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 Tech Center

Construction Commences on Charleston Tech Center in South Carolina Opportunity Zone

Iron Bridge Capital Partners, LLC and the Charleston Digital Corridor are pleased to announce the commencement of construction of the Charleston Tech Center (CTC), an architecturally modern, six-floor office building located in Downtown Charleston. The CTC is targeted to start-up, early-stage and mature tech companies. The development of the CTC, a 92,000 square foot building is scheduled for completion in late 2020, includes an adjacent 816 space parking garage that will be owned and operated by the City of Charleston.

The development team has partnered with Hunt Real Estate Capital, a division of Hunt Capital Holdings, and leader in investing, financing and managing commercial real estate throughout the United States, for equity financing; Synovus was selected for debt financing.

The CTC will offer companies a unique combination of high-quality space, large floor plates, attractive amenities, and an accessible downtown location. The Charleston Digital Corridor, whose diverse offerings will allow tech-focused companies to grow through this landmark building, will be the anchor. The CTC development will include a mix of lifestyle retail and restaurant uses on the ground floor, conference facilities and a rooftop terrace.

"The CTC represents a significant milestone for Charleston's tech economy, one that has grown from 17 companies in 2001 to over 450 today. With this building, we are well-positioned to serve an expanded base of tech companies through a broader offering of business, professional and education services," said Digital Corridor Chairman, Kirk King.

"South Carolina's technology sector is booming, with more than 7,400 tech-based businesses pumping $12.6 billion into the state's economy. The Charleston Tech Center will be a creative hub that fosters ingenuity and gives innovative companies a place to plant their roots. Partnerships like this will further support, attract and advance South Carolina's technology-focused and entrepreneurial business environment." – Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

The project is located in the evolving Upper Peninsula of Charleston in a federally designated Opportunity Zone. The development comprises a collaboration between the City of Charleston, the State of South Carolina, the federal Opportunity Zone Incentive, the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation, and the private sector that has been five years in the making.

Commenting on the project, Tim Scott, United States Senator for South Carolina noted, "The Charleston Tech Center is a prime example of my Opportunity Zone initiative coming to life. When the private and public sector come together to invest in some of the most overlooked parts of our nation, big things can happen. I'm looking forward to the new jobs, small businesses, and potential that this partnership will bring to the Holy City."

"Building on the proven model of the Flagship business incubators, the Charleston Tech Center will provide much-needed space to help support and grow our entrepreneurial, technology sector, while enhancing the vitality of the Upper Peninsula." –Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg

"The Tech Center project is a great fit for Iron Bridge Capital and our focus to work with states and municipalities to develop projects that have a positive community impact while also being economically viable. We are excited to be a part of the CTC project that will help promote the technology industry and create higher paying jobs in Charleston for many years to come." said John Hand, Iron Bridge Founder & Managing Partner. "We are excited about the early interest in the project, including 4-5 space commitments in progress and a full floor committed to the CDC for its Flagship3," he added.

The project is one of the first developments in Charleston, SC to commence construction under an Opportunity Zone structure. "We are thrilled to provide Opportunity Zone equity financing for this unique project," noted Rachel Diller, Senior Managing Director at Hunt Real Estate Capital. "This project meets our thesis of backing inclusive economic growth, and we are excited to be a part of a collaboration between the Charleston Digital Corridor, the City, the State, and the federal Opportunity Zone program."

AJ Richichi, Founder and CEO of Sentio

Bad Draft Picks Inspired Software Firm Sentio

AJ Richichi is founder and CEO of Sentio, which provides software to help companies predict the success of job applicants. The Charleston-based company's focus is on small businesses and franchises that hire hourly employees. Sentio employs 10 people in Charleston.

This series is brought to you with support from Charleston County Economic Development.

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In sixth grade, AJ Richichi saw an opportunity to undercut his school's snack bar prices.

He paid other students to lease their lockers to him so he could consolidate them and install a small refrigerator. He paid friends to sell snacks for him at other lunch periods.

For a while, business was booming.

"I almost got away with it, but I had roughly $1,000 in my backpack, and my backpack got stolen," Richichi said. "They actually had to bring in the cops and dogs because they thought I was dealing drugs."

School officials squelched Richichi's snack operation, but not his entrepreneurial spirit.

During high school, he launched a social network that helped people with mental illnesses get support from people in their community anonymously.

Now, at 24 years old – and still contemplating college – Richichi is founder and CEO of Sentio, a company that helps businesses determine which job applicants will be most successful as employees. Clients include sports teams and franchises like Chick-Fil-A and Marcos Pizza.

In your own words, what does Sentio do?

We provide wildly affordable and intuitive pre-hire software. We determine the shared characteristics of the top performers in a given position and we match people to that to predict who's going to be successful and who isn't a good fit for the company. We specialize right now in hourly workers.

What inspired you to start this business?

It actually got its start in sports. It was always really interesting to me that the NFL, MLB, NBA historically are not very good at picking the best college athletes for their teams. The NFL is an example. When Tom Brady was drafted, 32 teams passed on him six times. The best quarterback of all time.

So, I developed technology that helped teams better understand what made an athlete great and what they could use in order to predict that athlete's success long term, rather than looking at what they did in college.

What we found was there's so much more to an athlete than just how far they throw a ball or how fast they run. It's more about their mental makeup, like their core values, their needs, their characteristics, their personality traits. It matters more what you do outside of the game than what you do in the game – how you train, how you treat your coaches, how you treat your family, how you diet, what you do when nobody's watching, how you manage your money.

Are you still working with sports teams?

Yeah. We work with sports teams in NCAA and professional. We realized really early on that the market's a lot smaller than you'd think. There are 150 professional sports teams, but there are 27 million small businesses. So while we had a lot of success in sports – we actually doubled the win percentage of the teams that deployed our tech in two years – we needed to build a good, sustainable business. We needed to translate that technology into a more applicable use case, which was using mental makeup analyses to predict success in companies, rather than just in professional sports.

Do you analyze the same factors for hourly workers as you do for athletes?

No, we just look at what we call mental makeup. Fifty-five personality traits spanning from agreeableness to conscientiousness. And more than any particular trait, looking at the relationship between those traits.

How do you collect that information?

From a five-question online survey. It takes roughly 10 minutes to complete. It can be completed on mobile desktop devices, and it's available in five different languages. They're all free-answer questions, like, "Why do you want to work at Chick-Fil-A?" Our technology uses a science called psycholinguistics that studies the relationship between an individual's mental makeup characteristics and the language they use to write.

How do you, in your early 20s, go to major league sports teams and say, "I have something that can help you"?

A lot of persistence. Reaching out. I graduated Phillips Exeter Academy early, and I worked for National Security in the U.S. Senate. When I was there, I had an opportunity to learn from really smart people and network with really influential people, one being one of the former owners of the Colorado Rockies, the baseball team. So, leveraging my relationships with him, as well as other people that I met through the U.S. Senate and Exeter, I just kept on making phone calls, writing letters and refusing to quit until somebody either said no or gave us the order.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses or bad bosses?

I had a really amazing boss at the Senate. One thing that's really challenging when you're 17 and you're working in D.C. is managing what we call social capital. Coming through our office almost every single day were professional athletes, actors, philanthropists, business people, members of the royal families, politicians. Managing those relationships is really hard. How do you build that social capital? How do you protect it? When do you ask for more of it, and when do you leave it alone?

That's something that has really helped me, especially dealing with the investment community. Investors are typically those types of people, and it takes a different type of relationship, in my opinion, to manage those than if I'm working with my friends or my family. It's the little things, like how to structure a respectful email, how to speak with people, and when you go out to dinner, who pays. It's a lot of little things that compound into really good investor relations.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Work on one project at a time. There's what I believe to be a negative trend in entrepreneurship surrounded by this idea of "hustle porn," where the more projects you work on, the more hustle you do, the more side hustles you create, the more successful you are. Because of that, especially with the rise of social media and as millennials come through, it's like on LinkedIn you see, "CEO, CEO, CEO, CEO," all working on projects at the same exact time.

It's really, really hard to build a company, and it's impossible to build more than one at the same time. So really focus on one project. Give it everything you have. Put all your social capital into it. Put all of your hours into that project. And then, once you build that business as sustainable, then maybe consider working on something else. Maybe.

Outside of work, what keeps you busy?

My wife owns a fashion company called JoJo Rings. It's sold in 450 stores, been featured in "Vogue," and, because we just had our first daughter, she's very busy. Any moment of free time I get, I'm typically making rings or I'm buffing rings or I'm packing boxes or helping her set up her social media account or whatever.

Five to 10 years out, what do you hope to see in the local tech community?

More relationships between the startup community and just local companies. Right now, I think the tech community is somewhat siloed, seen as its own thing, when tech startups, in order to grow, need direct lines into big companies for customers.

eGroup Growing its Charleston County Headquarters

eGroup, a leading provider of innovative business information technology (IT) services, today announced plans to expand its corporate headquarters in Charleston County by building a new 18,000-square-foot facility. The $6.3 million investment is creating 35 jobs.

eGroup provides critical IT services to more than 300 clients across 31 states in the healthcare, financial services, advanced logistics, software development, public safety, first responder and public government sectors. For nearly 20 years, eGroup has delivered the skillsets and expertise to help organizations transform their businesses through a multi-step services methodology that results in high-impact hybrid cloud solutions to improve efficiencies.

Along with its existing headquarters located at 482 Wando Park Boulevard in Charleston County, the new facility will allow eGroup to create a space to further grow its professional and managed services teams.

Construction on the new facility is expected to be completed in fall 2020. Those interested in joining the eGroup team can visit https://www.egroup-us.com/latest/#careers.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to the project.

"From our Charleston County-based campus, eGroup will be providing the IT solutions required by the world's leading organizations to fulfill their digital transformation and hybrid cloud journeys. Charleston County offers the right blend of business advantages and quality of life for our people, and for close to 20 years, eGroup has been proud to be a leader and contributor within our community. As we've grown together over the years, both eGroup and Charleston County have emerged as tech destinations for the 21st century. We like where we're headed, we're proud of our shared heritage and we're committed to do our part in continuing to create that future success!" –eGroup CEO Mike Carter

"South Carolina is on the cutting edge of the technology industry, and with companies like eGroup investing and growing in our state, that trend will only continue. I congratulate this innovative company and wish them continued success." -Gov. Henry McMaster

"We congratulate eGroup on this latest expansion, which adds to the ongoing success they've experienced in South Carolina. This innovative company has been a longtime partner of Team South Carolina, and we look forward to seeing them thrive for years to come." –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

"On behalf of Charleston County, I applaud eGroup on their decision to invest further in our community. As one of our local, homegrown technology companies, we are thrilled to support their growth as they continue to be an IT services industry leader."-Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey

"eGroup is an example of the success businesses can find in Charleston County, utilizing our region's brightest talent and benefiting from the established infrastructure for high-tech companies. Our Business Concierge team has built a strong relationship with eGroup, and we proudly congratulate them on their expansion announcement." –**Charleston County Economic Development Executive Director Steve Dykes

"We are delighted to welcome the expansion of this innovative IT solutions company in Mount Pleasant. eGroup, recognized as one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces of 2019, brings to our business community national experience in helping organizations of all sizes and all industries keep their data and systems secure and resilient." – Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie

CDC to Manage Space in WestEdge

The City of Charleston knows what it wants to do with the commercial space it has leased in the emerging WestEdge development, and it will go to a business accelerator already working with local startups. City Council voted in favor of a plan to allow the Charleston Digital Corridor to manage 8,000 square feet in the newest building at the mixed-use project Tuesday. Read more:

Emily Dalton, Omatic Software's VP, Product Development

Omatic’s Dalton: Work Like No One is Watching

Emily Dalton is vice president of product management at Omatic Software, a North Charleston-based company that provides software and services to nonprofit organizations. This series is brought to you with support from Charleston Southern University.

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Upstate native Emily Dalton came to Charleston as an undergraduate, studying sociology and English at the College of Charleston. An internship with the S.C. Department of Social Services sparked her interest in social work – but a state hiring freeze thwarted that career path when she graduated.

Dalton had never considered working in the technology sector. But she took a job in customer support with Blackbaud, the Charleston-based provider of software to nonprofits.

"At first, I really had no idea what I was doing," Dalton said. "But I ended up learning and loving it, and I really liked Blackbaud's customers and mission, that they worked with nonprofits. I felt like there was a connection there to what I had wanted to do in social work, which was helping people and giving people a voice. Technology does that, absolutely. So I never left."

Dalton advanced during her tenure at Blackbaud from customer support to marketing to product management, including a stint at the company's London office. In 2014, she joined the product management team at Omatic Software, which also provides software to nonprofits. In 2018, Dalton became vice president of product management at Omatic.

In your own words, what does Omatic Software do?

We are nonprofit data people. We help nonprofits get the most value of their systems and their data through data integration and data health solutions. We give nonprofits access to data that's up to date, clean and complete, so they can deliver really awesome supporter experiences.

We are going through a really exciting transformation right now where we are reinventing our products and rebuilding them in the cloud. The way that we're doing that is a very outside-in, iterative approach. Going out into the market, really deeply understanding the problems, coming up with solutions and then testing, prototyping, iterating through to get to the answer. That process is something that I'm really passionate about, and it's incredibly fun, too. It's an exciting time at Omatic right now.

What's the best part of your job?

Creating a story of a better future, for both our customers and the company, and then seeing that come to life through the work of a great team.

What's the best piece of advice you have received regarding work, management or career?

I was working in London (for Blackbaud), and I had just started in product management, and so I was trying to find my way. The CEO came to visit from the U.S. He said to me, "Emily, no one's watching what you're doing, and that's a gift."

What he meant by that was, one, you need to think differently about constraints, and two, this is an opportunity where you can do things that maybe you couldn't do in a different environment. You can really experiment, try things, see what happens. In that situation, in that moment, that was really powerful, effective feedback and advice for me. I took it, and we did some amazing stuff when I was there that was a lot of fun.

But I think that, beyond that situation, that feedback has served me well over the years. I think it applies more broadly to say we shouldn't do work with the intention of trying to impress people. We should really take things and stretch them and think differently, think bigger and bolder, and really try and work as if no one's watching. As if you don't really care what the outcome's going to look like.

Because that's where the big ideas and the big thinking and the creativity – that's where that comes from. And, also, just changing your mindset and looking at what you think is a constraint as a really positive thing and building on that.

What is the hardest part of effecting change within a company? How do you overcome it?

Change is hard. My favorite article about change management is actually about patients that have undergone major heart surgery, and their doctors tell them, "You need to change your lifestyle. You need to eat differently. You need to exercise. You need to fundamentally change everything about your life." And for most of them, they don't do that.

They are choosing, essentially, death over change. There's some powerful stuff at work there. What a lot of change-management theory supports, and they talk about in this article, is that you have to paint a picture of a better future for them, where they're going to be a better version of themselves, and they're going to be able to do things that they couldn't do currently. So that, coupled with the support structures to help people get there, is how you make effective change.

I think, as leaders, it's not about having a plan or giving people a plan. It's more about giving them a hope and a future and a better way forward.

What stands out most when you are interviewing a job candidate?

I like to look for curiosity and a willingness to learn. How do they think through a problem when there might not be a clear answer? How do they deal with the ambiguity of a lot of things that we do? Are they OK with that, and can they feel their way through it to get to an answer?

I think that skill applies to a lot of different roles in a company and means that there is some versatility and flexibility there.

**In what ways do you see the workplace evolving? **

I think there's a growing appreciation for diversity, and not just because it's the right thing to do. People are understanding the real, tangible benefits of it. That it leads to better ideas, better thinking, better outcomes, better decision-making. It leads to better business. I think people are starting to get that, which is really encouraging.

**How do you think about the concept of work-life balance? What strategies do you use to find fulfillment both in the workplace and in your personal life? **

I think about it in two ways: One is prioritization. Two is my wellbeing.

Prioritization – I think that's the product manager in me. It's just making sure that I'm spending my time in ways that are aligned with what I value. That means saying no to things, because I have a finite amount of time. And sometimes it means doing certain things good enough, which is very uncomfortable. But sometimes that's the right answer.

And then wellbeing – that's something that I've had to learn the hard way. Early in my career, I didn't have that balance, and I didn't really take care of myself very well. I've had to learn how to do that. It's simple things. It's getting enough sleep. Exercise. Quiet, reflection, meditation time. Those kinds of things. If I do those things, then I am a happier, more productive version of myself. And if I bring that to my family and to work, then that's the best thing I could do for both of those environments.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

My family. My husband and I have three little girls. We have a 4-year-old and 2-year-old twins.

What's a book you always recommend?

In the products domain, it would be "Inspired" by Marty Cagan. Really awesome book about how to build awesome products. A more general business book would be "The Linchpin" by Seth Godin. I just love all his work, and that book specifically is about finding your way when there's no map and creating your own path.

What would help bring more women into the tech industry and to leadership posts?

It starts very, very early in a girl's life: Telling little girls that they're good at math. It's really simple, but it's really powerful. Having them believe that so they stick with it is really important. And I think we could do a better job of showing how the work that we do is art as much as it is science. We're creating. We're artists. That's a lot of fun. I think we could attract more people by showing that side of it a bit better.

Also, awareness of our inherent biases, and creating opportunities for women. I read an article recently about how in hiring, we tend to hire people that we identify with, that are like us. For men, that can mean hiring men. That's not intentional, but it's an inherent bias. I think just becoming more aware of that can help us change some of those behaviors.

What advice would you give to women pursuing leadership roles in the tech sector?

Surround yourself with people that are really smart, that you can learn from. Find a mentor, somebody that is willing to invest in you and believe in you and help you. Seek feedback; that is the best way to build self-awareness and to grow and learn and change.

And speak up. You have great ideas – let's hear them. I hear that quite often in interviews. Women tell me, maybe when we talk about areas of opportunity, they say, "Well, my boss gave me feedback that I should've spoken up for myself more often," and things like that. I hear that quite a bit.

We need to encourage them to speak up, but we also need to seek answers from them. Ask questions. It could be that someone isn't confident in their abilities yet, or it could be that they're introverted. There could be a variety of reasons. But it's on both sides to work on that.

Upcoming Events

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CODEcamp Kids - Intro to Web Development

Intro to Web Development is a week-long session which introduces students to the fundamental concepts of web design and development.

Throughout the session, students will learn the basics of web development languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students will design and develop their own website, program their own web Tapplication and compete to design the best website.

If your child is also interested in the attending Robotics and Hardware Programming class, please email Kristen Pappalardo for the "class bundling" discount code.

Feel free to bring a snack and/or lunch. A small snack and juice box is provided each day.

Vitals

  • Audience: Students 11-16 years of age
  • Location: Charleston Digital Corridor's Flagship-Bridge Incubator, 385 Meeting Street, Suite 100
  • Schedule: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Cost: $249 for the week-long program
  • Class size: 15 students
  • Supplies: Computers and equipment provided
  • **Contact phone: **571.246.1899
  • Contact email: info@codecampkids.org
  • Social: Facebook or Twitter

CODEcamp Kids - Intro to Web Development

Intro to Web Development is a week-long session which introduces students to the fundamental concepts of web design and development.

Throughout the session, students will learn the basics of web development languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students will design and develop their own website, program their own web Tapplication and compete to design the best website.

If your child is also interested in the attending Robotics and Hardware Programming class, please email Kristen Pappalardo for the "class bundling" discount code.

Feel free to bring a snack and/or lunch. A small snack and juice box is provided each day.

Vitals

  • Audience: Students 11-16 years of age
  • Location: Charleston Digital Corridor's Flagship-Bridge Incubator, 385 Meeting Street, Suite 100
  • Schedule: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Cost: $249 for the week-long program
  • Class size: 15 students
  • Supplies: Computers and equipment provided
  • **Contact phone: **571.246.1899
  • Contact email: info@codecampkids.org
  • Social: Facebook or Twitter

Moving from Promises & Async/Await to Async Algebraic Data Types

Agenda

Meeting starts at 5:30

5:30 - 6:00 - Networking and Food and Beverages
6:00 - 7:00 - Main Talk: Moving from Promises & async/await to Async Algebraic Data Types
Speaker: Robert Pearce
7:00 - 7:15 - Break
7:15 - 8:00 - Talk: Lighting Talks
Speaker: RFPs Open
7:30 - 8:00 - Lighting Talks
8pm Closing Statements

*Pizza and beverages provided*

Learn more and RSVP here.