September 17, 2009

AcadiaHCS Relocating To Charleston

Allison Bird  /  Post and Courier

Company to be based at Flagship for time being

A Columbia software developer that has just received a hefty infusion of capital plans to relocate in Charleston and double its work force within the year.

Acadia Human Capital Solutions, which develops software to help employees manage human resources, brought on two former executives of Daniel Island-based Benefitfocus to run the local operation. Nate DaPore serves as president and chief executive, and John Smith serves as chief technology officer.

Acadia's vice president of strategy Charles Wyke-Smith said the company intends to grow from its current 21 employees to about 50 by the end of 2010.

He said he anticipates most of Acadia's current employees in Columbia will move to Charleston, but the company already has posted positions it must fill immediately when it opens here.

"We'll pretty much double in size over the next year," Wyke-Smith said. "We intend to rapidly grow."

Acadia is based at the city of Charleston's business incubator and resource center known as Flagship until it finds a permanent home, he said.

Ernest Andrade, director of the city's Charleston Digital Corridor initiative, said the company marks the eighth and final enterprise – mostly small technology and life-sciences businesses – to occupy space at the Flagship, which is at East Bay and Calhoun streets.

He said Acadia joins a group of tenants that have raised $8.2 million in investments since June and adds to a robust software communications industry.

"They're moving at 90 miles an hour," Andrade said of Acadia. "This was something we'd be able to take off their plate, the transitional space."

Acadia's growth comes after PMW Technologies bought the company in conjunction with a $5 million round of venture capital funding, the company's first from institutional investors. Intersouth Partners of Durham, N.C., led the financing, and Atlanta-based C&B Capital participated.

The financing will help develop Acadia's technology and expand its offerings.

Acadia launched in 2001 and serves major companies such as Aflac, AAA and Bose. It plans to focus more on small and mid-sized companies with 50 to 1,000 employees as it grows, according to Wyke-Smith.

"We feel that in this current economic climate, managing people is absolutely key to business success," he said.

Wyke-Smith said the relocation and growth announcement comes after about a year of planning.