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Area College Students Invited To Connect With Startups At American Underground

Published: 10 months ago | 0 comments

Next Thursday, college students across North Carolina will have the opportunity to meet representatives from startups in one of downtown Durham’s most innovative spaces – American Underground.

For three years running, American Underground has opened its doors to students for College Night, welcoming more than 750 students and connecting them with more than 240 internship opportunities.

“There’s often a psychological gap for students in terms of knowing about startups and career opportunities,” said Howie Rhee, Duke I&E’s managing director of student and alumni affairs. “We want to break the bubble very early on and get students here so they can see startups firsthand and realize there could be a place for them in this world.”

Presented by Big Top, American Underground, Coastal Credit Union and the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, the fourth annual College Night will be held Thursday, November 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 at American Underground@Main. Free food and drink will be available, as well as networking opportunities with startups across a variety of sectors – from wearable medical device company Fathom to tech and music festival Moogfest.

“We see College Night as the entry point to the job market in the Triangle,” said Molly Demarest, senior director of operations and talent for American Underground, Gridworks and Big Top. “If we get students plugged in now, they’ll begin to think of this area as a place with opportunities that would allow them to live here long-term.”

The event is informal, allowing students to dress casually and feel comfortable. Instead of pitching their skills like at a traditional job fair, students Students will hear short pitches from each startup to learn more about the companies. The pitches will be followed by a period of networking. Attendees will also have a chance to learn about American Underground, a Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub that is home to more than 275 startups.

Sean Lakind, vice president of sales and marketing for a startup called Dor, said his company’s presence at College Night is important because it helps them connect to potential employees who can bring new ideas to the company.

Because Dor uses a predictive analytics engine powered by agile sensors with machine learning algorithms to measure foot traffic for businesses, the company relies heavily on technology.

“The only way we can continue to innovate is to challenge everything we do by bringing in different and fresh perspectives,” Lakind said. “Current college students grew up with much more technology ingrained in their everyday lives than people even a few years older than them — and that cycle will continue — so they approach problems with a unique perspective you just can’t get from anyone else.”

To learn more about College Night and to RSVP, click here.

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