A few months ago, I blogged about how the spirit of generosity that started RTP is alive and well in the region’s business community and overall ethos. Late Tuesday, we got yet another example of what makes the Research Triangle region a special place.
Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton, co-founders of iContact (which they started while still students at UNC-CH) announced donations to CED, the Southeast’s largest entrepreneurial support organization, totaling $270,000.
Ryan and Aaron recently sold iContact to Vocus, a publicly-traded provider of cloud-based marketing and PR software.
The two have been engaged with CED since they were students: they volunteered at CED events as undergrads and in later years, served as members of the CED Board of Directors. The donation was a way of making good on a stock pledge after they started the company in 2003.
(As the CED press release on the donation notes, the stock pledge program was “established in 1998 to encourage entrepreneurs to support the organization by identifying contributions that would be made at some point in the future at the time of a successful exit. Pledges are made by individuals who have benefited from CED’s programs and services, many of which are provided free or at reduced cost to early-stage entrepreneurs.”)
Ryan has also suggested that he’ll use some of the proceeds for Angel investments in the region.
The donation has been described as a way of “paying it forward” and helping support the “next generation of great entrepreneurs in this area.” However it’s labeled, it’s an example of what makes the region’s ecosystem work and draw others to it.