I love seeing patience and perseverance pay off. 

People who build Unvalley tech communities are some of the most impressive folks in America – and it often takes years to see their efforts truly take off.

This year, Durham’s American Underground celebrates their 10-year anniversary. In this edition of The Spark, we’ll explore more about this tech ecosystem’s humble beginnings, and how they’ve grown into a massive force for positive change and opportunity in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Does 2021 have you scanning the horizon for new opportunities? This week’s Spark also gives you smart insight (and some much-needed good news) from our friends at Eleven Fifty and LinkedIn about the jobs that are in the highest demand right now. 

Here’s what else we’re serving up in this week’s edition of The Spark:

  • 📈 Where’s the Job Growth?
  • 🌱 Patience Pays Off
  • 🔮 Oracle in Austin

– Matt

P.S. If you or someone you love are looking for job options in tech, be sure to share our job matching tool. We’re opening up more spots on the platform as more and more companies post their jobs and announce new roles. Click here to request access or share.


📈 Where’s the Job Growth?

Demand is still growing in tech. But as many of us know, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the job market, with record unemployment in the retail, hospitality, and government sectors. 

There’s some good news, though, as the outlook data comes out for 2021. 

Eleven Fifty Academy’s 2021 Tech Jobs Report reaffirms that tech is still one of the best industries for people who are looking for new (or better) jobs. Check out the full report from Eleven Fify to find out which jobs paid the most in 2020, and get tips on getting a promotion or a raise in your current position. 

The editors at LinkedIn are also combing the jobs data looking for insights. They recently published their list of the jobs in highest demand right now, and (no surprise) a number of tech jobs are included.

If you want to take a deeper dive into LinkedIn’s top job opportunities – or if you’re simply a data nerd – you can also use this tool to take a closer look at the info. 

And if you’re looking to get matched with a job you’ll love, you can still apply for early access to Powderkeg’s job matching tool. 

We’ve helped hundreds of people connect with job opportunities and decision makers at some of the fastest growing startups beyond Silicon Valley (and even some within the Valley, too). Click here to get early access or share with a friend. 

🌱 Patience Pays Off

Small but mighty. American Underground, Durham’s tech community for startup companies, just celebrated their 10th birthday. The Underground started out small when they converted the basement of an American Tobacco building into community space for entrepreneurs and founders. Now the organization has multiple locations throughout Durham and Raleigh, and they’re often referred to as the epicenter of the North Carolina startup community and one of the state’s best-kept secrets.

Miami’s tech ecosystem (which we featured in last week’s issue) also took a decade to percolate. Way back in 2016, TechCrunch reported on the factors that were providing  momentum for this smaller tech hub, including the influx of big media and financial companies from Latin America in the 1990s, and support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation back in 2012.

What’s the takeaway? Unvalley tech hubs don’t crop up overnight. They start small, and the momentum can seem slow. If you’re working to build an Unvalley tech hub, we recommend taking a play out of the Techstars playbook and adopting a “give first” mindset, patiently planting seeds with your work, and always keeping your promises.

To learn more about the Raleigh-Durham tech ecosystem, check out these previous episodes of the Powderkeg podcast: 

🔮 Oracle in Austin

Whew, this one’s BIG. After four decades as a Silicon Valley giant, Oracle is moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas. Oracle follows Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, who announced in the final months of 2020 that they were moving their full-time residences to the Lone Star State. 

If you’re not already looking at Austin for tech opportunities, we recommend adding it to your list of places to check out. 

Venture capitalist Paul Graham took to Twitter to chime in on the increasing tech exodus away from the coasts.

There’s so much more to explore in this city. So be sure to check out more Austin-based startups and tech companies in the Powderkeg Tech Culture Directory.


Top fundings, acquisitions, and IPOs between the coasts. 

Austin, TX

Molecula, an enterprise feature store built for machine-scale analytics and AI, announced it closed a $17.6 million Series A round of funding led by Drive Capital, with participation from TTV Capital and existing investors including Tensility.

Quali, the Infrastructure Automation at Scale™ company, announced $54 million in new funding, co-led by Greenfield Partners and JVP.

Cambridge, MA

Verve Therapeutics, a biotech company pioneering gene editing medicines to treat cardiovascular disease, announced the successful completion of a $94 million Series B financing.

Denver, CO

Swimlane, a provider of security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions, raised $40 million in funding led by EIP.

Lehi, UT

JobNimbus, a home services software company, received $53 million in funding from Mainsail Partners, a growth equity firm.

MX, the leader in data-driven finance and creator of the Money Experience category, announced it has raised $300 million in a Series C funding round

Louisville, KY

Podchaser, a startup building what it calls “IMDB for podcasts,” recently announced that it raised $4 million in a funding round led by Greycroft.

Miami, FL

Ironhack, the Miami-based global tech school, has raised $20 million in venture capital funding to accelerate remote tech education and enterprise training.

Portland, OR

Conversa Health, a leading virtual care and triage platform, expanded its Series B financing to $20 million.

Seattle, WA

AltPep, a biomedical company focused on diagnosing and treating conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, announced it closed a $23.150 million Series A investment round led by Matrix Capital Management with significant participation by Alexandria Venture Investments.

Tampa Bay, FL

Aspen RxHealth, which connects users with pharmacists to deliver clinical services, received $23 million in its latest round of funding.


Know someone looking for a new gig? The economy is unpredictable right now, but startups in the middle of the country are still hiring. 

We have a few of our Top Powderkeg Picks below:

Companies who are hiring:

Arlington, VA

  • Rize, a customer-centric financial applications for fintechs, incumbents, and non-financial brands, is hiring HTML5 Developer, Senior Android Developer, Senior IOS Developer and Senior PHP Developer.

Carmel, IN:

  • KAR GLOBAL, powers the world’s most trusted automotive marketplaces through innovation, technology and people, is hiring UX, Program Management, Software Development, Product Management, and more. 

Cincinnati, OH

  • Narwal, experts in automation, data & analytics and cloud. Narwal is hiring Angular Developer, Automation Architect, Hadoop Developer and Tosca Quality Engineer.

Fishers, IN

  • Qumulex, a Cloud and IoT-based video surveillance and access control, is hiring Back End Developer, Device Integration Engineer and DevOps Engineer.

Greenwich, CT

  • Base, the only platform built for assistants, is hiring Director of User Success and Executive Assistant to the Head of Product and VP of Marketing.

Indianapolis, IN:

  • Springbuk, a health intelligence software, is hiring Client Success & Support, Sales, Implementation, Software Development, and interns.
  • OneCause, a non-profit fundraising software, is hiring Accounts Receivable-Collections Specialist, HR Administrative Assistant, Sales Development Representative and Sr. Product Designer.
  • Lev, a Full-service Salesforce consultancy, is hiring Project Manager – (Remote), Senior Solution Consultant – (Remote), Solution Architect, Marketing Cloud – (Remote) and Technical Business Analyst – (Remote).

McKinney, TX

  • ShearShare, the first B2B mobile marketplace for stylists, is hiring Customer Service Advocate, Data Scientist and Full Stack Engineer.

Minneapolis, MN 

  • Calabrio, an easy to use workforce optimization suite for contact centers, is hiring Business Development, Customer Success, R&D, Tech Support, Engineering, & more.

New York, NY

  • ChartHop, an org management platform for visualizing and planning growth companies, is hiring Sales, Product Management, Engineering, Technical Writing, Client Success, and more.

Schaumburg, IL

  • Convr, a Commercial Underwriting Powered by Decision Science, is hiring Account Executive, Customer Success Manager, Engineering Manager Data, Senior Data Engineer, Senior Devops Engineer and Senior Python Developer.

Need to optimize your resume for opportunities like these? Get feedback using our new resume review tool.


Get the lowdown on even more compelling companies, stories, and events to help you reach your full potential…
This email was curated by Meg, Casey, and myself from the Powderkeg team. These are just some of the amazing stories happening in the Unvalley.

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