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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American Entrepreneurship Is Flourishing, If You Know Where To Look

At first glance, it seems that America's economy is losing its mojo. Many economists, most notably Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, have lamented that productivity growth seems to be anaemic when compared with earlier golden eras (see Free exchange). A gloomy chorus of business leaders has echoed what media outlets have by now turned into a mantra, that American entrepreneurship is in steady decline. Surely America's overall competitiveness, then, is plummeting? Read More:

Heatworks Announces Open House & Preview of the MODEL 3 Water Heater

On Wednesday, November 15th from 4 to 7pm, Heatworks will host an open house in its newly renovated office space and lab at 2353 N Highway 17. Attendees will be able to take a tour of the facility, including the recently upgraded lab, and learn about the company's flagship product, the MODEL 3 Water Heater powered by its patented Ohmic Array Technology.

The MODEL 3 is an internet-connected tankless electric water heater that provides instant, endless hot water at your desired temperature with unmatched purity, precision and performance. Unlike other water heaters, it uses graphite electrodes in place of traditional metal heating elements. Through advanced electronic controls, the naturally occurring minerals in water are excited, directly and efficiently heating the water. Nothing in the MODEL 3 gets hotter than the water itself, resulting in zero scaling and corrosion over time, even in hard or soft water. And, since the MODEL 3 uses water as the heating element, the hot water that comes from the unit is purer than water from any other water heaters available in the industry today. The water heater can be paired with a WiFi-enabled phone app that offers insights into users' water and energy usage, as well as allows them to accurately maintain their temperature preference within one degree Fahrenheit. The MODEL 3 is also 99% energy efficient and can save homeowners money on their electric bill each month. Heatworks also offers a 6-year full unit exchange guarantee.

The MODEL 3 received national accolades during its successful Kickstarter launch in May 2017 from Huffington Post, TechHome Builder, GadgetFlow, among others. It is currently in production and can be pre-ordered at www.myheatworks.com. The MODEL 3 will tentatively ship in December 2017.

Heatworks' Founder and CEO Jerry Callahan has called Charleston home for the last 25 years. "The technology behind the MODEL 3 was born out of frustration with getting hot water delivered to my outdoor shower on Sullivan's Island." He was sure if it was happening to him, then other people were probably having the same dilemma. "The tankless electric water heaters that were available on the market simply didn't work. I wanted to change that." Callahan not only solved the initial problem, but with Ohmic Array Technology, his team is now changing the way the world heats water.

In keeping with the Charleston-proud theme, those in attendance will also enjoy tasty BBQ, craft beer and wine all from local favorites and be entered for a chance to win door prizes, including a MODEL 3, which will be given away at the event. Additionally, free parking will be available at Christ Church located at 2304 N Highway 17. A shuttle will be onsite for pickups and drop-offs.

For more information or to register to attend the open house, go here.

ABOUT HEATWORKS

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Heatworks team came together to not only create the best tankless water heater on the market, but also to change the way the world heats water. Through its patented Ohmic Array Technology, Heatworks leverages the natural conductivity of water to generate heat in the simplest, purest and most efficient way. People save money and help to preserve Earth's most precious resources: water and energy. For more information about Heatworks, visit www.myheatworks.com. Product imagery of the MODEL 3 Water Heater by Heatworks can be accessed here.

Charleston Cybersecurity Firm PhishLabs Lands $3 Million in Investments

The cybersecurity startup PhishLabs says it has raised $3 million to grow its engineering and sales efforts, marking its third round of financing in five years.

PhishLabs, which is headquartered on the upper peninsula, says "several" of its existing investors increased their stakes in the company, including Atlanta-based Fulcrum Equity Partners. Among the six investors in the latest round is a newcomer to the company's cap table, Charleston-based Alerion Ventures. Read more.

Julie Moreland, Vizbii CEO

Vizbii’s Moreland on Starting, Ending the Day Tech-Free

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.

Julie Moreland is CEO of Vizbii, which is short for visual business intelligence. Vizbii is the creator of Morphii, a platform that provides emoji-like tools for customers to express emotion, giving companies actionable insights on their experiences. Vizbii, founded in 2016, is located in downtown Charleston.

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

I grew up in a town called Winston, Ga, which is maybe 30 miles outside of Atlanta. I can't imagine it being much better. Go carts, trails through the woods, swimming in the summer in the creeks.

My mom's parents raised us, for the most part, because my mom was very career-focused, and so was my dad. I got it from both sides of my family, being very focused on business. My mom ran the largest buying group of an ad agency in Atlanta at the time. I grew up watching the commercials, as opposed to skipping – well, you couldn't skip them in those days. My dad was a developer. He developed both commercial real estate and residential properties. Rode out the markets and won and lost everything, a couple of times.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

I started my first business in 1989. I left the corporate world and started a business in Atlanta doing behavioral assessments. In 2002, I moved the business, PeopleClues, out to the West Coast and grew it. One of my partners was a Charleston-based company called PeopleMatter. They were buying our products, and they made an offer along with a Houston-based company that was bidding for us. I said, you know, this is probably the right time to get some equity back out for my business partners. So I sold to PeopleMatter (later acquired by Snagajob), went onto their executive team, and I moved in late 2013. That's what brought me to Charleston.

What drew you to your current business?

In the middle of 2014, I met Dr. Brian Sullivan, who was the founder of Morphii. I met him for breakfast, and listening to him talk about his vision for Morphii and what it could do for business and for individuals themselves, I literally got chills. I said, "This is my next gig."

I just looked at him and I said, "I don't know why I want to help you, but I want to help you. I've got a 90-hour-a-week job going, but I'm going to moonlight with you and help you build your business plan and figure out how to get your funding. This is something that needs to exist in the world."

So we started working just a little bit, after hours, thinking about what is the business model, when it dawned on me that the same business model I used to build this company called PeopleClues to sell it to PeopleMatter is perfect for this thing that you're building. One night I just looked at him and his partner, Corley Sullivan, who was the other founder, and I said, "Guys, I can take this baby that you have and go do something really special with it. And I want to work with you." So they offered me the CEO role.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We have created a digital way for people to look at a face and dial in their exact emotion, the way that they feel. Companies then, using that data, can better understand and predict what that customer is going to do next, and be able to actually affect that in advance.

To give you an example, let's say you're in Starbucks. Starbucks has an app. While you're in there getting your beverage, a Morphii could appear and say, "How do you feel about your experience with the barista today?" You could stay I'm disgusted, I'm happy, I'm meh. Let's say that you had soy milk in there and the soy milk was off, and you're disgusted by the experience.

A disgust experience is rooted in anger, and angry people will hurt you. They are the ones likely to tweet, to post on Instagram or something and say, "Ugh, look at this, this is disgusting." I actually want to lash out and hurt Starbucks. If you dialed in disappointment, disappointment is rooted in sadness. I really wanted you to get this right. I want you to make it right.

Well, in real time, that Starbucks, seeing that someone has dialed in disappointment, they can immediately push out a coupon and say your next one's on us, we guarantee we're going to get it right for you. The angry, disgusted person just wants to be left alone. You just need to apologize. All this can be built into the Starbucks app. That's a way of using Morphii for a brand.

What do you see as the future of your company?

The vision for Vizbii is we already have a couple of other technologies that we are going to do next. Morphii is the first of many platforms that we are going to build.

The vision for Morphii is anywhere, anytime, anyplace where you as a human being want to express an emotion about something, Morphii is an option sitting there for you. You're on Amazon doing a review. Instead of the dreaded five-star – that doesn't tell you anything. I don't actually know how you feel. The vision is we will live in all these platforms everywhere. Companies that even use the IBM Watson platform for analyzing text will also be using Morphii data along beside that. That becomes a way for me to be understood, and a way for that organization to understand.

And as that's happening, organizations will want to take us off of the market, and they will buy that technology from us, and then we will go build the next one.

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

My first real job was at IBM, and I said within two weeks, "I will never survive here. This is just too corporate." I went from there to Georgia Pacific. I thrived a little bit more at Georgia Pacific. This is going to date me: PCs were just coming out then, and no one had them at their desk. They were literally being rolled in on a cart. People were fighting over them and saying, "I need the PC today." Georgia Pacific put me in a role that never existed before, and it was an interpreter.

I sat in executive meetings where you had finance/CPA type people saying, "This is the type of data we need and how we need it," and then you have data processing people who were managing these massive main frame computer systems, saying, "Well, we've never output anything like that before." I would basically sketch out what you needed to build in terms of code that would give these people the kind of report and data they were looking for. Sort of an interpretive role. I would take downloads of data from a main frame and put it in to spreadsheets and build formulas and then hand it to the accounting people. I was in heaven.

But the problem was they had no female executives. They looked at me, I think I was like 24 at the time, and they said, "Let's promote Julie." That's when things went south because they took me out of this really cool entrepreneurial think-tank role and they put me into an accounting department managing like 15 accountants, in charge of billions of dollars of building products and all these distribution centers. That's not really where I wanted to be.

I left there and went to a small company, they had 25 employees, called Front End Systems. They basically went into law firms, installed computers, trained all the staff on the computers. I thought this was kind of ideal. I took everything off my resume, because I didn't want to be in charge of a bunch of stuff. I just wanted to go and contribute my thought, my strategy to something.

I worked for this company as their bookkeeper, accounting, strategy and all of that, and the owner came to me and said, "You've been withholding something from me. I heard from a CPA friend of mine that you did this, this, this and this at Georgia Pacific, and you were at IBM." I said, "Well, yeah, that's true." He said, "Why didn't you put any of that on your resume?" I said, "Because I didn't really want to run things." I just wanted to contribute. He said, "Well, I want you to run the company. I want to promote you." I said, "I'll think about it." I went away and thought, here we go again. I was being put in a role that I really was not looking for. But it was great because it was a 25-person company and I could control everything.

That was when I really realized, OK, I am an entrepreneur. I like to run things. I don't want to be put in middle management someplace where you have all the responsibility for it, but you have no authority to make any real decisions strategically for the company. That was really the turning point for me. From there, I went out on my own and started my first business, and I loved it. I started selling behavioral assessments. I was fascinated by the idea that you could measure people and match them to jobs and go, these are your core characteristics, and this is the type of job that would be suited for you.

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

If I had to put everything in perspective at this point, I think my family ultimately ended up being the biggest influence because of the longevity of that influence.

My mom and dad both instilled in us this work ethic of just keep going and always do the right thing. I learned a lot from my mom. One of the jokes we had is, she had people coming in and out of her office all day long, and I would say, "Mom, how do you deal with all these interruptions?" And she said, "Well, when I'm done, I stand up, and they know to leave."

And then my dad, he has a really thick accent. In my early career at IBM and Georgia Pacific, people would actually sort of make fun of me for my accent because everyone I worked with at IBM was from White Plains, N.Y., and had moved to the South. They would say, "Hey, tell me something else." They literally just wanted to hear me talk. I thought, "OK, they're kind of making fun of me." At Georgia Pacific, they were all from the Northwest and had moved to Atlanta, so the same thing. I said to my dad, "How do you get around this in business?"

He kind of got a grin. He said, "Well, that's my secret weapon. Everybody underestimates me." This country boy shows up for meetings, in his jeans, and most of the time he had a beard. He said, "They totally think I'm a hick and I don't know what I'm doing. So, I just let them think that way all the way to the end till closing, and then I'll say, 'Well, you know, maybe we could just throw in this or that, it might be kind of nice if we could do this a little bit differently.'" He said they never see it coming that he's negotiating really well because they assume he doesn't know what he's doing.

I had some really good mentors in both of my parents.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

That you're in charge of your own destiny and you get to set your own hours and you don't have to answer to anybody. The reality is, everybody answers to somebody, period. I answer to a board. I answer to my customers. I answer mostly to my team. I am ultimately responsible for meeting our goals, nobody else. The buck stops with me.

I have to generate return on investment for my shareholders. I have to return vision and strategy to my board. I have to return growth and career opportunities to my team members. I answer to all of them.

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

I've been through multiple lawsuits. All of them I've won. The painful lesson is it doesn't matter how well you attempt to create really great contracts and ways for people to really collaborate and build constructive relationships – sometimes people just lose their minds. They wake up one day and they say, "I don't think this is fair, so I think I'll just sue you." You can have the most integrity in the world, and you're still going to have other people lose their minds and not do the right thing, where they can't even sit in a room with you and say, "Can we just work this out, because we're both actually trying to do the right thing?"

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

No technology for the first half hour in the morning, and no technology for the last half hour at night. That is very hard. For a lot of people, their mobile device has become the lifeline.

It's just to be able to get quiet. I am a huge lover of wine. That routine in the evening of sitting with a glass of red wine – I call it getting quiet. There's no noise. I can hear my dog four feet away from me breathing. There's no stimulation of any kind except for me thinking back on the day. What did I get out of today? What could I have done differently that would have made the day more productive or even more peaceful?

Likewise, the first 30 minutes is no noise, no distraction. A cup of coffee. I'm a certified Reiki practitioner. A lot of times in the morning that's what I'm doing.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with a group of people including bankers, CPAs, lawyers, other entrepreneurs, marketing people, and cultivate relationships with those people. These would be mentors. Figure out ways that you can help them, but really ask them to help you. It's a coffee every couple of weeks. Go out for a beer with them.

Cultivate these relationships with these mentors around you because you are going to need them. Meet with them and ask them what the challenges are that they are facing. Build these really tight, bonded relationships. This becomes your circle of mentors. Really listen to them. Don't pick people who are just going to tell you what you want to hear.

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

Take any internship you can convince anybody to give you. Work for free. Don't be so hyper focused on, "Oh, because I've got this degree, I should be able to get a six-figure job." That will come. Go and offer to help companies.

I think a mistake that a lot of people make coming out of college today is thinking, "I put in my time, I need to get a job." You might have student loans. You might have a lot of good reasons for saying I need to go get a job. But focus on the community and those companies that are doing things that you think are really interesting and just showing up and saying I'd just really love to help, here are some thoughts I have. It's not about getting paid. If you can actually help them, they are the ones that are going to see your talent and are more likely to find a place for you, even if they don't have an opening.

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

All Apple.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Double short Americano. That just means it's a really strong cup of coffee. It's basically two shots of espresso with just a little bit of hot water.

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

Probably my biggest one is selfishness. People that are just not thinking about anybody else but themselves, and therefore they become toxic inside of an organization. You see it in big corporate entities.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

I ride Harleys. Love motorcycles. Huge animal lover. Always had dogs, mostly rescue dogs, so I spend a lot of time playing with them, getting to the beach, things like that. Really love to boat. That's a great thing here in Charleston. Wine-tasting. I really enjoy playing tennis. Anything with a ball involved, I enjoy that as well.

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

I really won the lottery because the people that I needed were available and willing to go on this journey with me. When we started in January 2016, it was nothing other than an idea and some prototypes.

That's a very different experience than I had at PeopleMatter trying to hire technology folks. It's very hard to hire because the tech sector here is growing so rapidly. It's very hard to compete for that talent and be able to afford that talent.

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

I don't think we're doing enough to recruit diversity in our tech talent here – women, minorities. I think one of our biggest challenges is drawing those individuals. It's like anything else: If you're always drawing the exact same pool of individuals with the same backgrounds and experience, you're not going to get the types of ideas that you would from people who have a diverse background. I think it's going to get worse, not better, and that's just because we are seeing such an uptick in tech activity here.

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

There's been a few companies here that have clearly led the way for massive growth, and I believe that the former mayor and the current mayor have really done a good job of staying focused on making Charleston a really attractive place for technical companies.

I don't think the companies have budgeted enough to really get the type of talent that you need here. I think they are suffering from that right now. But I think Charleston as a whole, and certainly groups like the Charleston Digital Corridor, have done an amazing job providing an environment for technology to thrive here. 

STEM Premier Reaches Milestone – Quarter Million Student Members

STEM Premier, an online platform that helps connect students with post-secondary institutions and organizations, announced today that it has surpassed 250,000 student members, three years after launching its networking platform. Making up this milestone are a diverse group of students across all 50 states, from more than 19,000 schools and 2,000 colleges, with interests in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as other industries.

For the Charleston-based tech start-up, surpassing a quarter million student members is more than a milestone, it's about connecting students, schools and businesses in powerful ways that enhance the success of everyone involved. "Our mission from the very beginning has been simple – helping students to be seen," said Casey Welch, COO and co-founder. "Each of our student members has a unique story – from showcasing their accomplishments and experience, to connecting to colleges, to discovering apprenticeship and career opportunities. It's these stories, told through STEM Premier, that allow the students to stand out from the competition and really shine."

Through the online platform, students, ages 13 and up, create comprehensive digital profiles showcasing their skills, talents and abilities. Colleges, universities, and corporations can identify emerging talent, view student profiles, and connect via direct message – bridging the gap between talent and opportunity earlier. By exposing aspiring young individuals to higher education and the many sectors within STEM including health-related occupations, mechanical engineering and computer science, STEM Premier is able to tailor each students' experiences based on their profile.

"Take for example, STEM Premier high-school student member Cody Corneglio," continued Welch. "Cody joined STEM Premier after completing the ACT Test. He received an email from ACT inviting him to create a free STEM Premier account so that he could share his test scores along with his other accomplishments, with businesses, schools and organizations who may be looking for someone just like him. And that's exactly what happened."

Cummins Turbo Technologies, a STEM Premier client, was interested in identifying and recruiting talented students for their apprenticeship program. Through STEM Premier, Cummins was able to identify a diverse pool of students who were the right fit for their program. Corneglio was among them. After receiving a direct message from Cummins inquiring whether he'd be interested in their program, Corneglio immediately jumped at the opportunity.

"What I like most about STEM Premier is that it gives students the chance to get their name out there and find opportunities they would not know about otherwise. I am truly grateful that STEM Premier helped make the opportunity with Cummins possible," explained Corneglio.

STEM Premier continues to welcome not just students who are focused in STEM fields, but others who have skills and interests in the creative arts, design, business-related careers and more. Virtually all types of talent can sign up, build a profile and begin to open doors for scholarships, internships, training programs and permanent employment.

About STEM Premier

STEM Premier(r) is an innovative online solution that connects talent, post-secondary institutions, and employers in one digital ecosystem. The solution is uniquely designed to assist talent in planning their own educational and/or career pathway as early as age 13 and to showcase their academic and technical achievements in particular areas, such as STEM, throughout high school and beyond. The solution also provides a targeted recruiting tool for colleges and employers, via talent profiles and direct messaging, to engage talented individuals and ensure a stable and continuous workforce pipeline. The result is a single end-to-end platform that serves the needs of talent, post-secondary institutions, and employers and tracks individuals from educational experiences to workplace success.

Digital Corridor Launches New CODEcamp Kids Platform

The Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to announce the release of the new CODEcamp Kids platform. This platform, developed exclusively for middle school students, incorporates a new website and the MyClassHub curriculum portal for educators and students. It represents the first major upgrade of the code education program since its introduction in 2015.

The new CODEcamp Kids website provides comprehensive information about the program, class schedules, frequently asked questions and registration. The MyClassHub curriculum portal contains the lesson guides for both students and teachers.

"CODEcamp Kids represents the best of Charleston's 21st century economy with the entire program, from curriculum development, engineering and program, instruction being handled by a team of passionate and dedicated professionals from our community," said Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation Chairman, Kirk King.

"With the launch of the CODEcamp Kids platform and focus on educator training, we are well positioned to fill the void in code education that exists for middle school students throughout our community and beyond," said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade.

The new CODEcamp Kids portal was developed through the generous support of tech companies through their annual membership dues to the Charleston Digital Corridor.

Upcoming Events

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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.

Revolve Conference

Revolve is an event for people seeking to grow their careers or businesses through better design and smarter marketing. Learn more and register HERE.

BiblioSummit: Cities + Libraries 2017

The library has never been easier to use and it is changing how cities, schools and universities strategize about their digital future. Join us at this groundbreaking event to celebrate the launch of a new type of partnership between cities and libraries. Learn more and register HERE.

BSides - CHS 2017

BSides is an open platform that gives security experts and industry professionals the opportunity to share ideas, insights, and develop longstanding relationships with others in the community. Learn more:

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.