December 19, 2017

47% Jump in Total Funding,

Companies Led by Women, People-of-Color Make Major Gains


(Durham, NC) – Dec. 19, 2017 — Total funding raised by the 269 companies headquartered at The American Underground jumped by 47 percent in 2016-2017 (10/1/16-9/30/17) to a total of $39.4 million, according to the startup hub’s annual report issued today.

Meanwhile, the American Underground continued to make strides toward its goal of creating the most diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the United States:

  • The number of companies led by a person-of-color increased by 10 percent from last year to a total of 31 percent of the hub’s total company count. The national average of startup companies led by a person-of-color is 13%.
  • The number of female-led companies rose by 4.5 percent to a total of 30 percent of the total. The national average of startup/tech companies led by a woman is 5 percent (source).
  • All told, 48 percent of American Underground companies are led by women or a person-of-color.

And companies at the American Underground — a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub — led by women and/or people-of-color did substantially better in raising funds than the national average. CB Insights reports roughly 22 percent of women or person-of-color led companies receive funding; at the American Underground, that figure is 43 percent — nearly double the national average.

Other figures of note from the report include:

  • 82 percent of AU-headquartered companies have earned revenue and 52 percent are cash-flow positive.  
  • 60 percent of AU members volunteer with outside organizations.
  • American Underground companies spent nearly $2 million at local businesses within two miles of the hub


  • Find the full report here.
  • Photo highlights from the American Underground’s remarkable year can be found here.
  • Watch the report’s accompanying video here.


  • Doug Speight, executive director, American Underground
  • “In 2017, the American Underground proved that an entrepreneurial ecosystem could work successfully to be both more inclusive, supporting entrepreneurs of all kinds, and create a place where businesses of all kinds find the resources they need to grow and thrive. We look forward to continuing on this dual mission and drawing entrepreneurs from around the world to a dynamic Durham.”      

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About American Underground

The American Underground — one of ten Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America — launched seven years ago in the basement of an old tobacco warehouse at the American Tobacco Historic District. It now encompasses over 125,000 sq ft of space in four locations in Raleigh and Durham as well as a strategic partnership with open source leader Red Hat to offer an office in Silicon Valley. Innovation partners include Google for Entrepreneurs and Lincoln Financial and founding partners include Coastal Credit Union, Duke University, and Fidelity Labs.


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