What We Do

The Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's knowledge 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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Never in Charleston

The first few years of starting a company are often very challenging. You cannot predict exactly where the challenges will come from, how big they will be or how long they will last. Navigating those early waters is like riding a raft down white water rapids. It's a lot of fun, but danger is all around.

One unexpected difficulty we faced when starting Benefitfocus was a question of our ability to grow a software company in Charleston, South Carolina. There weren't many software companies in our state at the time, so most of the business experts we encountered didn't think our idea was very good and especially didn't think it could be built in Charleston.

If you have ever visited Charleston, you know what a special place it is–-known for its history, waterways, beaches and Southern charm. As I heard more and more people tell me that we would have to relocate to a larger city to be successful, I had to ask myself how much I loved this great city. No matter how many times I asked myself this question, the answer remained the same, "Are you nuts? I am never leaving this fantastic place!"

So my only option was to find a way to grow our software idea in an unlikely location. I thought that if I liked Charleston as much as I did, then so would other people. Thankfully, we found a growing number of people who did fall in love with Charleston and who also knew how to build amazing software and scale a large company. We found great support within the Charleston community. Mayor Joe Riley and Ernest Andrade, founder and director of the Charleston Digital Corridor, were early advocates for us and have been instrumental in our success.

Yesterday, I found myself on my little Scout boat–- another successful company based right here in Charleston. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. As I looked at the wildlife and natural beauty, I could hear some of the people who discouraged us from attempting to build Benefitfocus here. I smiled with a sense of pride in our team and the wonderful company they have built in such a terrific location. I took a picture to share the moment.

Perhaps you have been recently promoted to a team leader or head of a new project. Or maybe you were just assigned a difficult customer or problem to fix. Maybe you are starting a new leg of your career and have a ton of enthusiasm, or you are on the other end of the leg and just want to get through the next month. You may encounter some people who will discourage you and what is in your heart. It could be as silly as telling you that your city is not up to the task, or that you don't have what it takes. Let that stuff roll off your back like water off a duck. They don't know you as well as you know yourself. You are capable of doing amazing things in unconventional ways and places. Soon enough you will be taking a photo and smiling to yourself quietly. Keep moving forward; your success is in your hands, not theirs.

BoomTown Introduces Broker-centric Capabilities to Support Real Estate Team Expansion

CHARLESTON, S.C. – January 27, 2015 – BoomTown announced new broker-centric capabilities to empower brokers and team leaders expanding into new geographies, and support those already managing multiple teams and offices. Designed to help brokers manage their teams and brands effectively, the new features include the ability to network multiple sites, optional brand-level sites, custom listing set functionalities, and new website themes.

"We are constantly working to build solutions to meet the diverse needs of real estate professionals, and one of our goals is to deliver tools that empower brokers and agent team leaders who manage multiple teams and offices that serve different geographies," said Grier Allen, CEO & President of BoomTown. "These new offerings provide flexibility through design choice, custom listing sets and networking multiple platforms for greater transparency. The technology doesn't dictate how our clients manage their teams, offices, and brands, but strips away the inefficiencies and gives them the power and functionality to run their business the way they need to."

As the housing market continues to flourish, and teams and independents look increasingly to expand their reach, BoomTown's new capabilities offer the support needed to scale quickly and successfully. The opportunity to network multiple sites allows clients to easily manage all their platforms through a single, centralized reporting function, so brokers can quickly access a holistic view of accountability and performance metrics for all their teams and offices. Custom listing sets let clients efficiently tailor their feeds to focus on a smaller service area within an MLS board, or combine multiples service areas from contiguous MLS boards.

Recognizing that companies with multiple offices or multiple teams have various brand structures, optional brand-level sites are also offered to serve as a portal site for teams that fall under an overarching brand, and will automatically funnel visitors to the appropriate service area site. As brand differentiation becomes crucial to a strong market presence, BoomTown is also introducing the first round of new website themes for client sites. The first three themes, already available to help clients enhance their unique brand, are the start of a future library of design choices.

About BoomTown

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Charleston, SC, BoomTown is a fast growing, web-based software company that offers a robust online sales and marketing system for real estate professionals. The system includes a customized real estate website integrated with local MLS data, personalized online advertising, client success management, and a cutting-edge CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) with marketing automation. BoomTown's software solution is being used by the top-producing real estate brokerages and teams across the country, and the company was recognized for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, and 2013) on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies List. The company has also been listed as one of the "Best Places to Work" in South Carolina for the past two years, and is one of the leading employers for Charleston tech jobs. For more about BoomTown, visithttp://boomtownroi.com/.

CCSD, SC Universities Awarded Funding to Launch Future of Cybersecurity

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan Thursday to award $25 million in funding to help train students who want to enter the field of cyber security.

Out of 16 institutions named as members of the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium, eight are in South Carolina including the Claflin University and SC State.

The Charleston County School District is also part of the consortium and is the only K-12 district to be included.

"This is a tremendous honor... that CCCD would be named the only district in the nation to take part in grant program that will prepare our students to be on the cutting edge of cybersecurity," said Acting Superintendent Mr. Michael Bobby. "The field of cybersecurity, in light of recent events, is perhaps the most critically important field of discovery and education of our time."

The Palmetto State schools will be getting more than $16 million, according to officials with Congressman James E. Clyburn's office.

"The ability to offer students at these schools the opportunity to diversify their education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, is invaluable," said Congressman Clyburn. " I have worked with the National Nuclear Security Administration to support math and science opportunities at HBCUs and this program continues those efforts. I am looking forward to seeing students at these institutions excel in this field and become the leaders for the next generation."

Officials at Claflin University, one of the seven colleges and universities from South Carolina on the list, said it would be receiving $2 million from the program.

"Claflin University will be at the forefront of producing cybersecurity professionals who will become a part of the workforce that will address such problems as the ones experienced by South Carolina's Social Security Administration in recent years and Sony during the holidays," said Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who will lead Claflin's efforts in this initiative.

For its part, Claflin will work with neighboring South Carolina State University to establish a joint teaching lab, upgrade existing labs and hire new faculty whose concentration is cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity curriculum will also be infused into existing computer programming courses at the University, and Claflin will develop a minor in cybersecurity.

Tisdale said Claflin University will enhance cybersecurity-related research and scholarly activities; provide professional development for faculty; provide K-12 outreach and pipeline development; provide K-12 teaching training and education; host student interns in its labs; provide advice on k-12 STEM development and activities; and participate in building cybersecurity awareness student, faculty, parents and the community.

According to a release from the White House, the money will come from the Department of Energy, specifically the Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program housed in its National Nuclear Security Administration, and will be dispersed over the next five years.

Biden made the announcement during a roundtable discussion with a classroom of cybersecurity leaders and students at Norfolk State University which is listed as the lead in the program.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced a need to tighten up cyber security by meeting the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in the job market while diversifying employees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It is for that reason the Historically Black Colleges and Universities make up the bulk of the consortium.

"The rapid growth of cybercrime is creating a growing need for cybersecurity professionals across a range of industries, from financial services, health care, and retail to the US government itself," the announcement notes. "By some estimates, the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the U.S. job market, and is creating well-paying jobs."

White House officials said the partnerships will create a system that lets students interested in a future in cybersecurity go through any of the collaborating partners and have everything they need to complete their career path and "open the doors to DOE sites and facilities."

The full list of participating consortium members are:

Virginia

  • Norfolk State University (lead)

Georgia

  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Paine College

Maryland

  • Bowie State University

North Carolina

  • North Carolina A&T State University

South Carolina

  • Allen University
  • Benedict College
  • Claflin University
  • Denmark Technical College
  • Morris College
  • South Carolina State University
  • Voorhees College
  • Charleston County School District

US Virgin Islands

  • University of the Virgin Islands

California

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

New Mexico

  • Sandia National Laboratories

Read the official White House Release HERE.

BoomTown Broadens C-Level Expertise with New Chief Technology Officer

CHARLESTON, S.C. – January 15, 2015 – BoomTown, a leading real estate marketing and sales platform, announced that former Weather Channel SVP of Digital Technology, Chris McClellen, has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer. McClellen will play a key role in driving BoomTown's technology strategy, growing the engineering team, and accelerating the development and delivery of cutting-edge real estate software.

"Chris has extraordinary vision and proven expertise to innovate, engineer and execute new products," said Grier Allen, President & CEO of BoomTown. "He has an exceptional track record developing world-class technology that serves hundreds of millions of visitors on both websites and mobile apps, and this skillset uniquely suits him to help elevate BoomTown to the next level in the Real Estate market. We're incredibly excited he's joining our team."

McClellen has more than twenty years of experience in both IT and Product Development. During his time at the Weather Channel he set the technology strategy for all Web, Mobile, Tablet and Desktop applications, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone applications andwww.weather.com, as well as managed the scalable services that power all the associated applications and sites. McClellen was responsible for the development of the 7th most downloaded free app in Apple AppStore history.

"I'm excited to be joining this remarkable company during a period of such high growth, as well as the thriving digital community in Charleston, S.C." said Chris McClellen, CTO at BoomTown. "BoomTown is already transforming the way that real estate professionals do business and I look forward to working alongside and growing this talented team to develop and deliver solutions that will help our clients maximize the tremendous opportunity ahead."

About BoomTown

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Charleston, SC, BoomTown is a fast growing, web-based software company that offers a robust online sales and marketing system for real estate professionals. The system includes a customized real estate website integrated with local MLS data, personalized online advertising and inbound marketing services, a dedicated Client Success Manager, and a cutting-edge CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) with marketing automation. BoomTown's software solution is being used by the top-producing real estate brokerages and teams across the country, and the company was recognized for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, and 2013) on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies List. The company was has also been listed as one of the "Best Places to Work" in South Carolina for the past two years, and is one of the leading employers for Charleston tech jobs. For more about BoomTown, visithttp://boomtownroi.com/.

Three Steps for Building an Effective Talent Recruitment and Development Strategy

Surprisingly, the questionable practice of economic development groups pouring large amounts of public and private funds into chasing companies from outside the state or region to satisfy their business recruitment goals is still common practice around the United States. A quick analysis of the data over a period of time demonstrates that this approach to economic development is less than ideal and nearly always statistically ineffective in the long-term for communities looking to diversify, grow and strengthen their economies.

As communities struggle to optimize their economic assets to bring high-wage jobs, reduce brain drain and expand into new sectors, a smarter approach is paring back an external business recruitment model as the sole tactic and allocating a meaningful share of resources to nurture and develop an environment ideally suited for the types of businesses and jobs the community is seeking. The result is often a healthy and dynamic business climate and leads to increased engagement from the existing business community whose insights and advice are far more valuable than external consultants.

Deploying an effective talent acquisition and development strategy has been proven to be one of the best ways a community can create an attractive business climate. At the Charleston Digital Corridor, we adopted a straightforward three-tier strategy:

1. CharlestonWorks™ - This portal showcases companies operating in the region and highlights those that are hiring.

2. Talent Portal - A resource where companies can post available positions and view talent.

3. CODEcamp - A community-sourced training program that provides instruction in open source Web and mobile technologies.

We know from multiple sources that at least 80% of individuals and companies seeking information for possible relocation review relevant websites in target communities to improve their decision. CharlestonWorks™ plays an important role in this search by showcasing the depth of tech and tech- related companies in the region. The CharlestonWorks portal epitomizes a "Show me - don't tell me" value proposition, and benefits both business leaders and job seekers.

One of the many comments we've received regarding the Tier 1 of CharlestonWorks demonstrates its effectiveness:

"I am just emailing to compliment you on the GREAT redesign of CharlestonWorks. I stumbled upon and used this site in 2010 when I moved here and found the job that I now have. Well done!" Tim V.

Going a step deeper, although there are vast numbers of national and global job sites, the offerings on the local/regional level are either entirely absent or typically don't meet the real needs of the community. For those businesses and career seekers on your doorstep, the ones with whom you have a relationship, a quality local talent portal of both job openings and job seekers is a critical resource for the community.

The Charleston Digital Corridor's talent portal is not just about eyeballs on jobs. It was built on the simple but powerful realization: Non-local career seekers who come to the portal have their hearts set on relocating to Charleston. This can reduce or eliminate employee relocation costs. Employer feedback has been tremendously positive. Companies have rated the quality of job applicants and talent acquisition rate consistently higher than they experience with national portals.

While tools like CharlestonWorks and the Digital Corridor's talent portal are effective in connecting talent with job opportunities, a community seeking to sustain a pool of talent in a targeted industry MUST develop or support education initiatives consisting of the most in-demand curricula to grow talent from within the community.

Historically, educational training has been the domain of local technical colleges and universities. However, largely due to the breakneck pace at which technologies of all kinds are evolving, the education credentials now required, outdated regulatory environment and the cost of hiring qualified web instructors, these traditional institutions are not able to meet the need of communities seeking to grow tech jobs. Communities are left to fend for themselves.

The Charleston Digital Corridor's deep relationship with our tech companies allows us to source instructor talent from the industry and solicit their input in developing the curriculum for CODEcamp. This perfect alignment between the tech industry and the Digital Corridor as the entity charged with supporting their employment needs is why CODEcamp has experienced such high near-term success. In just over two years since its launch, CODEcamp has trained almost 800 students. Meanwhile, the program, which went from concept to classroom in under three months, continues to be refined to meet the dynamic needs of the students and local tech industry.

Regardless of the type of industry a community seeks to attract, it can succeed by following the Charleston Digital Corridor's three steps. We did not commission studies, form numerous committees or have philosophical "chicken or egg" conversations. We just adopted a simple strategic plan informed by our terrific membership and followed through with execution. And it's working.

About the Author

Ernest Andrade is the Executive Director of the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation and Principal of Andrade Economics, an economic develop practice focused on positioning communities for sustainable economic prosperity by providing them a comprehensive set of tools and professional services to help them succeed.

Benefitfocus to Unveil New Technology and Present Data-Driven Strategies at One Place 2015 Conference

Charleston, S.C. – January 13, 2015 – Benefitfocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: BNFT), a leading provider of cloud-based benefits software solutions, has announced that its annual conference, One Place 2015, will be centered around data-driven technology strategies that can enable insurance carriers and employers to tailor benefit programs to better meet consumers' needs. The company will also unveil its new advancements in benefits management software solutions during the conference Keynote Address from Benefitfocus President and CEO Shawn Jenkins.

One Place is the company's annual conference designed for benefits, insurance, and HR professionals to share ideas and gain insight on how to capitalize on trends that are influencing the healthcare and benefits industry. The 2015 event will be held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL March 9-12, 2015.

"One Place is all about helping companies stay at the forefront of benefits program optimization now and in the future," said Jenkins. "Our private exchange platform has become a hub for benefits data with more than 1,500 established data exchange connections, so we are excited to continue empowering confident, data-driven strategies for healthcare and benefits management with this year's conference."

Attendees will be able to choose from a wide variety of breakout sessions during the three-day conference, which will include deep dives into new Benefitfocus technologies announced at the keynote. Interactive panel discussions, case studies and community roundtables are also incorporated into the agenda to catalyze dialogue among industry professionals about healthcare and benefit trends that are impacting their businesses. Presentation topics also include:

  • Private Exchange Landscape & Market Dynamics
  • Sponsoring a Multi-Carrier Marketplace: Bringing It All Together
  • Finding the Right Fit: Pros & Cons of CDHP
  • Panel Discussion: Health & Wellness Benefit Trends Today

Full agenda can be found at www.benefitfocus.com/one-place-2015/agenda

In its fifth year hosting the conference, Benefitfocus will add new features including software certifications through the Benefitfocus University. These sessions will offer current Benefitfocus clients hands-on training with the various applications within the company's portfolio of products with separate sessions for new and tenure clients. Additionally, Benefitfocus has invited its Ecosystem Partners to host sessions that will provide attendees the opportunity to earn continuing education credits from the HR Certification Institute.

For more information about One Place 2015, visit www.benefitfocus.com/one-place-2015

PlanSource Appoints Nancy Sansom as Chief Marketing Officer

Orlando, FL – Jan. 13, 2015– PlanSource, which provides the leading cloud-based health exchange and benefits engagement platform™, today announced that Nancy Sansom has joined the company's executive leadership team as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). A seasoned and dynamic executive with deep experience driving marketing, demand generation, business unit management, product management, software design and business development for high-growth SaaS companies, Sansom will be responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for PlanSource.

Sansom has held senior positions in marketing, communications and product management with high-growth SaaS companies in HR and healthcare technology for the last 12 years. Most recently, Sansom served as Chief Marketing Officer at PeopleMatter, where she developed the PeopleMatter brand while building a predictable demand generation engine for driving top-line growth. Prior to PeopleMatter, Sansom was a member of the senior leadership team at Benefitfocus (NASDAQ: BNFT), where she managed the company's largest business unit and led multiple functions during her 10-year tenure at the company, including marketing and communications; product strategy, management and design; release management; quality assurance; as well as media and animation.

With the new appointment of Sansom, PlanSource has also opened an office in Charleston, South Carolina, an emerging hub for HR tech innovation. PlanSource now has five offices throughout the U.S.

"When we set out to select a Chief Marketing Officer, Nancy was at the top of the list because of her reputation and experience in HR and benefits technology. Nancy is a visionary leader with an exceptional track record, and is just the right person to join our leadership team at this stage in our growth," said Dayne Williams, CEO of PlanSource. "We have terrific momentum as we start 2015, and our investment in marketing and the team in Charleston, SC will allow us to capitalize on our recent customer wins and technology advancements."

Sansom began her career in manufacturing and software consulting. She earned her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and has been a member of the Kellogg School of Management's Executive Education program.

About PlanSource

PlanSource provides the industry's most flexible and extensible health exchange and benefits engagement platform in the cloud. Employers, consumers, benefits brokers use the PlanSource Platform for benefits shopping, enrollment, billing and ongoing administration. PlanSource partners with leading insurance carriers, brokers and government entities to provide both exchange and non-exchange solutions to companies of all sizes. Learn more at www.plansource.com.

Press Contact

Sara Black 

Grayling

213.618.1501

sara.black@grayling.com

Upcoming Events

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Introduction to Virtual Reality

If you are interested in VR, then this is the place to come and give it a try.

If you already have some VR hardware (or anything else we can ooh and ahh over), please bring it along. I should have enough to keep everyone busy, but more is better. I'll be bringing an Oculus DK1, Oculus DK2, my new Samsung Gear VR, and even my super awesome Google Cardboard ;) If there is enough interest, I may also bring my racing/flying sim rig.

If anyone has a specific request for a game to demo, please let me know ahead of time so I can get it installed prior to the meeting.

Learn More HERE.

GDG Charleston - Coder for Rasberry Pi

We will use Google's "Coder" project on a Raspberry Pi to remotely control an LED. Here is the link to Google's Coder project.

Download the Coder distro to an SD card and put it on your Raspberry Pi HERE 

If you don't already own a Raspberry Pi, buy one here for only $35 HERE 

Coder Projects are Coder apps and instructional step-by-step guides designed to get new programmers excited about making things with code. They range from introductory lessons on the basic web stuff Coder utilizes (HTML, CSS, Javascript) to more complex projects that show what code can do.

Learn More HERE

Computer Graphics and Visualization Seminar Series

The College of Charleston Computer Science Department is pleased to host a Computer Graphics and Visualization Seminar Series. At the February event Stephen Aylward from Kitware, will discuss accelerating medical visualization research via open-source platforms and practices. Learn more HERE.

Fridays @ the Corridor - Crowdfunding: Launching a Successful Campaign

Looking to launch or expand your company? Chances are you could use a little extra capital. Through sites like Kickstarter and Go Fund Me, the crowd-funding economy has more than tripled in the last three years. Crowdfunding has fast become a resource for not only growth capital, but also proof of concept, early idea validation, and customer pre-orders. So what does it take to run a successful campaign and capitalize on this rapidly growing alternative funding resource?

At the February Fridays @ the Corridor, we will introduce you to three local leaders in the tech industry, ISI (Heatworks), Distil Union, and Moondog Animation, who have successfully used crowdfunding to achieve their business goals. Crowdfunding is hot – time to learn the keys to launching a successful campaign and take your business to the next level. Register HERE.

Computer Graphics and Visualization Seminar Series

The College of Charleston Computer Science Department is pleased to host a Computer Graphics and Visualization Seminar Series. At the February 20th event Brent Mason from NaturalPoint Inc., will discuss 3D application development using marker-based motion capture technologies  Learn more HERE.

Women in Tech

The Charleston Digital Corridor is hosting a meet up for women, students and professionals, interested in connecting with other women in the tech industry. A panel of female software developers and engineers will be on site to lead the discussion as well as address any specific questions presented. This meet up will also focus on developing soft-skills and how to get connected to the industry.

Feel free to come and mingle, talk code and become part of the "women in tech" community. All are welcome.

Please RSVP!