google will support American Underground both financially and technologically. Hubs will have greater access to Google experts and products, and will participate in a number of Google events each year. Most importantly, hubs in the network will have access to each other, with Google facilitating quarterly calls and bringing hub partners together in-person to share lessons learned and best practices for entrepreneurs.

The Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network is the first formal network of this kind in the world. “Google heard consistently from tech hubs that they wanted to be part of a larger network, to learn from each other and collaborate together on ideas. We are happy to facilitate that,” said John Lyman, Head of Partnerships for Google for Entrepreneurs. “Our team has been incredibly impressed with the great work these hubs have done in their cities, and are excited to partner with them to do even more.”

Durham's stock-in-trade as a hub for entrepreneurs and startups has risen so sharply in recent years that it is regularly mentioned in the same breath as Silicon Valley, Austin, and Boston as a destination for visionaries looking for a place to get going.

The other six hubs in the network include: CoCo in Minneapolis, MN; 1871 in Chicago, IL; Communitech in Waterloo, Ontario; Nashville Entrepreneur Center in Nashville, TN; Galvanize in Denver, CO; and Grand Circus in Detroit, MI.

Learn more about Durham online.


  1. Durham, North Carolina was chosen as a Google Entrepreneurial Hub. Alongside Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn., and Waterloo, Ontario, the Durham tech hub is expected to get financial support from the company, access to Google products, as well as workshop opportunities.

    Folks around the Triangle are chest-beating over there selection by Google as another step in establishing the Triangle as a future center for tech startups that will develop internal and attract external startups and entrepreneurs.

    While it is nice to be noticed by Google, please understand that Google’s purpose is self-serving (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.)

    Google is seeking to deepen its community ties, to give its teams and partners physical space for outreach and events, and to serve as platform for other Google teams to roll out products and products with startups, according to information from the company. The hub will also have a local relationship manager, called a “Googler,” who will serve as the primary contact for the company. Hub leaders will talk quarterly, and will meet once a year in person to share best practices.

    Google also recruits local engineering talent to take back to Mountain View – or elsewhere.

    On balance, it is a good thing to be recognized by Google.

    In July, 2013, the New York Times ran an opinion piece – “The Decline of North Carolina” –

    Read this editorial. Then reread this editorial. Then tell me why an entrepreneur would want to move to North Carolina.

    Realizing that you have enough talent or potential for innovation to have a major technology company establish an immigration office in your town is fine.

    But, thinking that North Carolina will be an entrepreneurial hub while the present climate exists, is truly delusional.

    Read the editorial. Then reread it.

    Then realize what must be done to make the Triangle attractive to entrepreneurs . . . and others.

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