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 Announces 2018 iFiveK Race

The Charleston Digital Corridor, along with title sponsor Charleston County Economic Development, is pleased to announce that registration for the 2018 Innovators' 5k (iFiveK) is officially open. The race will be held at Riverfront Park on March 22nd, 2018 at 6:30pm. Proceeds from this annual race benefit the Digital Corridor's CODEcamp and CODEcamp Kids scholarship fund and other education programming. Confirmed sponsors include Charleston tech companies BoomTown, Blackbaud, City of North Charleston and Snagajob.

"Charleston County Economic Development is proud to return as the title sponsor of the iFiveK race. Our commitment to growing and supporting the tech community is demonstrated in our valued partnership with the Charleston Digital Corridor. We look forward to a fun evening celebrating with Charleston's top tech professionals," said Steve Dykes, Executive Director of Charleston County Economic Development.

"Charleston's tech community is built on creativity, grit and a bright, vibrant edge that no other city has. We love the opportunity to run with our local tech community companies that are making a national impact. Our teams look forward to that feeling you get when you see that you're not just part of a company, you're actually part of a growing city making a big difference," said Snagajob Senior Director, Jason Conrad.

The iFiveK has become a favorite athletic and networking event for Charleston's tech community. As one of only a handful of evening, weekday races in the region, the iFiveK historically sells out ahead of the event. For 2018, the Charleston Digital Corridor has updated the post-race events to include field competitions for company teams ranging from 2-5 participants. "As we have done since 2007, the Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to host an event where the tech community comes together for a fun evening of competition and networking," said Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. "The growth and vibrancy around our tech community is super exciting."

Ceterus HQ - Charleston, SC

Ceterus Acquires Sandwich Math

Ceterus, a Charleston, S.C., firm that provides managed bookkeeping and tax services for quick-service restaurants, has acquired Sandwich Math, an accounting and bookkeeping firm that focuses on sandwich restaurant franchises.

The acquisition expands Ceterus' base of restaurant customers, and its ability to provide them with benchmarked reporting. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sandwich Math specializes in franchisees of sub sandwich brands. "Essentially they're focused on franchisees in the Jimmy John's network," Ceterus CEO Levi Morehouse told Accounting Today. "They are what we call a 'done for you' accounting solution, where they essentially are your bookkeeper, your accounting software, and everything all in one. You as the franchisee or business owner, the entrepreneur, just receive financial statements, where Sandwich Math collects the data they need from your bank accounts, your point of sale system, whatever sources of data are needed to do your bookkeeping and accounting. They collect that and produce financial statements and reports for you, the franchise owner or entrepreneur."

Ceterus serves thousands of small businesses and franchisees, including Little Big Burger and Burger Joint outlets, with its managed bookkeeping and tax services. The company's Edge system automates entries into QuickBooks Online and aggregates financial data to provide peer benchmarked reporting.

"We're more of a tech firm," said Morehouse. "We're VC backed as of recently. We started as a pure outsourcer of accounting and bookkeeping for the small business. We do your bookkeeping in the cloud for you. We started that in 2008, but two years ago, we went and raised venture capital to start building a platform to actually automate much of the bookkeeping component of what we do."

Ceterus has grown from 30 to 120 staff members in the past 18 months, thanks to its VC funding. The company raised $10.2 million in funding, led by Grotech Ventures in the D.C. area, and Tech Operators in Atlanta. This is its first acquisition.

"What we do today is we're automated bookkeeping and accounting, and benchmarked reporting," said Morehouse. "Just like Sandwich Math focuses exclusively on Jimmy John's franchises, we focus on specific small business verticals ourselves, oftentimes in franchise concepts, but we're in many more of them, and we automate the bookkeeping process. We have a team of accountants that reviews the financials and discusses and analyzes things for the customers, but we use heavy automation. Then the reporting platform that we've developed takes those financial statements and benchmarks them with an aggregate of your peers, so you get to see how your specific small business location or franchise location stacks up on all kinds of key metrics."

FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn

Net Neutrality Repeal Would Hurt Rural South Carolina, FCC's Clyburn says

South Carolina's longtime representative on the Federal Communications Commission is worried the state could be hard-hit if net neutrality rules are repealed, saying there isn't enough competition in rural areas to protect customers. Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic appointee, says she fears telecommunications companies will trample consumers if open-Internet regulations are canceled. Those rules would be cut under a plan proposed last week by President Donald Trump's administration. Read more:

Editor Note: The CDC supports Net Neutrality.

Charleston Tech Stalwart Benefitfocus To Replace Founding CEO Next Year

One of the Charleston region's largest technology employers is replacing its founding chief executive officer, who will give up the reins in January after 17 years in the top job.

Benefitfocus Inc., which is headquartered on Daniel Island, said Monday that Shawn Jenkins will step back at the end of the year after growing the business from a tiny Mount Pleasant startup to a publicly traded corporation worth nine figures. Read more:

Executive VP and Chief Technology Innovation Officer at Tabula Rasa Health Care, Tom Wilson

What Tabula Rasa’s Wilson Learned About Business From Tree Forts

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.

Tom Wilson is executive vice president and chief technology innovation officer for New Jersey-based Tabula Rasa Health Care's JRS Innovation Center, located in Mount Pleasant. The JRS Innovation Center includes a coding school open to the Charleston community. Wilson in 2007 founded Jack Russell Software, a local custom software shop that Tabula Rasa later acquired. Locally, Tabula Rasa employs about 30 people.

Where did you grow up? What was life like?

For the most part, in the Atlanta, Ga., area. My dad was a football coach, so we moved from school to school a lot. I was very involved in sports and computers and building things. Every time we moved to a different house, I would always try to figure out how to build a tree fort. I would meet the neighborhood kids, and we would get together and build tree forts. I think I probably built five or six.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

After college, I got the opportunity to do some contract work with a company called CarePoint in Charleston. My parents had just relocated to North Charleston. So I got a place to stay and a full-time job and fell in love with the city from that point on. That was around '94 or '95.

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

When I was young, I did a lot of cutting the grass, working as cleanup crew on construction sites. Those may not count as real jobs, but I got money and I was happy. Then in high school, around my junior or senior year, I got a job at a place called American Fare, which was what Wal-Mart is today, sort of a consumer goods and grocery store. It was one of the first ones. I was a worker in the sporting goods department. I learned a lot about hard work and working with people. I had to talk to a lot of people and help them choose their sporting equipment.

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

I would say I had a drive to create, build and lead. I really enjoyed the process of figuring out how to group the kids together, convince them that a tree fort is an awesome thing in the neighborhood and gather the materials, come up with a plan and see that built. All the time, I am pitching what an awesome thing a treehouse would be, but I really enjoyed the process of leading and building.

As soon as it was built, I was looking for something else to do. I think I was more entrepreneurial in the business sense instead of looking to bring in a lot of revenue. I was not really motivated by making a lot of money at that point in time.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We lead technology innovation through labs, programs and training focused on Tabula Rasa Health Care and the Charleston community.

What was the progression from Jack Russell Software, your original business, to where you are today?

When I left CarePoint, I became vice president of software development for a company called ExcelleRx, which focused on hospice and hospice medication management. That company saw tremendous growth from 2001 to 2005. I decided there was something to this idea of building custom software and providing valuable data to help companies that are looking to grow and rapidly move through their marketplace.

That's where I got the idea to start Jack Russell Software, a small, custom software shop that was really focused on being a development shop for companies that couldn't afford to have their own development shop, and build the software they need that could change and move as their business changes and moves. I was fortunate to work in a lot of different spaces, from education to marketing and healthcare.

One of the clients was CareKinesis, which is now Tabula Rasa Health Care. They contracted us to build a couple of custom products. One is the flagship product that we have today. Around 2010, I met with the CEO of CareKinesis, and having a healthcare background, I was a big fan of the mission and thought that it was a smart move to come together and be that development shop inside CareKinesis full time. CareKinesis was a startup in its own right, just getting started in 2010. We've been pretty successful. We've grown over 30% every year since 2010, and we did an IPO last September.

Last year, Tabula Rasa Health Care launched the JRS Innovation Center. The JRS Innovation Center, which stands for Jack Russell Software, is this office (in Mount Pleasant) where we focus on doing research and development. I am the chief technology innovation officer. We focus on technology innovation and research development. We do programs like hackathons and conferences. And we also have a coding school, which is the JRS Coding School. We launched that in September last year.

The coding school is really to help train people in the community. It's very much focused on giving people an opportunity to learn to code in a 12-week program versus the normal four-year or two-year educational programs. It's mainly for folks who are looking to change careers or people who have already graduated college and are looking to get into the software development field. The goal of the course is to help you go from knowing a little bit, like building a web page, to being able to build a full-stack application.

You helped the Charleston Digital Corridor establish its CODEcamp training programs for adults and middle schoolers, and now you run JRS Coding School. Why is that a focus for you?

The saying is, "software is eating the world." In pretty much every profession, more and more software is being introduced. We don't have enough engineers now, and it's not like we're trimming down. The new iPhone just came out and has facial recognition. There's a new technology innovation every month, it seems like. If there's anyone who's interested in learning to code and solving problems, there's going to be high demand for a long, long time.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

Passionate, self-driven and constantly pursuing mastery of skills. We're very passionate about the purpose that we are trying to solve as a business. We've very much self-driven, so we don't need people to tell us what to do. And we want to be the best at our career. We really pour a lot into education and training because this field is constantly moving, and it's constantly getting better. In order to stay current as a software developer, you have to commit to learn all the time.

What is your management style? Why is that your approach? Has it changed over time?

The most success I've had with a management style is focusing on communicating vision, mission and purpose, and empowering the team members to focus on the intention or the action, and really getting out of their way and letting them do the great job that they know how to do.

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

Lessons from good bosses would be leading by example, communicating vision and empowering your team. Lessons from the bad would be to speak straight, be transparent. Let people know what the intent is, what the vision is, where you are going, and give them an opportunity to provide value and provide feedback. And never point the finger at anybody. There's not a lot of good that can happen.

Realize that every challenge is an opportunity for everyone to learn and do better, and if you go at this hard problem that we're trying to solve and go through our day-to-day with that attitude, then great things will come out. There's no need to do the reverse of that.

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

I'm still learning, but I would say the hardest lesson that I'm still learning is to underpromise and overdeliver. It's easy to get super excited about solutions that you're coming out with, or technology or science, and say, "Oh, this is amazing. This is going to do all these things." Then you get to the customer or consumer and they are disappointed because it doesn't do everything that you said it did.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

If you look at it from the outside, you might say, "Oh, they're an entrepreneur, they're in control of their own company, their own team and their own day-to-day work." I think that's not true. If anything, getting out there and starting a business or starting a service, you realize quickly how little control you have. It's not about being in control. It's about coming up with an idea and getting a group of people to work together to provide solutions that create opportunity to distribute that idea.

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

Every day there are barriers, obstacles – or you could say challenges and opportunities. There have been several throughout my career. One of the things about overcoming any challenge is to get clarity of mission and stay to that mission.

It's OK to change how you get there, but it's very important to understand your vision and mission and stick with it, and have faith and confidence that you will clear those obstacles and barriers.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Passionate, purpose-driven team players with a deep desire to learn and get better. Learning to code – and learning anything – is really, really hard. I read a statistic a few years ago about guitar: A lot of people try to learn the guitar, and they get to a point to where it gets really hard, and a lot of people give up. What we look for are the people that push past that point, that are willing to learn and then fight to get over that hill, even though they know they are going to get to another hill.

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

The lack of a team-based mindset or approach.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

I would recommend that you understand a business domain really, really well before you jump in to start a company in that domain. Because if you don't fully understand it on the outside, your great idea may look great, but it may be hard to get adoption.

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

Trying to find that first job is really, really hard. Even knowing how to code, knowing how to do the job, you have to keep coding every day to keep up your skillset. Don't give up. Continue to publish any work that you do and talk about it. Get out into the community, go to events, talk to as many technologists as you can, introduce yourself and really seek opportunistic meetings. Even though it's a large industry, it's still very much a word-of-mouth process.

The last thing is to do some pro bono work or do some work for nonprofits while looking to get a job. It can't hurt to add value to folks that may not be capable of affording software development work but need it. Look for opportunities to give, and then other opportunities will come your way.

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

My dad is the biggest influence on my life. He's a great leader, a football and golf coach. He really helped a lot of high school kids find their way into the world. He taught for over 50 years. Truly, he's my hero, and I've learned a lot about life in general from him.

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

Three times a week I get up at 5:30 in the morning and I go to a fit body boot camp and do that for 30 minutes. I absolutely love it, and I absolutely hate it. But it's a great routine that I've been doing for a year now. If I don't do it first thing in the morning, it's never going to get done. It helps center me and set my day.

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

Mac, iPhone.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Diet Coke. I think if I just had an IV of Diet Coke...but if I'm at Starbucks, I get the iced vanilla latte, because I can say that without making a fool of myself.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

I have two kids, 9 and 2. Pretty much whatever they're into is what I'm doing outside of work.

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

I moved here in '94 or '95, and I'm really amazed how Charleston's technical community has grown. I came as a young developer, and I was very unaware of any community happenings or events. The Charleston Digital Corridor was started in 2001. I got involved in the community when I started Jack Russell Software in 2007. I knew when starting Jack Russell Software that I wanted to make sure I committed to not only running a business but also putting some time and effort into the technology community here. I started a local meetup focused on Ruby on Rails, and later a meetup focused on JavaScript, and got connected with the Digital Corridor.

I have been trying to help grow the community ever since, and also trying to convince other developers that it's worth growing this community, that there is value here. I don't think, with the growth that we've seen, that that's a needed message anymore. There are meetups every week. I am pretty excited about how we continue to grow, and I'd love to see for our community to double every two years. I think we have a long runway ahead. 

Upcoming Events

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CODEcamp Meetup

Technology is in every aspect of our lives. Attend our CODEcamp meetup to learn the basis of what drives the technology we use every day. It may just spark an interest that leads you to pursue a career in web development.

During the CODecamp meetup, you will:

  • Learn about our Introduction to Web Development course
  • Meet our expert instructors
  • Hear about tech ed opportunities beyond CODEcamp

Register HERE.

Intro to Web Development

CODEcamp is a continuing tech education program designed for busy adults exploring a potential new career in the software industry or working professionals seeking a career change. Students learn the fundamentals of web development (HTML, CSS & Javascript) in a hands-on classroom environment. This CODEcamp class:

  • Introduces coding & web development in a convenient and affordable after-hours format
  • Help uncover a passion and potential career in the high-wage, high-demand tech industry
  • Features a balance of lecture & lab with students writing code from the very first class
  • Are delivered by passionate professionals from Charleston's tech companies

Learn more and register HERE.