#southernstartuptour: Charleston –> Greenville
We started our tour with grand ambitions to blog every day between cities. We quickly realized that the sheer amount of meetings and travel required to cover 2,100 miles and 6 cities in 5 days was going to make blogging daily impossible. This is attempt #2: our daily reflection on our travels.
Tuesday morning, we awoke bright and early for a 9AM meeting with Ernest Andrade, the Executive Director of the Charleston Digital Corridor. Founded in 2001, the Corridor has been the center of the knowledge based economy in Charleston for over a decade now. They launched their first co-working space, Flagship, in 2009 and added a second facility in 2011. Ernest was kind enough to take us on a tour of Flagship and then spend nearly two hours talking about the growth of the Charleston Digital Corridor and its future. We took some snazzy pictures.
After our morning tour of Charleston, we hit the road to Greenville, stopping in Columbia for a delicious lunch, but no meetings. In Greenville we arrived at the NEXT Innovation Center on the edge of downtown and it’s quite large. At NEXT, we had a meeting with Matt Dunbar, of UCAN, Peter Barth, of The Iron Yard and Brenda Laasko, of NEXT. They gave us an overview of the NEXT Innovation Center and a quick tour of the space. The Greenville community does a great job integrating everything from larger, more established companies down to people just getting started into a single co-located space to collaborate, connect and build great companies. The Iron Yard, spearheaded by Pete Barth, is a TechStars affiliated accelerator that just recently graduated its first class. We got a ton of ideas from the group in Greenville and can’t wait to find more ways to connect Greenville & Athens more closely.
Up next, we dive into the startup scene in Asheville (and enjoy some delicious Indian street food and champagne in the process).