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Easy Access To Expertise Makes Delaware A Top Choice For Startups


Desikant Technologies and Carvertise are two business startups that anticipate big things in 2022, and the founders of both said they share a lot of the credit with the state where they are headquartered.

Desikant is a developer of high-tech garments to keep surgeons and others cool in high-stress environments, but it isn't based in Silicon Valley. Carvertise is innovating how companies can reach consumers with moving out-of-home media, but it is not based on Madison Avenue in New York.

Instead, both companies are enthusiastic residents of Delaware, a small state with an outsized reputation in the business community.

“The culture in Delaware is very business-friendly,” Carvertise co-founder Mac Macleod said. “There is access to a talented, trained and educated workforce, and the political climate here is stable and healthy, and that impacts the business climate.” 

Delaware is known globally as a top place to incorporate a new business. More than 1.6 million businesses have done so, including at least two-thirds of the Fortune 500. 

But entrepreneurs such as Macleod and Desikant CEO Kwaku Temeng said the state is also a good place to actually locate and do business beyond filing papers of incorporation. Their reasons include an accessible, pro-business state government, the help of organizations such as the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the advantages of its central location on the Eastern Seaboard.

“We're close to New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia,” Temeng said. “And right along that corridor are many people with the talents that we're going to need. In addition, venture capital firms like to invest in companies that are within reach, and so Delaware’s central location means we can get serious consideration from VC firms from Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.”

Both men’s roots in the state go deep. 

Macleod was a finance major at the University of Delaware before forming his company in 2012. Carvertise produces plastic advertising wraps for cars that promote clients such as Netflix, 7-Eleven and NASCAR, as well as local businesses like developers. Today, about 2,000 cars — most of them owned by ride-share drivers — constitute the growing fleet of Carvertise, a business that has made the list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America. 

Temeng came to the state in the early 1990s to work for Delaware-based DuPont, and he stayed a resident even after he took positions with Under Armour in Baltimore and then at a startup in New York, where he was chief technology officer.

“Delaware has remained my home,” he said. “My family was here and I didn't want to move them. I have various connections in the community. So, when I started Desikant, there was no reason to pick up and move.”

Similarly to Macleod, he has a connection to the University of Delaware, which has a department of fashion and apparel studies. The institution can provide the sort of expertise Temeng needs for his company, which designs and manufactures thermo-regulating “smart garments” that prevent heat exhaustion.

“We are beginning to work with some of the professors there,” he said. “There is expertise there that we can leverage.”

Temeng said there is an entire ecosystem of suppliers and potential business partners in and around the state that have expertise in key disciplines such as specialty fabrics and electronics components packaging. 

“We can source talent from the entire region,” he said. “That is key because my company is merging high-tech garments and high-tech electronics to create a new class of smart garments.”

Desikant plans to launch its first product by Q4 2022. It will likely be for the use of surgeons, although there are other potential applications, including in the military, he said. 

It could be an important year for Carvertise, too. Macleod plans to grow his sales force in 2022 while introducing new product features to make the cars’ signage pop even more for his advertising clients. This could include adding 3D plastic elements to the advertising and taking steps to incentivize drivers to be in certain areas at certain times to promote the clients’ ads most effectively.

Both entrepreneurs credit the nonprofit Delaware Prosperity Partnership for providing the local expertise, connections and funding they need to continue to grow.

“They have helped us mainly in procuring the grants to grow the workforce here,” Macleod said. “And they've been big supporters and cheerleaders, and they help open up doors when we need it.”

Desikant has benefitted from DPP, winning the top prize in innovation at Startup 302, a funding competition organized by the organization. Temeng said DPP has been an invaluable guide for a startup business.

“The connections that they made have paid off in a really big way,” Temeng said. “I wouldn't have been able to navigate my way through the system without them.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Delaware Prosperity Partnership. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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