Capital Looking For a Home in Charleston, South Carolina: An Interview with Bobby Pearce

Bobby Pearce is an attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood and the co-managing partner of the firm’s Charleston office. His practice includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, private securities offerings and shareholder disputes.

Pearce has an entrepreneurial background, having started or invested in multiple companies, and since 1984, he’s spent a great deal of time working on economic development initiatives for the state of South Carolina and the Charleston area.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a broad chasm in South Carolina between investors with money and companies seeking to raise funds. With a shortage of mid-market companies that have the longer-term, proven track record that most investors are seeking, capital often is being left sitting on the sidelines.
  • Established companies, especially with EBITDA of $2 million and above, now have many more options for capital.
  • Charleston is on a fast growth track with its commercial and industrial base of companies; the number of home-grown and recruited successful, mid-market companies is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years.
  • The snowballing growth of mid-market companies in this region will lead to many more successful exits and then much more capital being reinvested into new companies in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, creating a self-fulfilling cycle of formation, growth and corporate and investor success.
  • Tech-savvy and creative millennials are migrating to Charleston at a rapidly accelerating rate because of its livability, coastal amenities, historic charm and now high-impact work opportunities. The region is one of the top 17 fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S. and is experiencing some growing pains, having to explore infrastructure options to better accommodate the increasing influx of people and businesses.
  • Boeing’s new multi-billion dollar aircraft manufacturing and assembly plant here has spurred an explosive growth of investment in the Charleston region’s aerospace and aviation cluster. Daimler just announced its plans to grow the region’s automotive cluster by building a Sprinter plant, which will complement the already-existing defense, tourism and health care industry clusters.
  • South Carolina’s highly-integrated, 16-campus technical education college system has greatly helped to attract Boeing and other companies to the state and the region. This system offers unparalleled industry-specific training and education and thus provides a steady stream of well-trained, qualified employees, which most other states cannot provide.

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