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Multi-page PDF featuring storytelling photography by Patrick Schneider Photo (Charlotte, NC).

Transcript of PDF: Charlotte's Spirited Entrepreneurs

Charlottes Spirited Entrepreneurs 1CharlotteChamber.com

Charlottes SpiritedEntrepreneurs

We thank the following companies for their support of the Charlotte Chambers economic development efforts.

Charlotte Chamber Economic Development www.CharlotteChamber.com330 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28232 U.S.A. | 704.378.1300 | twitter.com/cltecondev




Ad Art Company, TheADT Security ServicesArtistic Images, Inc.BELFORC.E. Holt Refrigeration Inc.Call One, Inc.Carolina Handling, LLCCato Corporation, TheColumbia Sportswear/Bryenton

Enterprises, Inc.

Compass Group North AmericaFirst Citizens BankG4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.Hendrick Automotive Group Insight Global, Inc. A Staffing Services Co.Jones Lang LaSalleK&L GatesLincoln HarrisLouis Raphael - Kizan International, Inc.Miller Group, The

MindshareNELSONOtis Elevator CompanyPerformance TeamPhillips Van Heusen Corp.Smart Apparel, USSOIVF CorporationWeyco Group

Charlottes Spirited Entrepreneurs 3CharlotteChamber.com

The entrepreneurs of Charlotte speak many business languages Web, food, transportation, medicine, finance, to name a few. Their dialogue supports an open and energetic startup atmosphere in a community also known for some of Americas largest companies.

No matter what your startup does, Charlotte is a smart place to locate. Here are a few reasons why.

Charlotte-based leadership expert Sherri Baldwin has worked with the largest and smallest companies in the nation, but she keeps a special place in her heart for entrepreneurs. She says that for them, Its about pursuing their passions and applying three defining traits of leadership. They are committed, have deep conviction and courageous.

Charlotte: Where

Entrepreneurs Take Root

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Baldwins company, LeadAdvantage, builds executive success through one-on-one work, leaving a track record of personal growth and leadership. She adds, Charlotte is a unique venue for leaders to grow. The city has a business confidence and camaraderie. People here know when to collaborate and when to compete. That kind of on-the-job collegiality and respect isnt taught in a classroom or dictated by a few people. It is built by everyday performance. That kind of business environment builds enduring success.

Each year, the Charlotte Business Journal recognizes the Fast 50 the 50 fastest growing companies headquartered in the Charlotte area in terms of revenue. These companies help lead Charlottes entrepreneurial engine. Here are a few recent high achievers.

Higher education inspired a successful startup. Campus Crest Communities, Inc. decided that the old model of student housing could be reinvented. Now students across the United States are linked to a fast-growing Charlotte business: a vertically-integrated platform for first-class student housing properties. According to the company, a student-housing surge began in the 1950s when the baby boomers started college. High rises with shared facilities were thus quickly built to meet demand.

Those facilities have aged, and todays students have different demands, necessitating better student housing. Entrepreneurs Mike Hartnett and Ted Rollins founded Campus Crest Communities with a vision to develop the best fully loaded student housing properties in the industry. Their companys integrated model handles the demand from site selection to construction to management of the property. Today, there are 33 operating properties and six under development for delivery in fall 2012.

Perhaps among the most challenging industries to create innovation after the 2008 financial meltdown is finance, specifically

in mortgages. However, New American Mortgage is thriving, in part because it reinvented the real estate agent and lender relationship, even co-locating in some agent offices. New American Mortgage was started by former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Casey Crawford and mortgage veteran Toby Harris.

New American Mortgage swam against the financial current. The Charlotte Business Journal named the company among the fastest of its Fast 50, saying in December 2011, After increasing its revenue nearly 300 percent between 2008 and 2009, the company followed that with 223 percent growth the following year. The number of employees, meanwhile, has jumped from six in January 2008 to nearly 400 today, with

offices in 10 states. The growth is the result of expanding into new territory and gaining share in existing markets. Its on track to close $1 billion in loans this year.

AmWINS Group, Inc. is another finance-oriented success. The company has become the largest wholesale insurance broker in the U.S. based on premiums placed according to Business Insurance (October 2011). The firm has expertise across a diversified mix of property, casualty and group benefits products and also support services including product development, underwriting, premium and claims administration and actuarial services. Formed in 1998, AmWINS now has 82 locations across 19 countries including 50 locations in the U.S. AmWINS CEO,

Steve DeCarlo, was a 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner in the financial services category.

Entrepreneurs know that funding is the grease for the wheels of business. Charlotte business DealCloud brings efficiency to the capital raising and M&A process. The concept was incubated at a private equity firm that needed a higher grade of industry-specific knowledge for its work. The growing number of firms and professionals participating in the M&A industry has created demand for efficient workflow and organization in sourcing, executing and consummating deals, says Ben Harrison, a founder of DealCloud. We provide a secure and interactive platform to execute transactions and manage relationships.

For investment bankers and advisors, DealCloud is a secure, web-based tool to manage deal marketing, diligence activity and sponsor coverage. Says Harrison, Our networking features and proprietary database help investment bankers and advisors target relevant buyers and investors. As a financial sponsor or strategic buyer, the right deals can find you.

The easiest way to describe DealCloud is to compare it to other more generic technology platforms. Harrison drew the analogy, DealCloud is salesforce.com meets LinkedIn and a virtual Data Room specifically for the M&A industry. The M&A process is cumbersome, and our customers are excited about the efficiency and ROI they are experiencing with DealCloud. DealCloud is

Charlotte is a unique venue for leaders to grow. The city has a business confidence and camaraderie. People here know

when to collaborate and when to compete. That kind of business environment builds enduring success.

Sherri Baldwin, LeadAdvantage

DealClouds offices are in Packard Place.

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David Jones, president & CEO of Peak 10. Jones co-founded Peak 10 in March of 2000.

Charlottes Spirited Entrepreneurs 7CharlotteChamber.com

only one way that Charlotte entrepreneurs have leveraged technology for successful startups.

Skookum Digital Works is in the heart of Charlottes uptown and at the heart of web-tech. Skookum formulates, builds and packages mobile apps, webapps, custom software and data visualizations as business products and services for its customers to own and resell. All Web developers like the first 80 percent of this business. We actually like the last 20 percent, too. We want to launch your product. We want to hand over our hard work and see it live. We want your business to

generate its first revenues. We want your boss to give you a promotion, says Bryan Delaney, vice president and co-founder. Why did Skookum locate in uptown? In addition to a strong, skilled technology base, there is a ripe investor community and a contagious local entrepreneurial spirit. Were also fortunate to have great weather and a lower cost of living compared to other technology hubs, says Josh Oakhurst, creative director at Skookum.

Peak 10 Inc. is another tech success story. Peak 10 aims at mid-sized firms that need to store data securely off-site, using managed services and cloud providers with data centers. David Jones, president and CEO, recently announced an expansion in Charlotte. A new 62,000 square foot facility in the University Research Park area, north of uptown, takes Peak 10s footprint to more than 129,000 square feet. The company has its headquarters facility in south Charlotte.

A third of Peak 10s 350 people are in Charlotte. Peak 10 has 23 data centers in 10 markets in the U.S. The Charlotte Business Journal reports that in 2010, Peak 10 was sold to a private-equity fund in a deal valued at more than $400 million, giving Peak 10 the highest valuation of all data center companies in the U.S.

Charlotte tech startup YAP Inc. was sold to Amazon in 2011. Started by brothers Victor and Igor Jablokov, YAP developed an advanced, cloud-based mobile speech recognition platform. The company was a finalist in Silicon Valleys elite TechCrunch

event and was awarded North Carolinas Early Stage Company of the Year. Igor is also a founding member of the Speech Technology Consortium, which is dedicated to growing the market and increasing innovation in speech recognition technology and applications. With well over a dozen patents pending, he was named an industry luminary by the editors of Speech Technology magazine.

Tech takes on a different dimension