SCRA Supports Scalable Tech Startups Statewide

NEXT Startup Success Program Manager, Peter Micali, highlights the key takeaways from the 2023 SCRA Summit, a state-wide event for scalable startups hosted in Columbia, SC.

While the NEXT staff loves and calls Greenville home, the entire state of South Carolina is committed to supporting tech-enabled, scalable startups. One of the best representations of this support is the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), a state-chartered organization charged with fueling South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth of academia, entrepreneurship and industry.

For nearly 40 years, SCRA has been an instrumental part of the state’s startup ecosystem, providing grand funding, supporting academic research and local entrepreneurial organizations like NEXT.

I had a blast attending SCRA’s 2023 Summit (road trip!), which had the excellent theme of “Founders First.” Truly a celebration of founders and their impact on the growth of South Carolina’s innovation economy, this year’s summit featured great keynote speakers, fireside chats and of course: founders, founders, founders!

In addition to the wonderful keynote presentation by Joseph Hanna (Chief Product Officer of Magnit Global and Founder/CEO of ENGAGE Talent), the day was thematically structured around the different stages of a startup’s growth journey: Ideation, Development, Accelerate, Scale and Funding. Featuring fireside chats between SCRA moderators and SCRA member companies (startups) from all over the state, this format provided an excellent educational opportunity for the audience, which featured more entrepreneurs than past Summits.

It was invaluable to see the myriad challenges, opportunities, and evolving strategies for startups, and how those change during the lifecycle of a venture.


Education is an important area of focus for NEXT, and it was inspiring to see a statewide organization provide the platform and educational opportunity. Plus, as an added bonus, the Upstate was strongly represented through multiple Greenville-based ventures featured on stage. Incora HealthScopestack and 6AM City were represented in the Ideate, Scale and Fundraising sessions respectively.

In the interest of amplifying that education, we had a couple of key takeaways for founders:

  • Collaboration between support organizations and communities is vital and leads to greater impact
  • SCRA investments and support have led to a $1.5-billion-dollar impact on the state, and have led to the creation of over 5,300 jobs (with an average salary of over $80,000)
  • For founders: metrics, data and deep knowledge of your company’s performance are crucial, particularly when fundraising
  • When building software products, one approach is to start small with essential, well-executed features at launch, then adding customer-requested features from there
  • There are loads of support opportunities for startups from all industries: while SCRA and NEXT skew towards tech/tech-enabled ventures, many other South Carolina ESOs and national programs support startups of all types.

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A huge thank you and congratulations to the entire SCRA team on a job well done. The NEXT team is excited about the trajectory and momentum of our state’s innovation economy and SCRA is a huge part of that. Finally, if you’re part of a scaling startup located in the Greenville area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to see how you can get connected to our growing ecosystem.

NEXT awards $95k worth of prizes at second annual #StartupGVL Launchpad event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- April 7, 2023 (Greenville, SC) – The second annual #StartupGVL Launchpad event took place on Thursday, April 6th, and was an incredible celebration of early-stage innovation and entrepreneurship. With over 50 applicants for prizes in 7 categories,  7 winners were selected to receive prize packages that, in total, represent more than $95k. 

Prize winners from the 2023 #StartupGVL Launchpad reception

The winner of the Business Consulting package provided by Elliott Davis was Modal, a globally-recognized and technically-advanced hostel concept shaping the short-term lodging industry. 

The winner of the HR/Team Development package provided by Find Great People was Avallano, a SaaS platform that improves patient recruitment and retention using a secure, personalized, patient-centric approach.

The winner of the Branding and Design package provided by SLANT was Incora Health, an innovative, data-driven solution for fertility health and wellness management. 

The winner of the Legal Servies package provided by Wyche was Bottle Titan, which produces customizable solutions to next-generation real-time asset tracking in any industry or sector.

The winner of the SEO and Digital Marketing Services package provided by DFS Creative Concepts was Metatomic, the premier company in dry spent nuclear fuel processing, by providing fuel salt for both thermal and fast molten salt reactors, which will produce carbon free electricity in the United States

The winner of the Seed Grant provided by SCRA was Builder Rocket, an intelligent digital platform that integrates builders, buyers, and brands to minimize or eliminate the communication gap between builders, home buyers, subcontractors, distributors, and manufacturers.

The winner of the bonus prize category Software Prototyping provided by Designli was AR Funding, which provides working capital through invoice factoring using Smart Contracts and Blockchain technology.


About NEXT

NEXT is a non-profit entrepreneurial support organization that attracts and helps grow high-impact, knowledge-based companies by developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greenville, SC and connecting entrepreneurs to it. Our mission is to identify, engage and provide support for high-growth entrepreneurs and their teams as they build scaling, investor-ready companies through programming, connections and support whether just starting out or well on their way. For more information, visit 



Susan Durden | 864-735-7516 |