Raleigh’s Flagship Tech Companies

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Brian Onorio

We sometimes don’t see the forest because we’re focused on our own oak tree. Our professional business culture is fortified by our rich collegiate atmosphere with North Carolina State University nestled within the beltline along with Peace, Shaw, Meredith, and St. Augustine’s as well as other world-class universities dotting the region’s landscaping in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. When tech is the talk of the town you’re in, people automatically think cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston or Austin. We have just as many high-caliber tech companies in Sir Walter’s city as any of the others. And we’ve assembled a list of Raleigh’s Flagships.

Lulu

Lulu has published over 1 million titles by authors in over 200 countries and adds 20,000 new items per month to their catalog. Lulu was founded by Red Hat co-founder Bob Young back in 2002 to provide authors the tools to self-publish and retain their own copyrights. In 2009, Lulu moved their corporate headquarters from Morrisville to the old North Carolina Equipment Company building on Hillsborough Street just west of North Carolina State University. The proximity to campus has helped Lulu cultivate growth and is helping to revitalize that end of Hillsborough Street.

ShareFile

Sharefile was founded in 2005 and added 150,000 users in their first two years. They surpassed the 1 million user mark two years later and 6 million as of 2012. Sharefile is a cloud-based file sharing and storage service built for businesses. ShareFile has grown organically and in 2011 was purchased by Citrix Systems for $54M. In 2012, Citrix announced construction of a 130,000 square foot office in Raleigh near I-40 and PNC Arena.

Cree Inc.

Technically headquartered in Durham, Cree is the worldwide leader in LED technologies. This publicly traded heavyweight [NASDAQ: CREE] is among one of the most successful companies in the Triangle with over 3,000 employees with active expansion into Hong Kong to service the global market. The company was formed in 1987 by researchers from NC State and supplied the Shimmer Wall on the Raleigh Convention Center. #GoPack

Epic Games

Epic Games developed the Unreal Engine gaming technology used by many of the most popular first person shooters. Originally founded in Rockville, Maryland, Epic Games moved to Cary in 1999. In 2012, Epic sold half their shares to a Chinese investment firm Tencent Holdings for $330 million.

Quintiles

Founded by UNC professor Dennis Gillings, Quintiles Transnational is the world’s largest pharmaceutical research and development and marketing firm in the world with a network of more than 33,000 employees in 100 countries. Headquartered in neighboring Durham, Quintiles has helped develop or commercialize all of the top-50 best-selling drugs on the market. This bio-pharma giant [NYSE: Q] reports over $3.5 billion in revenue per year and is one of Research Triangle Park’s main attractions for biomedical technology and pharmaceutical companies.

Cisco Systems

Founded in 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner who were support staff for Stanford University’s Computer Science Department, Cisco Systems is one of the Triangle’s largest tech employers with 4,000 employees in the region. The company’s stock was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2009, and is also included in the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 1000 Index, NASDAQ-100 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index. Cisco is most known for their IP telephony, security appliances and network hardware. Headquartered in San Jose, California, the hardware giant opened their sales department in Research Triangle Park in 1993.

IBM

Originally founded just outside of Manhattan in 1911, IBM formerly manufactured tabulation machines (fancy calculators). Currently, IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. One of the very first tenants of Research Triangle Park, IBM moved their US Operations there in 1959. Second largest operation only to India, the North Carolina IBM campus employs over 14,000 people. In 2011, IBM’s artificial intelligence supercomputer “Watson” took on two multi-day champions on the popular game show Jeopardy! and won the grand prize of $1 million, which was donated to charity.

eTix

eTix is an international web-based ticketing service provider for the entertainment, travel, and sports industries processing over 50 million tickets per year in 40 countries. It is the largest independent ticketing company in North America and provides flexible and secure online and box office ticketing solutions and e-commerce fulfillment to over 7,300 venues, theaters, arenas, festivals, fairs, performing arts centers, and multi-use facilities and can process 2,000 orders per minute. Headquartered in Morrisville, eTix has offices in China, Holland, Germany, Japan, Austria and Nashville, Tennessee.

SAS

SAS Institute began as a project at North Carolina State University and was originally funded by the National Institute of Health and later by a coalition of university statistics programs called the University Statisticians of the Southern Experiment Stations. NC State faculty James Goodnight (current CEO) and Anthony Barr led the project. SAS is well known for its workplace culture and was used as a model for workplace perks at Google and is used as a case study in management seminars at Stanford University. SAS has been ranked in Fortune’s annual best places to work rankings each year since the award’s inception in 1997. SAS has 5,200 employees at its world headquarters in nearby Cary. Last year, SAS reported $3 billion in revenue.

Red Hat

Red Hat, Inc. is a software company providing open-source software products to the enterprise business community. Founded in 1993 by Bob Young and Marc Ewing, Red Hat has its corporate headquarters in Raleigh with satellite offices worldwide. In 2011, Red Hat announced it would move 600 employees from the North Carolina State University Centennial Campus to Two Progress Plaza in Downtown Raleigh. The following year, Red Hat became the first one-billion dollar open source company, reaching $1.13 billion in annual revenue during its fiscal year. Red Hat has over 700 employees in Raleigh and 6,000 worldwide.

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Brian Onorio is the Founder of Walk West. With a background in technology, Brian leads and shapes the agency's strategic mission with world class creative and sound, data informed methodologies.

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