IN THE NEWS
“From here, we can and are changing the world,” said KIYATEC, Inc. CEO and co-founder Matt Gevaert.
The innovative life sciences company founder announced KIYATEC is expanding and moving to Main Street in Greenville.
KIYATEC will be the first tenant and anchor of a new downtown Innovation District. Greenville Mayor Knox White called the announcement “a big deal,” and he said this move makes KIYATEC one of only two life sciences/biotech companies in the nation to be located on a city’s Main Street.
KIYATEC’s Chief Operating Officer, Lillia Holmes, and other staff members in lab coats gathered around a makeshift stage as Gevaert made the announcement in front of the company’s new location at 2 N. Main Street, which used to house medical software company ChartSpan. Road blocks at Washington and Coffee signaled the importance of this event.
“We have the potential to change the future of cancer care,” Gevaert said. KIYATEC has developed technology that helps doctors better predict which cancer drugs will have the best result for a patient using 3D technology and live cells.
Gevaert and his co-founder started their work at Clemson University, incubated their startup in Pendleton, and then moved into a Prisma research space in Greenville. The move to Main Street is a $5 million investment that will create nearly 100 new jobs and allow KIYATEC to expand its drug development and testing services.
Watch our video on the announcement here.
SHOW OF SUPPORT
Many people from around the state of South Carolina gathered for the KIYATEC announcement including some of Gevaert’s fellow Clemson University alums.
District 4 Greenville City Councilman Wil Brasington and Matt Dunbar, the former managing director of UCAN, the beginnings of Venture South, were among KIYATEC's supporters.
As people in the crowd snapped pictures after the event, Gevaert noted that within a two-year span, he, Brasington, and Dunbar were student body presidents (grad and undergrad) at Clemson.
(Pictured left outside KIYATEC's new digs at 2 N. Main St.: District 4 Greenville City Councilman Wil Brasington, KIYATEC, Inc. CEO and co-founder Matt Gevaert, and former Venture South leader Matt Dunbar)
Mayor Knox White said he met Gevaert at a Greenville Drive game more than 10 years ago. Gevaert, White said, was talking about oncology research at the game. However, the mayor said, “He had me with his intensity and love for Greenville.”
Greenville City Manager, John McDonough, Economic Development Director, Merle Johnson, as well as John DeWorken, Ken Gibson, and Dorothy Dowe from City Council were all smiles during the KIYATEC unveiling.
District 3 Councilman Ken Gibson showed his support for KIYATEC wearing his From Here You Can Change the World hat, emphasizing the faith that Greenville is a great place to start and grow a business just as KIYATEC founders have done.
(Pictured left: District 3 Greenville City Councilman Ken Gibson talking to City Manager John McDonough and At-large Councilwoman Dorothy Dowe)
ENTREPRENEURIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM
Why did KIYATEC choose to expand in Greenville?
CEO and co-founder Matt Gevaert said the company is moving where the innovation is. He said the Greenville community has a strong support system for founders. “I’m a first-time entrepreneur. The community has been a material part in our success. KIYATEC benefits from all this area has to offer including its highly-educated labor force, excellent quality of life for our employees, competitive cost profile and business-friendly environment,” Gevaert said.
JOURNEY TO GREENVILLE
The South Carolina portion of Gevaert’s journey began after he heard of Clemson’s internationally renowned biomedical engineering program. He came here on a student visa to earn a master’s degree.
“When KIYATEC founder Matt Gevaert came to the Upstate from Canada 25 years ago to study at Clemson, he didn’t expect to stay,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White.
“But like so many successful founders he discovered YOU CAN take an idea from clinical trial to market implementation in Greenville,” Mayor White said.
“Our ecosystem supports entrepreneurs. FROM HERE you can scale and grow your business. We are pleased that KIYATEC is locating inside the emerging Innovation District in the heart of downtown as they change the world with lifesaving medical advances.”
(Pictured above: Greenville Mayor Knox White at the podium, KIYATEC CEO and co-founder Matt Gevaert and his staff behind the stage)
Gevaert credits Venture South for its efforts to grow the entrepreneurial support system. “There’s no better place to be than in Greenville relative to the wonderful investment network that Venture South has built, which now spans several states and keeps growing,” Gevaert said.
As a businessman and a scientist who relies on hard numbers, Gevaert says clinical data shows KIYATEC is improving outcomes for cancer patients. “…something that was born here and grew up here is positioned to change cancer care and most people can't believe that we're going to pull that off in Greenville,” Gevaert said, “but we're doing it already."
"Together, our community is not afraid to face the hard problems," said Gevaert. "Cancer is a big problem, and it’s difficult, yet we face it squarely.”
THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS
Reflecting after the announcement of KIYATEC’s expansion, Gevaert said it’s “a blessing and privilege to have Greenville as part of my story.”
Twenty years from now, we will all look back at the time KIYATEC tackled the role of trailblazer on Main Street, and Gevaert himself became a part of downtown Greenville’s story of innovation, evolution, and entrepreneurship.