Tech Startup Trends

Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director 

Innovation is alive and well in South Carolina and is having an increasing impact on our state’s economy. We at the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) have a front-row seat to many of the exciting developments coming from our colleges, universities, technology startups, and industry partners from across our state. We also have experienced the effects the pandemic has had on these institutions and sectors and how, during the lockdown, the dearth of activities and events led to a marked decline in innovation development and commercialization. Read more on page 19.

Tips for Pitching

Matt Bell, SC Launch Director 

Early in my career, I was working with a young, talented faculty member at the University of Michigan on the commercialization of one of his innovations. We thought we had everything figured out. The technical path for developing his technology, the capital required to get it there, the expertise required to translate the technology, and the strategic partner who would be desperate for our idea. We set an agreed upon date to present to the company, put our deck together, and pitched them an idea on which they couldn’t possibly pass. We failed spectacularly. Many years, and a few hundred pitches, later, I look back on that first attempt and recognize the mistakes and presumptions that I see many founding entrepreneurs make even today.  Read more on page 31.

Think of Money as a Tool to Build Your Business

Cole Dudley, Director of SC Industry Solutions

Why did you start your business? Really think about it. Why? What are your hopes and dreams? Why are you doing this? You are investing a large part of your life and you will ask others to join, so you really need to know your goals. And those goals, in my humble opinion, need to go deeper than just making money.

When looking for an investor partner, and I do mean partner, seek people to whom you will be married for many years. You’re not just looking for money. Let that sink in, it’s not all about the money! Money is a tool. It does not grow a business. Money will come if you build a good business, and the partner you are seeking will help you build that business. Your first task is to identify someone who buys into your vision, adds value beyond the money, and with whom you have mutual respect. Read more on page 47.