The average South Carolinian has had their information stolen more than once.
That’s the finding of a recent report by the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which found that at least 7.6 million South Carolinians have been affected by data breaches in the last five years.
That’s a big number, especially when you consider that only an estimated 4.9 million people live in South Carolina. That works out to almost 1.6 breaches per person.
To be sure, that figure is dominated by the massive 2012 Department of Revenue breach. In that attack — one of the largest government breaches in history — more than 6 million people had their information compromised.
But the Consumer Affairs report shows that hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by smaller incidents in the years since. Last year, the report says, more than 626,000 South Carolinians were impacted by 38 breaches.
The actual number is likely higher, because it only includes breaches reported to the department. Companies and state agencies are only required to tell the department when more than 1,000 people in the state are impacted.
The South Carolina Angel Network — one of the state’s primary organizations funding young technology businesses — says it’s now going by VentureSouth in an effort to recast itself as an investment group for the entire region.
The organization has already spread outside of the Palmetto State, launching a local investment group in Asheville in 2014, but it has its eyes on other parts of the Southeast, said Charlie Banks, managing director.
VentureSouth already has more than 200 members investing in startups, who have collectively invested $17 million in 50 companies since 2008. It’s looking to grow further by starting a group in Charlotte this fall and adding to its presence in western North Carolina, Banks said.
“South Carolina’s a small state,” Banks said. “While there’s a tremendous amount of wealth here, if you combine the wealth and expertise across South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and north Florida — even into eastern Tennessee — you begin to really paint a picture of something that could be built here that could be extremely powerful.”
VentureSouth also says it’s brought on North Carolina entrepreneur Mac Lackey as its fourth managing director. Lackey is credited with founding and selling five companies in the South, and he has served on the board of Charlotte-based LendingTree.
Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703 or on Twitter @thadmoore.