Press December 11, 2018

CloudFactory Named ‘Startup of the Year’ Amidst Major Expansion

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(DURHAM) – December 5, 2018 – The American Underground startup hub hosted its fifth annual meeting on Wednesday night at The Cotton Room in historic Golden Belt Durham.

Startup leaders and employees joined elected officials, heads of business and local advocates to celebrate the year’s successes in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

An awards program, “The Undies,” sponsored by Google Fiber, debuted at this year’s event. Nominated by American Underground members and selected by the hub’s team of seasoned mentors, the winners of the 2018 Undies are:

  • Startup of the Year: CloudFactory, which launched at the American Underground in 2013 and has grown to now occupy 7,000 sq ft as the anchor tenant of Durham’s historic S.H. Kress & Co. Building (which American Underground acquired and revamped three years ago)
  • Scrappiest Startup: Loanwell
  • Corporate Citizen of the Year: Tie between Bee Downtown & Orora Global
  • Fundraiser of the Year: Fathom
  • Brand Developer of the Year: Runaway
  • Traction Award: First
  • Undergrounder of the Year: Anthony Garritano of Digitova
  • CEO/Founder of the Year: Allison Wood of LCMS+

The American Underground is one of only 11 Google for Startups Tech Hubs in North America. Other partners include Lincoln Financial, Coastal Federal Credit Union, Duke University, Fidelity Labs, and Capitol Broadcasting Company.

“2018 has been another fantastic year for the American Underground and the Triangle’s startup ecosystem,” said Doug Speight, executive director, American Underground. “Our teams have realized unprecedented growth and the majority have reached an outstanding milestone of being cashflow positive–a unique metric for any startup.”

Please find the American Underground’s annual report as well as photos and logos here, and our End-Of-Year video below.

CloudFactory’s Global Success

Perhaps the most representative example of the growth AU members have realized over the past year, workforce solution leader CloudFactory’s expansion to the Kress Building punctuates a meteoric rise for the company.

“Like so many other startups, we opened our Durham operation five years ago in a 200 square foot office space at American Underground with big plans for growth,” says CEO Mark Sears. “We’ve now expanded to 7,000 square feet with room for 50+ team members, and the American Underground community has been a vital partner in our growth. We’re excited to continue our partnership and build on our contribution to this vibrant community of entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers.”

Fast Facts* on CloudFactory

  • 156 percent quarterly revenue growth
  • 95 percent growth in total employees – from 2,041 to now 3,970 (all full-time plus all our workers in Nepal & Kenya)
  • Hiring 25+ people in the Triangle over the next 12-18 months
  • 3,600 Cloud Workers in Nepal and Kenya
  • 27 current Durham-based employees, up 100% from recent expansion in June 2017
  • 61 percent growth in number of total clients
  • As the company grows rapidly, the client churn rate is less than four percent
  • In September, closed an additional $5,200,000 in venture capital

(* – All stats for end of 3Q – ending Sept 30th, 2018)

To help manage a global company, CloudFactory leaders host weekly lunches for staff at every location around the world to chew on personal wins (family milestones, birthdays, kids getting into college), business wins (development milestones, client successful marketing events) and a key company culture topic.


About American Underground

The American Underground — one of eleven Google for Startups 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 close to 125,000 sq ft of space at three locations in downtown Durham as well as a strategic partnership with open source leader Red Hat to offer an office in Silicon Valley. Founding partners include Google for Startups, Lincoln Financial, Coastal Federation Credit Union, Duke University, Fidelity Labs, and Capitol Broadcasting Company.




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