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.

Engage Celebrates 10th Cohort of Entrepreneurs

Five years after its founding, the first-of-its-kind
innovation program is still going strong

Engage celebrated two milestones – five years since its founding and the introduction of the 10th cohort of enterprise technology startups – in October with its Executive Reception. The reception, held at Cox Enterprises, featured close to 300 people including executives from Fortune 500 companies, startup founders, and investors.

Engage began in 2017 as the first-of-its-kind collaborative innovation program and venture fund to connect startups with leading corporations. It’s a formula that still works today, with active involvement from corporate behemoths including Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, Invesco, and others that are giving tech entrepreneurs a place at the table.

Discussion by Engage founders, from left, Blake Patton, Marty Flanagan, and G.P. “Bud” Peterson, moderated by Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick.

To kick off the event, Engage founders and board members Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco, G.P. “Bud” Peterson, president emeritus of Georgia Tech, and Blake Patton, managing partner of Tech Square Ventures, discussed the program’s origin and the way they deliberately set out to meet the needs of both the tech startups and the corporate community.

“What startups really need is access to customers and markets,” said Patton. “And so that’s what we built the concept of Engage around.”

And the corporations, what do they need that Engage can offer?

They need new ideas and the nimbleness of startups. “I think Engage has done a very nice job of identifying the innovation needs of the companies that are participating and then matching that with the entrepreneurs who are being creative and innovative in the community,” said Patton.

Since its founding, Engage has mentored and invested in 10 startup cohorts, a total of 75 companies. Its portfolio companies have inked 116 customer contracts signed with corporate partners. Engage startups have raised more than $2.7 billion in capital after graduating from the program and employ more than 3,000.

Rachel Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of Intrinio, a financial technology startup from the second Engage cohort, hosted a discussion about enterprise data transformation and ways startups can work with major corporations on that, with Donie Lochan, the managing director, chief technology officer, and global head of technology for Invesco, and Chuck Adkins, senior vice president of information technology at Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Keynote speaker Alex Taylor, chair and CEO of Cox Enterprises and Engage Board member, discussed the ways Cox is working with startups. The company has signed 12 contracts with Engage startups, including one with Engage graduate Help Lightning to solve a problem brought on by the pandemic.

“Cox Communications has millions of customers around the country,” Taylor said, explaining that technicians of his company’s cable subsidiary could not go to customers’ homes during the pandemic. In normal times, customers would buy the hardware from Cox and install the television modems and other devices with the technicians’ help.

Now, packets are being sent remotely.

“Not a lot of these people are trained engineers, so they don’t often do it right. When there’s problems, we can’t go into their homes and help them,” Taylor said.

Cox worked with Help Lightning, an Engage portfolio company that uses augmented reality video that enables the cable company to better serve its customers — during the pandemic through today.

“It’s a field services tool. A field services tech is out front of a customer’s home with an iPad. There’s a visual interface, and the customer is holding up the phone, showing the technician what they’re looking at,” Taylor said. “The technician is walking the customer through a two-way interaction when they can’t physically be present.”

Following Taylor, Nammy Vedire, Engage’s director of platform and operations, announced the recipient of the Executive Champion Award, given to corporate partners who exemplify and help accomplish Engage’s mission. The award was presented to Jaimie Clark, head of innovation at Catalyst by Wellstar and the director of innovation and venture strategy for Wellstar Health System.

“Jaimie met with several of our corporate executive teams, understood best practices, and incorporated them into the WellStar Catalyst program, which is this conduit to bring innovation to every corner of the Wellstar Health System,” Vedire said. “In doing so, in the last 12 months, Jaimie has helped five of our startups sign pilots, of which three have now converted to multi-year contracts. That’s an incredible effort.”

Daley Ervin, Engage’s managing director, who was celebrating his last Engage cohort before leaving the position, was also presented with an award to mark his service with Engage since 2018.

To wrap up the evening, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens — a Georgia Tech alum — spoke about his commitment to the city’s tech startup ecosystem. To illustrate the importance of the community, he introduced the city of Atlanta’s first Senior Technology Advisor Donald Beamer.  “He will be an ambassador for this ecosystem that helped catapult Atlanta. He will lift up the startup community and be able to answer the questions of venture capitalists,” Dickens said.

Founders of the cohort 10 companies.

Engage’s cohort 10 companies include:

  • Civic Eagle: Gives policy professionals the tools to more effectively monitor, report, and collaborate on policy work.
  • Coginiti: A collaborative intelligence company that democratizes access to data, fosters collaboration, and supports building, reusing, and sharing data and analytic assets.
  • Manifest Climate: Provides businesses with the tools, data, and support they need to identify climate risks and opportunities, track trends, and build competency around climate action.
  • NameCoach: Uses artificial intelligence-enabled software to solve one problem that can help businesses promote inclusion, belonging, and rapport — name mispronunciation.
  • Qualytics: Delivers confidence in data with real-time automated anomaly detection and remediation to help improve the accuracy of enterprise decision making.
  • Tribute: A micro-mentorship platform enhances team collaboration, learning, and productivity in hybrid workplaces.
  • Workera: This skills intelligence platform is redefining how enterprises understand, develop, and mobilize talent to drive innovation.
  • Wripple: An agency services platform that matches enterprises to individual freelancers and project teams.

About Engage

Engage is a first-of-its-kind innovation platform comprising category-leading corporations in the Southeast that have joined forces to support startups building the future of enterprise. Engage is designed to promote innovation through a network of connections between startups, corporations, university researchers, and the venture community.

Engage’s corporate partners include Chick-fil-A, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Georgia Tech, Goldman Sachs, The Home Depot, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Inspire Brands, Invesco, Invest Georgia, UPS, and Wellstar Health System. These corporate partners, along with Tech Square Ventures and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), provide tools, hands-on support, and resources that help startups develop go-to-market strategies, open doors faster, and transform strategies into action. For more information, visit engage.vc.

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.”

Georgia-AIM Hosts Kick-Off Meeting

Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia-AIM) recently held its initial kick-off meeting in October 2022.

Over a two-day period, more than 100 participants from across the state came to Atlanta to brainstorm, collaborate, and share best practices as the group launched its effort in earnest following its winning of a $65 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in September.

Led by the Georgia Institute of Technology and a coalition of private and public partners across the state, Georgia-AIM seeks to reimagine job opportunities and wage growth in economically distressed and underserved rural parts of Georgia by melding artificial intelligence (AI) with manufacturing, an all-too-important segment of the state’s economy. Manufacturing’s economic impact to the state exceeds $60 billion a year and it employs more than 400,000, Georgia Department of Economic Development figures show.

The goal is to develop new opportunities through outreach programs designed to create a transformational Georgia workforce that will embrace artificial intelligence not be mystified or afraid of it, said Donna Ennis, director of Diversity Engagement and Program Development in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and also director of its Georgia MBDA Business Center. Ennis is leading the effort along with Aaron Stebner, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering, and Thomas R. Kurfess, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute.

A large part of the the Georgia-AIM effort, which is also focused on serving historically underrepresented and underserved groups, is getting people to understand artificial intelligence goes beyond robots and that it’s not about taking jobs away, but leveraging this ever-evolving technology to create the jobs of the future, Ennis said.

AI is already an integral part of daily life from smart homes and cars to cities and mobile devices, she said.

“We want to demystify what it is,” she said. “We want to be able to show you that there is a place for you in the artificial intelligence world, particularly as it relates to the manufacturing.”

Kick-off event attendees were able to network and get more in-depth presentations regarding the various projects under the Georgia-AIM umbrella. The projects include building automation solutions tailored for rural manufacturers, industry pilot trials, workforce training for AI manufacturing technologies, prototyping labs and studios, curriculum development for K-12 students, and an virtual reality training innovation lab.

In addition to Georgia Tech, the coalition of 12 public-private partners includes:

·       Georgia Department of Community Affairs

·       Georgia Cyber Center

·       Houston County Development Authority

·       KITTLabs

·       Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs

·       Robins Air Force Base 21st Century Partnership

·       Spelman College

·       Southwest Georgia Regional Commission

·       Technologists of Color

·       Technology Association of Georgia Education Collaborative

·       Technical College System of Georgia

·       University of Georgia

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.

FEMA Awards $1.5 million to Georgia Tech and Alliance Solutions Group to Develop National Climate Resilience Training

The grant supports the creation of curriculum and tools to empower disadvantaged communities and instill equity

ATLANTA — Global climate change is causing an increase in the frequency, severity, and persistence of destructive weather events. These events coupled with economic- and health-related crises have exacerbated disproportionate effects and inequitable outcomes for vulnerable populations.

To help mitigate these outcomes, Georgia Institute of Technology will work with Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) to create a training and education curriculum that fosters partnerships, information sharing, and problem solving among community-based organizations, local and state leaders, first responders, economic development organizations, and emergency managers.

“We are seeing more and more severe weather events, many of them having a disproportionate impact on small and underserved communities in our country,” said David Bridges, vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. “This is an opportunity to use our expertise and networks to help communities that have been hit hardest solve this growing crisis.”

Supported by a three-year funding award of $1.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the training will provide community leaders with the tools and resources to develop climate adaptation strategies that will empower disadvantaged communities and instill equity.

“Our needs analysis identified training gaps that compound existing inequities and highlight the need for systemic solutions to improve climate literacy and better integrate underserved populations into all elements of the National Preparedness System,” said Bob Campbell, founder and CEO of ASG. “This education series will support communities around the country in fostering partnerships to develop and implement equitable climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.”

ASG, a Newport News, Virginia-based company that provides innovative emergency management and environmental solutions to the public, private, and defense sectors, is partnering with the Enterprise Innovation Institute and Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the research, development, and delivery of the training.

“I am excited to contribute to these courses on climate resilience with lessons we have learned developing a course at Georgia Tech on using climate information to improve the resilience of coastal communities to sea level rise,” said Alex Robel, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who will be part of the team developing content. “Our goal is to disseminate best practices to emergency management agencies around the U.S.”

FEMA developed the grant to further implementation of its goals to instill equity in emergency management and lead the country in climate resilience.

Doreen Kincaid, project manager for the grant

“This is an important opportunity for Georgia Tech to build on its experience with the Smart Sea Level Sensors project in Chatham County that provides real-time information on sea level rise to underserved communities,” said Doreen Kincaid, the project manager on the grant. “It will also allow Georgia Tech and ASG to leverage their partnership and experience on two previous FEMA grants related to hazardous materials and economic recovery to develop and deliver a training program with measurable results.”

National in scope with a mix of virtual and in-person delivery, the training courses will be available in all 50 states, six territories, and 573 Native American communities. In support of the Justice40 Initiative, President Joe Biden’s order to direct 40% of the benefits of federal investments related to climate change and training to disadvantaged communities, the team will prioritize training for those communities. As courses are completed and ready for delivery, they will be posted in FEMA’s National Training and Educational Division online catalogue.

As community leaders complete training, they will be equipped to conduct climate risk and social vulnerability assessments, outline strategies for incorporating vulnerable populations into plans, develop risk communication strategies, establish plans to stabilize community lifelines, and understand and apply climate forecasts into emergency management programs.

About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 46,000 students, representing 50 states and more than 150 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 Enterprise Innovation Institute

The Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development unit, serves all of Georgia through a variety of services and programs that build and scale startups, grow business enterprises, and energize ecosystem builders. As the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based economic development organization, the Institute’s expertise and reach are global; its innovation, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem development programs serve governments, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide. In 2021, the Enterprise Innovation Institute served more than 15,500 businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs. Those clients reported startup investment capital exceeding $1.1 billion and creating or saving more than 11,300 jobs. The Enterprise Innovation Institute’s total 2021 financial impact exceeded $2.9 billion. Learn more at innovate.gatech.edu. 

About School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, part of the College of Sciences at Georgia Tech, produces breakthrough discoveries through research and prepares students to advance the knowledge of Earth sciences as they become leaders in academia, government, and industry. EAS applies scientific knowledge and principles to inform and support public policy, resource management, and environmental stewardship. The internationally recognized School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences has delivered 15 climate-related courses to more than 5,000 students over the last 10 years.

About Alliance Solutions Group, Inc.

Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that offers emergency management and environmental, health, and safety solutions to all levels of the public, private, and defense sectors. ASG’s team of strategists, thought leaders, subject matter experts, and instructors have an average of 20+ years of experience in their respective fields. In meeting customers’ needs, ASG leverages thousands of lessons learned, best practices and business processes that have been synthesized over 17 years. Having conducted over 15,000 workplace audits and several thousand training and exercise events, ASG has built a solid understanding of the challenges facing both private and public sector organizations in multiple sectors. ASG’s perspective spans from the local to the global, with offices across the U.S. and throughout the world, and partnerships with municipal, state, federal, military, and private sector clients in 48 states and 17 countries. Learn more at asg-inc.org.

About the Federal Emergency Management Agency

At FEMA, we employ more than 20,000 people nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we have 10 regional offices located across the country. We leverage a tremendous capacity to coordinate within the federal government to make sure America is equipped to prepare for and respond to disasters. Our mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. Our core values and guiding principles help us achieve it. To learn more, visit fema.gov.

Debra Lam Appointed to U.S. Department of Commerce’s New Internet of Things Advisory Board

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce has appointed Debra Lam, executive director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, to its new Internet of Things Advisory Board (IoTAB), to advise the Internet of Things Federal Working Group. Lam joins 15 other experts on a board that includes a wide range of stakeholders outside of the federal government with expertise relating to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Debra Lam, executive director, Partnership for Inclusive Innovation

The appointments are the first for the recently established advisory board, which was created in accordance with the requirements of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended.

The board will advise the federal working group on matters including the identification of any federal regulations, programs or policies that may inhibit or promote the development of IoT; situations in which IoT could deliver significant and scalable economic and societal benefits to the United States, including smart traffic and transit technologies, augmented logistics and supply chains, environmental monitoring, and health care; IoT opportunities and challenges for small businesses; and any IoT-related international opportunities for the U.S. Full details on the board’s activities are provided in a Federal Register notice.

The board consists of 16 members and represents a broad range of disciplines from across academia, industry and civil society. Board members will serve two-year appointments, and all meetings are open to the public.

Launched in 2020, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a public-private organization that was created to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the leader for innovation, opportunity, and shared economic success. With support from Georgia Tech and a host of private and public partners, including the State of Georgia, the Partnership’s focus pillars of community research, workforce development, student engagement, and economic opportunity are a powerful combination that provide technical and financial support to democratize innovation through collaboration. Among its offerings, and one of the reasons Lam is on the board is the Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation program, which activates collaborations between researchers and municipalities to explore innovative uses of technology and data in pursuit of prosperity for all.

In addition to Lam, the newly appointed members include:

  • Benson M. Chan (Chair), Chief Operating Officer, Strategy of Things Inc.
  • Daniel W. Caprio Jr. (Vice Chair), Co-founder and Chair, The Providence Group
  • Michael J. Bergman, Vice President, Technology and Standards, Consumer Technology Association
  • Ranveer Chandra, Managing Director of Research for Industry and Chief Technology Officer of Agri-Food, Microsoft
  • Nicholas Emanuel, Product Manager, CropX
  • Steven E. Griffith, Senior Industry Director, National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • Tom Katsioulas, Chair, Global Semiconductor Alliance
  • Kevin T. Kornegay, Professor and IoT Security Endowed Chair, Morgan State University
  • Ann Mehra, Adviser to Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University
  • Robby Moss, President and Principal Consultant, TGL Enterprises LLC
  • Nicole Raimundo, Chief Information Officer, Town of Cary, North Carolina
  • Maria Rerecich, Senior Director of Product Testing, Consumer Reports
  • Debbie A. Reynolds, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Data Privacy Officer, Debbie Reynolds Consulting
  • Arman Shehabi, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Peter Tseronis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dots and Bridges LLC

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will provide administrative support to the advisory board, and information on board activities can be found on the NIST website.

Engage Celebrates Five Years of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

First-of-its-kind program connects high-growth startups with Fortune 500 companies

Engage, the first-of-its-kind collaborative innovation program and venture fund, celebrates five years of connecting startups with leading corporations. Engage, an affiliate program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, combines strategic capital, a startup growth accelerator, Georgia Tech faculty and resources, and a collaborative network of leading global corporations to create a corporate innovation and startup go-to-market accelerator program that has rocketed the Southeast’s emergence as a leading tech hub. Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco, G.P. “Bud” Peterson, president emeritus of Georgia Tech, and Blake Patton, managing partner of Tech Square Ventures founded the program in 2017. They were joined by nine other founding corporations, including Delta Air Lines, Chik-fil-A, The Home Depot, and UPS.

“As one of the founding corporate partners of Engage, Invesco recognizes the tremendous impact entrepreneurs have on the U.S. economy, and we’re committed to working with the Engage corporate partners to empower their growth in the Southeast region,” said Flanagan. “Through working together with a diverse group of Engage startup founders, we have all benefited from shared innovation, insights into new technology, and invaluable learning opportunities. We look forward to continuing to shape and nurture the growing community of entrepreneurs in Atlanta.”

Blake Patton, managing partner, Tech Square Ventures

Since its founding, Engage has mentored and invested in 10 startup cohorts, a total of 75 companies. Its portfolio companies have inked 116 customer contracts signed with corporate partners. Engage startups have raised more than $2.7 billion in capital after graduating from the program and employ more than 3,000.

“Engage’s aim is to establish Atlanta and the Southeast as the best place in the country for enterprise-focused startups to do business,” said Patton. “Our partners have enabled us to build not only a startup growth accelerator but also an innovation platform that has accelerated corporate innovation and connectivity in the region and helped it to become a premier tech and innovation hub. We are proud that 29 of our startups are headquartered or have team members in Georgia.”

The Engage fund, managed by Tech Square Ventures, invests in companies selected for its Go-To-Market Program. That program, in partnership with Georgia Tech, combines education and one-of-a-kind access to help startups break through the barriers of selling to and partnering with large enterprises.

Engage’s Georgia Tech Faculty Council is comprised of subject matter experts who serve in areas including customer experience, data analytics, supply chain, future of work, and sustainability. They offer advice on which startups should be invited into a cohort and facilitate cross-corporate innovation activities.

“Without a doubt, Engage proves academia can play a significant role in bringing together startups and corporations for innovation,” Raghupathy Sivakumar, the Wayne J. Holman Chair professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the vice president of commercialization and chief commercialization officer for the Institute. “The Engage model of corporate partners, plus startups, plus academia is unparalleled in the country, if not the world. We are actively trying to elevate Engage to even further heights by investing in programs that heavily involve our faculty and students in its activities. We can’t wait to see Engage continue to scale and help propel Georgia Tech as one of the top entrepreneurial universities in the country.”

The support and networking of the Engage program has resulted in tremendous success for Engage companies. Highlights include:

  • The Mom Project, a marketplace connecting enterprises with working mothers, reached 1 million mothers.
  • Moth + Flame, a developer of virtual training technology, appeared on the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
  • Cloverly, an application programming interface (API) that matches digital transactions to equivalent carbon removal, making transactions carbon neutral in real time.
  • Verusen, an AI platform to harmonize materials data and predict inventory in manufacturing supply chains.
  • MetaCX, a network that companies join to manage the expected value from their business, raised a round of $5.1 million, comprised of 14 angel investors, bringing the total capital raised by the company to $33.6 million.
Rachel Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of Intrinio

Rachel Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of Intrinio, a financial technology company and member of the second cohort, would encourage startup leaders who get the chance to go through the Engage program.

“You will receive unprecedented access to some of the largest strategic institutions in the world. We were in one of the early cohorts, and we’re still connected with executives at Intercontinental Exchange, and Invesco, and Goldman Sachs,” she said. “There’s this deep spirit of collaboration. They don’t forget about you and your cohort overnight. They still know who you are, what your technology is, and sometimes years later they come back and re-open the door for you. So doing the program is not just a short-term value. It’s long-term relationships that you’re establishing.”

Despite the success of the last five years, Engage isn’t content to rest on its laurels. Engage looks to expand in the next five years – and beyond, Patton said, into new verticals, while continuing to support its growing portfolio of companies.

About Engage

Engage is a first-of-its-kind innovation platform comprising category-leading corporations in the southeastern United States that have joined forces to support startups and build the future of enterprise. Engage is designed to promote innovation through a network of connections between startups, corporations, university researchers, and the venture community. Engage’s corporate partners include Chick-fil-A, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Georgia Tech, Goldman Sachs, The Home Depot, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Inspire Brands, Invesco, Invest Georgia, UPS, and Wellstar Health System. These corporate partners, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and Tech Square Ventures, provide tools, hands-on support and resources that help startups develop go-to-market strategies, open doors faster and transform strategies into action.  For more information, visit engage.vc.