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 Updates CharlestonWorks Portal

The Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to announce a comprehensive update to its CharlestonWorks  web portal. This showcase of tech and tech-related companies allows career seekers, both inside and outside the community, to connect with the companies that are hiring while allowing entrepreneurs/business decision makers to understand the depth of Charleston's fast-growing tech economy.

Now, CharlestonWorks has been enhanced to assist companies with filling their vacant positions by allowing them to post a link to their job openings.

"Once I made the decision to relocate to Charleston from Florida, the CharlestonWorks site was a terrific resource in understanding the career opportunities with the various tech companies in the community," said Josh Smith. "Giving companies the ability to post a link to their job openings makes it even better."

Recent surveys of companies consistently report that talent acquisition is their highest priority. "Recognizing that our tech companies can tell their story better than we can when it comes to recruiting, we opted to give them an easy to use resource to get additional eyeballs on their job postings rather than becoming another cute job board," said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade

Local SC Smart Home Company, Heatworks, Shines at Consumer Electronics Show

Heatworks, the South Carolina-based company that is fundamentally reshaping the way the world heats and uses water, enjoyed an award-winning week at the largest annual consumer electronics show (CES) last week in Las Vegas. The innovators behind the MODEL 3 Water Heater and newly announced Tetra Dishwasher, garnered international attention for their innovative smart home products, design and clean-water applications.

With MODEL 3 set to ship to backers and preorders next month, Heatworks was excited to provide consumers and media alike, with a first look at the tankless water heater that fits in a carry-on bag. The reception was fantastic as MODEL 3 was named an Innovation Product Award winner at the show for its use of Heatworks' patented Ohmic Array Technology that changes the way water has been heated since the 1870's.

Heatworks also used the CES platform to announce its next consumer product, built on the same principles, mission and technological foundation as MODEL 3. Tetra, the connected countertop dishwasher is a compact reimagining of the space-hungry appliance that city-dwellers can't even fit in their kitchens. Using the same award-winning Ohmic Array Technology to heat its water to precise temperatures, Tetra cleans delicate dishes, vulnerable hard-plastics and even breakable stemmed wine-glasses, all without the fear of overheating, melting or shattering. Consumers can even watch a lobster or steak cook sous vide style in Tetra's transparent enclosure. Tetra's technology, design and user-friendliness won the hearts of consumers and media throughout the show, ultimately garnering international recognition and a coveted CES Editorial Award.

"We couldn't have asked for a better week in Vegas," said Heatworks Founder and CEO, Jerry Callahan, who was on the ground speaking with customers, partners and media throughout the show. "We knew we had something special in both MODEL 3 and now Tetra, but it's great to see the unanimous validation from our peers, excited customers and trusted media."

For more information on both the MODEL 3 Water Heater and Tetra, visit: myheatworks.com. Additional images and videos can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/Heatworks.

Immedion Data Center

Charleston Based Quoizel Selects Immedion as DRaaS Provider

Immedion LLC, a premiere provider of Cloud, data center and managed IT services, provides their Recovery Cloud (DRaaS) solution to Quoizel. Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, Quoizel is one of the nation's leading fine lighting manufacturers, supplying hundreds of major retailers across the US.

Located near the Charleston coastline, Quoizel's manufacturing warehouse is at risk of operational downtime caused by hurricanes and flooding. In need of a disaster recovery solution that could ensure their critical data is protected and available in the event of a natural disaster, Quoizel selected Immedion as their DRaaS provider.

Immedion's Recovery Cloud (DRaaS) replicates Quoizel's database management system to their Asheville Data Center, ensuring critical customer data is always available so that the business's national operations can continue running even if disaster strikes in Charleston. The solution provides Quoizel a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of less than 20 minutes for their entire production environment and near real-time replication of data. Immedion's Asheville facility is strategically located high above the nearest flood plain and in one of the safest weather cities in the US making it the primary disaster recovery site. Additionally, Immedion provides Quoizel 24x7 support through their Network Operations Center (NOC) and on-going access to their team of technical experts.

"We have been very happy with Immedion Recovery Cloud," said Quoizel's IT Director, Rose Finley. "We can now operate with confidence because the DR solution ensures that the critical data our business runs upon is constantly safe and available. The Immedion team has been there every step of the way to architect a solution that met our business's needs and fit our vision for the future. They care about our business as if it were their own, and that has reflected in the fact that we are now a more resilient lighting manufacturer because of the solution they provide us."

Sean Coughlin - FaithStreet, CEO & Co-founder

FaithStreet’s Coughlin: You Learn By Doing and Making Mistakes

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.

Sean Coughlin is cofounder and CEO of FaithStreet, a startup seeking to change the way people give money to faith communities. FaithStreet launched in late 2013 in New York City, and Coughlin relocated to Charleston a year and a half ago. Cofounder and CTO Glenn Ericksen remains in New York City. The company is looking to add staff in Charleston.

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

I grew up in a small town in Virginia called Gloucester, right on Chesapeake Bay. We grew up back in the woods on a gravel road that led to a dirt road – like a country song. My dad still lives there. It's a super beautiful place. My mom was the secretary of our church growing up. My dad's a contractor. Just both super awesome people. Growing up there was a lot of baseball, a lot of running around in the woods. Not a lot of technology. It was a great place to grow up.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

My dad's side of the family is from here. My great-grandfather was a pipe fitter on tugboats. My granddad went to The Citadel. My dad was born here. So when my wife and I got married and decided that we were kind of done with the New York City thing – done with the super high rent and what they call schlepping, like it's hard to go to the grocery store – we made a list of places we might want to move: Charleston, Atlanta and a couple of other cities in the Southeast, because that's where our families are all from. Charleston was kind of the clear favorite. It didn't take too many visits here to realize that we loved it. I already knew, but she required a little convincing.

I love how Charleston is kind of growing up. It's transitioning from a small city to a medium-sized city. You see that in all the energy around technology companies and other kinds of companies. I thought that would be a fun thing to be a part of, starting our company.

In your own words, what does your company do?

FaithStreet makes it easy, fun and even habitual to give to a faith community. We want to take you from where you are to where you'd like to be in terms of generosity. We are passionate about helping givers realize the full potential of their generosity because we believe that there is a lot of freedom and peace on the other side of beginning to give your life away, and it starts with your money.

We work with about 400 churches across the country to help them do generosity better, starting with online giving and texting giving. We actually want to help their givers live their lives different through generosity. The average person gives about 3 percent of their income every year to their faith community, but if you ask them how much they'd like to give, and how much they set out to give at the beginning of the year, it's about 8 percent. It's a big drop-off. We are trying to address that drop-off problem.

What inspired you to start the company?

It was something that I care about more than almost anything, and there was a really big business opportunity here.

My mom was the secretary of our church growing up. I've always been involved in churches and faith communities. Personally, it had a huge impact on my life, has been there for me through ups and downs. I believe the local church is super important, and local faith communities of all different faith traditions are really important. Those places you show up for a service on a Saturday or Sunday, but also organizations that are working for positive good in a community. Waking up every morning and working on a company that's designed to help those communities, I can't think of anything better. I was a lawyer at a big corporate law firm on Wall Street before this, and you didn't always have the luxury of understanding the importance of your work.

I also believe it's a huge opportunity. There are almost half a million churches and other faith communities in the United States. There's millions across the world. And generally speaking, the technology that's been built for them has been mediocre. We want to build a great technology company that serves these communities.

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

My first thing I did to make money was I sold baseball cards, sold sports memorabilia. I remember one time I stood in line for three hours to get a NASCAR driver called Rusty Wallace to sign a picture, and then I sold it to one of my dad's friends who was a big Rusty Wallace fan for like 30 bucks. It was a big sale. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. And I did that with baseball cards. I'd enlist my younger brother and we'd call all the baseball card shops in the area and ask them how much they'd pay us for the cards that we'd gotten. I also convinced my brother to give me his allowance so I could invest it.

My first real job was as a student reporter for our local newspaper. I covered high school sports and did advertising sales for them as well. I got some content training, some sales training doing that. I worked in restaurants and bars, too, when I was younger – busing tables, serving tables, bartending.

The lessons I learned throughout my work career are that probably more important than what you do is who you work with. And it's good to be in a place with a good boss, and it's bad to be in a place with a bad boss.

Did you have an entrepreneurial drive early on?

I definitely did. I was always interested in creating new things. When I was a kid, I was really into baseball cards. I tell this to people and sometimes they don't believe me, but I invented an early version of Fantasy Baseball. I had never heard of Fantasy Baseball; I was maybe 7 or 8. I would organize players into teams randomly, kind of like you would a deck of cards, and then play nine of them against nine of the others based on the statistics on the back of the cards. Which is essentially like Fantasy Baseball or Fantasy Football.

But I was always interested in creating new things – envisioning the world as you think it should be and then trying to figure out how you make it that way. I think the creative side of things was what drew me to it in the first place, and then as I've gotten older, the financial side and learning about big markets and big financial opportunities has become really exciting to me as well.

What is your management style?

I would describe it as a work in progress. When we raised our first round of capital, we hired quite a few people. I thought at that point that that qualified me to run a team. This was three years ago. I did some things well, and I made some mistakes. As we begin to ramp up again, hire some more people, I'm going to take some of those lessons and try to put them into practice.

Some things that I'd like to put into practice this time around are humility and intellectual honesty and hiring people who I trust to try to help me solve the company's problems rather than just trying to solve them just with my co-founders. A mistake that we probably made early on was thinking, OK, my co-founder Glenn and I, we have to figure everything out, hiring a lot of really bright younger people to help us do that, but trying to set up everything for them. I think this time around we want to hire maybe some more experienced folks who can actually help us with some of the high-level challenges.

We've gotten the luxury of running a company for the past four years in our late 20s and early 30s; it's a pretty cool thing to get to do. But I think that there's this idea that you have all this responsibility, you have money, you have all these customers, and you think that you know how to do stuff. But you really don't. There's only one way to learn, you learn by doing and by making mistakes.

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

One of the best bosses I ever had was when I was a bartender. He was a manager. He was just really encouraging. He had high expectations, but there was also a lot of love there. I think it's those two things. Bad bosses can either be jerks and have super high expectations but give you no safety, no relationship, or they can be too lax and they're your friend but there are no expectations and no structure.

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

Prayer and meditation are super important to me. And checking in with a friend. Maybe it's another entrepreneur, maybe it's just a buddy. Doing some of those three things every day is really important for me. Starting the day with some prayer. Having a time where I'm not thinking about work, where I'm not thinking about the immediate, what needs to happen right now for FaithStreet. And sometimes, when I do that, the best ideas come out of that. Sometimes it's not directly functional. It's not like I did this so I could be a better CEO or so I could be a better entrepreneur. I did it so I could be a healthy human being. But sometimes the best ideas come out of stopping and listening.

And then checking in with a friend because I think that emotional health is so important when it comes to being an entrepreneur, because it's kind of lonely. You can get tunnel vision on things.

What obstacles have you faced building your business?

You have to care about your business in a way that sustains periods of other people not caring. A big obstacle is indifference.

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

Probably when people overpromise and underdeliver. And also when people take a long time to make a decision.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Just start. Just start the company or just start the project, whether it's part-time or full-time. There's not as much risk in it as people think, because most people who say they're going to start a company don't, and most people who start a company close up after six months, and most people who are alive for six months – most of the people I started companies with, people who are smarter than me, people who I would say are more driven than me – their company was either shut down or acquired for a decent exit, but not some huge number. These are people who I went to Harvard with, who were analysts at Goldman Sachs, developers at the best tech companies in New York City. Most of them don't become something big. But I don't think any of those people would have said, "I wish I hadn't done this," because they're much stronger human beings and they bring so much more to whatever their next project is for having started the company. So the risk is not as high as most people think it is.

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

People say – and I haven't done this, but I think it makes a lot of sense – that the best kind of company to get a job at as a new graduate is a company that you think is heading toward a liquidity event like an IPO or a big acquisition. I think that's smart. Go work at a company that has some traits of an early stage startup but is about to go to that next level. See it happen. I think seeing things happen and being a part of things is really powerful.

I would also say try to get in with somebody who you think can really teach you a lot, no matter what stage of company that is.

What do you see as the future of your company?

Our thesis is that giving has stagnated in America since the Great Depression. In the Great Depression, the average giver to their church gave about 3 percent. Today it's about 3 percent. We are working on the question of how do we elevate that from 3 to 6 or 8 or 10 percent.

That's kind of a big challenge, but it's really fun, because as we have started to move the needle and started to change behavior, you start to see the implications of that. It's almost like working on an experiment. We're much more interested in that question, and if we can answer that question, then the problem of how do we get from 400 customers to 4,000 customers to 40,000 customers will become much easier to address.

If you're selling something awesome, then everyone's going to want it. Distribution is crucial and marketing is crucial, but we're not interested in marketing something that is just a little bit better than everything else that's out there. That's what I hope the future is for us, is really starting to have a huge impact on how people give to their faith communities.

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

All Mac, all Apple.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Just iced coffee. No cream, no sugar.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

Spending time with my wife and our puppy. I have a little boat. I like to go surfing, play tennis. I like to be active.

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

Our team is in New York. One of the great things about having a technical cofounder is that when we need help outside of him, he's got a network of other engineers.

We're definitely going to build our sales and marketing team here, which probably won't be quite as challenging. But building out a technical team anywhere is really hard. Our friends who have companies in New York City, it's really hard for them. It's a different challenge. There are more developers, but there's a lot more competition because they can go work at Facebook or Google or Squarespace or some other bigger company.

What are your thoughts on Charleston's technical landscape?

I'm just getting to know it. I think that there's a lot of energy and it seems like there are a lot of really interesting entrepreneurs doing really cool stuff. It seems like it's growing up. Or it's in some early adolescent time. It seems like it has a ton of potential. I feel like in five years, 10 years, Charleston could be kind of like a Portland or an Austin in terms of technology companies.

There's also all the capital being invested here in a lot of bigger, traditional companies, like car companies. I think that will probably continue, and as people become more mobile with their careers, Charleston seems like an obvious place to want to live. It's so small; the difference between James Island and downtown Charleston, people talk about it like it's a huge difference, but it's like five to 15 minutes away. Whereas in Atlanta, you're still in the city of Atlanta, but it's like 30 minutes from Grant Park to Buckhead or something like that. So, even though these different pockets of Charleston are really different right now, I think that kind of livability makes it a really appealing place. The peninsula is really expensive and crowded, but you can live 10 minutes away and it's affordable and still beautiful and close to the water.

It's just a great place. I'm definitely long or bullish on it as an entrepreneurial hub. 

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."

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Coffee and Conversation

Do you only think of trades when you hear the word apprenticeship? Think again! Apprenticeship has evolved, and we invite you to join us for coffee and conversation as we dive deep into the world of Information Technology apprenticeships.

Learn how an IT apprenticeship can provide a number of benefits for participating employers, including: a highly skilled workforce, state tax credit, standardized training, reduced turnover, increased productivity and a reliable plan for the future. Learn more and register HERE.