“I came to America with $350, two bags and big dreams.”

December 2020: Greer, SC

American Dreamer

Srikanth Kodeboyina/Founder & CEO of Blue Eye Soft Corporation

I came to America with $350, two bags and big dreams. I was born and brought up in India. My mom and dad are farmers who are illiterate. They can sign their names; that’s it. They wanted me to study, so they never let me touch grass, or feed anything. They believed in an education and sent me to a private English school. I eventually went to boarding school and then University, and on January 1, 2010, I came to Dayton, Ohio, to pursue my Master’s Degree in Engineering (Thanks to cousin Krishna).

I graduated in 2011 and worked for Fortune 100 companies for five years. In 2016, I got my U.S. citizenship under a national interest waiver, and that opened doors for me to begin my own business. I traveled to 46 states in America as a consultant. That’s how I first came to the Upstate; I was brought to Greenville as a consultant to BMW. I moved here for a couple of months and saw everything and thought this is the perfect place. I decided Greer would be my home. I was thinking I can set up work here, the weather is perfect, and the cost of living was another key factor.For half a million dollars, you don’t get anything in many parts of the country, but here, half a million dollars is enough to live a very comfortable life.

“I live in Greer at Thornblade Crossing and my office and home are five minutes apart. I purchased my office in 2018, which is in Parkway Commons. In many places in America, you may have to commute at least 20-30 minutes and that eats up your valuable life. For me, the commute is very practical. Within nine minutes I have everything I need, from groceries, to work, to living. I don’t have to travel more than 10-12 minutes to get anything, and that even includes the airport. Greer has so much, and so many resources.

My mom always says, ‘Even if you don’t have everything, you can start anything.’ I launched Blue Eye Soft in 2017. Basically, we are an advanced data analytics and AI software development company. We create products that are used in several different sectors. We are one of eight companies selected by the Air Force Research Labs Catalyst space accelerator to work with the Space Force and solve space problems, like space situational awareness and satellite operations. We also serve the healthcare industry. We created Bluedocai™, a clinical decision support tool, that uses proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to assist radiologists and other healthcare professionals to more quickly and accurately detect and diagnose pneumonia, pneumothorax, TB, cancer, strokes, even Covid-19. We are ground-breaking and pioneering. We are solving some of the most creative, innovative things in IT right now. No one else in the state is doing what we do.

“We’ve received over eight awards the past three years from institutions like NASA and the Small Business Administration. With a laptop and the phone sitting here in Greer, we are changing the world. I would encourage anyone to think globally and work from Greer. It’s a mix, right? There are great tax incentives. We get great support from the government; all of the officials are in reach. They are really supportive and have great programs. You need leaders to really care, and leaders with the city and state do. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the Mayor, Rick Danner. The kind of support he’s given us has been really, really, cool. Here, I am able to meet key employers and talk to them and share.

Businesses also have great support from the South Carolina Resources Authority (SCRA). We were selected to be a SCRA SC launch company and they gave us $125,000 in grants and up to $600,000 available in trenches as supporting investment. The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce has a nice entrepreneurship development program that helped me find myself and make connections. We also have the Upstate South Carolina Alliance (thanks to the leadership of John Lummus), where we can connect with all the international businesses that are coming. They’ve helped us bridge relationships with international partners.

“We are also making good connections through the Greenville Area Development Corporation, which has helped us focus and get us where we needed to be. SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance, an initiative of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, has also provided us with some great resources to develop cool tech.There are also some really good programs, like the InnoVision Awards. We’ve been able to connect and work pretty much globally with the Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team. We’ve also worked with Clemson and USC students, and we’re currently working with MUSC to gain clearance on our Covid-19 product. I grew up in a place where I didn’t have these resources. I am a village guy. This is heaven. In 2017, I served as South Carolina’s delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India. Ivanka Trump hosted the event that had more than 1,500 accomplished entrepreneurs from around the globe. That was a really cool moment to fly back to India as a U.S. Delegate.

South Carolina’s leadership program also helped me better understand the state. I was appointed to South Carolina’s Education and Economic Development Act Coordinating Council. That was a big honor. I was barely 29. No other state would actually embrace a millennial, 29-year-old guy to sit on a state board.

“That too, was an indication that South Carolina is expecting and respecting the value of your ideas on stuff. It’s not just your business, right?

When I started my own business, I promised to create 120 jobs. Right now, we have 17 working here, and 55 engineers globally. We are on track to fulfill that promise, it’s a matter of persistence and grit. We will make it happen. We are on plans to spend $4-6 million this year to keep the right pace of growth.

When I attended the South Carolina State Leadership Program, I met 30-40 people. Almost all of them would say the Upstate was the coolest place, especially Greer. We are in the right place. The city has been really, really good for me. It really has. I was fortunate to have great mentors and people who believed in me and invested in me. I’m still 100% sure I made a good decision to settle here. From here I can travel to any state, to any place, and get things done. I talk to my parents every day. They have a long-term visa, with a green card underway, and come and visit for a month at a time. Now, they want me to get married. I’m very happy, with no regrets. This is the best thing that I have done. You can build a business here. I’m living the American dream.