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.

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

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

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
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Brian Hutchins, Waitlist Me CEO

Focus on Tasks That Move the Needle, says Waitlist Me CEO

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

Brian Hutchins is CEO of Waitlist Me, which helps businesses improve customer wait experiences in sectors such as restaurants and retail. Waitlist Me launched in 2012 in San Francisco and moved to Charleston in 2015. The company is based at the Charleston Digital Corridor's Flagship. 

Where did you grow up? What was life like and your memories from there?

My father was a children's dentist in the military, so I grew up in a lot of different places. Some of the places like Panama and Germany were neat because I had the opportunity to travel and see a lot of different places at an early age. I think that gave me some different perspectives on people, on cultures.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We make it really easy for a business at a busy time to add people to the waitlist and then just press a button to notify them when it's their turn. Ultimately, that gives the customer more visibility into the wait time, more accurate wait quotes and flexibility to walk around.

For businesses, that allows them to deliver a higher level of service and ultimately, see better business results. What we like to think is we are helping save businesses customers – they're not leaving and going somewhere else – and then we are saving millions of people time.

What drew you to the company?

Waitlist Me was originally part of a larger company in San Francisco called Dialpad. That company was started off as an incubator to make new ideas. What drew me to that one was, first of all, they were doing a lot of bold and interesting product ideas. Second, it was just a very talented team of people that I had worked with at Google and other companies.

Originally, I was doing marketing for Dialpad. Over time, Dialpad had a couple of other products, and they focused more and more on enterprise telephony. While I was doing marketing for them, the opportunity came up to take care of Waitlist Me. It kept growing and growing, and I just really loved how it could save people time and it helped a lot of people. So when Dialpad decided that they were really more focused on enterprise telephony, I was happy to take that and spin it out as a new company and grow it.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

When my dad retired about 25 years ago, he was teaching pediatric dentistry at the Medical University of South Carolina. That was right about the time I was going away to college. He did that up until about last year. I didn't live here full time, but I was back and forth to Charleston over the years.

I have seen how Charleston has changed dramatically in the ecosystem for startups and technology. So, as we decided to spin off Waitlist Me, I thought it would be a good place to be close to family and grow a big business.

It's probably five times cheaper to have space here than in San Francisco, and I think there are a lot of really interesting things about how the Google Cloud Platform and some of the other technology make it easier to grow businesses other places.

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

I did things like mowing lawns and babysitting for money, but I was probably more focused on sports when I was younger. I think the thing that really got me into entrepreneurialism was working at a startup. Having worked in different environments, at bigger businesses and smaller businesses, it's just so much more dynamic and interesting to work in a startup where you have a lot more responsibility and things move faster. From there, the ultimate challenge is starting your own startup.

I worked for several startups in the Bay Area. I worked for Dialpad, which was bought by Yahoo, and another company called GrandCentral that was bought by Google. I also worked at Elance. Then I tried my own, which was called Say Mmm, and I actually developed a meal-planning system that got a number of paid users but wasn't at the revenue level that I thought I could take it to the next level on.

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

The most important thing for me is thinking big and focusing my time on a few larger projects or bigger ideas that will have the most impact. A big challenge when you are running your own company is there is an endless number of tasks, and there are all sorts of things that you could be doing to spend your time. You really have to be very diligent in saying these are the things that I am going to focus on and prioritizing what are the most important things I am doing and which things are going to move the needle. Otherwise you could just be busy. The biggest and the hardest challenge is to be the most productive with your time.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

Out of all the places I worked, one of the places I thought had the most impressive culture was Google. They have a lot of transparency in their information so people can access that. They give a lot of individual responsibility. They encourage the inherent intellectual passion and building great products rather than having a lot of management control and layers. Some of the things that I learned there I try to do in my own company.

What is your management style?

Similar to that, I like to set goals and give people the responsibility for a certain area and let them achieve and give them direction. In some ways, it's lead by example, because I have a lot of passion in just growing the company. But it's also giving an area where people know they can take ownership and overachieve.

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

Good bosses are ones that empower their employees and try to make them look good in front of the group and celebrate their successes. Bad bosses are farther on the spectrum of wanting to control the actions or set up tracking systems where they can have more control over the person. Or they would be more likely to highlight their own successes of how they've led the group.

What does your team look like?

Right now we have a distributed team. Some of our engineers are working in different areas – some in India, some in California, and I have people who do projects for us who are in Pennsylvania, or it just kind of depends. We've just started to grow the local team here. We have one full-time support and marketing manager. We're hiring a local engineer. And then we have a lot of part-time people, like there's a person in Charleston that writes our blogs, there's a person that runs our finances.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Positive attitude, self-motivated and good problem-solving skills. With a startup, you have to be able to give people an area to work on and just let them go and do a bunch of stuff on their own. You can't be micromanaging everything. So they definitely need to have initiative and passion.

And then also you are doing things that are totally new sometimes, so you have to have the problem-solving skills to figure out new ways of doing things or solve problems that there isn't a clear playbook for. Then, a lot of times, you are wearing different hats and doing different roles, and you need to have that kind of flexibility.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

A lot of people think it's easier because you're your own boss and you would work less, but in reality, you actually work harder and you have more responsibilities because you're the person who has to fix things, whether they're big or small, at the end of the day.

Do you have a routine that's important to your day? A morning ritual, meditation, etc.?

I usually start off my day by seeing my daughter off to high school and then I walk my son to elementary school. That's a nice way to start off with my kids.

I like to end the day by taking a pad of paper and scribbling down ideas, whether it's product ideas or things I want to get done that week. After looking at the computer all day, just kind of sitting on a couch with some paper kind of opens up different creative processes. I actually get a lot of good ideas doing that, and I don't feel like I'm working.

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

Software that is complicated or pricing schemes that are complicated. I really try to make ours as simple and transparent as possible.

This is something that I saw work well at Google. They really focus on just making things faster and simpler and better all the time. So when I see competitors doing that – they'll have sneaky pricing or they'll have a product that takes lots of training or they'll be like, "Call to get pricing" – then you really know it's going to be complicated and hard.

With Waitlist Me, we try to make something that just works, that's intuitive and that an hourly worker could pick up and start using with little to no training.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Follow your passion because it's not just about creating an idea. There's a lot of work that goes into making any idea possible. So you have to be prepared to want to work on it for many years, long hours. I think it helps if there's something that really excites you about it that you feel like you can do indefinitely.

Another thing is being prepared – hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Have backup plans in place of how you'll run different parts of your business. You could always be thinking of what would I do if things are amazing, what happens if they go as expected, and what happens if they don't go as well as expected. You want to always be thinking through those scenarios so you have a little bit of foresight into the things that are coming.

What advice would you give new graduates seeking to work in the tech industry?

It's so nice these days that you can just build something. You can create an app. It doesn't have to be the product that's going to change the world on your first try. But building anything will help you learn a lot. You learn more in that than just reading about it in a book.

You'll develop the types of skills that you would need in the tech industry: researching technologies, putting it together, seeing how a customer would interact with it. Just taking the initiative to start making things – it's so cheap to do and it's such a good learning experience. That's what I would advise.

What do you see as the future of your company?

There are a variety of ways the service could evolve, but right now we're really focused on taking this core waitlist app and aiming to be the global leader in that. We have a service that's working at thousands of businesses in the U.S., across a couple different segments – restaurants, retail, health and beauty – and we are just starting to roll it out in other countries. Hopefully we can take a model that's working well in the U.S. and extend that globally. That's our short-term future goal, becoming a leader in that waitlist part.

From there, we have some reservation and other resource-management features, and there's other types of functionality that we've heard people are interested in related to data or customer service. We are exploring some of those models as we go. But we have a lot of neat things we could do just by extending our core model to other countries.

What one person has been the biggest influence on your business life?

Craig Walker. I worked with him over the past 15 years at a number of companies. He was at the original Dialpad, which was a PC-to-phone company, which was sold to Yahoo. He founded GrandCentral, which was bought by Google and became Google Voice. He was an amazing CEO and I've learned a ton of things just working with him over the years across several companies. He's also been a great mentor and has been like a big brother to me.

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

PC and, of course, Android because I'm big into the Google ecosystem, having worked at Google.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

I usually am pretty simple, so instant coffee is fine for me at my house.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

Spending time with my family is the main thing. I enjoy hanging out with my parents, and then my kids do soccer and dance, so I spend time at a lot of games and competitions.

What has it been like building your technical team in Charleston?

Charleston has a lot of good tech resources and tech talent. The challenge for me is that we have a developed app on the Google Cloud Platform and it uses a language, Python, and there's not a lot of competencies here in that one specific skillset. The reason is some of the bigger tech companies in Charleston that feed into the general ecosystem of talent don't use those technologies. That's been a very specific challenge for us, but it seems like the talent market here is very good.

What do you see as some of the challenges recruiting tech talent to Charleston?

The company is too small – it's hard to get a person and set them up here. With a bigger company, you have processes where you can bring people in and they can set up their life in Charleston. For the bigger companies, I think there are a lot of really good advantages. The standard of living here is great in terms of what you can buy a house for, and be close to the beach and the beautiful downtown. I think the challenge is salaries. Maybe for someone that's in the Bay Area, they may be expecting a lot higher.

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

I think it's been really impressive to see over the years. Probably 10 years ago, there wasn't much going on. Then as the first piece, the work the Charleston Digital Corridor has done has laid the foundation for having some space. That's much more popular now, but several years ago, just getting that and getting the city behind it and getting startups to come through there and getting a little bit of a hub where people can exchange ideas and meet each other was a really good building block.

Now you have things like the Harbor Entrepreneur Center encouraging people to start companies and providing mentors for that. And then you have things like DIG SOUTH raising the visibility of Charleston and bringing more people into the area. I think those are all really good and just continue to build on each other. And, like I was saying, a lot of the infrastructure pieces you need can be gotten from the cloud.  

Glenbrook South Student Helps Create Program That Exposes More Kids To Computer Science

A Glenbrook South High School student and his friend have created teaching programs to help students develop an interest in computer science. Nicholas Ermolov, a Glenbrook South junior, and Parker Thompson, a junior at the Charleston County School of the Arts in South Carolina, established CS Upstart to teach students about front-end development, programming, robotics, engineering and design, Thompson said. Students who sign up for the program will learn through a combination of audio and visual instruction and labs, Ermolov said. Read more:

Accounting Startup Ceterus Raises $10 million,

The Charleston accounting startup Ceterus has booked $10 million in new investments, marking the biggest financing round closed by a local software company in years. The last time a Charleston-based software company landed a bigger block of investments was in 2015, when the health care technology firm PokitDok raised $34 million. Read more in the Post and Courier here and the Ceterus release here.

Improving Charleston’s Wireless Infrastructure

Wireless technology has come to play an exponentially more integral role in our daily lives. Our connected devices now allow us to stream videos, map real-time traffic conditions, remotely monitor our homes and stay in touch with our loved ones.

In the U.S., nearly 95 percent of adults own a cellphone and, according to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, over half of all American households are wireless only. With more than 80 percent of 911 calls now originating from wireless devices, access to reliable mobile technology is no longer a luxury – it's a necessity for citizens and first responders.

Our reliance on connected devices will continue to grow and expand into even new areas, due largely in part to the "Internet of Things" (IoT). Intel estimates the average number of connected devices per household will rise from 10 to 50 by 2020.

Each generation of wireless technology has delivered great leaps in speed and functionality. 1G brought us our very first cell phones, 2G let us text for the first time, 3G brought us online and 4G delivered the speeds that we all enjoy today. 5G will handle 1,000 times more traffic and be 10 times faster.

This coming next generation network will lay the foundation and enable the mass adoption of innovations such as Virtual Reality, autonomous vehicles, the internet of things and countless other future smart city applications. These capabilities are coming, much sooner than you may think – traffic congestion relief through more efficient autonomous vehicle lanes isn't a sci-fi pipedream but something our generation will see in action.

With the amount of increased data traffic from all these additional connected devices currently pushing networks to their limits, how are we to prepare our wireless infrastructure to support the buildout of 5G?

The technological advancement that will make that possible – to accommodate our current growing needs and the coming of 5G – is the deployment of new wireless "small cell" networks.

Small cell networks boost wireless coverage and network capacity by using a series of small "nodes," connected by fiber, that work together with cell towers that are already in service. Small cells – as their name implies – are smaller and more discreet than traditional towers. Typically deployed on existing infrastructure like streetlights and utility poles, they can be designed to stealthily blend in to these existing structures as to not disrupt the aesthetics of an area.

Wireless carriers are currently deploying small cell nodes in cities throughout the country – including Columbia, North Charleston and other South Carolina cities. While they will serve as the backbone for 5G, they are currently needed to help meet the increasing demands already being placed on existing networks.

This is a problem Charleston will soon be experiencing without the network support of small cell nodes. This is especially true for downtown Charleston where space on the peninsula is limited yet the number of people – and connected devices – is increasing due to our growing visitor base, the arrival of cruise ships, the seasonal influx of students, etc.

We must be forward thinking in our approach to connectivity because the future prosperity and economic competitiveness of Charleston depends on it.

This generation of state and local leaders needs to help ensure our future economic prosperity by working together in concert with the builders of wireless networks to streamline and expedite the deployment of next generation infrastructure that will serve as the backbone for 5G networks.

Immedion Offers Object Storage Solution to Meet Rising Data Storage Demands

Immedion LLC, a premiere provider of Cloud, data center and managed IT services, today announced the launch of its Object Storage solution to meet growing data storage demands. Backed by industry-leading SLA guarantees and always-on 24x7x365 support, Immedion's Object Storage solution offers businesses a low-cost, scalable, secure and highly-available Cloud-based storage solution.

Businesses today are challenged to meet increased data storage demands in a cost-efficient manner while ensuring storage methods meet availability, compliance and security requirements. The Immedion Object Storage offering further enhances the company's comprehensive suite of storage solutions by providing businesses a reliable and cost-effective alternative for storing large amounts of unstructured data such as media, web content, documents, backups or archives.

Immedion's Object Storage is securely encrypted, both in-transit and at-rest, to meet compliance regulations. To ensure high-availability, stored objects are replicated to Immedion's geo-diverse data centers, separated by over 350 miles, providing further protection and redundancy. Customers can access their data from anywhere and take advantage of features like object versioning, data integrity and self-healing. Scalable with a nearly infinite capacity, customers can easily increase storage amounts based on their needs. Unlike other providers, Immedion's Object Storage solution allows users unlimited API transactions and predictable monthly billing.

"In today's world, storage needs are increasing exponentially and traditional storage methods are becoming overly expensive and complicated," said Brad Alexander, Immedion's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "We're introducing Immedion's Object Storage solution for enterprise customers who need a practical, modern and reliable solution for storing massive amounts of data."

Stasmayer Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

Stasmayer, Incorporated, an IT support and services provider, announced this week that CRN(r), a brand of The Channel Company, has named Stasmayer to its 2018 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category and to its 2018 Tech Elite 250 list. The MSP500 recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments.

In today's fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role in helping companies leverage new technologies without straining their budgets or losing focus on their core business. CRN's MSP 500 list shines a light on the most forward-thinking and innovative of these key organizations. Moreover, the Tech Elite 250 lists honors an exclusive group of IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology suppliers, scaled to their company size.

"Managed service providers have become integral to the success of businesses everywhere, both large and small," said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. "Capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources and navigate the vast field of available technologies. The companies on CRN's 2018 MSP 500 list stand out for their innovative services, excellence in adapting to customers' changing needs and demonstrated ability to help businesses get the most out of their IT investments.The companies on the Tech Elite 250 list have distinguished themselves with multiple, top-level IT certifications, specializations and partner program designations from the industry's most prestigious technology providers. Their pursuit of deep expertise and broader skill sets in a wide range of technologies and IT practices demonstrates an impressive commitment to elevating their businesses–-and to providing the best possible customer experience."

"At Stasmayer, Incorporated we continue to outdo ourselves year after year, and yet we are still surprised and flattered when we get noticed. In this fast moving world we live in, the world we work in moves even faster. As we continue to forge our own way with the best IT delivery model and unique customer experience, we are extremely excited for what the future holds for our customers and for Stasmayer, Incorporated. We are very proud to add these awards to our growing list . This makes us even more more driven to push what we do even further. It truly is a privilege to do what we do. Plus, it's fun! And putting that fun in to our customers' IT investments has made all the difference. We've got IT going on!" said Richard Krenmayer, CEO, Stasmayer, Incorporated.

Comcast Announces Gigabit Internet Service For Homes And Businesses In Charleston

Comcast announced today that it is launching a new internet service that will deliver speeds up to 1 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) to residential and business customers in Charleston, SC. Starting in late April 2018, Comcast will begin delivering these super-fast speeds using DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem technology, which leverages the existing wiring that most people already have in their homes. The gigabit service will be among the fastest and most widely available in the area, and will include access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi network of more than 18 million hotspots.

"With today's announcement by Comcast, Charleston continues to establish itself as a premier destination for residents and businesses seeking the most advanced technology," said Ernest Andrade, Executive Director at the Charleston Digital Corridor. "We appreciate Comcast's long-standing partnership with the Charleston region, and look forward to enjoying some of the nation's fastest Internet speeds."

Comcast's new 1 Gigabit Internet service uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology that makes it possible for Xfinity and Comcast Business internet customers to receive gigabit speeds over the communications lines that most customers already have in their homes and offices.

"Now more than ever, our customers require the fastest available speeds to support the growing number of devices at home and in the workplace," said Doug Guthrie, Regional Senior Vice President at Comcast. "By using DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem technology, we can now bring gigabit-caliber speeds to the most homes and businesses of any provider across the region."

With a 1 Gigabit connection, customers can:

* Download a 5 Gigabyte HD movie in 40 seconds;

* Download a 600 Megabyte TV episode in four seconds;

* Download a 150 Megabyte music album in two seconds; and

* Download 15 Gigabyte video game in two minutes

The everyday price for residential 1 Gigabit service is $139.95 a month without a term contract. Bundled product pricing is also available.

In addition to residential consumers, this new technology will benefit small businesses that have a need for faster download speeds without costly and disruptive construction of new network facilities.

"Business Internet 1 Gig" and "Business Internet 500" speed tiers will be available to business customers across Charleston. The new service tiers complement other multi-gigabit options already available to Comcast Business customers, including Comcast Business Ethernet, which the company launched and has been expanding nationally since 2011. Those services can support speeds of 100 gigabits per second over fiber.

Customers interested in this new service will need a DOCSIS 3.1-capable modem, such as the company's newest xFi Advanced Gateway, to achieve the faster speeds. New and current customers can visit www.Xfinity.com/gig to learn about the new service and request additional information. Small and mid-sized businesses in buildings already served by Comcast can upgrade to Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500 by calling Comcast or visiting www.business.comcast.com/gig to change their service and order a new modem.

Today's announcement follows a number of moves the company has made to enhance its high-speed Internet offerings, including an expansion of its national Wi-Fi network, which now includes 18 million hotspots; doubling its network capacity every 18 to 24 months; introducing xFi, a free platform that lets customers personalize, manage and control their home Wi-Fi experience, and launching 2 gigabit and 1 gigabit-per-second home Internet services. Comcast has increased Internet speeds 17 times in the past 16 years.

Other recent moves that capitalize on Comcast's growing internet and wireless presence include the April 2017 launch of Xfinity Mobile, which combines the nation's largest and most reliable 4G LTE network with the largest Wi-Fi network. It's available to all Xfinity Internet customers, and includes up to five lines with unlimited nationwide talk and text, no line access fees, and 100 MB of shared data. In September, the company announced it is trialing Instant TV, a new service that lets customers purchase tailored video bundles for in-home or on-the-go streaming without the need for a set top box.

Upcoming Events

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Fridays @ the Corridor - Introduction to React Native

React has quickly become the standard framework to building progressive web applications. At the April Fridays @ the Corridor, Tom Wilson, Chief Technology Innovation Officer of JRS Coding School, a division of Tabula Rasa HealthCare, will introduce you to React Native, a framework for building mobile applications that run native code on both Android and IOS. We will step through the process of building a simple react native application demonstrating the Developer Experience of a react native developer. Learn more and RSVP.

World Wide Technology #TECday

World Wide Technology would like to invite you to #TECday Charleston 2018! As a leading technology integrator we welcome you to see our capabilities, learn about our ATC, and showcase powerful technology solutions with our partners. During the #TECday attendees will hear from industry experts that inspire, build and deliver business results, from idea to outcome. Learn more and register HERE.

Syntax Conference

Coastal South Carolina's premier code event offering practical training and opportunities for application developers. Learn more and register HERE.