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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Duke University


Durham, North Carolina

Project Name

Triangle Venture Alliance


Seed Fund Support

Award Amount

$250,000 for the Triangle Venture Alliance

As it emerges from its historical roots in agriculture and manufacturing, the Piedmont region of North Carolina offers a unique set of opportunities for entrepreneurship. The region includes multiple world-class universities, an educated and ambitious population, and a remarkably high standard of living. The region is more than primed for rapid growth, and entrepreneurship will play a central role in that development. The region’s universities – Duke University, North Carolina State University, UNC Chapel Hill, and NC Central University – collectively deploy in excess of $2.5B in annual research expenditures, and that resource creates an enormous wealth of intellectual property – cures for diseases, radical advances in energy and communications, and novel solutions to the world’s most pressing social problems. Those game-changing technologies advance towards deployment and impact through commerce – the creation of new companies, and licensing arrangements with existing companies. But despite this tremendous advantage of raw material, the region continues to struggle to attract investment capital, especially seed- and early-stage financing. The Triangle Venture Alliance will tap one of the Piedmont’s greatest resources – the alumni base of the region’s Universities – to draw seed-stage capital to the region. Using a unique model for angel investing at the University, each of the participating schools will build an Angel Network from their alumni base to invest in new ventures of the larger university community. The individual angel networks come together as the Triangle Venture Alliance, to share back-office support and diligence expertise, to do joint investing, and to support the mission of the individual angel networks. Collectively, the Alliance will focus the extraordinary resources and experience of thousands of savvy and experienced alumni to invest in new ventures emanating from the University community. The Triangle Venture Alliance will create a powerful, effective engine for angel investing in the seed stage companies that will play a critical role in the transformation of the Piedmont region and beyond, to a modern economy based on knowledge and ideas.