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
STATS

Latest News

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Charleston Digital Corridor Launches CharlestonPros

The Charleston Digital Corridor (CDC) is pleased to announce the launch of CharlestonPros, an online professional reference network of companies and freelancers qualified to work with technology companies, irrespective of their stage of development.

By launching the CharlestonPros B2B portal, the CDC seeks to take advantage of a wide array of seasoned, high-quality professionals who have made Charleston their home, many of whom are well-qualified to help local tech entrepreneurs succeed.

"Our objectives are simple," said Charleston Digital Corridor Chairman, Kirk King. "Increase the formation and success of technology companies in the Charleston Region and to support a lean business model by identifying and promoting on-demand professionals who are able to help companies grow."

"Where else can you go for a lawyer, software developer, and a marketing guru in one place? CharlestonPros is a one-stop-shop of which we're excited to be a part," said B.C. Killough, a registered patent attorney and business lawyer at Barnwell Whaley.

"As a small tech business, it is critical that we remain agile by focusing our efforts on what we do best and contracting out the remainder to highly qualified, no-hassle professionals. Having a resource like CharlestonPros allows us to cut out much of the spade work in finding outside help and allows us to remain laser-focused on providing innovative, industry-leading software and services to our end users," said SageSmith Consulting General Partner, Graham Smith.

The CharlestonPros portal is similar to other tools, like CharlestonWorks developed by the CDC in support of the growth of Charleston's high-wage tech economy, one that has grown to over 450 companies since 2001. The development of the CharlestonPros portal was supported by a grant from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

AVOXI Secures $10M in Growth Capital Financing

AVOXI, the leading Communications as a Service (CaaS) provider to global contact centers, today announced a $10M financing round from Ballast Point Ventures ("BPV"). The investment will be used to accelerate product development, sales, and marketing efforts as the Company expands its global reach and service portfolio.

"AVOXI is on a roll," said David Wise, AVOXI founder & CEO, "and this investment is a testament to the work of our entire team. The financing helps fuel the opportunities we have to expand our offerings to serve the contact center needs of our customers around the globe."

Founded in 2001, AVOXI provides global virtual phones numbers and cloud software to more than 2,400 contact centers worldwide. The Company operates from facilities in Atlanta as well as from its Charleston innovation hub.

Today, AVOXI provides toll free numbers from more countries than any other in the industry. The Company also offers local telephone numbers which give businesses the advantage of a virtual presence in markets where a physical location does not exist. In addition, AVOXI's cloud contact center services provide clients predictive technology and tools to help them operate more efficiently.

"We are excited to partner with David and his team to drive continued contact center market leadership and technology innovation," said Paul Johan, Partner at Ballast Point Ventures, who will join AVOXI's Board of Directors. "BPV has a strong history of supporting high-growth cloud software and communications companies throughout the Southeast, and we believe AVOXI has done an impressive job building a global communications business to serve the ever-evolving needs of its customers. We see significant growth opportunities in all phases of the AVOXI business."

"With the capital from BPV and the long history of successful innovation at AVOXI, David has positioned the Company to take advantage of the evolution occurring in the call center software sector," observed Wain Kellum, an existing AVOXI investor, Board member, and serial entrepreneur.

BPV Partner Robert Faber, who will serve as a Board Observer, commented, "We have been very impressed with David and his team. They have built an innovative company, one we believe is poised to capitalize on the big opportunity ahead of them."

DeepBD Launching Its First Charleston Operations

DeepBD, a developer and operator of artificial intelligence platforms, announced new operations in Charleston. The company's $1.6 million investment is projected to create 30 new jobs.

DeepBD's technology is a comprehensive software system for the acquisition, absorption and curation of large-scale datasets integrated with data analytics, using the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. The company's platform uses cutting-edge technology to remove physical computing limitations, allowing DeepBD to inspect and analyze vast amounts of data as it is collected.

"Our decision to relocate all technical development to Charleston, S.C. was an easy one thanks to the tremendous support we have received from the great people at the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, SCRA, Charleston County and many others. Our company is committed to being a great partner to support this incredible community and invest in the future of this great city and state," said DeepBD, Inc. Chairman Patrick McCollum.

"DeepBD is a natural fit for the city of Charleston's vibrant and growing tech sector. We wish the company great success in the years ahead, and appreciate the high-wage, high skill jobs it will bring to our area," said Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg

The company has established its offices at the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) / Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Innovation Center, located at 645 Meeting Street in Charleston, S.C.

Hiring for the new positions is already underway, and interested applicants should visit the company's careers page for more information.

The 10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018

As eco-conscious consumers increasingly look for products that can help them reduce their carbon footprint and deal with other environmental hazards, inventors and manufacturers are responding in kind. Here's a look at some of the smartest sustainable products of the year, from greener shoes to smarter thermostats. (Of course, some would say the most sustainable approach would be to use or reuse the products you already have). Heatworks was among this list- check out the full list here.

Graham Smith, General Partner at SageSmith

Smith: Solving Election Day Challenges With Software

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.

Graham Smith is a general partner at SageSmith Consulting, which he owns with his brother and father. SageSmith Consulting focuses on election management software and counts New York City among its clients. Smith is based in Charleston, and the company has offices in New York City and Burlington, Vt.

Where did you grow up? What are your memories from there?

I grew up in New Hampshire till I was 13, and then my family moved to Vermont. I enjoyed Vermont. It's a great place to visit. It's fun to go visit up North when the snow's around, but I prefer not to live there anymore.

My folks live on Lake Champlain. It's a beautiful lake and beautiful mountains. Growing up there was a lot of fun. I was able to go to a school I loved, a really nice high school.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

In high school, I applied to colleges all around the area – Boston, New York, etc. I happened to have one English teacher who knew someone at Clemson and asked me to apply to Clemson. And that's how I ended up down this way. It was a fluke. I applied there and fell in love with it. I toured in April. It was freezing cold and snowy in Boston. It was 80 degrees and sunny at Clemson, so that helped.

At Clemson, I met my wife, and she is from Charleston. We spent a couple years in Greenville. My wife always jokes that she had a whole argument planned on how to try to convince me to move closer to her family in Charleston, but as soon as she mentioned it, I said, "Great. Our lease is up in two months, let's go find a rental place down there."

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

I've been a nerd my whole life. My father taught me how to program when I was 9. My first job was working as a programmer building websites and web applications for a handful of companies at a company called Nybor. It's since been sold. They gave me a part-time job, so I was able to juggle my high school schedule. I went to school every other day and then went to this company every other day.

It was very entertaining. They had a lot of University of Vermont interns. I was the youngest there as a high school intern. They were always trying to walk that line of a fun atmosphere – we had a foosball table, people were playing video games – and getting the work done. I remember one meeting where they were trying to break bad news to us about the dot-com bubble bursting and we were going to go through some lean times. Somebody put a Whoopee Cushion under the president's chair. It was a goofy environment.

As we grow this business, there are some things I'll take from that. It is important to have fun, I think, but it is important to have that line.

Did you have an entrepreneurial drive early on?

Yeah, I think so. My senior year of high school, I had a car accident and injured my hand, and it made it very, very difficult for me to do much. It was my right hand, and I lost the use of it for a year and a half. I ended up deferring Clemson for a year. In that year, I started the original SageSmith – now it's a different makeup with my father and my brother – but I started an earlier version of it, and we built software for a construction company. I always wanted to be doing something.

In your own words, what does your company do?

Right now, we focus exclusively on election software, election management systems. That's everything from recruiting poll workers, capturing candidates and their fillings and any court challenges. It's facility management systems, where we're keeping track of all the poll sites: Who's the contact over there, and what does the room look like? We have an entire ramps system: Are there ADA ramps and all the other accessibility issues? What's needed to overcome that, so that on Election Day, everything goes off without a hitch?

We have Election Day operations systems. We have support tickets. If anything happens at the poll site, we have tablets onsite that the poll workers have, and they can immediately record an issue. We have technicians and other monitors that have smartphone and tablet applications where they can say, "This machine isn't acting properly," and it will immediately dispatch somebody out there.

We have poll worker standby dispatch. We have an automated poll worker check-in at every poll site. When poll workers come in, they can scan their phones. We give them reminders before the election, saying, "We need you to show up next Tuesday. Are you available?" They can say, "Oh, shoot, I'm not available." And then election administrators will know right away, three days beforehand, that they've only got, say, 80 percent coverage, 90 percent coverage, and then they can fill in.

Then we have election night reporting, and then a whole certification system to help them certify results. I'm sure there's a million other things in there. We have a very large product suite. Above all, we try to solve with software whatever the problem is. Our clients have the election knowledge. Our mission is – whether it's our off-the-shelf offerings or custom consulting work – we will get the information to you, and we will give you the tools to overcome it.

How did you get into elections software?

We started as a subcontractor with New York City a long, long, long time ago. We had done consulting work. Later, when it came to bid on new contracts in 2004, we were there onsite, we were working hand-in-hand, and we were doing what a lot of the bigger companies don't do. We were the owners of the company, we were the programmers, we were everything, the three of us, and we were sitting there in their headquarters, we were at their poll sites, we were watching everything happen. A larger company would have an intern sitting there, and if you need an answer, well, they'll send it up the chain, and maybe you'll hear back. I think that helped us win the contracts outright.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

It's like family. I very much enjoy working with my dad and brother. I don't think all family businesses work out well. Since 2001, in some form other another, the three of us have been working together. We've also worked with my uncle and my cousin. They do software as well. I've heard stories of it not working out very well for some families. For us, it's been great.

It's been helpful to know our own strengths and weaknesses. I think you need double the communication because a lot of things go unsaid in families. We meet every morning at 9:30 via Skype. We do a standup scrum, which is five minutes of what you did yesterday, what you're doing today, what are the roadblocks. We have to do that every day. If you don't say things out loud, if you don't communicate, there's a lot of history as a family where you think you know what they're going to do. It's important when you're running a business to have a roadmap.

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

We do all these amazing web systems for all our clients, and I love it. I love just rolling up my sleeves and helping the client solve their problems. But we sometimes neglect our own sales and marketing site. We'll go years and someone will say, "You know, I was just looking at your website," and we all go, "Ohhh, the website."

We've had to force ourselves to schedule times where we say, "OK, everybody put down the keyboard. Now we're going to discuss our sales targets and we're going to discuss these other things." As a real nerd, it's tough. It's tough to pick your head up out of the keyboard and stop trying to invent new things for our clients.

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

A similar answer to the previous one – we're really focused on solving problems for our clients, and starting with somebody like New York City, we're just diving into it and doing some really cool work there. So as a company, it's like, "How do we grow? What's the right way to grow?"

Do you have a morning routine or ritual? Or, how do you start and end your day?

Well, first, I have two boys who are ages 2 and 3. So a lot of the morning ritual is getting them up and ready for the day. They throw all kind of curveballs at us.

I belong to a free men's workout group called F3. It's a starfish type organization where there's no central administration of it, and what makes it free is you just show up and you take turns leading the workout. It's 45 minutes at 5:30 in the morning. It tends to be a lot of guys in a similar boat with kids, a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of guys who just can't hit the gym after work because you have to pick up a kid from daycare, you have to grab groceries on the way home, you do all kinds of different things. Most of us don't have time except 5:30 in the morning.

I do that three to four times a week. Those days I have the most energy. The other days, I feel like I'm getting more sleep by sleeping in, but I end up being groggy the rest of the day. Nothing beats getting up and working out.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Really understand your strengths and weaknesses. I think that's hugely important. I was fortunate enough to have courses at Clemson in the business department, and they really hammered that home, to really understand yourself as well as you can because that's a huge issue for a lot of entrepreneurs. You think you're good at something, but maybe it's a blind spot for you and you don't realize that you can best give that to someone else or hire outside help.

If you can really hammer that home, then you can find the right people to work with. And you can find the people that bring out the best in what you do best and can fill in on your weaknesses. That way you can really start cooking.

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

That one is something I feel very strongly about because I started as a computer science major and switched to economics. The biggest frustration is how fast tech moves. The programming language, the technology you use, all the things you use to make your software, by the time you graduate, those are all outdated.

I switched to business, and I'm very happy I did. I think I was one of four graduates with a B.A. in economics. I just wanted a very wide range. I took a language, I took extra English classes, I took extra calculus classes. I took a wide range because you have to stay flexible and you have to love to learn.

The tech sector in particular – everything's changing so fast. You have to just roll with it and be willing and eager to absorb new stuff.

What do you see as the future of your company?

Absolutely, we're looking to grow in the election space. We're really hitting on a time right now where we have something unique, especially in the operations aspect of it. Everywhere I go, I'm like, "Man, I wish they had my software here." Not even from a dollars and cents perspective. It's really just like, "I know I can help make this more efficient." It's just helping more jurisdictions. Growing our business and being in more locations.

Having two little boys, I love being in the election space. I love that aspect of our democracy. You go in and everyone thinks they know what's going to happen, but who knows what can happen? Democracy is sometimes messy, sometimes crazy, but it's the best system we have, and it's something I love trying to brainstorm ways to make it as smooth as possible so my boys can grow up and focus on voting, when they're of age, and it looks like it's easy behind the scenes. Like a good wedding. The voters shouldn't be worried about the operations of it.

How do you prevent burnout?

It really is all about family. My wife's family has a lake house in North Carolina. We get away. We just kind of unwind. There's no cell service up there. I'm as disconnected as you can be.

I come home every day to my boys and throw my cell phone on my bedside table and I go upstairs and build a fort or do something. Those are the best times. I'm not going to look back and say, "Man, I'm glad I answered all those emails."

It's the boys and my wife. Getting out in the boat, going out to Morris Island or something.

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

PC. We've done all PC stuff growing up. All of our clients are PC based. And then I have the new Pixel 3. I've been Android from the start.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

I very much stick to just a plain iced coffee.

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

I thank Ernest Andrade in particular for doing all he's done through the Charleston Digital Corridor. I think it gives focus to growing the community and really showcases what's done here.

We are somewhat unique, at least for a small business, in that we're in Vermont and New York City and here. My brother is at a WeWork in New York City, so there's a lot of direct comparisons. The City in particular obviously has a massive tech community, and they're doing everything they can to attract tech companies. Then you've got Vermont trying their best to attract, everybody's falling over themselves in the states to attract tech business. Here in Charleston, we've got the advantage of a beautiful city and the beach and everything else. There are a lot of people that would love to live here but don't realize how vibrant the tech community is here.

It's very cool to be part of something that has a lot of momentum, that's reaching a new level every day. It is very interesting and cool. Whereas my brother is in a very established city, we're in one that's very up and coming. It's been a pleasure to really get to know a lot of hungry entrepreneurs who are trying to shed the "it's just the pretty beaches" and "it's where you have your second home if you're someone investing," or "it's just a stopover point," and transitioning now to, "Hey, we are a pretty competitive city and we are developing some really cool tech here." It's fun to be in that environment. 

Software Can Improve Election Efficiency, Reduce Wait Time

The long lines that Charleston County voters endured for the midterm elections were not merely the result of soaring voter turnout. Political sentiment was high, no doubt. But the situation was compounded when 200 of the 800 poll workers failed to show up for duty, according to news reports. Aging voting machines added another wrinkle in some precincts.

Technology can address these challenges –- and not just in the form of new voting machines. For solutions, we can look to an entrepreneur right here in Charleston's tech community: Graham Smith of SageSmith Consulting. His company specializes in election management software and works with New York City and the five counties it encompasses to manage nearly every aspect of elections.

That includes candidate filings at the start and certification of results at the finish. And, notably, in between, the company's software manages all things related to poll workers, the temporary workforce that serves as the public face of elections. This is one area where software solutions could help Charleston County, according to Smith.

His company's software tracks how many poll workers New York City attracts from recruiting campaigns across different media (e.g., Facebook, print ads, billboards), giving officials insight into which are most effective.

The software manages communications with these workers and allows them to select convenient training sessions. It handles training assessment and poll worker assignments, and it reaches out via text to verify workers' commitment a few days before Election Day.

The software also coordinates a deep bench of backup workers who can be dispatched immediately when needed.

Smith describes how some jurisdictions use a gymnasium as a staging site for standby poll workers. Everyone receives a number, like at the Department of Motor Vehicles. When precincts report problems or vacancies, monitors summon standby workers by number, and election officials put them in cars and send them off to help.

Another software feature works like Uber's dispatch, sending out phone messages when a voter needs special assistance –- a Spanish interpreter, for example. The application pings all qualified individuals to find someone nearby who can respond quickly.

Poll workers can request technicians and experts with the touch of a button when equipment malfunctions or voters have challenging questions, avoiding phone calls that tie up workers and keep lines from moving.

The goal in any election should be to get the highest voter participation. While we cannot affect turnout, the use of technology to make the voting process as efficient as possible may help achieve higher voter participation. "We've been able to find efficiencies there and really streamline the Election Day operations," Smith said.

When it comes to purchasing such tools, one could argue that New York City's 8.6 million population and budget size places it in a different class than Charleston County, home to just over 400,000.

But it's not all or nothing, Smith says. The company provides individual components of its election software to other counties in New York that are similar in size to Charleston County.

News accounts and social media highlighted Charleston County voters who waited as long as three hours to cast ballots in the midterms. How many would-be voters, though, gave up so they could get to work on time, make a doctor's appointment or pick up children before day care closed?

Will those voters try again next time –- or will they begin to view voting as a luxury for the leisurely? It's not overly dramatic to say that our democracy is at stake.

The 2020 general election is likely to draw as much voter enthusiasm, if not more, than the midterms. Charleston County should consider software solutions to ensure every voter has a real chance to cast a ballot.

Upcoming Events

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Blockchain Training for Beginners

The course provides an overview of the Blockchain technology including its history, evolution and the future. Students learn about bitcoin, which is powered by blockchain technology, bitcoin mining, other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Block, Hash, cryptography, how to develop a simple blockchain application. Learn more and register HERE.

TechyTen Coding School

Join us of a fun-filled day of coding, technology and cybersecurity!

  • Who: Children ages 7-11
  • What: Interactive coding and cybersecurity projects incorporated into a life-sized board game
  • Why: Because Coding is FUN!!

This workshop is free and lunch and snacks will be provided. No prior coding experience necessary. Learn more and register here.

Happy Hour Bitcoin Meet and Greet

Discuss bitcoin and related topics over some good food and beer. Look forward to meeting new people interesting in this exciting technology. Primary goals are to promote Bitcoin locally in the Charleston community and help teach what bitcoin and related technology is all about. Learn more and register HERE.

Happy Hour Bitcoin Meet and Greet

Discuss bitcoin and related topics over some good food and beer. Look forward to meeting new people interesting in this exciting technology. Primary goals are to promote Bitcoin locally in the Charleston community and help teach what bitcoin and related technology is all about. Learn more and register HERE.