executives mike gianoni blackbaud.jpg (copy)

Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni (center) presides over an impromptu meeting in a hallway with executives (from left) Tony Boor, Walter Loiselle, Todd Lant and Tom Pate in the company's Daniel Island headquarters earlier this year. File/Staff

A new Forbes list puts a Charleston technology executive in the company of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg in a ranking of the most innovative leaders in the country. 

Mike Gianoni, CEO of Blackbaud Inc., was ranked 65th. He took the job at the Daniel Island-based software company in January 2014 and has steered the company fully into a subscription sales model for its products and services. Blackbaud's technology helps nonprofits, churches and educational institutions raise money and manage their finances.

The top spot on the Forbes list was a tie between Musk,  the CEO of electric-carmaker Tesla, and Amazon.com founder Bezos. Zuckerberg, founder and top executive at Facebook, claimed the No. 3 spot. 

Forbes was hit with a healthy dose of criticism after the list was released, because of the 100 leaders profiled, just one is a woman.

"We blew it," chief content officer Randall Lane said on his Twitter page. "Now we’re doing what journalists do: figuring out how this happened and learning from it."

Forbes makes a number of rankings-style lists, and has been criticized before when the research used does a poor job of highlighting diversity — take the ranking of wealthiest billionaires, for example. Lane said the "most innovative" list, like all of its other rankings, was developed using objective, data-driven measures.

But the researchers and consultant who developed the list and its methodology were also all men.

Urge to merge

Stingray Branding, a West Ashley-based digital marketing and branding company founded in 2008, said it purchased mobile app developer netGalaxy Studios.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal brings together two small, local companies. Stingray focuses mainly on producing marketing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The combined company's staff roster lists 10 employees. Larry Collet, who founded netGalaxy in 2010, was to leave after the sale to focus full time on his role at Charleston Leaders, a nonprofit organization based on East Bay Street. Stingray's CEO is Alan Thompson.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

A dig at gig

California's statehouse passed legislation Tuesday that would force some of the state's most prominent technology companies, including a couple that do business in South Carolina, to reclassify their workers as employees, rather than contractors.

Uber and Lyft, each based in San Francisco, pay drivers as contractors. The arrangement makes it easy to sign up to work for the service and gives laborers flexibility to drive on their own schedules. But it also denies them the benefits extended to full-fledged employees.

Uber and Lyft lobbied against the bill, saying the current approach is critical to the ride-hailing business model. Neither firm can afford a financial hit. Each had disappointing initial public offerings this year, and they've yet to turn a profit.

The companies have said they plan to launch a ballot initiative to win exceptions to the new law, which represents a broader threat to the so-called gig economy, which includes food delivery firms like DoorDash, chore services like TaskRabbit and many more.

A South Carolina version of the California legislation would likely not gain much traction in the Republican-leaning Palmetto State, as its support comes primarily from Democrats. 

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.