First companies named to set up shop in Rock Hill incubator

dworthington@heraldonline.comOctober 1, 2013 

— The first group selected for what is being called The Technology Incubator at Knowledge Park has several familiar local names.

The first to sign on was Wade Fairey, former executive director of Historic Rock Hill.

Fairey’s firm is Architectural Forensics. The company is based on Fairey’s website, The website is designed to help people discover more about their ancestors by linking documents related to specific addresses and structures.

The other familiar name is Ed Currie, developer of the “Carolina Reaper,” one of the world’s hottest peppers, and founder of the Pucker Butt Pepper Co. Currie is looking at different ways to use a pepper’s capsaicin. Capsaicin is what makes a pepper hot. Currie said he wants to look at nutritional uses as well as medical uses for the capsaicin.

Fairey’s and Currie’s names were released Tuesday by the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp., operator of the incubator.

The incubator is a collaboration with Clemson University. Companies selected for the incubator have access to experts at Clemson, who will help them in areas such as product development, market research and finances.

David Warner, director of the incubator, said five other companies are in the first class. Warner released the company names, but not the owners.

Other companies selected were:

• Stark, a developer of apps for nonprofit organizations.

• DC Soft, a tentative name for software engineers working on a design program for large-scale projects.

• Carolina Ethanol, a firm working to extract sugars for ethanol from fresh and saltwater algae.

• Arva, a Rock Hill-based solar-power manufacturer which makes off-the-electric-grid street lights and energy-efficient light bulbs.

• Perfect Lithium, a company looking at new ways to process lithium, which is used in batteries.

Warner said the incubator is talking with an eighth company. He said he has talked with an additional 12 firms which would not quite be ready for the incubator.

Warner said he continues to encourage firms or people to talk with him. “We are always looking for the next entrepreneur with a great idea,” he said.

The incubator is on the fifth floor of the Citizens Building at the corner of Main and Caldwell streets in downtown Rock Hill. The city leases the space. The Economic Development Corp. is paying Clemson $50,000 for its assistance. Chosen companies will lease space there for about $200 a month.

The incubator is part of the city’s strategy to develop technology-based jobs.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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