Georgia Tech taps John Avery to lead Advanced Technology Development Center

Technology veteran brings record of success in startups and corporate innovation.

Headshot: John Avery is director of the Advanced Technology Development Center.
John Avery is director of the Advanced Technology Development Center.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has named John Avery as its next director of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).


Avery, a serial entrepreneur who was involved in four startups, assumes his position Nov. 6. Most recently, he was engineering group manager of Panasonic Automotive Systems’ Panasonic Innovation Center at the Georgia Tech campus.


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


The announcement follows a comprehensive, four-month national search for a new leader at ATDC following the departure of Jen Bonnett, who left in June 2018 to become the Savannah Economic Development Authority’s vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship.


In taking the permanent appointment, Avery will lead a team of 26 full- and part-time staff and advisors who run ATDC’s various initiatives, including its financial, health, and retail technology verticals, support statewide activities such as the ATDC @ program, and coach technology entrepreneurs in Georgia.


Avery will report to Chris Downing, EI2vice president and director.


“John is an outstanding leader and successful entrepreneur who understands the startup journey and commercialization process, with vast relationships in the startup and business communities,” Downing said. “We’re pleased to welcome him to EI2and see him bring ATDC, one of the nation’s premiere technology incubators, to even greater success in its mission of helping entrepreneurs build great companies here in Georgia.”


At Panasonic, Avery oversaw the innovation center’s development projects in next-generation automotive systems including, infotainment, bio-sensing, machine vision, deep learning, and heads-up displays.


A tech startup veteran with broad experience in data and wireless voice technologies, Avery was co-founder and chief technology officer of Convergence Corp., a maker of software that connects wireless devices to the Internet. Amazon acquired the company in 1999. Following that acquisition, he joined Amazon as engineering manager.


In 2001, Avery became an early employee of Mobliss, a mobile applications and messaging solutions company in the entertainment space. He later became the company’s chief technology officer. Japan’s Index Corp., a developer of mobile phone content and information and other media services such as video on demand,acquired Mobliss in 2004 for $15 million.


He holds six patents and owns Onboard Now, a developer of software for embedded devices such as smart phones, Web-enabled cameras, and industrial controls.


Avery, who sits on the board of the Midtown Alliance, is a familiar presence at ATDC, having served as a mentor to its startups since July of 2018.


“I am deeply honored to join ATDC and lead this amazing team,” Avery said. “ATDC’s work has resulted in the creation of great, disruptive Georgia companies in health, financial services, hardware, and numerous other sectors. I look forward to continuing ATDC’s momentum of success and legacy of impact.”


He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


About Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2)

Comprised of a dozen programs, including the Advanced Technology Development Center, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. Through its philosophy of innovation-led economic development, EI2serves all of Georgia through a variety of services and programs designed to create, accelerate, and growGeorgia’s tech-based economy. For more information, please visit,


About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, 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 more than $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit