Yesterday, I wrote about Raleigh startup deja mi's roller coaster ride from getting a spotlight profile in the News and Observer on Monday and then a visit from the City and an eviction notice on Tuesday for violating home office zoning laws, which, in all fairness, they absolutely were.
Before I wrote that article, which basically suggested that there was a solution to this that could be found within the startup community itself, I made a number of calls. One of the people I reached out to was HUB Raleigh's Jason Widen (a little early, but he's an early guy too) to see if he could, in turn, reach out to Justin and help him make a smooth transition.
Turns out, an entire firestorm was happening, not only on the various social networks (I presumed Twitter was going to blow up, and it had), but in real time. One of the HUB companies had already read the article on Tuesday and brought it to the attention of the HUB's community manager Liz Tracy.
Liz reached out to deja mi founder Justin Miller Wednesday morning, and a deal was in place by 5:00 p.m.
Excuse me -- the spirit of a deal, if not exactly the letter of the deal.
"It was amazing," said Justin when we talked about it yesterday. "A ton of people reached out offering ideas and space, all over Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. As soon as the shit hit the fan on Tuesday, I hit Twitter and Facebook. A bunch of people shared that, then the articles came out, and this all came together within 24 hours."
I should note that Derrick Minor, who I mentioned yesterday as having just got hired into the City in a startup-focused role, was one of those who reached out, and helped navigate all the options with the eviction as well as make introductions.
But HUB Raleigh is the perfect place for deja mi to land. In fact, Justin and I had been talking about the very concept of wishing there was an American Underground in Raleigh, as he was lamenting having to come to Durham for the ExitEvent Socials.
That conversation was also the impetus of bringing the ExitEvent Social to Raleigh. And Jason and Liz were instrumental in making that happen at the HUB, six weeks before it opened.
Which, by the way, it does tonight. And Justin will be there. So will I. So will a bunch of the people who helped out. You should really come meet them.
Jason, some ten hours after I originally contacted him, called me as soon as the deal was done. "We're truly trying to be a catalyst for entrepreneurship," he said. "And it just made sense for us to offer them a place to be."
And as the HUB attempts to expand from co-working to an entrepreneurship center,something I wrote about on Monday, deja mi fills the role of senior startup, since they've already been a lot of there and done a lot of that compared to some of the younger companies housed at the HUB.
Like I said in yesterday's article, deja mi shouldn't just get a pass, and they didn't. Justin filled out the application, the whole nine. What they did get was a ton of help and a place to call home immediately without hoops to jump through or red tape to cut.
That's action that beats talk any day of the week. Justin said it best right before we got off the phone. "HUB Raleigh definitely came to our rescue."
Nice job, HUB Raleigh. Good work, startup community. Way to go, Triangle.