In recent years, Raleigh has won numerous awards and accolades for its business-friendly environment. The city has consistently ranked highly nationally as a hot spot for tech startups outside of Silicon Valley, and it certainly lives up to the title with hundreds of local Raleigh based startups working on changing the world. With its central location and close proximity to some of the best universities in the entire country, Raleigh has become a hotbed for tech startups especially, and many of them have set up shop right in the downtown area.

While most companies have their own spaces, downtown also offers many affordable and flexible co-working locations, which also serve as business incubators for many up and coming local startups. Check out some of Downtown Raleigh’s hottest startups and business incubators below in our quick startup guide:

Hot Downtown Raleigh Startups


Pendo is one of the hottest startups around in all of Raleigh. The company develops a website analytics product and recently made LinkedIn’s list of the top 50 industry disruptors of 2017. It was also awarded two NC Tech Awards this year. This company is clearly going places. Want to get in on this? Keep an eye on its careers page!

Pendo was founded in 2013 when alumni from Rally, Google, Cisco, and Red Hat combined their heads and hearts to build something they wanted but never had as product managers — a simple way to understand and attack what truly drives product success.

With powerful analytics, in-application user feedback, and contextual guidance designed to help companies measure and elevate the customer experience within their applications, Pendo is on a mission to improve society’s experience with software. Proudly built in North Carolina but engineered to scale globally without losing that soul.

The company’s CEO is Todd Olson, one of the four original co-founders. Pendo received VC funding from Meritech, Spark Capital, Battery Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Core Capital Partners, Idea Fund Partners, and Salesforce Ventures.


FilterEasy, “America’s Home Air Filter Delivery Service” offers a subscription-based service for HVAC service, which is sorely needed. How often do you forget to switch our your filters at home or at your business? This Downtown Raleigh startup recently doubled its office space and raised $6.9 million in Series B funding. FilterEasy is growing fast! Check its careers page if you want to be a part of it.

After Kevin Barry discovered that the air filter in his home hadn’t been changed for the entire time he’d been living there, he decided to drive to the store to get a new one.

Back from the store and about to swap out the old filter with the new, he realized that he had bought the wrong size. Turns out, filter sizes are much more complicated than he had previously thought. Such a simple task turned into half an afternoon wasted with a second trip to the store in search of the filter he needed. He thought, “Why is there not an easier way to do this by now? There has to be a better way.“ and an idea was born.

Together with college friend, Thad Tarkington, the two quickly transformed this idea into the successful business you see today. FilterEasy launched in 2014.

The company is proud to have created a fun and fast-paced work environment driven by an all-star team. They are first to admit that air filters might not seem like the “coolest” product to sell, but don’t be fooled! FilterEasy’s highly driven team would quickly make you think otherwise. With company-wide events such as outdoor trips and holiday parties, they have become a FilterEasy family that believes in a happy and healthy workplace in Downtown Raleigh.


Stealz has been making a splash in Raleigh and beyond. You’ve probably seen its signs and posters at your favorite Raleigh hangouts! The app connects business and brands with customers. Users get great deals and businesses gain valuable data and feedback. Stealz is located in HQ Raleigh, a favorite local downtown co-working space.

The company is very fortunate to do what they love. At Stealz, the entire team is passionate about the product and the convenient benefits it provides to their client businesses & users. It doesn’t end there, though. They are constantly working to bring more to each business & every user to make their life just a little bit easier… Not to mention more enjoyable!

Jim Zidar is the current CEO of Stealz and one of the co-founders. This Downtown Raleigh based startup has been featured in Forbes, Inc, News & Observer, and more.

To view an up-to-date list of hundreds of Raleigh based startups, visit or browse the Raleigh4U Startups Map.

Best Downtown Raleigh Co-Working Spaces

HQ Raleigh

HQ Raleigh started as an idea born from the minds of the local community, business and policy leaders at Innovate Raleigh. Today, HQ Raleigh is one of the most popular co-working communities in the entire state for startups and businesses of all sizes. They host lectures and networking events throughout the year. Stealz and Offline are two prominent members of the HQ Raleigh community.

HQ Raleigh has three Downtown Raleigh locations: Capital Club, Glenwood South, and Warehouse District. HQ Raleigh is creating a collaborative environment that empowers high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs to create purpose-driven businesses that leave the world better than they found it. Memberships at HQ Raleigh are available! Join their community of more than 150 member companies across multiple locations in Raleigh and more than 500 companies across North Carolina.

It was in 2012 when local leaders convened the first gathering of Innovate Raleigh to explore ways for North Carolina’s capital to accelerate the growth of its local entrepreneurial ecosystem. One clear need emerged: the city lacked a catalytic entrepreneurial co-working space that could connect emerging problem solvers and change-makers with the resources and relationships to help them grow and deepen their impact. Shortly after the gathering, Brooks Bell and Christopher Gergen met up for lunch in Raleigh and the idea of launching a space together was born.

In partnership with Jesse Lipson, Brooks’ husband and founder of Sharefile, and Jason Widen, Christopher’s business partner with deep experience in real estate, HUB Raleigh opened with 4,700 square feet on Hillsborough Street in October 2012. The response was electric with over 500 people reaching out in the first 45 days.

Since that time, they rebranded as HQ Raleigh, built an incredible team, moved to the warehouse district in 2014, grown to more than 48,000 square feet in Raleigh, became a certified For-Benefit Corporation, created a community of more than 150 member companies, maintained a commitment to community collaboration, and contributed to Raleigh now having over 500 start-ups!

What was born out of a set of aspirational conversations and relationships has now translated into North Carolina’s largest entrepreneurial co-working community with an ever-growing presence in Raleigh, the launch of HQ Greensboro, through a terrific partnership with Andy Zimmerman and his team, and reciprocal partnerships in Wilmington and Charlotte to help create a true state-wide network. HQ Raleigh hopes to continue to deepen their impact in all of the communities served and expand to new cities across the South-East while staying true to the spirit in which they were born.

American Underground

American Underground was initially launched over in Durham in 2010 and now has four locations that support close to 300 startups. American Underground Raleigh is located on Fayetteville Street. In addition to serving as office space for startups, American Underground offers specialized programs for entrepreneurs.

Inspired by Durham’s century-old entrepreneurial legacy, American Underground is building the counter-story to Silicon Valley– a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement. As one of twelve Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America, AU offers its startups a global network of thinkers and resources.

Its proximity to renowned universities and the world-famous Research Triangle Park makes it the perfect place to launch a company. Durham is for doers and innovators. It’s for music lovers, foodies, and sports fans. But most importantly, it’s for everyone. And so is the AU.

Today, it supports 275+ startups across four locations and has been dubbed the “Startup Capital of the South” by CNBC.


Industrious redefines traditional co-working and offers a more upscale experience for Downtown Raleigh startups. Their brand new office spaces include floor to ceiling windows with stunning views of the city, sun-lit common areas, and free local treats daily such as Counter Culture coffee, artisanal pastries, fresh fruit, and local beer. Everything is served in the on-site café from local purveyors.

The Startup Scene in Raleigh is HOT!

The startup culture here locally adds an extra bit of energy to the city. If you visit Downtown Raleigh during the workday, you’ll feel the buzzing of big ideas. Many tech startup employees can be found sharing ideas over beers or networking over coffee!

You live in Raleigh, you play in Raleigh, so why not work here too? These are just a few of the great local startups based in Downtown Raleigh. Check AngelList for job openings at local tech startups.

So what are some of your favorite startups in Downtown Raleigh? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.

This post was created in collaboration with the Downtown Raleigh Blog editorial team and 919 Blog contributor Amy Howard for exclusive digital publication via TBN