Digital corridor gets first technology startup

4 mins read

Photo above: Officials and guests get together for a ribbon cutting at the Beaufort Digital Corridor on Carteret Street.

Staff reports

The Beaufort Digital Corridor has snagged its first tech startup.

Vireo Labs will be the first technology company to move into BASEcamp, Beaufort’s business incubator and co-working office designed to meet the transitional professional office needs of technology- and knowledge-based entrepreneurs seeking adaptable, affordable office and conference facilities.

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is an offshoot of the Charleston Digital Corridor, which in 15 years has seen its tech economy grow from 18 companies in 2001 to 350-plus companies in 2015. With an average wage of $88,066, pay at tech companies is almost twice the average of regional and state wages.

Located at 500 Carteret St., the remodeled office space targets small businesses focused on technology.

Another spinoff is the city of Beaufort’s branch of the Don Ryan Center of Innovation, based in Bluffton. It will be housed in the first floor of Beaufort City Hall and will assist non-technology businesses in starting up. (For more on the Don Ryan Center, see page A4).

“Between our preserved history and our protected environment, we have the ability to attract small and new businesses, especially those in the knowledge sector,” said Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop. “Sometimes all they need is a guiding hand to get started, and that’s what the Beaufort Digital Corridor and Don Ryan Center will provide.”

“It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point, but once we committed to making it happen, it’s happened very quickly,” said Stephen Murray, a Beaufort City councilman who spearheaded the Digital Corridor project. “Now the real work begins.”

Vireo Labs is a career-focused education technology startup founded in 2015.

The founding team is leveraging its higher education, ecommerce and mobile experience from the Savannah College of Art and Design, eBay, Amazon and LinkedIn into the development of its first mobile product, C’reer, to address the $7 billion recruitment marketing segment in the U.S. C’reer will connect people with the career of their dreams and the school that will get them there.

C’reer, which will be available on both the iOS and Android platforms, will be launched this month by Vireo Labs.

Locating to Beaufort’s BASEcamp is really the fulfillment of what C’reer tries to accomplish for all who use it, said Vireo Labs co-founder and CMO, Ian Leslie.

By locating to Beaufort, Vireo Labs, will also gain access to the network of entrepreneurs and professionals in Charleston.

“It is humbling and validating to have Vireo Labs make the decision to commence operations at BASEcamp on the same day the facility is being dedicated,” said Ernest Andrade, BDC’s executive director.

“This tech start-up is the first of more tech- and knowledge-based companies we expect will populate the recently renovated facility in downtown Beaufort,” he said.

Vireo Labs joins the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which has also established an office for a faculty member in its Computational Science program.

“Our goal is to stimulate collaboration between our students and the tech entrepreneurs located at BASEcamp,” said assistant professor Brian Canada.

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