GASC Winter/Spring 2020 Newsletter

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A Message from the Executive Director

As the Global Alliance South Carolina (GASC) enters 2020, we do so having built momentum across each of the key elements of our mission.  Over the past 12 months we have:

  • Engaged research, business and economic development stakeholders across the state of South Carolina to develop a tailored referral network for attracting high potential businesses from Israel and Estonia to South Carolina;
  • Fostered engagements between business leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs in South Carolina with counterparts in Israel and Estonia to create relationships and expand technology-based economic development opportunities;
  • Launched binational industry research and development projects between companies in South Carolina and Israel, and between companies in South Carolina and Estonia consistent with the requirements of bilateral collaboration agreements between South Carolina and Israel (2013) and South Carolina and Estonia (2016); and
  • Formalized a partnership between GASC and the South Carolina Department of Commerce focused on helping the Department formulate and implement an economic development strategy centered on innovative small and medium-sized businesses.

In this issue we highlight progress in several of these key mission areas, including a GASC-sponsored delegation trip to Israel, support for a visit to Columbia by the Estonian Ambassador to the United States, stakeholder engagement events in Columbia and Charleston, updates on the ongoing South Carolina-Israel and South Carolina-Estonia industry R&D projects, and highlights for two new initiatives through which GASC will expand and deepen our connection to the citizens of South Carolina.

If you are aware of a business or researcher interested in becoming directly involved with one or more partners in Israel or Estonia, please let us know and we will facilitate initial connections.  Alternatively, if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or in other ways supporting our program of work, we would welcome such a discussion.

Finally, after a year of coordinating critical start-up activities for the Global Alliance South Carolina (GASC), including helping establish the mission and vision for the organization, developing a strategic business plan, and engaging stakeholder groups across the state of South Carolina, Ambassador Jim Melville will now focus his full attention on growing the College of Charleston’s portfolio of activities in his role as Associate Dean for International & Community Outreach in the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs.

Global Alliance South Carolina appreciates the time and commitment Ambassador Melville provided to the organization, and we wish him every success with the international activities at the College.

Russ Keller

Featured Stories

7th Annual Research & Business Delegation to Israel

Visiting the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

From January 25-30, 2020, GASC hosted a 12-person delegation to Israel for a dynamic series of business, research and cultural experiences.  For delegation leader Jonathan Zucker, this was the 7th time he has brought a group of business executives and research leaders to Israel to learn about opportunities for binational collaborations in the Cyber, IT, medical, bioscience, transportation, and clean tech industry sectors.

Trip participants experienced a rich and diverse agenda of meetings, briefings and cultural activities, including:

  • Meetings with the leadership of the Israel Innovation Authority, Rambam Medical Center, the Trendlines Incubator and the Weizmann Institute of Science;
  • Meetings with researchers at Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology);
  • Meetings with leading innovation commercialization companies in the biomedical, mobility and cyber/IT technology domains, including participation in the CyberTech Tel Aviv Conference, the cyber industry’s foremost business-to-business networking platform;
  • Cultural experiences that included touring the Old City of Jerusalem and Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum), and visiting the ancient city of Arad and the port cities of Jaffa and Caesarea.

The overarching theme for the week was to introduce the participants to the business climate and methodologies employed by Israel in its widely-acclaimed success as the “startup nation,” where innovators and entrepreneurs are developing leading-edge technologies for the 21st Century.

In all, the trip was a 5-day whirlwind of activities from the Mediterranean Sea to the mountains overlooking Jordan and the Dead Sea, to desert towns, to the fertile “bread basket” that produces an amazing array of fruits, vegetables and grains across all of the group’s in-country meals.  Participants came away from the trip with a universal appreciation for what Israel offers on a business and personal level.  “This was the best international trip I have ever been on,” said Vanessa Goeschl, Managing Director, European Office, South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Presentations at the Israel Innovation Authority.
South Carolina Delegation Leader Jonathan Zucker (right) at the CyberTech Tel Aviv Conference.

GASC Hosts Estonian Ambassador to the U.S., Jonatan Vseviov

On January 9, 2020, Estonian Ambassador to the US, Jonatan Vseviov traveled to Columbia for a series of meetings with South Carolina government, research and private sector leaders.  The Ambassador’s itinerary included meetings with South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, and Laura Corder and Tia Nelson of the SC Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation, lunch with the Columbia World Affairs Council, and concluded with a meeting at the University of South Carolina.

The aim of the Ambassador’s visit was to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Estonia and the State of South Carolina, exchange views on transatlantic cooperation on security and trade, and to discuss possibilities for further cooperation between the principal universities in Estonia and universities in South Carolina.

Reflecting on his visit, Ambassador Vseviov noted, “Eight years ago Estonia opened the Honorary Consulate in Charleston, and our bilateral relations have deepened significantly ever since.  Nevertheless, I believe there is a lot of room to expand our cooperation, especially in cyber technologies, but also on trade.  Next summer Estonia will host the fifth Three Seas Initiative Summit and the third Three Seas Initiative Business Forum.  Three Seas Initiative is an opportunity to improve the economic cooperation and infrastructure on the north-south axis of Europe, and as the United States is a key partner of the Three Seas Initiative, we see an opportunity not only to strengthen the transatlantic ties through the Initiative, but also to attract more U.S. and also South Carolina’s investments to the Central and Eastern European region.”

GASC has extended an invitation to Ambassador Vseviov to return to South Carolina later this year as a featured speaker in the “GASC Speaker Series,” described in greater detail in this newsletter.

Estonian Ambassador to the United States Jonatan Vseviov and South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

GASC Engages Regional Stakeholders in the Midlands and in Charleston

GASC Presentation to Columbia World Affairs Council
CWIT and GASC Leadership Participants in 10 September Luncheon Event.

A critical factor in enabling GASC to fulfill its mission is developing and sustaining relationships with key research, government and economic development organizations within South Carolina whose operations are aligned with ours.  Collectively, these stakeholder organizations provide an important source of two-way communication with GASC to maximize the chance the right resources can be brought to bear at the right place and time in helping recruit innovative companies to South Carolina.

A key method by which GASC develops and sustains these relationships is through information briefings we provide to like-minded groups across the state.  Since our last newsletter was published in August 2019 we have engaged the Columbia World Affairs Council on August 27, 2019, and the Charleston Women in International Trade on September 10, 2019.  In both events, the GASC staff presented an overview of our mission and examples of how we are accomplishing that mission by engaging students, faculty, researchers, economic developers and business leaders, and connecting them with counterparts in Israel and in Estonia.

GASC plans to continue these stakeholder meetings in 2020 to refresh relationships and to promote opportunities for South Carolinians to participate in upcoming research and business delegation trips to Estonia (potentially August-September, 2020) and to Israel (potentially January, 2021).

Collaboration Corner


SC-Israel Industry R&D Project Will Improve Identity Verification

In August 2018 GASC and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) awarded the fifth bilateral project under the collaborative industrial research and development program established in October 2013 between the Government of the State of South Carolina and the Government of the State of Israel.

The active project focuses on developing a pocket-sized identity verification device that combines multi-biometric and smart-card capabilities for use in security and defense, border control, national identification, point-of-sale and public safety applications.  The challenge this project addresses is the need to provide certified identity verification services at remote, off-grid, or mobile locations where little or no supporting infrastructure is available, and to provide these services with the same level of quality available at centralized locations (commercial or government departments) that have complex and complete technical infrastructure.

The project team, consisting of Integrated Biometrics, LLC, of Spartanburg, SC, and SBS Biometric Solutions of Haluzh, Israel, plans to complete its development effort during an eighteen-month period of performance that will conclude early in 2020.

“We’re extremely pleased to be part of this great GASC/IIA program, and to be working with SBS Biometrics Solutions on innovative new technologies for the biometric identification and enrollment sector,” said Stephen Thies, CEO of Integrated Biometrics. “We’re confident this project will yield cutting-edge products that will meet important, existing needs for biometric sensors for a growing global market.”

The Israel Innovation Authority, formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy (and as MATIMOP), is an independent and impartial public entity that operates for the benefit of the Israeli innovation ecosystem.  Its mission includes connecting the Israeli economy with the global innovation industry, including initiating and establishing international agreements with countries and multinational corporations relating to international cooperation in R&D and innovation.

GASC and IIA anticipate launching the next call for proposals later in 2020.


SC-Estonia Industry R&D Project Will Improve Security for Event Ticket Resale Markets

In July 2019 GASC and Enterprise Estonia announced the first award recipient from the collaborative industrial research and development program established in April 2016 between the Government of the State of South Carolina and the Government of the Republic of Estonia.

The current project award will focus on developing a ticket and data authentication capability for on-line secondary ticket markets to increase stakeholder data transparency and provide assurances that tickets are real and that their owners are authorized to transfer them.  Ticket fraud is a $2.3 billion problem in the $30 billion ticketing industry.  When deployed, this capability will reduce fraud while improving visibility for event organizers into the individuals who attend their events.

The project team, consisting of BandwagonFanClub Inc. of Greenville, SC., and Cybernetica AS of Tallinn, Estonia, plans to complete its development effort during a 24-month period of performance.

“When we started building our solution, we knew that there would be global applications for our technology,” said Harold Hughes, Founder & CEO of Bandwagon.  “We’re excited to partner with Cybernetica to deliver an innovative commercial solution solving a problem that directly affects fans and impacts businesses.  Being able to build and deliver here in South Carolina truly shows the opportunities that exist for emerging tech companies here in the Palmetto State.”

Established in 2000, Enterprise Estonia promotes business and regional policy in Estonia and is one of the largest institutions within the national support system for entrepreneurship by providing financial assistance, counseling, cooperation opportunities and training for entrepreneurs, research institutions, and the public and non-profit sectors.

GASC and Enterprise Estonia anticipate launching the next call for proposals later in 2020.


Facilitating Collaboration with Israeli and Estonian Companies and Researchers

GASC is supporting South Carolina companies and academic organizations seeking research and business partners in Israel and Estonia.  We understand the challenges involved with identifying collaboration partners seven time zones away.  We are here to help.  If you are interested in finding a potential research or business partner that shares your interests, please visit the “Partner Search” section of the GASC website,, or contact GASC Executive Director Russ Keller at or 843-760-4358.

The following table summarizes organizations in Estonia and Israel who are seeking partners in South Carolina:

Company Name Country Technology Domain Company Profile or Website
Bioatlas Estonia Medical/Pharma
CELL 112 OÜ Estonia Cloud-based, integrated software/hardware security solutions for buildings and facilities
Cybernetica Estonia Cyber security for cryptography and situational awareness
Guaana Estonia IT innovation
Helmes Estonia Business Software
Iluum ME Sisustus OÜ Estonia Nordic walking poles and equipment
Krabu Grupp LLC Estonia IT analysis and software development/td>
Mooncascade OÜ Estonia Product development and data science
STELFF NORDIC OÜ Estonia Manufacture instruments and appliances for measuring, testing and navigation, encrypted communication
Timbeter Ltd Estonia AI based solution for quick and accurate timber measurement, data and logistics
Challengy Israel Innovation Processes
Cynerio Israel Securing the Internet of Medical Things
DeeYook Israel Wireless location technology
Moodify Israel Advanced active scents
NanoLock Israel Security for internet-connected devices
Pure Blue Fish, Ltd. Israel Aquaculture filtration technology
Vdoo Israel Security for internet-connected devices
Verified Planet, Ltd. Israel Integrity of sensetive medical samples

What's Next for GASC?

Introducing a New Speaker Series

Over the past year GASC has hosted several high level government officials and business leaders to talk about Israel and Estonia.  We will now bring the opportunity to meet and learn from such dignitaries to you through the 2020 Speaker Series.  These will be luncheon events with subject matter experts – such as Ambassadors, CEOs and other international trade specialists.  It is your chance to meet such leaders in an intimate setting and learn about the business climates in Israel, Estonia and South Carolina.  The events kick off in July and the first speaker and location will be announced soon.

Sponsorships Available: $250 (for the series, $100 for each event).  For more information, email Pennie Bingham:

GASC Unveils New Membership Program

Over the past year as we have begun spreading the word of GASC’s mission throughout South Carolina, many of you have expressed interest in “being a member.”  To provide a mechanism to engage with our activities, meet other like-minded state leaders, and receive discounts for participation in GASC-sponsored events, we are launching a GASC Membership initiative.

Membership categories and benefits are listed below.  To secure your membership, or receive further information, please contact Pennie Bingham at

Up to 4 members, 4 registrations for 3 Speaker Series and Regional Meeting events, company profile and CEO picture in GASC e-newsletter, premier placement of logo on GASC website, 2 invitations to an International Delegation Reception, and $500 discount for one International Trip.
GOLD MEMBER               $2,500
Up to 2 members, 2 registrations for 3 Speaker Series and Regional Meeting events, company profile in GASC e-newsletter, logo on GASC website, 1 invitation to an International Delegation Reception, and $250 discount for one International Trip.
SILVER MEMBER             $1,000
Up to 2 members, 2 registrations to 3 Speaker Series or Regional Meeting events, GASC e-newsletter, listing on GASC website, 1 invitation to an International Delegation Reception, and $100 discount for one International Trip.
BRONZE MEMBER          $500
1 member, 1 registration to 3 Speakers Series or Regional Meeting events, GASC e-newsletter, listing on GASC website, and $50 discount for one International Trip.
SUPPORTER                     $250
1 member, attendance to 3 Speaker Series or Regional Meeting events, GASC e-newsletter, and listing on GASC website.
STUDENT                          $75
1 member, attendance to 1 Speaker Series or Regional Meeting event, GASC e-newsletter and invitation to a GASC selected event.

Contact Us

General Information:

Mailing Address
Global Alliance South Carolina
25 East Battery Street
Charleston, SC  29401

Principal Points of Contact:

GASC Executive Director
Russ Keller

GASC Director of Strategic Development
Pennie Bingham

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