Over the past week, we took TechCrunch on the road for our Southeast Meetup tour. Of the five cities we visited in seven days, Durham had one of the hungriest entrepreneurial scenes. But the majority of the city is relatively run-down, aside from the lovely American Tobacco Center facility you see in the background. But North Carolina's tech scene is on a mission, and it's not just about cleaning up the city, it's about branching out of the usual life science industry to have a varied portfolio of young companies in the Raleigh-Durham area. I pulled aside Dhruv Patel, who is the program director of CED (what's known by most as the TechStars of the South), and he said that about $7.7 billion has been invested in Raleigh-Durham startups in the past 12 years. He says most of it comes from a huge increase in activity out of angel investors (with a hat tip to the Triangle Startup Factory). He also said that in the past year the state has gotten a lot more interest from out-of-state investors who are willing to turn an ear to the south. read more..