Richard_White_UserVoice

Returning Home to a Pleasant Surprise

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Richard White (@rrwhite) is the co-founder and CEO of UserVoice, a leading provider of SaaS customer support tools. Below, he shares a brief story about one of his many Triangle Startup Weekend experiences.

Returning Home

I grew up in Raleigh and graduated from NC State. Even though I moved to San Francisco in 2006, I’ve stayed in the startup game (I’m the co-founder and CEO of UserVoice) and I came back home to Raleigh visit my family pretty often. You would think I would have been aware of how many talented tech folks there are in the Triangle: you’d be wrong.

A Pleasant Surprise

It wasn’t until I came back in 2011 for Triangle Startup Weekend (TSW) in Durham that my eyes were opened to how much the tech scene had grown up since I left. As a mentor & Judge for Startup Weekend, I was impressed by the product quality coming out of the TSW teams. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by that: open source, hacker news and github have all lead to a democratization of (web) tech skills. The folks I met at TSW were every bit as talented as engineers I court in SF.

An Opportunity

Another thing that was painfully clear to me is that the Triangle’s investor ecosystem has not scaled up along with its talent boom. It’s nascent at best (and that’s probably overselling it) and a big part of that is a lack of an equity culture, but that’s a whole separate post for another day. The point is that the Triangle’s combination of tech talent, low cost of living, and high quality of life represented a huge opportunity for us (UserVoice): open a remote office in Raleigh and give the talent pool a true startup option (funded by investors in SF).

We found a really cool space above The Raleigh Times and our engineers are rocking it. I’m happy to report that our experiment is going well. Whether you’re a founder / techie  like me or just plain curious, I’d encourage you to register for the upcoming Triangle Startup Weekend.

You may be pleasantly surprised.

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