Georgia Tech launches $1 million retail technology initiative at ATDC

Georgia Tech  Tech TowerThe Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, is launching a new initiative for entrepreneurs focused on retail-related technology.

The new program — which comes as the retailing sector faces a torrent of change in consumer behavior — is being funded by a $1 million gift from the Mookerji Foundation to the Georgia Tech Foundation. The new initiative was announced at the 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase.

The Georgia Tech Foundation, in turn, has earmarked the new funds for the formation of the ATDC Retail Program. Founded in 1980, ATDC is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief economic development arm. ATDC is one of the longest running university-affiliated incubators in the United States.

“We chose Georgia Tech because of its commitment to economic development in Georgia and beyond, its focus on incorporating innovation in economic development, and its legacy of success,” the Mookerji Foundation said in a statement. “ATDC is a world-class technology incubator and is at the forefront of helping entrepreneurs not only build companies, but gives them the tools for long term success.”

The Atlanta-based Mookerji Foundation is dedicated to nurturing and enabling entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta.

The gift will fully fund the retail technology startup initiative for the next five years and support a retail technology expert who will serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor the startups and offer expertise relating to the field of entrepreneurship.

“The retail landscape has undergone a tumultuous shift in the last few years and retailers — from the national chains and department stores to the mom and pop shops on Main Street — are all looking for innovative technologies that help them remain competitive, stay engaged with their customers, and improve the bottom line,” said Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s general manager. “This new focus on retail complements some of our other related focus areas, such as financial technology (FinTech).”

The U.S. retail sector, which is comprised of more than 3.7 million establishments, supports some 42 million jobs with a $2.6 trillion impact on the economy, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry’s chief trade group.

In Georgia, the retail industry supports 1.2 million jobs, includes more than 120,000 establishments, and adds $75.6 billion a year to the Peach State’s economy, NRF data show.

“This is a very important segment of the Georgia and national economies and an exciting opportunity for Georgia Tech to make an impact and keep to its economic development mission,” said Maryam Alavi, dean and Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Chair of Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.

Alavi and other Scheller officials, as well as representatives of Tech’s Office of Development, collaborated on the effort that led to the Mookerji Foundation’s gift.

The initiative is the second of its kind for ATDC. In March 2015, Worldpay US, a global payments technology and services company, made a $1 million gift to Georgia Tech, which used the funds to launch a FinTech program at ATDC. Since its launch, that effort has reached more than 350 entrepreneurs across the state of Georgia, including 17 FinTech startups in the ATDC Signature and ATDC Accelerate portfolios. To date, those companies in both Signature and Accelerate have raised more than $34 million in outside funding.

About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 23,000 students within its six colleges. For additional information, visit gatech.edu.

About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising nearly $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. For more information, visit atdc.org.

Entrepreneurship group recognizes Enterprise Innovation Institute with award

InBIA Award

From left, Charles Ross, vice president for economic development and community at Kennesaw State University; Juli Golemi, senior project manager at EI2‘s Innovation Ecosystems program, and Kirstie Chadwick, InBIA’s president and CEO.

The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a global non-profit organization that serves entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors, and policymakers in guiding and developing sustainable entrepreneur support programs, awarded the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) for being a longtime and dedicated member of the organization.

 

EI2 is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief business outreach and economic development organization. Its mission — through a comprehensive suite of programs and offerings — is to help business, industry, entrepreneurs, and economic developers across Georgia grow and remain competitive.

 

EI2 been an InBIA member for more than 30 years.

 

The award was presented at InBIA’s International Conference on Business Incubation in Seattle, Washington, which was held in late March 2017.

 

InBIA recently named EI2 a Soft Landings site, a designation which recognizes entrepreneurship centers that excel in providing international companies with various services to ensure a smooth landing in the United States.

Register for the Advanced Technology Development Center’s 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase

ATDC Startup Showcase Pictures

The annual ATDC Startup Showcase is the premier Atlanta event for technology entrepreneurs.

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, will present more than 60 of the state’s most innovative and market-disrupting technology companies at the 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase.

 

The annual event, which attracts nearly 1,000 attendees, is scheduled for May 11 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (REGISTER HERE.)

 

Showcase is designed to give technology innovators, investors, corporate partners, entrepreneurs, university researchers and students an in-depth, first-hand look at Georgia’s most successful emerging technology companies.

 

The event, which takes place during Atlanta Startup Week, also celebrates ATDC’s 37-year legacy of helping entrepreneurs learn, launch, scale and succeed in the formation of successful Georgia technology startups. Worldpay US — the global payments technology and services company,  and creator of ATDC’s FinTech program — is the Showcase’s premier sponsor.

 

“Showcase is always an exciting time for us because attendees get to see the dynamic visions of our entrepreneurs from across Georgia,” said Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s general manager.

 

“Our presenting companies have created products — from tools to combat fraud to disease management to clean energy — that solve problems, create meaningful impact in a host of industries and strengthen the Georgia economy.

 

“What’s more, these companies also exist thanks to the financial support of the state of Georgia, which funds ATDC,” she said.

 

Startups at ATDC also receive direct support from some of incubator’s partners, such as the Georgia Research Alliance, which provides seed investments. The startup companies also may receive funding from a number of federal sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, among others.

 

Each year, those companies that meet the rigorous growth milestones are selected to graduate from the top-tier ATDC Signature program. Two of those companies have already been acquired.

 

The 2017 graduating companies are:

  • First Performance Global: Provides a market leading card management and customer engagement platform for card issuers worldwide.
  • Partpic (Acquired): Its proprietary solution simplifies the search and purchase of replacement parts using visual recognition technology.
  • StarMobile (Acquired): Its codeless, cloud-based enterprise mobility platform delivers any application to any endpoint, with a native user experience, faster, simpler and at a lower cost than any other approach.
  • UserIQ: Through its Customer Growth Platform, UserIQ empowers software-as-a-service companies to foster growth beyond the traditional funnel.

 

For more information about the Showcase or to RSVP, please visit http://atdcstartupshowcase.com. The cost to attend the event is $25 per person (early bird until April 12); $50 between April 13 and May 11, and $75 at the door. Students and faculty of any Georgia university enter free with valid ID.

 

ABOUT ATDC:

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

Tech students to present cybersecurity research for commercialization on April 13

Demo Day FinaleGeorgia Tech students will present their best cybersecurity research before a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders for a chance to win cash in the “Demo Day Finale” on April 13 at the Klaus Advanced Computing Building, KACB #1116 E-W, 266 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30332. (RSVP here: http://cyber.gatech.edu/demo-day ).

 

Five student teams representing the School of Computer Science and School of Electrical Computing and Engineering are polishing their presentations now to deliver TED-style talks before business leaders with tech investment experience in the southeastern Untied States, Europe, and Middle East. Research with the best chance of commercialization or demonstrating the most impact toward resolving an industry need receives a cash prize – up to $7,000.

 

Demo Day Finale judges include Georgia Tech commercialization catalysts Jeff Garbers and Harold Solomon of VentureLab, and Thiago Olson of the Advanced Technology Development Center.

 

Work to be presented includes new cryptographic search methods, a malware detection method for IoT or embedded devices, protections for industrial control systems, spectral profiling for catching malware activity, and a model for software engineering policy requirements.

 

Musheer Ahmed, (left) founder of FraudScope, which won the 2016 Demo Day Finale.

Musheer Ahmed, (left) founder of FraudScope, which won the 2016 Demo Day Finale.

For last year’s inaugural winner – Musheer Ahmed – the event was a springboard to successfully launch FraudScope, a healthcare fraud detection system based upon algorithms he developed as a Ph.D. student.

 

After winning Demo Day Finale, Ahmed went on to collect more than $400,000 in seed funding in less than three months. He won the Atlanta Start-up Battle, the Technology Association of Georgia’s Biz Launch Competition, and more. The quick success allowed him to invest in a better user interface design, hire staff, and begin marketing his product at health and technology industry tradeshows.

 

The Demo Day Finale is hosted by the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) and aims to give students an early introduction to potential investors as they continue their research or if they are ready to move it to market.

 

“During the course of research, it can be difficult for entrepreneurial students to know how industry may react to a finished project,” said Wenke Lee, co-director of the IISP and a professor in the School of Computer Science who has successfully transferred research to private corporations. “The Demo Day Finale lets students share ideas underway to active investors so they can receive early stage feedback that will inform research directions, the future application of it, or market considerations. This is one way we think the Institute for Information Security & Privacy can help move solutions to market that will improve the security or privacy of our identities, data, and devices.”

While Ahmed was eager to launch his business as soon as possible, ID for Web, last year’s second place winners, used the experience to get an early “gut” reaction from business investors as they try to create a more secure form of identity validation online. ID for Web’s Demo Day presentation led to an invitation from startup accelerator “CyberLaunch,” where they spent summer 2016 discovering the best application of their technology by talking to both potential customers and potential investors.

“The summer at CyberLaunch put us in touch with business leaders from many different industries, and got us a lot of validation to the relevance of our technology; everybody agrees the current authentication mechanisms are a huge pain to both users and service providers,” said postdoctoral researcher Simon Chung. “Their eyes light up when we say we’re trying to get rid of passwords. Also, since our technology can be used to solve many real-world problems, this process helped us find the best use of our technology and focus on developing our first end-to-end prototype system.”

Judges on April 13 will include investors Jeff Garbers and Harold Solomon of Venture Lab, and Thiago Olson of ATDC.

Georgia Tech marks 50 years of economic development education

BEDC 50th Anniversary SliderSince its inception in 1967, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC) has prepared more than 3,100 economic developers from around the world for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) certification exam. The certification is considered an essential component of a career in economic development.

 

The BEDC, a joint offering of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) and the Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE), celebrates its 50th year in 2017. The initiative educates participants on the fundamentals and emerging concepts of comprehensive economic development. This 50th anniversary event being held from March 21 to March 24, focuses on economic resilience and building capacity for strong communities, features Rodrick Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and economic resilience expert, as keynote speaker.

 

As part of the course, participants will explore 10 core economic development subject areas, ranging from marketing to ethics. They will also network with peers and learn about best practices from some of the nation’s leading economic development experts.

 

“Through the BEDC, participants have learned ways to create wealth for individuals, business and communities, and to promote economic well-being and an improved quality of life for their communities,” said Leigh Hopkins, BEDC course administrator. “Georgia Tech has equipped thousands of economic developers with the tools and skills needed to address problems such as unemployment, poor quality of life and post-disaster economic recovery.”

 

The BEDC is one of many professional development courses and certifications working professionals can take at GTPE. “As the lifelong learning arm of Georgia Tech, we have been serving the needs of adult learners for over a century by bringing innovative, impactful programs tailored to their needs,” said Nelson Baker, dean of GTPE.

 

In addition to the BEDC, economic developers can take other IEDC courses this April, June, August, and November at GTPE.

 

About Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE)

Georgia Tech Professional Education, an academic division of the Georgia Institute of Technology, offers professional development courses, certificate programs and master’s degrees in a variety of formats to meet the needs of working professionals and industry partners in STEM and business fields worldwide. We educate over 22,000 individual learners representing close to 3,000 companies annually. For more information, visit pe.gatech.edu.

 

About the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2)

The Enterprise Innovation Institute is Georgia Tech’s business outreach organization and serves as the primary vehicle to achieve Georgia Tech’s goal of expanded local, regional, and global outreach. Its core mission is to help business, industry, entrepreneurs, and economic developers across Georgia grow and remain competitive. For more information, visit innovate.gatech.edu.

GTPAC-hosted event connect small businesses, government agencies, and prime contractors

GTPAC photo

More than that 250 small businesses participated in the recent Industry Day. Hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center, attendees connected with various government agencies and resource partners to learn more about government contracting opportunities.

More than 250 small businesses attended a recent Industry Day event in which they connected and networked with government agencies seeking to contract with vendors.

The Jan. 24, 2017 event, which was hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) and sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), featured presentations on various federal, state and local government agencies’ contract opportunities. It also facilitated meetings between business attendees and government agencies and resource partners.

Sharon Morrow, the Army’s Office of Small Business Programs’ mentor-protégé program manager and small business liaison for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) /Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), delivered the keynote address.

Other featured speakers included NCMA Atlanta Chapter president Christina Edwards; GTPAC program manager Joe Beaulieu; Georgia State University executive-in-residence Cassius Butts; and NCMA Atlanta small business chair and CDC small business manager Gwendolyn Miles.

Attendees learned several key business engagement protocols and other tips from several representatives of the Small Business Administration, Veterans Administration, and General Services Administration, among other agencies.

Copies of presentations which were made at the event can be downloaded here: Industry Day 2017.

More information about the overall Industry Day 2017 event may be accessed here.

Enterprise Innovation Institute receives Soft Landings designation

cFfNSrEyThe International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) designated the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) as a Soft Landings site.

 

InBIA is a global non-profit organization that serves entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors and policymakers, by helping to guide and develop viable entrepreneur support programs across a host of industries.

 

The Soft Landings designation recognizes entrepreneurship centers that excel in providing international companies with various services to ensure a smooth landing in the United States. The designation was given to a select group of U.S. and international entrepreneurship centers and is effective for two years.

 

EI2 is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief business outreach and economic development organization. Its core mission is to help business, industry, entrepreneurs, and economic developers across Georgia grow and remain competitive.

 

In the last several years, EI2 has worked with several international companies and clients through its Startup Ecosystems program, which works with communities and organizations to analyze and apply innovation-based ideas to drive economic development.

 

“We are pleased that we were able to receive this valuable designation from InBIA, it will serve to open more opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs to consider Georgia as a landing spot for their U.S. market entrance,” said Lynne Henkiel, Startup Ecosystems’ director of innovation ecosystems practices. “This designation will bring a new level of exposure for international companies looking to establish themselves in the U.S., and specifically Atlanta in the heart of our innovative ecosystem here at Georgia Tech.”

Grupo Guayacán, Fundación Banco Popular, Georgia Tech collaborate in launch of Puerto Rico IDEA Seed Fund for early-stage startups

Keith McGreggor (standing), director of Georgia Tech's VentureLab incubator and lead instructor for the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, leads an I-Corps program in Puerto Rico.

Keith McGreggor (standing), director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab incubator and lead instructor for the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, leads an I-Corps program in Puerto Rico during a recent session Oct. 20 and 21, 2016.

Grupo Guayacán Inc. (GGI) announced the official launch of the new Puerto Rico IDEA Seed Fund (IDEA), in collaboration with Fundación Banco Popular (FBP), the Georgia Institute of Technology, and several entrepreneurs participating as private investors.

 

The launch of this new investment vehicle is funded through a grant from the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program which seeks to advance innovation across the United States by spurring capacity building and access to capital for innovators and entrepreneurs. The EDA awarded GGI with one of only eight Seed Fund Support grants totaling $250,000. In total, the RIS Program awarded $10 million via 25 grants across the U.S. GGI, the only winner in Puerto Rico, was selected from 170 applicants.

 

The grant allows GGI and its partners to jumpstart a historic public-private-nonprofit partnership creating IDEA as a new investment vehicle to provide much needed capital to high potential, high growth, early stage ventures, or Innovation-Driven Enterprises (IDEs), in Puerto Rico. “Lack of access to early stage capital for entrepreneurs has been identified as one of the key factors limiting the exponential growth of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as the potential of local ventures to grow and scale globally from Puerto Rico,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’ executive director. IDEA will serve this need by providing phased, milestone-based funding, of up to $225,000 per start-up, to promising projects meeting the criteria of innovation and scalability. The fund will support IDEs stemming from the local startup ecosystem, private companies, as well as university-spinoffs arising from academic research.

 

Brandy Nagel, an entrepreneur educator at Georgia Tech's VentureLab incubator and I-Corps instructor, leads a class in Puerto Rico.

Brandy Nagel, an entrepreneur educator at Georgia Tech’s VentureLab incubator and I-Corps instructor, leads a class in Puerto Rico during a recent session Oct. 20 and 21, 2016.

Applications for the Fund’s first cohort can be accessed through . IDEA will accept applications for its first funding round of $25,000 per start-up until Jan. 15, 2017. High performing startups will be eligible for additional funding of up to $200,000.

 

The new grant marks the continuation of GGI’s partnership with both the EDA and Georgia Tech, with which they launched the inaugural cohort of the customer discovery boot-camp, I-Corps Puerto Rico. I-Corps Puerto Rico, which is a program of Georgia Tech’s Startup Ecosystems group, is a five-week, hands-on program designed to teach small teams of entrepreneurs how to launch innovative businesses through the fundamentals of the Customer Discovery method and the Business Model Canvas. In January 2016, I-Corps Puerto Rico was named “Best Startup Program of the Year.”

 

“Georgia Tech is fortunate to partner with Grupo Guayacán in the establishment of the IDEA Seed Fund which will support high potential startups in their quest to reach both local and global markets. This vehicle addresses a critical barrier for startups in Puerto Rico; the lack of access to small, early stage capital for commercializing customer validated ideas,” said David Bridges, director of Startup Ecosystems and associate vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s International Initiatives at Georgia Tech.

 

“Georgia Tech has been working for well over three years with members of the startup ecosystem in Puerto Rico on efforts much like this and we believe IDEA is another important step toward growing a thriving innovation and entrepreneurship culture on the island and we are honored by EDA’s continued support,” Bridges said.

 

Cantero also stressed the importance of the program’s private and public partners, including Fundación Banco Popular, the corporate foundation of Puerto Rico’s leading financial institution; Georgia Tech, a national leader in entrepreneurial and economic development; and several local entrepreneurs acting as private investors who bring years of industry experience and a vast network of resources to support the startups. “We are proud to collaborate with this strong group of partners to deliver an innovative solution to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs and innovators. Through this project, Guayacán seeks to continue to promote the private equity market in Puerto Rico and to develop a variety of alternatives for local entrepreneurs to access the capital they need to start and grow their businesses. This is critical for Guayacán’s mission, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and, ultimately, for Puerto Rico,” Cantero said.

 

Banco Popular is a longtime supporter of GGI’s entrepreneurial development efforts and has been a partner on several initiatives throughout the organization’s 20 year history. The Bank intensified its efforts to accelerate the development of an entrepreneurial and innovation culture in 2012 with the establishment of the multisector alliance Echar Pa’Lante that includes entrepreneurship education initiatives with GT, and more recently with the launch of Start-Up Popular. “We believe that a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is key to help restore Puerto Rico’s economic growth. The IDEA Seed Fund is the perfect opportunity to support entrepreneurs that want to start or grow their businesses through innovation. We are proud to partner once again with Grupo Guayacán and Georgia Tech, this time with an investment from Fundación Banco Popular which has a longstanding tradition of supporting innovative projects,” said Beatriz Polhamus, FBP’s executive director.

 

For more information and questions regarding the application process, please contact Carlos Domínguez at gro.nacayaugnull@dnufaedi. For more information about Grupo Guayacán, visit www.guayacan.org, call 787.641.6028, or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/guayacanorg.

Keysight Technologies opens Software Design Center at Georgia Tech

Keysight Technologies, which officially launched its Software Design Center Oct. 13 at Georgia Tech, said the breadth and depth of student talent and expertise is one of the reasons why it selected the Institute as the design center's home. The company has hired more than two dozen Tech students to work at the design center. (Photo credit: Péralte C. Paul)

Keysight Technologies, which officially launched its Software Design Center Oct. 13 at Georgia Tech, said the breadth and depth of student talent and expertise is one of the reasons why it selected the Institute as the design center’s home. The company has hired more than two dozen Tech students to work at the design center. (Photo credit: Péralte C. Paul)

By Péralte C. Paul

 

Keysight Technologies, a leading provider of electronic design and test software, equipment, and services, officially opened the doors to its new Software Design Center in Technology Square Oct. 13.

 

With the official opening of the Fortune 1000 firm’s Software Design Center, the company becomes the 15thmajor corporation to make a home at or near Tech Square to tap into the Institute’s research, student talent, and innovation ecosystem.

 

“We selected Georgia Tech and Midtown Atlanta based on several things, including the quality of students coming from Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and School of Computer Science,” said Jay Alexander, Keysight’s chief technology officer.

 

Other critical factors were the quality of research and  longstanding partnerships the company has with researchers in those schools, along with a supportive business climate in Georgia and Atlanta’s quality-of-life attributes, he said. In 2014, Keysight made a $120 million in-kind donation of its software to Georgia Tech, which the Institute is deploying to help students become industry-ready engineers by using the same instruments and software used by customers in government and industry.

 

“All of those things came together for us, making it  an obvious choice,” said Alexander. “We couldn’t be happier with our decision.”

 

The Santa Rosa, Calif.-based company’s $13.9 million investment in Georgia is expected to create more than 200 software engineering jobs.

 

“Tech Square has been a magnet for a number of promising startups, but we’re excited that it also has attracted companies with an impressive legacy like Keysight,” Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson said. “For Georgia Tech, it’s a point of pride and a significant achievement that a company of this caliber believes we can add value to its operations. It is the ideal type of industry leader we seek for Tech Square and Georgia Tech.”

 

Companies such as Keysight also are ideal for Institute alumni and students such as Jonathan Jones, who graduated from Tech in 2016 with a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from ECE. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2015.

 

At Keysight, he will be part of a team of engineers who are building a new Keysight-wide software platform for rapid application development.

 

“I’ve heard people compare it to being a heavily funded startup, and that’s how I like to think about being here in Tech Square,” said Jones, a 23-year-old Macon native. “It was very attractive to be with the company as it’s starting something new; I like new challenges and tackling something new every day, so when I saw this opportunity, I knew I had to grab it.”

 

Deepika Narayanan, who is pursuing her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at ECE, echoed Jones’ sentiments.

 

“The fact this is opening in Atlanta and it’s a software design center attracted me to apply for the position, and I’m really excited,” said Narayanan, who expects to graduate in December. The 23-year-old will be working on coding and software development, and she said she hopes to go into data specialization analytics and machine learning.

 

Uday Ravuri, who also expects to obtain his master’s in electrical and computer engineering at ECE in December, said Keysight’s offerings and culture made it an ideal choice for him.

 

“I basically looked for three things — a cultural fit, technical fit, and career growth,” said Raburi, who will be working as a software engineer for the company. “And from the feedback I received from the employees, all three of those important factors seemed to be perfect in this company, and that’s why I went for it.”

National Science Foundation Awards Georgia Institute of Technology’s VentureLab a 5-year I-Corps Grant

Node2-1By Péralte C. Paul

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $3.4 million Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s VentureLab program to expand its work in teaching entrepreneurship, support research and innovation.

The NSF’s I-Corps program — a boot camp that shows what it’s like to form a startup — helps NSF-funded researchers learn how to commercialize their findings and determine if a market actually exists for what they developed.

 

“I-Corps nodes support the national innovation ecosystem and help some of America’s brightest researchers test the commercial potential of their discoveries,” Grace Wang, acting assistant director for the NSF Directorate for Engineering, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to support these regional innovation hotbeds, which will help to foster local economic development and expand access to more researchers of all different backgrounds who seek entrepreneurship training.”

 

The grant, one of five the NSF awarded to schools across the country, supports innovation hubs called I-Corps nodes.

 

This new NSF grant expands Georgia Tech’s efforts and creates the I-Corps South Node, which includes Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business.

 

Because of its long experience with forming companies from university research, Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator — was selected in 2012 to be among the first institutions to become “nodes” teaching the I-Corps curriculum. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization incubator that primarily serves Tech faculty, staff, and students who seek to launch startup companies from the technology innovations they have developed.

 

“This effort underscores Georgia Tech’s economic development mission and commitment to creating the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers,” said Chris Downing, who is the I-Corps South Node’s principal investigator and vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s chief economic development and extension outreach arm. “Through our collective service efforts to entrepreneurs, business, researchers, and innovators, Georgia Tech and our partner schools in Alabama and Tennessee are working together to design a foundation of regional innovation in the Southeast.”

 

Specifically, the I-Corps South Node aims to:

  • Accelerate the development of the South’s entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Provide for increased partnership opportunities between academia and industry
  • Focus on underrepresented minorities through programs at historically black colleges and universities and in Puerto Rico to increase the participation of individuals from those communities in research pursuits and entrepreneurship

 

“We are extremely excited to partner with these three premier schools to collectively leverage our extensive industry relationships, partnerships, mentors, and funding connections to bring economic development through startup formation, workforce development, and entrepreneurial education,” said Keith McGreggor, VentureLab director and I-Corps South Node co-principal investigator and executive director.

 

“Through this partnership, the I-Corps South Node has the potential to reach more than 500,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty at research universities and historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast and the island of Puerto Rico.”

 

NSF created the I-Corps program in 2011 and since then, more than 800 teams have completed the NSF curriculum, from 192 universities in 44 states. That’s resulted in the creation of more than 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $83 million in follow-on funding.

 

At Georgia Tech, more than 40 teams have finished the I-Corps program, leading to the creation of more than 20 spinouts that have collectively raised more than $4.5 million in follow-up funding.

 

About VentureLab:

VentureLab — ranked as North America’s No. 5 university-based startup incubator — is Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization program that provides comprehensive assistance to faculty, staff, and students who want to form startups. VentureLab helps those entrepreneurs turn their ideas into early-stage companies through business model development, making connections between the innovators and seasoned entrepreneurs, locating sources of early-stage financing, and preparing these fledgling startups for the business world. Since its 2001 founding, VentureLab — a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm — has launched more than 250 technology companies that have attracted more than $1.5 billion in outside funding. Visit venturelab.gatech.edu for more information. For additional information about I-Corps South, visit icorpssouth.com.

 

About NSF I-Corps: 

The NSF I-Corps program, a public-private partnership program established in 2011, connects NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs. Visit www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/i-corps/ for more information.