Why did you start your business in North Carolina?
When I originally had the idea to start Zift Solutions, I was living in Los Angeles. My cofounder was a friend from grad school, who was currently working for Bell Labs in New Jersey. We were looking for an area with a good cost of living and where our investment would go far. At the same time, we needed a vibrant business environment to beta our products, good universities to hire from, excellent services (schools, parks, transportation etc.), and good communities where employees would like to live. My cofounder had done a summer internship in Research Triangle Park (RTP) and knew the area so it made our short list. After considering Austin and Boulder, we decided our home was RTP.
What is the best part about running your business in your community?
We currently have two offices in the area: one in Durham close to the RDU airport and a second in the Capital Center in Raleigh. The best part of running our business here is that it is an area that attracts top people. Advantages also include good schools, an affordable cost of living, enough population to provide interesting services, and, perhaps most importantly, the best and brightest minds working on solutions to big problems that will have a positive impact across the world.
What do you believe your North Carolina community has that other startup hubs can’t offer?
Our community has a unique offering with a booming tech scene and universities to draw from. Both of these provide valuable insights, people to collaborate with, and many opportunities to innovate.
In 3 words, how would you describe the entrepreneurial culture in NC?
Driven – We come together and are able to deliver what it takes to develop world class solutions. • Respectful – despite our differences, the entrepreneurial community here is welcoming of talented people from all backgrounds. Everyone has a place in working toward the greater good. • Generous – Our company supports the Pledge 1% initiative, donating one percent of our stock, one percent of our employees’ time, and one percent of our product toward supporting non-profits. Most of the entrepreneurial companies in the area support similar efforts to help those less fortunate.