Why is Everybody so Amped on Charleston’s Tech Ecosystem?

May 3, 2015

2:00 pm

On a very base level, what’s one thing that big tech hubs like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC can’t competitively offer? The answer is a lot simpler than you might think: sunshine.

Sure, each of these cities has its respective times of year when it’s sunny and beautiful, but the East Coast is infamous for its rugged weather. However, there’s a part of the Eastern seaboard that isn’t gloomy for the better part of the year: Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s a lot like Southern California in a lot of respects, but it has that ever-present aspect of Southern hospitality you find on the West Coast. And with that mentality comes a community of individuals who will go out of their way to say hello, offer a helping hand, or…become your technical cofounder?

That’s right, among the long list of things Charleston has going for it, and the budding tech ecosystem can’t be left off the list. Not only is there an incredibly strong sense of community in this city, the startup ecosystem boasts tremendous resources for entrepreneurs looking to startup a fresh idea.

Not only that, there’s a strong talent pool with the University of South Carolina (USC) about two hours from the city, churning out qualified graduates. And further, USC has an accelerator right on campus for students and recent grads in the T MINUS 6 program.

All said, Charleston offers entrepreneurs a grassroots community to not only work in, but also build up as it continues to grow. As such, Steve Case – the cofounder of AOL, has decided to stop by Charleston on his Rise of the Rest Tour.

He’ll be joined by Google for Entrepreneurs and UP Global with support from both new and previous tour partners including Salesforce for Startups, Engine, Tech.Co, Startup Grind, Village Capital, and Seed Here Studio. Aboard the USS Yorktown, Governor Nikki Haley will welcome Case and the tour to Charleston.

The Navy ship will be the scene for Rise of the Rest’s pitch competition, the first they’ve ever had in such a venue. Eight different Charleston startups will be competing for a $100,000 investment from Steve Case, to be awarded the same day as the pitch.

According to Case and his team, this promises to be one of the liveliest Rise of the Rest tour stops so far. The guest judges for the competition include Steve Case, Eric Bowman, Sparc; Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevate Network; Herbert Drayton III, Vertical Holdings; and Bobby Hitt. The eight companies pitching are:

  • Dynepic: They’ve created a playground for smart toys
  • Good Done Great: They’re revolutionizing the way corporations and people give back*
  • Eatabit: An API that prints electronic food orders inside restaurants
  • Bidr: A platform to help fundraiser’s increase performance
  • Charleston Gourmet Burger: They craft unique, all natural gourmet burger seasonings
  • OpenAngler: A platform to find and book fishing charters
  • Bublish: They have cloud-based tools, metrics, and resources for authorpreneurs
  • Echovate: They’re replicating top performers through data-science machine learning

*Winner of Tech.Co’s informal reader’s poll

Image Credit: Flickr/James Williams

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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