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.

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.

Georgia Institute of Technology selects Jennifer Bonnett to head the Advanced Technology Development Center

Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC General Manager.

Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC General Manager.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has named Jennifer Bonnett general manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), effective immediately.

The announcement follows Bonnett’s tenure as ATDC’s acting general manager since October 2015. In taking the permanent appointment, Bonnett leads a team of 22 full- and part-time employees who run the program’s various initiatives, as well as coach entrepreneurs across the state.

 

A unit of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s chief outreach and economic development arm, ATDC works with more than 800 technology startup entrepreneurs each year across Georgia. Founded in 1981, ATDC has grown to become one of the most successful, longest-running, and largest university-based startup incubators in the country.

 

Bonnett will report directly to Chris Downing, vice president and director of EI2.

 

“Jen has been tireless champion of technology startup development in Georgia and an important voice and advocate for the community,” Downing said. “Under her steady and smart leadership, ATDC continues to grow and expand as Georgia’s technology incubator dedicated to serving the state and its economy by helping entrepreneurs learn, launch, scale, and succeed in their technology startup efforts.”

 

Bonnett first joined ATDC as a community catalyst in October 2011, a role she held for three years before being named assistant director of education and curriculum in October 2014. She was named acting general manager in October 2015.

 

She played a key role in developing ATDC’s Entrepreneurs Education Series, a curriculum designed to move “concept stage” entrepreneurs from idea through to angel funding. She is also the architect of the “ATDC @” program which delivers coaching and curriculum to entrepreneurs across the state, including Savannah, Athens, and Augusta.

 

“I’m honored to accept this position and build on what we have done at ATDC, with the support of Georgia Tech and our fellow programs at EI2,” Bonnett said. “We’re committed to entrepreneurs and working with startups all over the state to help them build and launch successful and sustainable, job-creating companies.”

 

Bonnett is a technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience in the information technology and software development fields with a specialty in web and mobile technologies.

 

She has served as founder or chief technology officer of several venture- and angel-backed firms, where she both served as lead architect and grew and managed the technology team, including eTour.com, which was acquired by Ask.com.

 

She also is founder of StartupChicks, a 501c3 focused on empowering women entrepreneurs through education, community, coaching, connections, and investment. StartupChicks has touched more than 10,000 women globally through its content and events.

Peachtree Corners readies for incubator program launch with ATDC, Startup Ecosystems

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 09.29.44

More than 200 entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and residents in the city of Peachtree Corners converged May 27 to get a preview of Prototype Prime, the new technology incubator set to open in July 2016.

 

The 12,000-square-foot facility in Technology Park — a former office space — is located below Peachtree Corners City Hall and is currently being renovated to accommodate Prototype Prime.

 

The incubator will provide space and access to education, tools, venture capitalists, and other services to help local entrepreneurs launch and scale their startups.

 

“It’s a win-win for communities with a successful incubator,” said Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason. “Not only is the success much greater when there is an incubator program to help support startups in their early years, those new business owners tend to stay in the same community adding jobs as their businesses grow.”

 

The main goal of an incubator is to produce successful firms, which have the potential to create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen local economies.

 

The city partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Startup Ecosystems and Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) programs in its efforts to launch the business incubator.

 

Startup Ecosystems helps governments, communities, foundations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses foster value creation by applying innovative ideas, technology, and policy to initiatives focused on economic growth.

 

ATDC, which is the statewide incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Georgia, offers support by providing expertise and resources launching and maintaining a successful incubator program.

 

Both are part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which serves as the core unit for Georgia Tech’s economic development efforts.

 

The Peachtree Corners initiative began in 2015 when Startup Ecosystems conducted a Community Readiness Assessment for a business incubation program in the city. The drive was part of a larger effort to encourage economic development.

 

“Our team, led by Lynne Henkiel and Juli Golemi, engaged leadership, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders to determine if Peachtree Corners not only desired a business incubation program, but could support it, too, “ said David Bridges, Startup Ecosystems’ director. “Our research analysis of the city’s economic and demographic data, along with its innovation characteristics, showed significant support for the development of an incubation program in Peachtree Corners.”

 

The city, working through Wayne Hodges, a cofounder of ATDC and vice provost emeritus of Georgia Tech, drafted an agreement with ATDC, which will run the incubation program at Prototype Prime.

 

“There is a huge need for a business incubator in this area,” said Sanjay Parekh, Prototype Prime’s executive director and associate director of CREATE-X at Georgia Tech. “We are already receiving feedback from many who are interested in being part of the program.”

 

Investing in an incubator service can provide real returns. According to a 2007 study by the Maryland Technology Development Corp., incubators in that state generated approximately $1.2 billion in gross state product and $100 million in state and local tax revenue.

Advanced Technology Development Center unveils redesigned space

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center on March 23. From left: House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar'shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, acting general manager, ATDC.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon March 23, 2016, following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. From left: Georgia House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar’shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s acting general manager. (PHOTOS by Shane Matthews)

By Péralte C. Paul

 

Following a year of planning, brainstorming, design reviews, and construction, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) unveiled its redesigned space March 23 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator's importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator’s importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state at a March 23, 2016 ribbon cutting ceremony of the incubator’s redesigned space.

ATDC is Georgia Tech’s statewide incubator and works with entrepreneurs in the technology space who want to build successful startups in the Peach State. Launched in 1980, ATDC is one of the longest-running and largest university-based startup incubators in the country. Though headquartered at the Century Building in Midtown Atlanta’s Technology Square, ATDC operates programs across the state, including in Savannah, Augusta, and Athens.

 

“We had a lot of discussions at ATDC about how best to meet our startups’ needs and make this floor more conducive to the innovation and collaboration atmosphere we have here in the Tech Square community,” said Christopher Downing, interim vice president of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Tech unit that includes its core economic development initiatives, including ATDC.

 

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia.

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia at the incubator’s post-redesign ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 23, 2016.

“The changes you see around you are a result of those discussions and are designed not only to enhance what we do every day, but also to keep to our mission of working with entrepreneurs to help them build and launch successful technology companies right here in Georgia.”

 

Several members of the Georgia House of Representatives’ Small Business Development Committee, including Reps. Dar’shun Kendrick and Doreen Carter, attended the ceremony, as well as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said ATDC is a key part of the city’s efforts to let those in the technology space know that Atlanta is a city of innovation and the place to launch transformative companies.

 

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016 and details the renovations made to ATDC's floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016, and details the renovations made to ATDC’s floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

“I’m here to congratulate you and let you know that you have a partner in the city,” Reed said.

 

The renovations — which were done through a refinancing of bonds and at no cost to taxpayers — address growing demands for ATDC’S services from its companies and the greater entrepreneurial community. Key highlights include a new lobby, additional seed space and meeting offices, and a new classroom for ATDC classes that also is open and available for free in the evenings to technology entrepreneurs and organizations related to tech startups. Additional changes include a reconfigured library for entrepreneurs’ use as a communal space in which to collaborate and brainstorm.

 

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator's role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator’s role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

“Since its opening in 2003, Tech Square has become the hub of innovation and new ideas in metro Atlanta and in the greater Southeast. With that being the case, there is no more fitting home for ATDC’s home base than right here in Tech Square,” said Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research. “ATDC’s presence here and its ongoing impact for entrepreneurs across the state are critical success factors for the innovation ecosystem as a whole and to Georgia Tech as an institution.”

National Science Foundation awards StarMobile $500K funding grant

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile's co-founder and chief technology officer.

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

StarMobile, a leading codeless, cloud-based solution centered on faster, simpler, and lower-cost delivery of enterprise mobility, has been awarded a $500,000 Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

The startup, which is incubating in Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center’s (ATDC) Signature program, said it will continue its work toward enabling rapid mobilization of enterprise applications. ATDC works with entrepreneurs looking to build successful technologies in Georgia.

 

StarMobile also is a graduate of Tech’s VentureLab startup incubator, ranked No. 2 in North America. VentureLab, a sister incubation program to ATDC in Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), works with Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff to help them validate and commercialize their research and ideas into viable companies.

 

Raghupathy Sivakumar, StarMobile’s co-founder and chief technology officer, is a telecommunications, computer systems, and software professor at Georgia Tech and the Wayne J. Holman Chair in Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 

“This Phase IIB SBIR award is a significant milestone for us, as the rigorous NSF selection process for Phase II proposals results in only 15 percent of Phase I grants receiving Phase II awards, and even fewer receiving Phase IIB awards,” said Sivakumar in a statement. “This award is an important validation that StarMobile has created a Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) platform that transforms how enterprises mobilize their systems. This award provides support for further development of our core technology and will help us accelerate our go-to-market plans.”

 

The award is based on progress in product, market, and business model validation under a $750,000 NSF SBIR Phase II grant awarded to StarMobile in 2013, and research conducted under a $150,000 NSF SBIR Phase I grant awarded to StarMobile in 2012. StarMobile has now received a total of $1.4 million in grant awards from the NSF SBIR program as part of their efforts to foster innovative technologies.

 

The NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program seeks to transform scientific discovery into societal and economic benefit by catalyzing private sector commercialization of technological innovations. The program increases the incentive and opportunity for startups and small businesses to undertake cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development. NSF SBIR/STTR grants not only address research and development funding, they also give recipients training in key business areas. Grant awardees also receive mentorship from program directors who have extensive industry experience.

 

The NSF SBIR/STTR program awards funds in every area of science and engineering.

 

Péralte C. Paul

Zyrobotics wins $750K National Science Foundation grant

By Péralte C. Paul

Ayanna MacCalla Howard

Ayanna MacCalla Howard

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Zyrobotics a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant that continues the startup’s work in developing an accessible educational platform for children with special needs.

 

Launched in September 2013 by Ayanna Howard, the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the company is commercializing assistive technology that enables children with limited mobility to operate tablet computers, smartphones, toys, gaming apps, and interactive robots.

 

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities that this NSF SBIR grant provides,” said Howard, who is the company’s chief technology officer. “It helps Zyrobotics to continue to evolve as a leader in inclusive smart mobile technologies by enhancing our ability to develop accessible learning systems that engage and empower children with special needs and enhance their quality of life.”

 

Specifically, the Phase II project aims to focus on the development of an accessible educational platform that combines mobile interfaces and adaptive educational tablet applications (apps) to support the requirements of children with special needs. While tablet devices have given those children an interactive experience that has revolutionized their learning, in its proposal, Zyrobotics notes that while some tablet devices are intuitive in use and easy for lots of kids, those with disabilities are largely overlooked due to difficulties in effecting pinch-and-swipe gestures.

 

“This project thus addresses a direct need in our society by providing an integrated educational experience, focused on math education that addresses the diverse needs of children, while providing a solution for variations found in their disabilities,” the company wrote in its grant proposal. “This SBIR Phase II project addresses an unmet need by developing an innovative solution to enable children with motor disabilities access to mobile devices and apps that could engage them fully into the educational system.”

 

In this next phase, Howard and her team plan to design accessible math apps geared to children with or without disabilities in kindergarten through 12th grade. The company also plans to design another set of apps that adapt educational content and provide feedback to parents and teachers based on real-time analytics.

 

The company says it sees ample market opportunity for its products both domestically and abroad. Here in the United States, children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education, and Zyrobotics sees its products as addressing that need from both a commercial and societal standpoint. Worldwide, more than 93 million children live with a disability.

 

When founded, the company went through Georgia Tech’s VentureLab startup incubator, ranked No. 2 in North America. VentureLab, a unit of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), works with Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff to help them validate and commercialize their research and ideas into viable companies.

 

Zyrobotics is now part of Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a sister startup incubator program that serves all of Georgia. Zyrobotics, with the help of ATDC’s SBIR program, was able to receive its Phase I award in 2015, laying the groundwork for the Phase II grant.

 

“Zyrobotics is a wonderful Georgia Tech startup, based on the fine research in Dr. Howard’s lab, and enhanced by a very successful journey through the NSF I-Corps program,” said Keith McGreggor, VentureLab’s director. “This is a great example of how the research done in the classroom and lab, followed by idea validation, can lead to real breakthroughs that are designed to have a lasting impact on the lives touched by the technologies that Dr. Howard has created.”

ATDC Company Wins Business Launch Contest

Toomah, an ATDC company based in Atlanta that automates the interviewing process, won the 2010 GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition. Toomah got $50,000 cash and more than $200,000 in donated services from the Atlanta business community.

Two of the three finalists in the fifth annual competition were also ATDC companies: Khu.sh, a music intelligence application company, and Transaction Tree, a green company. The third company, SolidFire, is a cloud computing company. The three will split the remaining $200,000 in pro bono services, a first for the competition.

Judges included Tom Crotty, managing director of Battery Ventures Boston; Stephen Fleming, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech; John Glushik, general partner of Intersouth Partners; Boris Jerkunica, chairman of the Atlanta Silverbacks; Hooks K. Johnston, general partner of Valhalla Partners; Mark Koulogeorge, managing general partner of MK Capital; Mark Morel, chairman and CEO of Whoop Inc.; and Alan Taetle, general partner of Noro-Moseley Partners.
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Startup Accelerator ATDC Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Georgia Tech’s startup accelerator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), celebrated 30 years of helping launch and build technology companies with a “Startup Showcase” attended by more than 500 persons on May 24th.  At the event, ATDC added four companies to its long list of graduates.

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson was the main speaker, reviewing the ATDC’s history and congratulating members of the Committee of Twenty – Georgia Tech alumni whose interest in technology startups during the late 1970s led to formation of the incubator.

“It’s really a pleasure to be here to celebrate this 30-year anniversary and to be able to reflect back on some of the great successes of the ATDC,” Peterson told a crowd of entrepreneurs assembled in the ballroom of the Georgia Tech Hotel.  “There are many, many positive things that have resulted from this organization and its interaction with people in this community, the greater Atlanta area, the state of Georgia – and all across the country.”

Stephen Fleming, Georgia Tech vice president and executive director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, reviewed progress made by the ATDC in expanding membership and increasing program offerings over the past year

“If you are a Georgia technology entrepreneur, we will help you no matter where you are located in the state or what your background is,” he said.  “In addition to our brick-and-mortar facilities in Atlanta and Savannah, we are spreading across the rest of the state, which is part of our mandate.”

Nearly a year ago, ATDC opened its membership to all technology companies in Georgia.  On the day of the Showcase, ATDC had 321 members.  “That makes us the largest technology incubator, as far as I know, in the world,” Fleming added.

The startup accelerator still focuses on companies that are developing new technologies, but no longer emphasizes raising venture capital.  That’s because many entrepreneurs are now bootstrapping their operations or have independent sources of funding, Fleming said.

Even with the incubator’s reduced fund-raising focus and the down economy, ATDC companies still raised a total of at least $150 million in venture capital during the past year, Fleming said.

ATDC is also expanding the geographic breadth of its operations beyond its physical incubators in Atlanta and Savannah.  At the Showcase, Fleming announced that ATDC would begin offering educational programs in Gwinnett County, along with regular office hours to meet entrepreneurs – though there are no current plans to provide incubator space there.

He also noted that ATDC has resumed its focus on biosciences companies with the hiring of two staff members – Nina Sawczuk and Harold Shlevin – both with long experience in the life sciences industry.

Fleming congratulated representatives from four companies that had met requirements for graduating from the incubator.  The four – CommerceV3, Endgame Systems, Izenda Reports and Purewire – joined 120 other companies on a list of ATDC graduates that goes back to 1986.

President Peterson took note of ATDC’s best known graduate: Suniva, which became the Southeast’s first manufacturer of photovoltaic cells in 2009.  The firm grew out of research in Georgia Tech’s University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics Research and Education, which is part of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“Suniva has created more than 150 clean-energy jobs manufacturing high-efficiency solar cells,” Peterson noted.  The company was recently recognized by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, who called it “the poster child for the new energy economy.”

About the ATDC: The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is a startup accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.  For 30 years, ATDC has helped create millions of dollars in tax revenues by graduating more than 120 companies, which together have raised more than a billion dollars in outside financing.  ATDC has provided business incubation and acceleration services to thousands of Georgia entrepreneurs.

Recently, ATDC expanded its mission by merging with Georgia Tech’s VentureLab and with the Georgia SBIR Assistance Program, which are also part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.  This change has enabled ATDC to greatly extend its reach to serve more technology companies along multiple growth paths and at all stages of development.  ATDC has opened its membership to all technology entrepreneurs in Georgia, from those at the earliest conception stage to the well-established, venture-fundable companies.

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986)(ude.hcetagnull@nootj).

Writer: John Toon

Georgia Tech’s ATDC: 30 Years Of Supporting Startups

So what if Stephen Fleming threw a party, and everybody came – including Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson? That was just about the experience at Monday’s ATDC Startup Showcase, which doubled as both the 2010 commencement event for a new class of graduates, and a celebration of the ATDC’s 30-year anniversary. In addition to featuring more than 40 ATDC member companies, the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center was filled with investors, professors, entrepreneurs and local startup celebs. It was an afternoon of innovation wrapped up by a special edition of the monthly Startup Drinks event – truly something for everyone who attended…  And as if on-cue for the anniversary, the ATDC was also recently named one of the “Ten Technology Incubators Changing the World” by Forbes Magazine – alongside such luminaries as the new-generation Y Combinator, and the world-renowned Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Forbes noted the ATDC has launched more than 120 companies over the last 30 years and has helped raise more than $1B in outside funding for member companies.

To read the full TechDrawl story, click here.