It’s not quite “two guys in a garage start a business and become billionaires,” but it’s close.
Greenville-based software startup Advoco was just acquired by Fortune Global 500 company Accenture for an undisclosed (hint: large) amount of money.
Advoco specializes in Enterprise Asset Management. They maintain business management software that allows customers to increase productivity, improve reliability, ensure compliance, reduce energy use and become more sustainable.
The complexity of their work makes their startup location rather ironic. Advoco’s first office space was housed above “Café and Then Some,” a deeply Southern, off-beat, low-brow comedy dinner theater.
“When we started we had a ten-person office and there were three people. We worried whether we’d fill that up,” said Advoco founder Steve Brindle. “At one point we thought about buying an office, thank goodness we didn’t because we’d have outgrown it in a year.”
Brindle and fellow partner Marty Osborn chose Greenville and grew the business here because of the talent pipeline from Clemson University and Furman University, the quality and cost of living, and the large number of co-working spaces. They’re based at the NEXT Innovation Center.
“We love being part of the NEXT community because you come in and everything is included,” Osborn said. “As entrepreneurs we don’t want to worry about paying water bills and utilities or hiring a cleaning company. We want to focus on growing our business.”
Osborn says when he saw the City of Greenville’s new Economic Development initiative, “From Here You Can Change the World” it resonated with him.
“In Greenville you can be a bigger fish in a little pond. You go to Atlanta or the bigger cities, Dallas, New York, and what happens is that you get lost in the big world where in Greenville there are so many resources, so many cool people that as a small entrepreneur you can still make a difference,” he said.
In a news release from Accenture, company executives said, Advoco is highly respected for its talent, expertise and training program. Founded in 2002, Advoco has been repeatedly named Infor EAM Partner of the Year. Most of its over 100 asset management professionals are based in Greenville, SC. Accenture plans to establish Advoco’s Greenville office as a center of excellence for EAM delivery, industry use cases and intelligent asset management.
“We have accounts in basically every state, and we’ve done it all from Greenville,” Osborn said. “What this announcement does is takes us global.”