PivotSC, a Greenville-based conglomeration of tech startups, has snagged a coveted partnership with global software giant Oracle.
Helmed by serial tech entrepreneur Robert Fields, PivotSC officially opened its new downtown innovation lab last month. On hand for the launch were two executives from Oracle: Joe O’Toole, Northeast regional manager focusing on small and medium businesses, and Nick Ramos, account rep, who announced PivotSC’s acceptance into the selective Oracle Scaleup program, part of the Startup Cloud Accelerator ecosystem.
O’Toole and Ramos describe it as a next-generation initiative that offers “prerevenue startups” a customized set of services including cloud credits, access to mentoring from Oracle experts, customers, and partners, and potential access to Oracle investors.
O’Toole noted that one of the first companies to participate in this selective program was eventually so successful, Oracle acquired it.
“Part of what we look for are people who have done this before, who are dynamic,” Ramos says. “Robert has done this many times; he knows how to hire good people. You look at their roster and all the right signs are there. Not everyone is allowed in this program; we choose carefully. There’s an application process and you have to meet certain criteria. Robert has checked all those boxes.”
Among those boxes are selecting the right companies to invite to join the PivotSC community. The eight companies are mostly technology oriented: Many focus on “internet of things” solutions, a few are medical, and there are robotics and agribusiness involved as well.
In addition to office space, the PivotSC umbrella includes a full business infrastructure, including acknowledged subject matter experts such as Lee Stogner, an internet of things and electronics expert; a lawyer; a data analyst; engineers; and experts in sales, technology, and operations.
In some cases, the companies themselves do double-duty and offer expertise to their collaborative colleagues.
How Oracle met Greenville
The Oracle-PivotSC relationship began with a Bloomberg Business article tagging Greenville “the Silicon Valley of the South.” Ramos was intrigued and started making some calls, doing some research. Ultimately, he found Adam Steen, chief operating officer of PivotSC, and also owner of Visigrow, one of the PivotSC portfolio of companies.
“The timing was perfect,” O’Toole says. Countering questions about why Oracle — a global enterprise provider — would be interested in a small startup, Ramos says the times are changing. “Traditionally, Oracle’s been thought of as an enterprise product. But we’ve worked hard with our tech teams to change that. We have great solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, and we hope this shows that.”
The accelerator programs are part of this change, O’Toole says.
“We’re looking to become a real part of the community,” he says. “To contribute with mentorship on how to grow business, to find ways that Oracle experts and thought leaders can help beyond just using our products.”
Ramos calls Fields “a great ambassador for Greenville,” and he plans to be in the city on a regular basis “so we can be hands on and in front of Robert.” He also anticipates that Fields will introduce Oracle to other small-business leaders.
What does Oracle get out of this?
Oracle is banking on PivotSC to be a success story that can be a springboard to more connections in Greenville.
“We want to show the community and all the small and medium-sized businesses that Oracle is a great fit for them,” Ramos says.
Fields says so far, so good.
“We’ve been working with Oracle for a couple of months and are really pleased with what they’ve been able to prepare for us,” he says.
Although PivotSC has not applied for any capital assistance from Oracle, O’Toole didn’t rule that out in the future. Both partners say that for now it’s Oracle’s added value as a business partner and mentor fueling rapid growth that they are looking for.
“Robert is going to build his solutions and they’re going to be powered by Oracle,” says Ramos. “A great use case of how a startup is using our tech is fantastic.”
A look at PivotSC
Location: 50 S. Richardson St., Greenville
- VisiGrow LLC: Agribusiness internet of things.
- XtremedX LLC: Medical devices.
- Fibratronics Inc.: Advanced materials using graphene.
- Voir Dire Analytics LLC: Big-data analytics for jury selection.
- Thatlooksneat LLC: Electronics consulting.
- iPetkits LLC: Veterinarian kits.
- Ocsnah Botanical Robotics Inc. Robotics for GMO solutions.
- Vincula Group: Consultant in business innovation, digital transformation, internet of things, and artificial intelligence.