The American Underground

The central station for ascending entrepreneurs

3 locations provide complete resources for members across the entrepreneurial spectrum.

Whether you are just starting out or already have an established team,
The Underground community is designed to take you to the next level.

The Underground
@ American Tobacco Campus

Join prominent national companies and regional stars in this award-winning historic district which once housed Durham’s booming tobacco industry. Growing companies can enjoy premium office space with private suites for pairs and teams from four to fifteen, as well as the following key amenities:

  • Mingle with investors and collaborators who make their home in The Underground @ American Tobacco
  • Hold meetings and pitch ideas in three conference rooms with flat panel TVs or a classroom with AV for 50+ persons
  • Game on in The Arcade with free video games
  • Relax in the kitchen and lounge area with high definition flat screen televisions
  • Support your fitness with bike storage and showers
  • Shipping is a breeze with a mailroom on site

The Underground
@ Main Street Campus

Our newest space in heart of Durham’s creative district features space designed to foster community and innovation with a focus on affordability for early stage startups:

Coworking Space

  • Co-work in the Bullpen, the perfect place for getting out of the house and working with like-minded individuals, or enjoying up to 80-person networking events

Smoffices & Private Suites

  • Find some privacy with Smoffices, office suites designed for one with a lockable door and built-in desk, or full office suites designed for teams of two to four.

Members enjoy the following amenities:

  • Collaborate in The Vault, a retrofitted bank vault complete with TVs, video games, and conversation space
  • Meet in one of five Conference rooms with flat panel TVs for presentations
  • Gain access to events at The Underground @ American Tobacco Campus

The Underground
@ Raleigh Campus

This fall, the American Underground opens a location in the heart of downtown Raleigh at 213 Fayetteville Street. The building, once a theater, features the gritty exposed brick and hardwoord floor aesthetic common in other American Underground locations. All the better to foster a 'get it done' attitude among its entrepreneurs. AU @Raleigh will boast 25+ startups and be anchored by Bandwidth Labs, the incubator arm of Bandwidth, one of the world’s most cutting edge technology companies headquartered in Raleigh.

The professional but quirky amenities that have made the American Underground a fun and creative space to launch a company will be in full force @Raleigh. And if one needs any further encouragement, the space is situated directly above Raleigh hotspot and barThe Foundation. Startups will have almost no reason to leave the building!

For more information about @Raleigh or any of our locations, please scroll to the bottom of this site and send us an email.

Architectual Renderings:

Members at any of these properties have access to The Cage,
American Tobacco’s brand new covered outdoor basketball court.

This is the Community that calls The Underground their home

Envision a space where fledgling startups learn from seasoned entrepreneurs, who themselves acquire energy from passionate founding teams. Where growing companies set meetings with investors at the water cooler, and creative contributors enable brilliant ideas to rise in prominence. This is the community that calls The Underground their home:

Growth Companies & Alumni

In February 2012, Durham based iContact was sold for $180 million. Co-founder Aaron Houghton’s next stop: launching his next startup, BoostSuite, from The American Underground.

BoostSuite is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners and entrepreneurs. BoostSuite allows novice web marketers to build more website traffic and convert more online visitors into customers and leads for their businesses. Is your website and A+ or an F?

Other rising companies include Jaargon, Albright Digital, Sustainable Industrial Solutions, InspiRx, and Smashing Boxes.


Many thanks to our community partners Duke, Durham Chamber, NC IDEA, and RTP Foundation.

And to our University partners: Duke, N.C. Central University, N.C. State University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Incubators & Accelerators

Triangle Startup Factory is the most capitalized technology accelerator in the Southeast. Selected early-stage startups are granted seed capital and participation in an intensive three month program. Hands-on mentorship and access to a network of active angels, veteran startup founders and technology experts provide the means for these promising companies to excel in Durham and beyond.

Groundworks Labs is a community-supported accelerator that offers mentors, office space, connections, and more without investing in companies nor taking an equity stake. This program is provided at no cost to startups by NC IDEA and Capital Broadcasting Company. NC IDEA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster economic development in North Carolina by helping startups commercialize their innovations.


IDEA Fund Partners works with extraordinary startups to fund IT, software, materials technologies and medical device innovations. Through seed and early stage equity funding, guided by unmatched company-building expertise, the firm serves as a strong bridge between angel and institutional investors.

Other notable investors in The Underground include Acorn Innovestments.


CED connects entrepreneurs to the knowledge, network and capital they need to succeed. As the hub of the entrepreneurial network in the Research Triangle and North Carolina, CED helps entrepreneurs by offering customized services, the CED Venture Mentor Service mentoring program, a 10-week intensive business-planning course called FastTrac and much, much more.

Other notable contributors in The Underground include NC IDEA.


Two Toasters develops great mobile experiences for startups and established companies. They provide end-to-end mobile product assistance, from strategy to development to testing for iOS and Android applications. Two Toasters’ early success occurred as members of The Underground when they capitalized on the launch of Apple’s App Store in 2008. Since then, they have served as ambassadors for nationally-acclaimed work being produced in the Durham creative community.

Other notable alumni include Adzerk, the web’s fastest, easiest to use platform for managing online advertising. Adzerk called The Underground their first home during a successful $650,000 raise of seed capital, currently has a team of nine full-time employees and serves billions of ads every month.

The Underground is an entrepreneurial ecosystem that thrives by constantly adding promising companies to our growing roster.

The Underground @ American Tobacco Campus is currently
at capacity, but we are accepting applications for The Underground @ Main Street Campus.

The Underground is host to wide-ranging events for businesses, organizations and artists from the Durham area and beyond. In keeping with our community focus, we believe these events enrich our entrepreneurial environment and inspire us to build even more exceptional creations.

Join Us

We are interested in connecting with up-and-coming startups looking to join The Underground @ Main Street Campus community. Please fill out the form below so that we can better understand your needs and how you might connect with our community. We will be in touch shortly.

If you are interested in becoming a member of The Underground @ American Tobacco Campus, please contact Adam Klein to be placed on the priority waiting list for available space.


To see our most updated calendar of public events, visit our Facebook page and click on events.