Georgia Tech to Launch Sustainability-Focused Technology Initiative at the Advanced Technology Development Center

Norfolk Southern commits $750,000 to the Institute to support development
of sustainability technology entrepreneurs and startups in Georgia

ATLANTA — Norfolk Southern Corp., one of the nation’s leading transportation companies, is making a significant commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to create a new initiative for entrepreneurs in sustainability-focused technology.

Head shot of Josh Raglin
Josh Raglin, Norfolk Southern’s chief  sustainability officer.

The ATDC Sustainability Technology Program will formally launch in January 2023. Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern’s gift will provide the initial funding to support the current and future sustainability-related startups in ATDC’s portfolio.

The gift of $750,000 will support the initiative for three years. It is the eighth industry-focused vertical of its kind at ATDC, including two others announced earlier in 2022 — one in robotics and automation, the other in supply chain logistics.

“Norfolk Southern and Georgia Tech are teaming up to support forward-thinking innovation around sustainability. Together, some of the brightest minds in Georgia and the business community can continue to make sustainable progress for our nation’s supply chain and economy,” said Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer for Norfolk Southern.

The sponsorship furthers the company’s strategic goal of integrating sustainability into daily operations while helping its customers achieve their sustainability goals. “Through our collaboration with ATDC and the incubator’s sustainability vertical, we will join with students and entrepreneurs in the business of a better planet as they transform their revolutionary ideas into actionable and successful business models,” Raglin said.

The gift will support one-on-one coaching via a dedicated ATDC startup catalyst who will manage the sustainability vertical and work to build the pipeline of innovators from across Georgia who are in this space and scaling disruptive technologies to bring to the marketplace.

The funds also will support a sustainability-focused curriculum and other resources specialized to those entrepreneurs’ needs as they go from ideation to commercialization.

“ATDC has a history of supporting startups with sustainable tech innovations including Suniva, Emergy, and Quest Renewables,” said John Avery, ATDC director.

ATDC’s startup portfolio already includes 12 companies in the sustainability space, but Avery said there is a wider opportunity for Georgia entrepreneurs.

With Norfolk Southern’s sustainability focus, Georgia Tech’s research innovations in that area through centers such as the Strategic Energy Institute, and ATDC’s ability to leverage those resources and its record in scaling successful technology companies, Avery said Georgia is primed to grow that sector.

The state is home to 34 companies on the Fortune 1000 list, many of which have set their own sustainability goals. Fifteen of those companies are headquartered in Atlanta, which ranks third in the country for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city.

What’s more, sustainability innovations can have wider impact across a number of industries that are important to Georgia in addition to transportation and logistics, such as agriculture, and renewable energy, Avery said.

“With Norfolk Southern at the forefront of sustainability innovation and its support of our dedicated sustainability vertical at ATDC, we are doubling down on one of the biggest opportunities for startups and innovators today and pursuing a very important corporate and societal goal,” he said. “We can become a hub for all of these sustainability entrepreneurs and their innovations and grow this ecosystem in Georgia by helping to launch viable companies across the state.”

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting www.NorfolkSouthern.com.

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, is the state’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 the longest running and one of the 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 Tech Entrepreneur Pursuing Greener Energy

Sila Nanotechnologies receives $100 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for battery technology

Entrepreneurs and those who support and nurture them must be tenacious visionaries, possessed with the ability to predict the future. Leaders at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s ATDC and VentureLab demonstrate these skills again and again as they select companies for their programs that hold the promise of changing the world.

Gleb Yushin, a professor in the School of Materials and Engineering and co-founder and chief technology officer of Sila

One such company, Sila Nanotechnologies, an engineered materials company focused on improving energy storage, went through the program a decade ago. Still, Gleb Yushin, a professor in the School of Materials and Engineering and co-founder and chief technology officer of Sila, remembers the impact the experience had on his company.

“I wanted to start a business focused on using materials science to make a global impact, but I had no business expertise,” Yushin said. “So, the support and guidance I received from ATDC and VentureLab were remarkably useful for me. They helped instill confidence in me and my vision of building a battery materials company that would dramatically increase Li-ion energy density with silicon anodes and other material technologies.”

The confidence they instilled, plus the mentors who worked with him on the business side – an area way outside his comfort zone at that time – were the most important parts of working with the entrepreneurship programs, he said.

A rendering of Sila’s new Moses Lake facility

Those early interactions – along with years of hard work and top-notch science – paid off in a huge way for Sila. Recently, the company was awarded $100 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funds, plus private investments, will be used to build out Sila’s new 600,000-square-foot facility in Moses Lake, Washington, where the company will scale manufacturing of its silicon anode materials. Sila anticipates enough production to power 200,000 electric vehicles by 2026.

“It’s so exciting when one of the VentureLab companies makes good,” said Keith McGreggor, director of VentureLab. “It’s why we all do the work we do. Gleb and his partners are changing the world with their battery technology that’s cleaner, less expensive, and more efficient. It’s great to see that rewarded.”

The reward is a result of years of research and work into the science of battery manufacturing, Yushin said.

“We invented a new drop-in battery with replacement silicon-based composite materials that are not only remarkably robust and stable, but also didn’t need to change the way batteries are made. In other words, we made our materials compatible with all the battery manufacturing processes and steps that were used in the past and will likely be used in the future,” Yushin said.

The latest round of funding and the government grant will allow Sila to scale manufacturing and Mercedes-Benz is ready when Sila is. The automaker will use Sila’s anode materials to power its G-Class series electric vehicles, beginning in 2025. The new batteries will deliver a 20% to 40% increase in energy density in their electric vehicles (EVs), which will both increase range and enable faster charges at the same time.

Sila is also working with WHOOP, the health and fitness wearables company, whose devices contain Sila batteries, which deliver roughly a 20% increase in battery energy density with a 33% reduction in device size, he said.

“When working on our anodes, we built the best, most reliant performance solutions to be resilient against supply chain issues,” Yushin said. “The blueprints of Sila’s first auto-scale factory will be used for replicating other silicon-anode material factories in the U.S. and abroad, making the company a major global player in most-advanced green energy technologies. But anode materials are just the beginning. We have a pipeline of other drop-in replacement, supply-chain resilient technologies at different stages of their developments to push the battery performance to new heights.”

About Sila

Founded in 2011, Sila is a next-generation battery materials company with the mission to power the world’s transition to clean energy. Sila shipped the world’s first commercially available silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries in 2021. Sila’s materials drive battery performance enhancements in consumer electronics devices and will power electric vehicles starting with the Mercedes-Benz G-Class series. Committed to American leadership in clean energy production, Sila is scaling its technology at its manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. Major investors include 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Coatue, In-Q-Tel, Matrix Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.

National Institutes of Health Awards MapHabit $2.9M SBIR Grant

ATLANTA — The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a $2.9 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast Track Phase II Grant to MapHabit, a health technology company that helps memory-impaired individuals and caregivers improve independent function.

The three-year, non-dilutive grant will provide funds for the research and development of a Caregiving Training Program (CTP), which will foster personalized education to family caregivers for optimal person-centered care strategies and train them on equally important self-care techniques, MapHabit said.

Matt Golden, MapHabit CEO

Co-founded in 2018 by Matt Golden and Stuart Zola, MapHabit is a member company in the Advanced Technology Development Center’s (ATDC) Signature portfolio of startups. Its interactive, habit-building, education and cognitive engagement platform uses an integrated, visual mapping system to improve the quality of life for individuals who need additional cognitive support.

Including this award, MapHabit has received $6.5 million in non-dilutive grants and raised an additional $2 million in external investor capital since its founding. The company said this most recent award will extend its cash runway into 2025.

The MapHabit technology provides users critical tools to better accomplish their daily life activities, while simultaneously providing oversight and peace of mind to the entire support circle, including care managers and providers.

Caregiving is commonly acknowledged as one of the most stressful, under-recognized, under-paid, and under-supported jobs. The new CTP will offer key innovative features to enhance the caregivers’ own quality of life and directly support them in their role, which in turn will result in reduced cost burdens to them in all types of home and community-based care settings, the company said.

“There are 53 million caregivers in the United States and most of us have been thrown into this role without pay, without education, and without a coach to help guide them on what could be next,” Golden, the company’s CEO, said.  “Many of these are overextended sandwich caregivers, which are those who care for younger children and support their aging parents.”

While many resources exist for professional care staff, family caregivers have been left out of the discussion, Golden said. “This SBIR focuses on empowering those caregivers with tools to improve quality of life and independence for both the individual and the caregiver.  That is very important to us.”

Some of the features of the new CTP include self-paced learning that starts with understanding the caregiver’s knowledge and skill level; interactive live coaching sessions; easy to use caregiver-centric dashboards to share information, and social networking capabilities to promote social support and community building. The technology also uses a gamification approach to enhance training engagement and a social network system to help caregivers better manage their stress.

“Self-care is crucial for the person supporting someone with a neurocognitive disease. They often do not care for themselves and become sick themselves, putting both parties at risk,” Golden said. “Many non-spouse caregivers work jobs and they typically need to reduce hours or leave the workforce entirely. Moreover, family caregivers take the burden on themselves and don’t ask for help, and this leads to burnout.”

SBIR and a sister effort, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), are highly competitive programs that encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in federal research and research and development with the potential for commercialization.

As part of its curriculum, ATDC’s SBIR/STTR Catalyst Connie Casteel helps its portfolio companies understand and secure federal funding through those programs. In 2021, ATDC startups received $17.4 million in SBIR/STTR grants. Year-to-date in 2022, ATDC companies have recorded $14 million in awards.

“The ATDC SBIR/STTR program has been critical to help us identify funding opportunities and provide us much needed scientific reviews ahead of complicated government submissions,” Golden said. “The help of Connie Casteel and (ATDC Senior Startup and Deep Tech Catalyst) Nakia Melecio over the three-year period has helped us polish our submissions and ensure proper messaging to the target government organization.”

Meet Your New Colleagues

With remote work continuing, it’s often hard to get to know one another, especially for new employees. So, we’re looking for new ways to make connections. Meet this month’s two new employees, Ward Broom and Alberto Ponce. If you run into them or someone else you don’t know at a meeting or on Zoom or Teams, introduce yourself. Work relationships are important to well-being, and this is just one way to help cultivate those relationships.

Ward Broom, Automation & Robotics Catalyst, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

Ward Broom

Ward will oversee the ATDC Automation and Robotics Program — sponsored by Amazon Robotics. He will recruit startups, coach and mentor them, and market the program to those entrepreneurs looking to build and scale technology companies in the robotics or automation sectors.

A triple graduate of Georgia Tech, Ward earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and an Executive MBA. One of his sons is also a Tech grad with degrees in civil engineering and computer science.

He loves golf and travel – especially trips to the North Carolina mountains, where he can indulge both passions. His wife is a writer and his older son graduated from the Citadel and serves in the Army.

Alberto Ponce, Associate Project Manager, Economic Development Lab (EDL)

Alberto Ponce

Alberto will work in the Innovation Ecosystems group to support projects that develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Latin America and assist with the Soft Landings program that helps foreign companies navigate their way into the U.S. market.

Alberto has experience running entrepreneurship programs and as an entrepreneur himself. Most recently, he served as the innovation center coordinator at the Medical Center of the Americas in El Paso, Texas.

A native of Mexico, Alberto exercises his creativity in his off time. He enjoys reading, watching classic and contemporary films, listening to music, and playing chess.

With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico, Alberto looks forward to working on projects that help enrich communities around the world.

The Advanced Technology Development Center Announces its Startup Graduating Class of 2022

Thirteen graduating companies comprise one of the incubator’s largest and most diverse graduating class of founders

ATLANTA — The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, announced today 13 startups will graduate from the program’s top-tier Signature portfolio.

The 2022 class marks some significant milestones for ATDC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. The 13 startups constitute one of the most diverse and largest graduating class in ATDC’s 42-year history.

Eight of the companies have diverse founders or co-founders, including four women.

The ATDC Class of 2022 also brings the total number of graduating startups to more than 210 companies. Collectively, the ATDC Class of 2022 has raised more than $216.7 million in capital from investors since January 2021.

“This is an outstanding and spectacular class of graduates,” said Chris Nedza, ATDC’s lead entrepreneur in residence. “This group of founders are gamechangers and disruptors in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, insurance, energy, ecommerce, artificial intelligence, and information security. We are extremely proud of the ATDC Class of 2022 and all their achievements.”

One of the graduating companies, Apptega, founded by Armistead Whitney, works to address challenges that companies of all sizes face in implementing effective cybersecurity.

Being part of the ATDC experience helped the company navigate the challenges all startups face as well as scale successfully, he said.

“Starting a company from scratch is long, exciting, painful, and rewarding all at once. ATDC delivers the support, infrastructure, and guidance critical to our success,” Whitney said. “Sharing issues with other CEOs, receiving advice from the entrepreneurs in residence, getting connected to capital, and participating in programs at Georgia Tech gave us a huge competitive advantage not only to survive, but to thrive.”

Similarly, OncoLens, a leading data and clinical decision support hub that supports the multi-disciplinary discussion of cancer cases by experts and care teams, credits ATDC with its growth trajectory.

In the past four years, the company, co-founded by Anju Mathew and Dr. Lijo Simpson, has expanded to serve nearly 200 clients, including international customers.

“The favorite part of our ATDC experience has been the guidance received from ATDC catalysts and mentors,” Mathew, the company’s CEO, said. “The ability to engage with other startups and learn from each other is so key for early founders. And Aubrey Lenyard (ATDC Community Engagement Manager), is of course, just the best.”

The ATDC Class of 2021 will be honored October 27 in a special ceremony being held on the Georgia Tech campus.

The class includes:

  • Apptega: Makes it easy for businesses to build, manage, and report their cybersecurity programs while meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Buckle: Provides insurance to ride share drivers using new data, technology, and analytics.
  • Carbice: Produces multifunctional material solutions from Carbice® Nanotube Technology that set the standard for performance, reliability, and low-cost assembly within the world’s most important electronic, energy, and industrial products.
  • cove.tool: A web-based software platform for analyzing, drawing, engineering, and connecting data for building design and construction.
  • DataSeers: A big data platform for reconciliation, compliance, fraud, and analytics in the financial services sector.
  • Field Pros Direct: The industry’s first on-demand adjusters’ network.
  • Layr: InsureTech business that builds software to automate and digitize insurance brokerages’ smallbusiness departments.
  • Momnt: Helps merchants and merchant networks master the art of lending.
  • OncoLens: A healthcare technology company that enables the development of the best treatment plan for each cancer case.
  • SmartCommerce: Its technology platform enables one-click conversion from any digital impulse point, into any retailer cart.
  • Tonic: Anonymizes production data.
  • Voxie: Technology platform to connect with customers via text message, build real relationships, and turn those relationships into action.
  • Worthix: Customer survey platform built with artificial intelligence to help marketers pinpoint the “why behind the buy.”

It was important to Marty Young, Buckle’s co-founder, to be part of an incubator equally dedicated to finding technology companies focused on substantive impact for the better along with ensuring their overall success.

“As Buckle has grown its efforts to transform financial services offerings for an underserved audience of gig drivers, it has been a privilege to be surrounded by ATDC companies that are similarly focused on making a difference for their core target groups,” Young said. “In addition, Atlanta has been a center of gravity for Buckle since the first days of our formation, and it remains important to us to be active and connected in the communities where we live and operate.”

Companies in the ATDC Signature portfolio are those deemed most ready for long-term growth and success. ATDC Signature is a rigorous, metrics-driven, and milestones-based program for companies with transformative products.

To graduate from ATDC Signature, startups must meet several milestones, including annualized recurring revenue of at least $1 million, an identified scalable business model, and the ability to finance growth.

“ATDC has allowed Carbice to grow from an idea to a thriving leader in the thermal solutions market,” said Baratunde Cola, the company’s founder and professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “The best part of the company’s time at ATDCwas the ability to learn how to build and scale a manufacturing operation with the support of Georgia Tech and ATDC every step of the way.”

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 $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

The Defense Innovation Unit Roadshow Comes to ATDC

DIU looks at ways tech entrepreneurs can
do business with the Department of Defense

 

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists discovered ways to do business with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) when the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) presented at the Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC), the state’s internationally recognized technology business incubator, Monday.

 

The DIU is a DoD-funded matchmaker of sorts, working to connect various DoD partners with commercial companies to solve specific problems for the military. The two events, one for entrepreneurs and one for venture capitalists, offered the opportunity for Georgians to learn more about the technology focus areas of the DIU, the acquisition processes, and ways to engage with them. The DIU’s single goal is getting essential technology into the DoD to strengthen the national security innovation base.

 

Mike Madsen, the DIU’s director of strategic engagement, presents at ATDC.

“It’s no secret that dual use technology — technology with commercial and government applications — is going to be increasingly important going forward,” said Mike Madsen, the DIU’s director of strategic engagement. “If you look at what some of our would-be adversaries are doing, they are making their commercially developed technology immediately available to their militaries. We have to get folks to want to work with us. And let’s face it, we make this as hard as possible.”

 

Streamlining the process for bringing new commercial tech companies into the DoD fold was the idea behind the creation of the DIU seven years ago.

 

“Everything starts with a DoD problem set,” Madsen said. That’s a specific problem that the DoD thinks can be solved through a commercial application. The solution may be something that’s already commercially available or it may be a commercial product that would need to be customized to suit the military.

 

The DIU works with DoD to state the problem simply, in non-military terms. “We get rid of the Pentagon jargon, get rid of the acronyms, make it easily understood by the commercial sector,” Madsen said. “And then our commercial engagement team is engaged in the commercial sector to make sure that there’s a commercial solution for what DoD is trying to solve … then we can prototype and go from there.”

 

The problems that DoD is looking to solve, along with information about submitting a possible solution, are spelled out — in non-jargon — on the DIU website.

 

The DIU’s six technology areas of focus — and the areas tech firms might find a fit — are artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber, energy, human systems, and space.

 

The hybrid event (virtual and in person) drew about 65 people, who were very engaged, with questions both during and following the presentations. The roadshow, which will be repeated throughout the country, is designed to expand the DIU’s already broad reach. The organization has 98 ongoing projects and 51 completed projects, with 105 first-time DoD vendors. The unit also has some serious money to support prototyping of potential commercial applications.

 

“We are modestly budgeted at about $100 million,” Madsen said. “But we leverage about $1 billion of our DoD partner funding to the prototyping phase, as well as about $20 billion in venture capital funding.”

 

Nakia Melecio, ATDC’s senior startup and deep tech catalyst, facilitated the event and summed up the importance of the visit.

 

“More and more government, academia, and commercial firms are working together [to solve problems,]” he said. “So, this relationship [with DIU] is very important.”

 

He also reminded attendees, many of whom were new to ATDC, that the organization is available to help.

 

“If you’re not plugged into ATDC, make sure you get plugged in to ATDC,” he said. “We have our staff here that’s equipped to help you. We’re also here as coaches to provide support to all of you. And we’ll work very closely with the DIU to help you unpack a lot of things you heard today.”

 

In Georgia, 41 solution submissions have been made to the DIU website, with one prototype contract awarded to a Georgia company, including $87,500 in funding. But the DIU wants to see that grow. This event is a first step in making that happen.

Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center to Receive Investment from Visa for FinTech Innovation

Investment to spur greater innovation in payments space

 

ATLANTA — Today, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)announced a new three-year financial commitment by Visa, the world leader in digital payments, to further accelerate innovation across financial and payments technologies (FinTech).

 

Patrick Williams Headshot
Patrick Williams is Visa’s North American head of digital partnerships.

ATDC, the state of Georgia’s technology incubator, works with entrepreneurs to build and scale successful technology companies. Its FinTech program, launched in 2015, has focused on building and growing FinTech companies in Georgia. Since its launch, the program has evaluated more than 250 startups, has 25 companies in its current portfolio, and produced one unicorn, Greenlight, a 2018 ATDC graduate now valued at more than $2 billion.

 

Visa’s financial sponsorship and leadership in the FinTech category will allow for continued growth and startup support for entrepreneurs in the program. As part of the sponsorship, Visa executives will mentor program participants and create connections to maximize opportunities to bring their FinTech innovations to Visa and its partner network.

 

“Georgia is our nation’s FinTech command center and we at ATDC are proud to partner with Visa to continue to drive innovation forward in this sector,” said John Avery, ATDC director. “We are dedicated to our FinTech ecosystem’s continued growth and success, and ATDC serving as the nexus to entrepreneurs, industry, investors, and Georgia Tech’s resources to help these startups thrive.”

 

Startups accepted into the incubator’s program will be integrated into Georgia’s robust FinTech ecosystem, where more than 200 FinTech companies generating $72 billion in annual revenue call home. Over 70 percent of all U.S. financial transactions are handled by payment processing firms headquartered in Georgia.

 

ATDC has hired Robert E. Daniel as the FinTech catalyst who will oversee the vertical, manage the pipeline, and evaluate these startups and their innovations for acceptance into the portfolio.

 

“We view Atlanta as a thriving FinTech community and an epicenter of financial technology expertise where Visa can become an integral part to its continued growth. A partnership with ATDC provides Visa the opportunity to get involved with supporting local startups as the future of payments continues to look bright, thanks to this world of innovative entrepreneurs,” said Patrick Williams, Visa’s head of digital partnerships in North America.

 

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

 

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, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has grown to become the longest running and one of the 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.

Amazon Robotics Gift Supports Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center

Funding will go toward assisting diverse entrepreneurs in the fields of robotics and automation

John Avery and Thomas Felis
ATDC Director John Avery (left) and Thomas Felis, director of robotics strategy for Amazon Global Robotics. (Photo: Peralte C. Paul)

ATLANTA — To help support the growth of startups and individuals working to advance automation and robotics, Amazon Robotics today announced it is providing a substantial investment over three years to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

 

ATDC is Georgia’s technology startup incubator and helps entrepreneurs across the state build, launch, and scale successful companies. The goal of the gift is to accelerate growth of automation and robotics by leveraging staff and resources at ATDC in collaboration with Amazon.

 

“Our mission is to support infrastructure for startups and to help foster compelling startup companies with tremendous talent that solve big problems,” said Thomas Felis, director of robotics strategy for Amazon Global Robotics. “Equally important to us is Georgia Tech’s track record of working with and supporting entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.”

 

The funding includes allocation for an ATDC full-time automation and robotics catalyst to recruit and coach companies focused on automation and robotics. The catalyst will identify relevant startups and help onboard them into ATDC’s startup pipeline and portfolio.

 

“Georgia Tech is a leader in robotics research, and we are excited to have Amazon support our startup mission at ATDC to bring entrepreneurial ideas to life and to market,” said John Avery, ATDC director. “Innovation can come from anywhere and everywhere, and this collaboration reflects our commitment to support diverse startup founders.”

 

This effort will also support Georgia Tech’s ongoing robotics research, including the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

 

The Amazon sponsorship expands ATDC’s targeted vertical focus areas to seven, including financial, health, and retail technology, 5G, logistics and supply chain, and advanced manufacturing.

 

ATDC will also work with Amazon to identify specific areas of technical interest with the aim of developing virtual and physical events to attract relevant startups.

 

To apply to join the robotics and automation incubator, click here.

The Home Depot Supports Supply Chain and Logistics Vertical with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center

ATLANTA — The Home Depot®, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, is working with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to create a new program focused on Supply Chain and Logistics startups (SC&L).

As part of a three-year sponsorship, Home Depot executives will mentor program participants and offer guidance and expertise to support their growth. As the SC&L space continues to evolve, partnerships with program participants have become more important for an early-stage company’s customer acquisition and business model development.

Alex Rhodeen is ATDC’s supply chain and logistics catalyst.
Stephanie Smith is Home Depot’s supply chain senior vice president.

The incubator has hired Alex Rhodeen as the catalyst to run the SC&L vertical, build a pipeline of companies, and evaluate these startups for acceptance into the ATDC portfolio.

“Our long-standing relationship with Georgia Tech is a cherished one as the ATDC will foster the next generation of technology entrepreneurs. We’re proud to support the introduction of a new vertical within the incubator program to contribute forward-thinking innovation as the Supply Chain and Logistics industry continually evolves,” said Stephanie Smith, SVP of Supply Chain at Home Depot.

Companies participating in the incubator program will work directly with SC&L and business leaders at The Home Depot and Georgia Tech as they build, test and bring to market new products and services. ATDC is a globally recognized technology incubator. The Supply Chain vertical is the sixth of its kind at ATDC and follows other targeted programs in health, retail, and financial technologies.

“Georgia is a leader in supply chain and logistics infrastructure with ?coastal and inland seaports and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well as being home to Fortune 500 companies in rail and ground transportation,” said ATDC Director John Avery. “More than 140 technology firms in the supply chain and logistics space are already in Georgia, so this collaboration with The Home Depot is a natural extension of Georgia Tech’s ATDC incubator to further drive innovation in our state.”

ATDC brings a unique framework that combines its startup curriculum, coaching, connections, and community, as well as direct access to Georgia Tech resources, research expertise, and student talent, to help entrepreneurs learn, launch, scale, and succeed. In this effort, ATDC will offer programming, recruit and evaluate startups, and hire staff to manage the vertical.

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

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 the longest running and one of the 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.

ATDC Names Caroline Ford as Investor Connect Catalyst

Caroline Ford headshot
ATDC Investor Connect Catalyst Caroline Ford.

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute welcomes Caroline Ford as the new Investor Connect Catalyst at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

 

ATDC is the internationally recognized state-funded technology business incubator. It is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, university-based program of entrepreneurship and startup development, business and industry growth, and international outreach.

 

At ATDC, Ford will work to connect Georgia startups with investors. “We’re the advocate,” she said, “as [our companies] negotiate or talk to venture capital or other private equity investors about investing in their business.”

 

It’s a position that’s hardwired into her DNA, she said. Her father was involved in tech startups in her home state of Arkansas, and she worked in or founded several successful family-owned startups in the marketing technology space. That background gives her a strong understanding of the tech companies that are part of ATDC and adds to the excitement she feels about this new position.

 

“I worked in an incubator in Arkansas,” she said, “and it was the most stimulating, challenging, invigorating workplace that I’ve ever been in — just the energy, the hope, the optimism. Everybody wants to be there, because everybody’s got an idea. To me, it’s like a microcosm of possibility,” she said.

 

Her enthusiasm for the optimism and excitement of incubators – happy places, she called them – led her to write and present an academic paper Beyond a Social Capital Agenda: Exploring Metrics and Motives Inside Business Incubators in Arkansas, for a conference.

 

She has also run Arkansas-based nonprofit organizations, including the Wolfe Street Foundation, which serves women in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, and Dills House for Women, a transitional facility for underserved women struggling with addiction. It’s not her first time working on a college campus, either. She’s been an assistant marketing professor at Kennesaw State University and a part-time faculty member at Hendrix College in Arkansas.

 

Ford holds degrees from cross-town institution Georgia State University, where she received a bachelor’s in French, a master’s in marketing, and an executive doctorate in business administration.

 

In her quest to find her own happy place outside of work, Ford escapes underwater as a scuba diver. Her favorite spot: St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Her other passions include Orange Theory exercise classes, and last, but certainly not least, her two college-age kids.