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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Hunter Stunzi, President and Founder of SnapCap.

SnapCap Founder: Success Requires Attracting People Who Add Value

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 County Economic Development.

Hunter Stunzi is president and founder of SnapCap, an online marketplace offering small businesses quick access to loan options from a variety of lenders. Stunzi started the company in Charleston in 2012 and Charlotte-based Lending Tree acquired it in 2017. SnapCap continues to operate from downtown Charleston with about 35 employees locally. 

Where did you grow up? What was life like?

I grew up in Boston, specifically Marblehead, Mass., which is slightly further to the north. I was there till I was 18, so really that was the foundation of my upbringing, that community. It was a successful, slightly affluent community. I think seeing people in the community that were successful and being able to afford things and have flexibility in life and vacation and what-have-you, I think that sort of got it into me at an early age that, well, this is what you've got to do. You've got to study hard in school, you've got to work hard, you've got to join a great company and make a success of yourself. I think where I was socialized is a big part of who I am now.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

I went to the College of Charleston. What brought me to the College of Charleston was nice weather and sailing. Growing up, I was a very passionate sailor. Really enjoyed racing, and that allowed me to get outside of Massachusetts and travel and see different parts of the world.

When I created my short list of colleges that I wanted to attend, Charleston was the only non-service academy that had a terrific sailing team, other than an Ivy League school. I wasn't going to get into an Ivy League school.

Did you have an entrepreneurial drive early on?

I definitely did. My father was in the import-export business for vehicles. Growing up, it wasn't like he put a suit on every day and got on the train and went to work. He was around the house, restoring vehicles, importing cars from out of the country and selling them nationally. So I definitely think that entrepreneurial blood was already in me from a young age. My mother also had her own decorating and design business. I didn't have a role model that was like the lawyer or the doctor with a nine-to-five. It was sort of like, you do for yourself.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We are a marketplace for online financial products. We provide loan options to small businesses throughout the country.

What we have found is that small businesses, particularly newer businesses, are generally underserved by the banks. I don't think that's intentional. I just think that the banks have a structure that's fairly rigid, very much focused on local and regional lending to specific industries, and saying to qualify for a loan, you have to look like this. It's like when you get a credit card, you have to have a 720 FICO, and if you don't have a 720 FICO, you're not going to get this credit card.

Business lending is a little bit more complex. You're looking at tax returns, you're looking at financial statements, you're looking at time in business, you're looking at the actual operators, the owners and the managers. Once you add all of those elements together, you've got a very long, subjective grading sheet that banks use to be able to make loan decisions. It's inherently complex, inherently expensive to administrate as a bank.

So, for smaller loans – which is what our focus is – particularly up to $1 million, banks have by and large said, "Well, here's a credit card for you," or, "Why don't we give you a real estate loan?" For working-capital needs, businesses haven't had a seamless, easy way to be able to borrow.

What led you to start SnapCap?

SnapCap really was an idea that I conceived of while sitting at Merrill Lynch in my cubicle as a financial advisor, in the process of making a business loan, saying to my partner, "This is just ridiculous. Why does it take two months to get a loan? There's got to be a better way to do it."

We found quickly that there is a better way to do it. There are lenders taking it on. About the time of the financial crisis, you saw a group of fintech lenders pop up. They built some really new technology and raised hundreds of millions of dollars to create processes by which they can make loans same day, virtually, up to a couple hundred thousand dollars, without a hard credit check, without really any financial information.

I initially had aspirations to be a lender, which we did for a short time. But more than that, our idea was, "How can we market to this audience, almost like a broker capacity, and bring these lenders customers and growth that they need?"

The question then became, "Can we build an online experience in which business owners are comfortable sharing their personal information with us?" We'll then use technologies to match people with these different lenders, which are growing in number, to be able to deliver them all the offers back in one place as quickly as possible. We'll have the fastest experience, the lowest possible rates, the best user experience.

That's what we've built here at SnapCap over the last five years.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

We have a very lively, fun, competitive, hard-working sales culture. I would say without hesitation that our sales team will out-hustle any sales team in Charleston.

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

Being entrepreneur is not about one person. I actually believe this – it's all about the people. As a startup founder, for a little while, you can get away with kind of doing it all. But you find very quickly that if you want to be successful, you can't work in the business, you have to work on the business, which is different. If you aren't able to loosen your grip and trust people, you'll never get out of your own way.

While most entrepreneurs come across as having big egos and arrogant and not very relatable, I think there is this sense of humility that you have to have that says, "OK, I don't know this. I don't get this. I'm going to trust somebody else to do it."

I think that's been the biggest lesson, is realizing that a business is not about the entrepreneur or the founder, it's not even about the idea, necessarily, or the service or the website or the partners or how much money you make. Your success is a function of how good you are at attracting and retaining people that add value. If those people all do their jobs, you'll look like a genius.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Confident, competitor, capable, coachable.

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

They should decide what "tech" means to them. Do I want to sell software? What side of tech do I want to be on? Do I want to be on the sales side? Do I want to be on the development side? Do I want to be writing code? What about "tech" am I particularly interested in?

People will just say, "Oh, well, I don't know, software." But what is that software doing? Is it for a social cause like Blackbaud? Is it like LendingTree, where we're trying to empower consumers and businesses by giving them choice and creating a platform for it? Where do I see myself in that community? Where do I think I can bring the most value to myself?

Ideally, right out of college, you should be focusing on what you are good at. I feel like that's sort of an understated thing. It feels like people today say, "Go do what you're really passionate about, what you love." And, yeah, that's fine, there's a place for that. But right out of school, younger people, specifically coming out of school with $100,000 in student-loan debt, or whatever it is, like I did – what can I do to actually pay that off?

I was very practical about it, and I knew that something related to sales was going to be where I would be able to make the biggest impact for myself financially and probably be able to spin up a business. Probably not as a bank teller, counting money.

What do you see as the future of your company?

Now that we've been acquired, we're going to have a much larger presence in the small-business community nationally. Before, as this small, private startup company in Charleston, we didn't really have the budget and the resources to really crank up the company. I'm excited now that we have the people, we have the budget, we have the resources to really take this business to the next level.

By that I mean serve more businesses, take greater market share, do more for our customers, do more for our partners and lenders.

And I'm probably most excited about the career potential that's been created for everybody that works here. The potential prior to the acquisition was if you're in sales, OK, you're going to be a sales manager, maybe. Today, if you want, you can go work in marketing. You can go work in development. You can go work in financial planning and analysis. You can go join management. You can be in HR. There are so many different ways that the people in this company can now advance themselves.

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

PC and iPhone.

What's a book you always recommend?

Anything by Michael Lewis. "The Big Short" – I really enjoyed reading that.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

I don't drink coffee. So it would be unsweetened iced green tea.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

My wife keeps me busy. I spend a lot of time on the water. I really enjoy kiteboarding and recently picked up kiteboard foiling. I'm very passionate about that. Just being on the water is something that I really enjoy. It keeps me going and just clears my mind outside the office.

What has it been like building your team in Charleston?

At times it's been challenging, because I think the qualified candidate pool is a bit smaller with respect to certain areas where we have certain needs. I think initially, when we were growing, we couldn't afford to pay all that much, we didn't have the benefits package and the 401(k) and the health insurance and the big salary and all that, so that was a bit of a challenge. But now that the business has been acquired, we've been in a position to attract more talent with the brand of LendingTree.

We just hired a guy who moved down here from Boston. Never been to Charleston. Moved his whole family here to work for us, which I think says a lot about the brand reach we now have. But only three or four people out on this whole floor are actually from Charleston. They're almost all from places around the country. They've all come here and fallen in love with the city, which isn't hard to do.

Did you consider starting your business anywhere else?

I wanted to stay in Charleston so badly that I had to start a business. That was actually part of why I started the business altogether. I knew that I wasn't going to make it here unless I did something for myself. I wasn't going to be content being a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch or a banker with Wells Fargo. I didn't see myself as a corporate career person. I felt like if I wanted to make Charleston work for myself, I had to do something drastic, which is why I decided to start SnapCap initially. So I could keep this lifestyle going. I like it here. 

The Future of Charity is now on the Blockchain; Interview with Clay Braswell, the CEO of Commit Good

Clay Braswell is the CEO of Commit Good and a social entrepreneur working in the charitable space for over 15 years. His goal is to utilize technology to solve human needs, which we will see in his latest project; Commit Good. In this interview, Clay will be telling us more about Commit Good, his mission and the opportunities for everyone.

What is Commit Good?

Commit Good is a charitable resource platform that utilizes the blockchain and a digital currency. Our goal is to introduce charities to the blockchain along with helping them locate other resources like in-kind donations and volunteers (among other future enhancements).Read more HERE

Fabio Rosati, Snag Chairman & CEO

SNAG Announces Appointment Of Fabio Rosati As Chairman And CEO

Snag, the largest platform for hourly work, today announced the appointment of Board Member and former Upwork CEO Fabio Rosati, as the company's Chairman and CEO. Rosati was CEO of Elance, which later became Upwork, from 2001 to 2015. Under his leadership, Upwork became the world's largest gig economy platform for skilled work with 14 million users in 180 countries and more than $1 billion in annual billings.

"Hourly workers constitute nearly 60 percent of the U.S. workforce, and Snag's mission of helping people get jobs and shifts at more than 300,000 employer locations in the U.S. and Canada is a source of inspiration and pride for all of us," Rosati said. "Since Snag's founding, we remain focused on providing the fastest and most trusted way to match job seekers with work, and employers with the team members they need."

"Snag's team is creating a world where people can get hourly work and employers can find workers on demand, providing opportunities for job seekers to maximize their potential," said Snag Board Member Habib Kairouz, Managing Partner of Rho Capital Partners, Inc. "Fabio Rosati brings to Snag a successful track record as a leader and innovator in marketplace platform businesses, particularly in the on-demand work space. I can think of no one better suited to guide the teams and the technology that will take the company to the next level of success."

Rosati takes the helm from Peter Harrison, who had served as CEO since 2013, leading the company through a significant period of growth and change. More than five million workers are hired each year via Snag, representing approximately one out of every four restaurant, retail and hospitality hires made in the U.S.

"Under Peter's leadership, Snag has become the undisputed leader in hourly hiring, growing the core business by over 300 percent and we are pleased that he will continue to be a trusted advisor to the board and the executive team," Kairouz said.

"I am truly proud of what we've accomplished over the past five years at Snag, and I could not be more confident in this team's ability to drive the business going forward," Harrison said. "Fabio has been a member of the Snag board since 2017, and has a strong understanding of our company and our culture. I pass the baton to him with complete confidence in his leadership and in the company's future."

Stasmayer Ranked Among Top 501 Global Managed Service Providers by Channel Futures

Stasmayer, Incorporated ranks among the world's 501 most strategic and innovative managed service providers (MSPs), according to Channel Futures 11th-annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings. Stasmayer's ranking at no. 231 positions them among the world's best for the fifth year in a row. The MSP 501 is the first, largest and most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers worldwide. This year Channel Futures received a record number of submissions. Applications poured in from Europe, Asia, South America and beyond.

As it has for the last three years, Channel Futures teamed with Clarity Channel Advisors to evaluate these progressive and forward-leaning companies. MSPs were ranked according to our unique methodology, which recognizes that not all revenue streams are created equal. We weighted revenue figures according to how well the applicant's business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

"For the past four years, Stasmayer has been honored to be included on the MSP 501. For the fifth year in a row now, we have met the challenge of keeping ourselves on that list with the rest of the world's best. We do nothing short of landing a spaceship on the moon every day, and it is an honor to be recognized for the dedication our team has to our customers. Cheers to our customers and to the incredible team at Stasmayer for making this journey possible. We're again reminded that **We've got IT going on!"**said Richard Krenmayer, CEO, Stasmayer, Incorporated.

Channel Futures is pleased to honor Stasmayer, Incorporated. "This year's applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market," says Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor of the MSP 501. "They're growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come."

The full MSP 501 report, available this fall, will leverage applicant responses, interviews and historical data to identify business and technology trends in the IT channel. The complete 2018 MSP 501 list is available at Channel Futures. Highlights will include:

  • Revenue growth and business models
  • Hiring trends and workforce dynamics
  • Business strategies
  • Service deliverables
  • Business tools and automation investments
Commit Good CEO, Clay Braswell

Failure is Not a Representation of Who You Are, Says Commit Good 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.

Clay Braswell is founder and CEO of Commit Good, a company based in downtown Charleston that is combining cryptocurrency with charitable giving. Braswell started Commit Good in 2012, and the company now has 10 full-time employees.  

In your own words, what does your company do?

We connect charities with resources – monetary, in-kind and volunteers – utilizing the blockchain and a digital currency called the GOOD token.

What inspired you to start this company?

My mother passed away from cancer and I realized life is really short and that we fool ourselves by thinking tomorrow will be like today. I wanted to build a global platform that would produce life-changing results for people in poverty.

Where did you grow up? What was life like?

I have lived in a lot of different places, but Alabama will always be home. I was raised in a traditional values environment: have faith, love your family and friends, help your neighbor and, most importantly, win sporting contests.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

I had a couple of software projects underway in Charleston, so I was traveling here multiple times a week and thought, "Why am I not living in Charleston?" It is an awesome city, and I can't think of a place anywhere in the world I would rather live than here.

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

My first job was in high school and I was a Little League Baseball umpire. I learned parents and competitive sports can escalate quickly, so you need great conflict-resolution skills.

What is your management style? Why is that your approach?

Hands-on. I hate the term "vision casting." I think leaders should be willing to take the arrows and be the last one off the battlefield.

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

I think good bosses love what they do and bring a sense of excitement and humility, which make the tough situations easier to navigate. Bad bosses are always trying to overcompensate and make the workplace miserable.

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

You are going to have failures. Failure is not a representation of who you are as a person. Dust yourself off and keep moving.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

That it's great being the final decisionmaker or calling the shots. Entrepreneurs make a lot of daily decisions. Trying to see all of the angles and blind spots is an exhausting process.

Do you have a morning routine?

Arrive at the gym by 7 a.m. It's my Zen time. I pack my gym bag before bed so once the alarm goes off, I'm out the door in 10 minutes.

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

Like most entrepreneurs, I can't think of an obstacle that I haven't faced. You have to stay open and flexible because, a lot of times, obstacles really create the pivot needed to find success.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Does this person have to be trained, or are they ready? We look for someone that contributes from day one.

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

Long business conversations. Tell me exactly what you want or need from the beginning.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

It's not an "I'll try it" type of scenario. If you are not willing to go all in, it's not going to work.

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

Along with your current skillset, focus on project-management experience. On time and on budget is a sweet melody.

What do you see as the future of your company?

A global blockchain software platform that creates a charitable economy.

How do you prevent burnout?

Keep the main thing, the main thing. Burnout creeps in from wasting time on things you should have avoided. At all costs, cut negative people out of your business and personal circle.

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

My first business partner was a retired executive that wanted to start a new company. He was 62 and I was 22. I learned a wealth of knowledge from his years of experience, understanding what the puzzle pieces are and how to put them together.

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

PC. iPhone.

What's a book you always recommend?

The Bible. Take away all of the preconceptions and read it for yourself.

"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Venti coffee – half decaf, cream.

Do you see any challenges recruiting tech talent to Charleston?

Building a blockchain company is more challenging because the number of people in the world that have a smart contract coding skillset is very limited. I would say Charleston has less than 10 people that have deployed a smart contract on a public network. But we have an advantage because of the nature of what we are building and haven't really faced any problems.

Upcoming Events

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Fridays @ the Corridor - Organically Grow Your Business’ Visibility

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a foreign term to many businesses, can be the best secret weapon against your competition. A thoroughly researched and thought out organic search strategy can help your business better connect with customers, optimize your website for different segments of the purchase funnel, and deliver a sustainable return on investment in the long-term.

At the August Fridays @ the Corridor event, learn from Search Engine Optimization expert Cooper Hollmaier, Technical SEO Manager at Visiture. With a wealth of experience in developing and executing complex SEO initiatives for businesses small and large, Cooper will leave you with actionable insights into your business' organic search strategy and a deeper understanding of the online landscape. Learn more and register HERE.

Chucktown Floods Hack

The purpose of the project is to develop a tool or framework that would allow stakeholders (business and industry, municipalities, and individual homeowners) to navigate the available resilience tools and data centered on flooding in the Charleston County area. Stakeholders can then make informed, proactive decisions in the face of coastal hazards and create a more sustainable and knowledgeable community. Register HERE.

Geektoberfest

Join us for the 2nd annual Geektoberfest as we celebrate Charleston's thriving IT community and craft beer industry. We will provide authentic German cuisine and beer tastings from your favorite local breweries! Learn more and register HERE.