Opportunity clicks Mt. Pleasant firm matchmaker for students, manufacturers (copy)

STEM Premier co-founder Casey Welch, right, works in the startup's Mount Pleasant office. File/Staff

The Mount Pleasant startup STEM Premier, which helps high school students pair up with colleges and employers, has raised $9 million from an online education company.

The new investment comes from K12 Inc., a for-profit group that runs online public schools across the country. The company plans to fold STEM Premier's technology into its career-training programs, in a bid to get students in front of recruiters in construction, health care, IT and manufacturing.

STEM Premier — short for science, technology, engineering and math — was founded five years ago to help industry scout talent coming through high schools. Its founders liken it to the way colleges seek out talented athletes, but for careers outside the limelight.

The five-year-old startup says it has profiles for some 370,000 students from 19,000 schools nationwide. But the company has seen especially strong traction in South Carolina, where it was tapped by the S.C. Manufacturing Alliance to develop a program to identify potential production workers.

The company has also won financing from S.C. Launch, a state-backed program that invests in startups, and the telecom companies Home Telecom and Comporium.

"The resources in South Carolina have been critical to our growth. We have been honored to partner with many organizations in the state to address the workforce challenge," STEM Premier chief executive Casey Welch said in a statement. "Attracting the investment of a national leader in educational technology will provide us the opportunity to accelerate both of our companies' missions."

Clipped wings

Charleston will consider banning electric scooters from its streets on Tuesday, just weeks after the scooter-rental startup Bird landed in the city.

The city had already clipped Bird's wings by sending the startup a cease-and-desist order, citing an ordinance that bans most "unregulated vehicles" from the peninsula. That law only allows vehicles like cars, golf carts, carriages and bikes.

But City Council is set to take that ruling a step further by explicitly banning companies that rent "motorized scooters." That would kick Bird and a handful of other fast-rising startups out of the city at a moment when scooters are sweeping across the country.

The proposed ordinance would also give police the go-ahead to impound stray scooters. Bird and its competitors don't use centralized docks to rent their scooters; instead, they let riders leave them anywhere, which has clogged sidewalks in some cities.

If approved, police could charge a $45 fee per scooter and hold onto them for 24 hours. After that, the ordinance would let the department scrap or sell the scooters.

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Job site hire

The Virginia-based owner of PeopleMatter has another new executive, swapping out its No. 2 leader just weeks after making a change at the top.

Snag, which bought the Charleston startup PeopleMatter in 2016, says it's tapping John Frederick as its chief operating officer. Frederick came to the company in January in a top administrative role. He replaces Jocelyn Mangan, an executive with product-development experience.

Frederick's career has been largely focused on finance and administrative work, most recently in the tech sector. Before moving into the software business, he worked for companies like Arby's and Brown Jordan International, a furniture maker.

Snag is one of the nation's largest job sites for hourly work, and it handles job applications and employee paperwork for companies like Marriott, McDonald's and UPS. The company named a new CEO, Fabio Rosati, last month as it angles for a bigger slice of the market and a possible initial public offering in the next few years.

"John Frederick not only brings a wealth of financial and business expertise, but he is also experienced in technology and consumer product companies and very familiar with transformation and growth," Rosati said in a statement.

Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703. Follow him on Twitter @thadmoore.

Thad Moore is a reporter on The Post and Courier’s Watchdog and Public Service team, a native of Columbia and a graduate of the University of South Carolina. His career at the newspaper started on the business desk in 2016.