American Underground and Raleigh Founded are teaming up to allow their respective customers to utilize office space and services at the other firm’s sites at little or no charge. American Underground operates in Durham. Raleigh Founded is based in Raleigh.
The firms say they are responding to growing demand for colocation space and office services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the pandemic we were seeing a really positive trend for the Triangle. People are moving here from New York, San Francisco and other major hubs to have a better lifestyle. Now, with remote work being more acceptable, a lot of companies are moving towards a hybrid-remote option where they just get a small office or landing spot with us and allow their team to work partially from home,” explained Jessica Porta, director of Raleigh Founded. “So I think this is contributing to the overall growth of the industry, despite challenging times.”
Terms of the deal, which they describe as a “reciprocity agreement,” are:
- AU members can work out of RF and RF members can work out of AU up to one day per week or four days per month.
- Members will have access to utilize common space and up to five hours of conference room time per month
- Members may book additional workdays or conference room hours at a cost
- Members can request to utilize the space through an online form
They want to ensure that entrepreneurs “have a home beyond their headquarter cities.”
“From my perspective, we know now more than ever that people desire flexibility in where, how, and when they work,” Adam Klein, chief strategist at American Underground, told WRAL TechWire. “This partnership makes it easier for startups and creative entrepreneurs to move across the region for meetings, networking, and more. Jess is a fantastic leader with an awesome team. We both felt like this was a good time to further unite the region in a direct and formal way with this partnership.”
Porta pointed out that the two firms have worked well together in the past.
“Raleigh Founded (formerly HQ Raleigh) has always had a good relationship with American Underground. They have a great team and they put the needs and success of local businesses ahead of profits and personal success and we have a very similar mindset,” Porta told TechWire. “So it’s easy to work with another organization that is really looking out for the best interest of the community. It was a natural partnership and an easy decision to make.”
American Underground and Raleigh Founded faced increased competition from a growing number of colocation and related service providers across the Triangle, including global firm WeWork. But Klein and Porta both said that they see rising demand for what their companies offer.
“We are actually doing very well coming out of the pandemic and there is enough demand for shared space that we don’t feel the need to worry much about larger competitors like WeWork, so our main motivation has more to do with supporting the entrepreneurial community than anything else,” Porta explained.
Noted Klein: “AU is coming off of our busiest leasing month in over five years. There is a tremendous surge in demand for flexible office space and coworking as people are vaccinated and tire of working from home. People want to come back to work when it is purpose built and a chance to further develop your business. Raleigh Founded and American Underground provide that community and workspace in spades.”
Klein said working with Raleigh Founded is designed to break down barriers for entrepreneurs, something “baked deep into the missions of both American Underground and Raleigh Founded, so opening our doors was a logical and easy step. We’re seeing tremendous growth in membership as vaccinations increase. Both organizations hope this makes it all the easier for startups to tap in to more resources.”
Porta stressed that “a lot of entrepreneurs in our space live in one city and work in the other, and yet there has been some natural divide between the two communities.” She said that working with AU is “an opportunity to connect these communities in a way that will benefit our members and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Triangle as a whole.”
AU operates in downtown Durham. It is a division of Capitol Broadcasting, as is WRAL TechWire.
Raleigh Founded has four locations: RF@Warehouse at 310 S. Harrington St., RF@Capital Club at 16 W. Martin St., RF@Centennial at 1017 Campus Drive and RF@Gateway at 2409 Crabtree Blvd.
Thanks to WRAL TechWire’s Rick Smith for this Capcom story.