What We Do

The Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's tech economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

Community

Peer Networking
"The Charleston Digital Corridor serves as the central hub for technology companies in the area and what that has done is create a sense of community around the companies that are a part of it."
  • Grier Allen
  • Founder & CEO
  • Boomtown

Talent

Opportunities Abound
"Attending courses at CODEcamp allowed me to hone my web development skills while giving me the opportunity to interact with professionals that are driving Charleston technology community."
  • Ryan Barrineau
  • Developer
  • Blue Acorn

Spaces

Get Working
"As an early stage software company, it was not only important to have a location to grow in but also the means to mature as an organization. The Flagships afforded this flexibility and infrastructure."
  • Earl Bridges
  • Co-founder
  • Good Done Great

Capital

Accelerating Growth
"While there are many opportunities for investment, our fund is happy to make growth capital available for Charleston’s tech companies. Michael Knox, Managing Partner, Silicon Harbor Ventures."
  • Michael Knox
  • Managing Partner
  • Silicon Harbor Ventures

Attraction

Charleston Wins
"Charleston has emerged as a true tech hub in the United States and we are proud to be a part of the movement that is underway here and are committed to seeing talent and companies grow and prosper here."
  • Nate DaPore
  • President & CEO
  • Peoplematter
STATS

Latest News

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Path To Charleston Began In Bangkok For Good Done Great’s Bridges

The Charleston Digital Corridor Leadership Profile series is focused on the individuals who are driving Charleston's tech scene forward. This series is brought to you with support from Charleston Southern University.

Earl Bridges is president and co-founder of Good Done Great, a company in downtown Charleston that provides software solutions and strategic consulting for corporate giving.

Where did you grow up? What was life like there?

I grew up in Bangkok, Thailand. My dad was an Air Force pilot, and then he later became a missionary, and we spent 6 years in Thailand. Bangkok is a big city, and there's a lot of bustle. It's very international. The people I grew up with were embassy personnel, ambassadors' children and a few large multinational expats. One kid's grandfather was Secretary General of the United Nations.

It was a really eclectic group of expats with unique backgrounds, from dozens of countries trying to be normal high school teens. It was an interesting time in history. We had several coups, and a revolution in Thailand. Saigon fell while I was there, so in fifth grade, we had an influx of people from the embassy that came into the country on helicopters, and the next week they were in school with us. I still feel very close to the school and keep in touch with many of my classmates even though we are spread across the globe.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

When I came back to the states after high school, we lived in Texas, and I was planning to go to Texas Tech; however, they wouldn't give me in-state tuition since I hadn't lived there for a year. I was already married before starting college so a friend of mine said, "If your wife works full-time in South Carolina, you can get in-state tuition." I drove sight unseen from Texas to Columbia and enrolled at the University of South Carolina.

After graduating from the Masters of International Business Studies (MIBS) program, I moved to the Upstate working for Michelin. My last job with Michelin was an as expat in Mexico City. This was 1999, and like many others, I followed a dot com dream, left Michelin and moved to Charleston where my wife had taken a pharmaceutical job with veterinarians. When our venture didn't get funded, I went to work for Blackbaud, and have been in Charleston ever since.

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

Like most kids, I did what I could to make some spare money. While in Texas in junior high, my brother and I would collect aluminum cans. We also started a lawn-mowing business, and a roofing business as well as other smaller jobs. What I learned from that was there were a lot of opportunities if you weren't afraid of the really hard work – some of that was really hard work out in the sun.

Did you have the entrepreneurial drive early on, or did you acquire it through experiences?

I have always had a drive to start successful businesses. I am still highly aware of opportunities any time I see inefficiency. I have probably worked over 20 business plans from early days of printing t-shirts, roofing, through our dot com venture, and now Good Done Great. All of these jobs required some business planning, taking risks, becoming profitable and satisfying our customers. You learn a lot from these various experiences.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We revolutionize the way corporations and individuals give back to the communities and causes they care about. Our platform addresses the company's technology barriers, and opens up the possibilities to be really creative, so our clients can engage their employees, communities and brands through their philanthropy. Our team helps 66 Fortune 500 and other companies maximize their corporate social responsibility programs.

What drew you to your current business, or inspired you to start it?

While working for Blackbaud, I became familiar with the nonprofit sector. Later, I spent about a dozen years working for different technology companies and realized there was a lot of room for a better way to engage givers with the causes important to them. In 2009, David Barach, the other co-founder, and I got back together and decided to try and push boundaries of philanthropy with the newer technologies available. We believed that there was still a lot that technology can do to make a real impact in the world of philanthropy.

The big difference for our approach was to start on the supply side of the giving equation. We decided that instead of working with the people who needed money, we were going to work with the people that had money. Our first clients were foundations and big corporations that do a lot of grant-making. Later we moved to adjacent markets in the larger corporate social responsibility space, and began providing a full suite of offerings for their employee engagement as well. No one had really spent much effort on compelling solutions for the supply side. Most of the technology was on the demand side with lots of ways to raise money for nonprofits. We knew that by providing tools for the givers, we touch all stakeholders in the giving ecosystem, and really make a difference.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

There is a great study by Gallup, which finds that your boss is the single biggest factor in whether or not an employee is engaged with their company. More specifically, if you have a bad boss, you will have a disengaged employee. That truth has been my experience as well. I was most productive when I reported to someone that challenged me, and fostered my ability to grow. However, I have also had a couple of terrible bosses. A demoralized employee will soon become a disengaged employee.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

What people don't tell you, or they don't tell you enough about, is how much you sweat payroll as you hire people. It is our largest expense, and the most important. It is a big commitment that David and I take very personally when we add to our team. We have an obligation to make sure our employees are taken care of, because most of them have others who also rely on them. Which means that we've got to get the revenue and deliver a quality product, and do it profitably. We would go without a lot of "nice to have things" in order to ensure we are taking care of our team.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Quite frankly, I could care less if you have a degree. I do care, with our technical teams about whether or not they can do their jobs. Do they have a professional curiosity? Do they have an attention to detail? Are they dependable, and can they rock a line of code? That's it.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

Everyone at Good Done Great is here because they believe in what we are doing, and they feel like they are making a difference. It's not the fancy office, perks, or big salaries that some of the well established companies can pay. It's knowing that they are part of a startup company which is making a big difference in the world. Oh, and by the way, if we are successful and revolutionize philanthropy, then they will be rewarded.

What do you see as the future of your company?

We will double this year in the total number of clients and number of employees. We have 66 clients now with 2.5 million employees, but we'll probably be over 100 clients by the yearend and 5 to 6 million employees with access to our system. All of a sudden, we're this center for giving. We have all these people with their time and money that can volunteer and give.

We connect with about 65,000 nonprofits. We already work with every big nonprofit you have heard of. We also work with big companies that are really trying to activate their brands through charitable giving, so we expect bigger and bigger. We are one of the bigger players in this space, and we'll be the biggest by the end of the year.

What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

Getting investors to understand our SaaS (Software as a Service) business model was probably the biggest challenge. Charleston still has a long way to go to foster innovative technology startups like Good Done Great. The second remains talent. It is a challenge most fast-growing tech companies face and we are no different. We continue to successfully navigate these challenges as we prove our business model and outsource certain parts of our development.

What is your biggest pet peeve in business or amongst colleagues?

My two biggest are being late for meetings and not delivering on time.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Being an entrepreneur is all about being tenacious. Be prepared for a lot of "no" or "it won't work." Come up with something that works, vet it and go to market quickly. Then be accepting of criticism, be flexible and willing to make changes along the way. Keep pursuing the dream but be realistic.

What are your thoughts on how Charleston's technical landscape has grown?

When I came down here in 1999 and worked for Blackbaud, that was pretty much your destination. There were only a couple of companies. It was a big risk for people to come here who wanted to make a whole career, because if it didn't work out with this one company, then you were packing up the U-Haul and going back to wherever it was you came from. And that's certainly changed now.

It's easy for people to come here and find a good opportunity, like ours, and to feel like, if this doesn't work out, there are going to be plenty of opportunities. There are a lot of technology companies that are doing really well. That part has helped. I do think that we are starting to get some more astute investors (locally).

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

Mac and iPhone.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Venti nonfat two-raw sugar latte.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

I enjoy fly fishing and live music.

Stay Connected! Riverfront Park Now Has Public Wi-Fi

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Riverfront Park, North Charleston's 11.5 acres premier gathering place along the Cooper River, has a new amenity – public Wi-Fi access. This new service allows residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors while staying connected on their mobile devices.

"People are increasingly looking to stay connected to information and their social networks while they enjoy the outdoors," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. "Now you can achieve both at Riverfront Park."

Whether to exercise, meander along the walking trails, or for a family picnic, Riverfront Park is widely visited by outdoors-seekers looking to enjoy the scenic landscape along the banks of the Cooper River. Also, with more frequent major events, like the 4th of July Festival, Rockin' the River summer concert series, Lipton's Be More Tea Festival, and races like the soon to be held iFive:K, Riverfront Park is seeing ever increasing use.

"With existing events at the park and others planned, the 100mb public Wi-Fi service will enable event organizers to have a smooth and seamless use of the network for their internal operations," said Riverfront Park Manager, Lisa Reynolds. "Operations no longer have to hard wire a temporary network, in turn saving time and money," said Riverfront Park Manager, Lisa Reynolds.

Public Wi-Fi access at Riverfront Park is the 9th Wi-Fi deployment by the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation's Charleston Free Wi-Fi initiative. "After deployments in West Ashley, Daniel Island and Downtown Charleston, it is terrific to add Riverfront Park to the roster of parks with public Wi-Fi access, said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade.

Joining the Wi-Fi network at Riverfront Park is easy. When a visitor to Riverfront Park connects to their Wi-Fi, their browser will take them to a landing page, where they will see instructions and terms of service to access the Wi-Fi network.

PeopleMatter Partners With Texas-based HotSchedules On Workforce Platform

Charleston-based PeopleMatter has partnered with Austin-based HotSchedules on a workforce management platform geared toward the restaurant industry, according to a news release.

Company officials said it is not a merger or an acquisition; rather, the companies will collaborate by referring customers to each other's platforms.

HotSchedules will refer customers to PeopleMatter's hiring platform, in which applicants can apply online rather than on paper, and hiring managers can check for tax credits and speed up the hiring process.

PeopleMatter will refer customers to HotSchedules' scheduling app, which allows managers to create employee schedules and lets employees request to swap, release and pick up shifts.

PeopleMatter will also refer customers to HotSchedules' recruiting app, which enables restaurants to post jobs for free and job seekers to look for open positions in their area.

The new partnership comes one month after PeopleMatter founder and former CEO Nate DaPore announced plans to resign. George Mackie assumed the helm of the tech firm last month.

"This is a case where two companies are collaborating to build a platform that represents the sum of our strengths. Simply put, we get to focus on our sweet spots and customers get the best of both worlds," Mackie said in the release. "From a cultural standpoint, this was an easy decision. We share customer-centric values and a mission to improve the lives of restaurant employees through transformative technology."

Founded in 2009, PeopleMatter sells platforms that are used in more than 47,000 store locations at over 7,000 businesses.

HotSchedules, founded in the late 1990s, partnered with three other hospitality technology companies in 2013. It now has more than 2 million users in over 150,000 locations in 26 countries.

Both technology firms offer mobile, cloud-based software that aims to improve efficiencies and reduce turnover in the hospitality, restaurant and retail industries.

"Our partner strategy is to build an ecosystem with best-in-class partners who complement our core strengths. That is why PeopleMatter is a great match for us. ... As we deepen this collaboration through the HotSchedules IoT Platform, our joint value proposition will strengthen," Keith Dunphy, HotSchedules' vice president of channel sales, said in the news release.

CodeLynx Announces New Version of ZEVA Assessment Software Launch

CodeLynx LLC, a Charleston-based Software Development and Electronic Security integrator, has announced the launch of a new version of Zeva, a software program that allows users to conduct risk assessments and evaluations of any scope or scale.

Zeva was first debuted in the fall of 2014, and after a successful first year, is now available in both the Single-User and Corporate versions, with the Enterprise version scheduled to be launched later in 2016. The new version launch includes a re-design of the Zeva homepage that makes it easier for organizations to immediately calculate their return on investment, identify ways to show compliance with government and industry standards, and apply a quality management approach to programs that have traditionally used informal methodologies.

Whether used by an enterprise organization that is required to stay up-to-date with compliance standards – such as in manufacturing, healthcare or utilities industries – or by a single user to conduct a basic evaluation, Zeva is available to help teams of all sizes conduct assessments and make actionable, confident decisions.

Within the new version of Zeva, users may also notice expanded dashboard capabilities and new features of reporting and communications tools. This not only allows users to quickly and efficiently carry out assessments across a range of industries, but also more easily navigate the wide range of features available within the application. Zeva has also been optimized to work on tablets, mobile devices, and traditional desktop computers, and is proving to be the next generation of assessment software.

The inspiration for Zeva first came from the customer experiences of CodeLynx, which has been helping government agencies, corporations and small businesses improve their processes and security systems for over the past 12 years. The need for a solution that would allow customers to track complex and detailed processes became apparent, which led to the creation of Zeva – software that can "evaluate virtually anything."

To learn more about Zeva, visit www.ZEVAapp.com.

About CodeLynx

CodeLynx LLC is a software engineering and electronic security services provider based in Charleston, South Carolina. CodeLynx has been providing custom software solutions, web development, and a wide range of electronic security and audio visual services for both government and commercial customers since 2003. 

CodeLynx been recognized as one of the 20 Best-Performing small companies in South Carolina by SC Biz News in both 2014 and 2015,and has also been named to Inc. 500|5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the past three consecutive years. 

Charleston Digital Corridor Announces 2016 iFive:K

The Charleston Digital Corridor, along with title sponsor Benefitfocus, is pleased to announce the 2016 Innovators' 5k (iFive:K) to be held at Riverfront Park on April 14th, 2016. Proceeds from the annual race benefit the Digital Corridor's CODEcamp scholarships and other education programming. Confirmed sponsors include Charleston's fast growing tech companies, such as BoomTown, Blackbaud, Blue Acorn, and Google

The Digital Corridor's iFive:K has become a favorite athletic and networking event for Charleston's tech community. As one of only a handful of evening weekday races in the region, the iFive:K typically sells out in just a few weeks. Registration for the iFive:K officially opens today.

"A big part of the Charleston Digital Corridor revolves around community – connecting people so that we can help each other grow and foster new talent through CODEcamp," states Kevin Eichelberger, Founder & CEO of Blue Acorn. "As the proud winner of last year's SPIRIT award, Blue Acorn is thrilled to serve as a shining example of what it means to support the effort, and we look forward to passing the torch to this year's most spirited competitor."

"It is awesome to see our tech community come together for a fun evening of competition and networking while supporting the further development of talent in Charleston," said Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. "The 10th year is the perfect time to take our annual iFive:K to the next level."

"Benefitfocus is proud to sponsor the 2016 iFive:K. We value the initiatives the Digital Corridor is working towards and we're excited to be part of the energy that is attracting top technology talent to the Lowcountry. More than 150 of our associates plan to participate in this year's event. It's a great opportunity to talk technology with other innovators in the Charleston region," said Nina Sossamon-Pogue, Vice President of Media at Benefitfocus.

Additional committed sponsors for the 2016 iFive:K include eGroup, SPARC, BiblioLabs, CarePoint, Bibliolabs, Immedion, and local microbreweries Holy City Brewing and Cooper River Brewing Company

###

About the Innovators' 5K (iFive:K): The iFive:K is an annual event that brings together Charleston's tech community for an evening of spirited competition and networking. Proceeds from the iFive:K support CODEcamp scholarships and other education programming. More: ifivek.com

About the Charleston Digital Corridor: The Digital Corridor is a creative initiative to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's tech economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

More: charlestondigitalcorridor.com

Contact: Ernest Andrade

843.607.1264

ernest@charleston.digital

ROK Technologies, Inc. Merges with ROK Global Applications Group, LLC

ROK Technologies Inc., a leader in custom GIS solutions has merged with ROK Global Applications Group, LLC, the "go to" organization for Cloud Based GIS to form ROK Technologies, LLC. The surviving entity, ROK Global Applications Group, LLC, will be doing business as ROK Technologies, LLC consistent with the company's' previous branding.

David "Mike" Deignan, a member of the Board of Managers, will be the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Michael Murphy, also a member of the Board of Managers, will be the President and Chief Operating Officer.

The merger will allow ROK Technologies to leverage the combined core competencies of both entities and broaden the cutting-edge GIS solutions it provides to current and future customers. These solutions allow customers to increase efficiency and reduce capital and operating expenses.

"The merger will significantly accelerate growth in both revenue and operating income as well as open up more opportunities for additional products and services," stated David Deignan, CEO of ROK Technologies.

ROK Technologies serves clients in many industries and governments globally. As an Esri Silver business partner and ArcGIS Server Application Service Provider licensee, ROK Technologies is able to leverage the ArcGIS platform and its cutting-edge core competencies to provide cloud-based ArcGIS hosting and application solutions, products and services. Additionally, ROK Technologies has expanded its cloud offerings to include information technology "Infrastructure as a Service" ("IaaS") and "Desktop as a Service" ("DaaS") including ESRI's ArcGIS Pro with 3D capabilities. For more information, contact ROK Technologies.

DaPore Steps Down As PeopleMatter CEO

Nate DaPore –- the founder of Charleston-based PeopleMatter and a leader in the region's burgeoning technology scene –- has stepped down as CEO of the software firm he launched seven years ago. "I've been here since I started the company on my dining room table seven years ago," DaPore said.

The cloud-based workforce management software platform now serves more than 45,000 service-industry locations.

DaPore said he felt ready to move on to the next stage in his career. He met with the PeopleMatter board of directors about two months ago and announced his plans to resign as president and CEO.

The board then began a search for his replacement. George Mackie started Monday as the new president and CEO of PeopleMatter. Mackie, a former partner with Atlanta-based venture firm Noro-Moseley Partners and the former CEO of DBS Systems, has decades of experience in the technology industry.

"He is the right person to take the company to the next level and accelerate its growth," DaPore said. "I'm very excited about his leadership and his being at the helm of the company, and I feel like the company is in great hands. ... George is walking into an opportunity to take it to the next level."

DaPore said no major changes are planned regarding processes, growth plans or leadership positions for the company, which currently has more than 100 employees. DaPore declined to share the company's revenue.

As chairman emeritus, a large shareholder and the company founder, DaPore said he expects to stay involved with PeopleMatter by consulting on special projects and assisting with the leadership transition.

Looking ahead, DaPore said he wants to continue as an entrepreneur and investor, possibly teach, work on his next book and get more involved in growing the Charleston technology scene, particularly with the Charleston Digital Corridor, Dig South and The Harbor Entrepreneur Center. He also serves as a member of the boards of the corridor, YesCarolina and Hampden-Sydney College.

"I have some other ideas on the workbench for a next venture. ... And I'm super excited about the bustling tech scene and getting back into helping aspiring entrepreneurs and mentoring. ... This is a great time for me to step back into helping build Silicon Harbor," DaPore said.

Since its founding in 2009, PeopleMatter has secured more than $60 million from venture capitalists and other investors. The firm occupies two offices on Upper King Street after expanding in spring 2014.

The company had an unspecified number of layoffs in fall 2014. And last year, the company launched Peoplelytics, which uses clients' data and helps them make decisions, predict situations and solve problems.

"It really feels like the right time. I'm a serial entrepreneur. I like to build things and start things, and that's what I want to get back into," DaPore said. "I felt like the company was in a fantastic spot and it's a great time to leave on a high and leave the company in good hands. Timing is everything."

Upcoming Events

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FastTrac® NewVenture™ for the Female Entrepreneur

FastTrac NewVenture for the Female Entrepreneur will:

  • Leverage your business skills to increase productivity.
  • Network with other professionals as you define and build your business.
  • Enhance your negotiation, marketing, and financial skills.

FastTrac NewVenture is for aspiring entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business but need a plan and framework for successfully starting a company:

  • Discover how your business concept matches your personal vision.
  • Align your business concept with a real market opportunity.
  • Learn how to set realistic financial goals for your business.
  • Determine the unique features and benefits of your product/service.
  • Find your target market and discover your competitive advantage.
  • Learn how to manage business functions and develop an organizational culture.
  • Determine the steps to profitability.
  • Identify potential sources of funding for your business.

Specialized topics for women entrepreneurs include:

  • Networking
  • Effective negotiation
  • Strategic decision making
  • Building a board
  • Social media
  • Financing your business

Learn more and register HERE.

Intro to Java - Free Crash Course

This course assumes no previous knowledge of Java or any other programming language. The first half of the course will be a short lecture on the basics of programming and Java, followed by a hands-on workshop where we'll do some actual coding together. You can learn more and register HERE.

Intro to HTML/CSS

This course assumes no previous knowledge of HTML/CSS or any other programming language. Topics covered will include:

What is HTML?

  • Where is it used and what does it do
  • What is the syntax

What is CSS?

  • Where is it used and what does it do
  • What is the syntax

Course Requirements:

• A laptop with Google Chrome and Sublime Text installed

• Course materials will be provided beforehand when you sign up.

You can learn more and register HERE.

Meet the Burke Robotics Team

The weekend of February 24-27, the Burke High School robotics team will compete in regionals in Myrtle Beach. Come meet the team and join members of the technology community in wishing them luck at the competition.

  • Overview of the First Robotics competition
  • Team Q&A with Toby Smith
  • Robot Demo
  • Meet & Greet with the team and members of the Charleston tech community

Visit the Burke Robotics blog

Support the Burke Robotics Team

Refreshments are made possible by BoomTown! and BiblioLabs and we expect a number of community leaders to be on hand for this important event.

Fridays at the Corridor - Got Jerks At Work

Competent jerks are a fact of life in all organizations, especially start-ups with brilliant people who are passionate about their ideas and may not have the best social skills. Removing them from the organization is often not an option. Instead, you need to improve your self-awareness to take actions to help you, coach them in ways that don't annoy them and actively help others in the organization.

At the February Fridays @ the Corridor event, Liz Guthridge, a behavior design and lean communications expert, will lead a presentation focused on helping companies deal with jerks and reducing their adverse effects on others in an organization. Learn more and register HERE.

Charleston InnoVision Forum

Join us as InnoVision welcomes Jeff Groh, President of New Product Visions, as he shares with us his tried-and-true tricks of successful innovation management!

The predominant management model used in organizations today has been around since the beginning of the last century and influences how companies manage innovation. The focus of this discussion is to explore the forces and trends that are disrupting the current management model and what it ultimately means for innovation management and corporate survival. Come join the discussion!

Jeff Groh is President of New Product Visions, a consulting company who helps organizations improve their innovation management practices. We focus on processes, organization issues, the role of management and culture. Jeff spent 30+ years in industry in a variety of management roles prior to starting New Product Visions.

RSVP to Angela Halpin at ahalpin@mcnair.net or 864.271.4940.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Is your technology company eligible for federal funding through the government's SBIR/STTR program? Join us for a seminar covering SBIR/STTR program basics including:

  • Program Purpose
  • Eligibility
  • Sources of Funding

This seminar is led by Dr. Jim Wasson, a Technology Commercialization Business Consultant for the South Carolina Small Business Development Center. 

To register, call 843.740.6160 or email charlestonbdc@mailbox.sc.edu

2016 iFive:K

The Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation presents the 10th Annual iFive:K on April 14, 2016. The race start and finish line are at Riverfront Park on the Cooper River in North Charleston and followed by a post-race celebration at the park. Learn MORE