Within the last few years, Raleigh and Wake County has emerged as a top innovation hub nationwide. This year proves no different as Raleigh and Wake County startups raised more than $98 million*, and PowerSecure and Surge X were acquired for a total of $561 million. As the startup landscape grows, co-working spaces are expanding to keep up. Industrious, which opened in late 2015, has already expanded into another floor in Charter Square to accommodate rapid growth, and HQ Raleigh recently acquired an additional 15,000 square feet of space in the Capital Club building, bringing their total existing or under construction square footage to over 60,000 square feet.
Several startups come to the forefront in terms of funding, growth and innovative ideas – several of which were showcased at Internet Summit as part of an effort to give a glimpse into the Raleigh startup ecosystem by Wake County Economic Development (WCED) and the City of Raleigh.
K4Connect, which creates solutions that serve and empower older adults and individuals living with disabilities, raised $8 million this year, putting its funding total at around $10 million. The Internet of Things (IoT) company also expanded their headquarters this year by 13,000 square feet, a 700 percent increase in space, to accommodate their rapidly growing team, now at 25 full-time employees.
FilterEasy, a subscription air filter service that delivers home and business air filters through the mail, raised more than $4 million in equity funding this year, increased its headquarters by 2,200 square feet, and added 20,000 square feet to its warehouse space in response to production growth.
PrecisionHawk took the funding lead this year, raising $18 million to empower commercial drone usage. The drones benefit industries ranging from agriculture to the energy sector, where they are providing data solutions. In addition to raising money, PrecisionHawk was awarded as one of the World Economic Forum’s technology pioneers, a selection of the world’s most innovative companies.
In 2016, innovative companies like Cary’s Myxx came on the scene, creating a one-of-a-kind personalized recipe solution. Myxx answers the question "What's for dinner tonight?" through personalized recipes that connect ingredients to in-store products. Their unique approach solves challenges that retailers, brands and consumers face today. Myxx spent 2016 focusing on development and successfully closing their initial seed round of funding with Cofounders Capital, led by David Gardner. Myxx will launch their pilot program in early 2017.
These Wake County companies are just part of the overall regional innovation going on. Triangle companies raised $601 million at the end of quarter three in 2016, and had a diverse portfolio of investors from 11 different states, according to the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED). More data on regional funding can be found via CED’s Innovators Report.
The innovation and growth of startups in our area continues to have a positive impact on our economy. In fact, research reveals that high-growth firms account for 50 percent of new jobs created. Entrepreneurs bring a special dynamic of creativity and passion, helping drive Raleigh and Wake County forward as a place that continues to be recognized for innovation more and more on a national scale.
*This number was originally published as $81 million, it has been updated to accurately portray more complete funding numbers. This number is a general estimate based on published on SEC filings.