Georgia Tech hosts Congressional visit for FinTech discussion at ATDC
    U.S. Rep. French Hill (right) discusses the goals Congressional FinTech Task Force he sits on as Andrew Bate, CEO of SafelyStay, an ATDC FinTech portfolio company, listens.

    U.S. Rep. French Hill (right) discusses the goals Congressional FinTech Task Force he sits on as Andrew Bate, CEO of SafelyStay, an ATDC FinTech portfolio company, listens. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) recently hosted U.S. Rep. French Hill, who came to campus as part of a multi-city tour to learn about the incubator’s innovation efforts in financial technology.


    Hill, an Arkansas Republican whose district includes the Little Rock area, spent more than 20 years in commercial and investment banking. He founded the Little, Rock-based Delta Trust & Banking Corp. where he served as chairman, and CEO.


    A member of the House Financial Services Committee, Hill will be ranking member of the committee’s Congressional FinTech Task Force.


    “We’re going to create a new task force on FinTech in the House Financial Services Committee and are taking ideas from around the country to help drive legislative policy,” Hill said during his Feb. 16 visit where he met ATDC Director John Avery and founders of two of the incubator’s FinTech companies.


    As part of his work on that task force, Hill wanted to see the innovation ecosystem that has been built around FinTech, ATDC’s role in collaborating with related business and industry to support it, and how the incubator works with companies in that sector to help them grow and succeed.


    Georgia was an important stop for the Congressman’s fact-finding tour as 70 percent of all credit, debit, and gift card swipes — more than 118 billion transactions and $2 trillion in purchase volume each year — are processed through Georgia companies. More than 60 percent of all payment processing companies are either based in or have operations in the state.


    ATDC’s FinTech program, launched in 2015, has 35 early-stage startups in its portfolio. Since inception, companies and recent graduates of ATDC’s FinTech program have raised more than $65 million in angel and institutional venture capital.


    That success and impact factored in Hill’s visit as the Congressman’s tour also is designed to get input from FinTech companies and incubators regarding issues that can be a drag on FinTech innovation.


    Entrepreneurs, Avery said, are concerned with regulations at the federal level, which sometimes conflict with one another and the uncertainty that creates for fledgling startups. What’s more, state statutes can vary, leading to additional challenges for growth.


    “This is what I want to use this FinTech task force for, to work through some of these things,” Hill said, adding he wants to build a priorities list that the FinTech companies want Congress to focus on as well as emerging trends and innovations that leaders should be aware of in the industry.


    Along with that, Hill is seeking input from FinTech leaders about specific issues that need further analysis and study via hearings and how Atlanta could play a role in that.


    “Georgia Tech’s engagement in the startup ecosystem and Atlanta’s preeminence in payments I think is a good place to do this kind of convening.”



    Georgia Tech works with Irish researchers on innovation methodologies
    Melissa Heffner, I-Corps South program manager, leads a discussion on evidence-based entrepreneurship at the Science Foundation Ireland in Dublin. (Photo: Keith McGreggor)

    Melissa Heffner, I-Corps South program manager, leads a discussion on evidence-based entrepreneurship at the Science Foundation Ireland in Dublin. (Photo: Keith McGreggor)

    Wanting to tap into the Georgia Institute of Technology’s expertise in innovation and commercialization processes and methodology, Science Foundation Ireland(SFI) recently hosted two lead managers of Tech’s I-Corps program lead managers in Dublin to train a group of research teams developing technologies with a focus on societal impact.


    SFI invited Keith McGreggor and Melissa Heffner to lead the Jan. 29 workshop series as part of the organization’s Future Innovator Prize project, which is aimed at supporting the development of disruptive ideas and technologies to address societal challenges.


    The 12 teams were focused on various projects ranging from biomedical devices to diagnostics and all had ideas for a product that could address a particular challenge or process that could be improved.


    “We were invited to come over to because of our experience as a leading institution in teaching the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program,” Heffner said. “They wanted us to explain and discuss how to develop a business model and how we do customer discovery and how that process is critical to objectively seeing what kind of societal impact these SFI teams could have with their projects and research theses.”


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


    “Our work in Ireland was focused on preparing these team to have the conversations and interviews with potential customers to determine if the problem they feel exists actually does and how they can solve that challenge,” Heffner said. “Identifying what you think is a problem is only one part of the equation. But researchers need to go out and talk to potential customers and users to understand if what they see as a challenge truly exists the way they think it does and how their proposed solutions should ultimately be designed to provide the greatest degree of societal impact.”


    Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator program — is an I-Corps nodeand teaches entrepreneurship, and research and innovation methodologies.


    Because of its long experience with forming companies from university research, Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator — was selected in 2012 to be among the first institutions to become “nodes” teaching the I-Corps curriculum.


    VentureLab is Tech’s technology commercialization incubator that primarily serves Tech faculty, staff, and students who seek to launch startup companies from the technology innovations they have developed.


    McGreggor serves as VentureLab’s director and is executive director of I-Corps South, whichincludes Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business.


    In the last several years, SFI has sent a few teams to Tech for I-Corps training and Tech has led similar sessions for the Centers for Disease Control. The government of Mexico in 2018, through its National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT), sent more than a dozen university-based instructorsto Tech to learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to build and maintain such programs at their schools.


    The effort in Ireland underscores the Institute’s international reputation for commercialization expertise and supports its efforts to further its reach in Europe, McGreggor said.


    “We want to leverage our presence in Europe with our Georgia Tech Lorraine campus in Metz, France, to do more entrepreneurship education across the continent,” McGreggor said. “Our work in Ireland and our relationship with SFI is a good example of our global impact and reach in our I-Corps programming and our evidence-based entrepreneurship. They want to work with us because of our strength in it.”



    Applications now open for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program

    Graduate students have opportunity to further research in 10-week, paid summer internship at Georgia Tech.


    Are you a graduate student attending a University System of Georgia school and interested in pursuing your own research opportunity that links science, technology, and innovation to economic development?


    Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

    Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

    The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech is now accepting applications for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program. (For details and requirements, apply here:


    The highly competitive, 10-week, paid internship is designed to allow graduate students to further develop and pursue research in an innovative economic development project. At the end of the internship period, interns, who will receive a $6,000 stipend, will have an opportunity to present their project findings to economic development and innovation groups.


    Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2019 and the internship is open to any graduate student who has completed the first year of a two-year master’s program or enrolled in a doctoral program at a public university in the University System of Georgia.


    Those accepted into the program will be notified by the end of March 2019.


    STIP is a globally recognized program that conducts research-based policy analyses and reports of innovation policy, science, and technology for organizations and governments domestically and internationally.


    “Students can delve deeply into their research and apply that analysis and study to real-world challenges,” said Jan Youtie, STIP program director.


    “This is an excellent opportunity for enterprising students who want to explore how their own ideas can have an impact on any number of subject areas ranging from strategic or emerging technologies and economic modeling, to research commercialization and sustainability.”


    Mirit Friedman is pursuing her master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

    Mirit Friedman, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

    Former interns, such as Mirit Friedman, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning, say the experience is a rewarding one.


    Her research explored ways in which the Atlanta Community Food Bank could activate its vast partnership network in new ways to better support its clients’ economic mobility.


    “I was able to explore my research interests under the guidance of economic development experts and restricting the research to the summer period forced me to focus on an initial research question I could test and explore in the short period,” Friedman said, adding the program’s pace and structure was invaluable.


    “We had to develop our research substantially each week and being held to that pace of research development helped prepare me for the demanding deadlines the workforce expects,” she said. “Additionally, having my research be pushed in directions I hadn't anticipated required me to respond to and explore new ideas that ultimately helped me hone in on a more explicit research topic.”


    Supraja Sudharsan, a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, echoed Friedman’s sentiments.


    “I evaluated the smart city projects that have been piloted, underway or completed in three cities in Atlanta, Austin, and Pittsburgh,” she said. “By comparatively studying their plans, initiatives, associated partnerships, and the organizational process involved in their development and implementation, the study served to look beyond the hype of smart cities to understand how cities develop and implement smart city projects.


    “The program provided exposure to organizational processes within city government organizations and the challenge of effecting change, which is an area of interest in my doctoral research.”


    About the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program

    The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program at Georgia Tech is an internationallyrecognized offering of the Georgia Institute of Technology that offers in-depth and critical research-based analyses of innovation policy, science, and technology to organizations and governments around the world. It is part of the Economic Development Lab at the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s economic development arm. Along with EI2, it is supported by the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. Visit to learn more.


    Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center enters 33rd year of continuous service to Georgia businesses

    Program helped Georgia-based firms win more than $14.1 billion in government contracts since 1986.


    Department of Defense GTPAC

    The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) regularly hosts events that bring together government buyers with Georgia-based businesses. On Jan. 14, 2019, GTPAC hosted a Defense Innovation Conference attended by 220 businesses, Defense Department officials, and major prime contractors.

    February marks an important milestone for the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) as it enters its 33rd year of continuous operation in providing assistance to Georgia businesses that are pursuing government contracts.


    Specifically, GTPAC helps businesses identify, compete for, and win contracts at all levels of government – federal, state, and local.


    GTPAC is one of about a dozen programs – known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) – that were established shortly after Congress launched the initiative in 1985.  Today, there are 95 PTACs across the nation that serve all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.


    GTPAC’s continued operation is made possible through funds provided by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) along with state funding made available through Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).


    GTPAC received a fully executed award document from the DLA on Jan. 24, 2019, ensuring that funding would be made available to the Georgia Institute of Technology for another year of PTAC operations in the state of Georgia.


    GTPAC maintains staff in Albany, Atlanta, Gainesville, Carrollton, Savannah, and Warner Robins. Training also is conducted in Athens and Columbus as well as via online webinars. All businesses in Georgia are eligible to receive GTPAC’s services at no cost. The program provides Georgia businesses with counseling, training, and a complete set of electronic tools to research and identify government contracting opportunities.


    “We are grateful for the confidence DLA places in us to carry out this program in Georgia,” says Program Manager Andrew Smith, “and we are very thankful for the support that Georgia Tech provides to the program.”


    Since its inception in 1986, GTPAC has helped Georgia businesses win more than 100,000 contracts — both prime and subcontracts — worth more than $14.1 billion.


    While tabulations for calendar year 2018 are not yet complete, preliminary reports show that GTPAC’s clients won at least 3,400 government prime contracts and subcontracts worth more than $1 billion.


    GTPAC is widely recognized as a PTAC with one of the strongest track records in the nation.  Over the last decade, GTPAC helped Georgia businesses win between $500 million and $1 billion in government contracts, annually.


    GTPAC counseled, instructed, and identified bid opportunities for 2,300 businesses across the state of Georgia in 2018. GTPAC also conducted 150 training workshops and participated in 31 events statewide where more than 3,000 businessmen and women received instruction on how to effectively compete for government contracts.


    Among those clients is Glenn Singfield, a principal of Albany, Georgia-based Artesian Construction.


    "GTPAC’s team consistently keeps us informed about what's going on in the government marketplace," Singfield said. "Through the program, we connected with another small business that we were able to partner with and, as a result, we’ve won several government contracts."


    Other clients, such as Michelle Thompson, group purchasing administrator for United Pharmacy Partners in Suwanee, Georgia, added GTPAC also helps by educating them on how to successfully get those contracts and connecting them with the resources to do so.


    “I reach out at least once a month with a government contracting-related question," Thompson said. "The GTPAC team always comes through with the answer or resources to find the answer.”


    About Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC)

    The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) helps Georgia enterprises identify, compete for, and win government contracts. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense, GTPAC’s services are available at no cost to any Georgia businesses that have an interest and potential to perform work — as a prime contractor or a subcontractor — for federal, state, or local government agencies. GTPAC is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development arm. To learn more, visit


    Georgia Tech Hosts State Legislative Leaders at ATDC HealthTech Summit

    Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan ATDC

    ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken (far left), explains how entrepreneurs use the incubator's design studio to make and refine product prototypes, as Georgia state Sens. Greg Kirk and Dean Burke and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan listen. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    With health care a major focus at the state and national levels, the Georgia Institute of Technology welcomed Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and other state legislative leaders to campus for a health summit focused on how technology drives innovation, leads to better patient outcomes, and reduces costs.


    Duncan, joined by Georgia state Sens. Dean Burke, Greg Kirk, and Ben Watson, toured the Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to learn more about the incubator’s efforts to support health technology (HealthTech) innovation and meet startup leaders in its portfolio.


    Burke spearheaded the visit from the state government delegation.


    A program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s economic development arm, ATDC is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Created in 1980, ATDC has helped its companies generate more than $12 billion in revenue and raise in excess of $3 billion in investment capital.


    “One of my most ambitious goals is for Georgia to become the technology capital of the East Coast. Incubators like ATDC are critical to that vision,” Duncan, a Tech alum, said. “Georgia boasts the top talent coming out of our world-class university system, business-friendly environment, low cost of living, high quality of life, and emerging venture capital presence necessary to grow from the Silicon Valley of the South to the Tech Capital of the East Coast.”


    The delegation received an overview of ATDC’s focused efforts to support HealthTech innovation and startups, including the July 2018 launch of the ATDC HealthTech Program.


    Supported with a financial gift from NASCO, the ATDC HealthTech Program is focused on helping entrepreneurs launch viable companies in that sector, Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s HealthTech catalyst explained to the delegation.


    Separately, ATDC entered into a collaborative partnership with Navicent Health’s Center for Disruption & Innovation (CfDI) to support the development of new technologies, treatments, and care created by healthcare technology-oriented companies based in the state. The goal: to improve the health and lives of patients in central and south Georgia.


    It’s a goal that resonated with Duncan.


    “It’s encouraging to see the system built around these ideas and to see these ideas commercialized,” the lieutenant governor said. “It’s not just about cutting costs, it’s about improving service and quality of care.


    “I’m appreciative of the impressive work being done at Georgia Tech and ATDC, and I look forward to working alongside them as Lt. Governor.”


    Since its launch, the ATDC HealthTech Program’s portfolio of companies has grown to 48 and includes a host of technologies ranging from digital health and medical devices to drug discovery tools and healthcare robotics.


    One of those companies, Rimidi Inc., a provider of software and clinical analytics for chronic disease management,raised more than $6.5 millionin its Series A-1 financing, which included an investment from Eli Lilly and Co.


    Tee Faircloth, who helped spearhead the summit, is founder of Coordinated Care Inc. (CCI), an ATDC HealthTech company. CCI, one of the companies the delegation met, works with urban and rural hospitals to move patients back to their local hospitals for rehabilitation.


    Faircloth said such summits give state leaders valuable insight into how public support of programs such as ATDC and public-private partnerships such as the one with NASCO work.


    “With the incoming administration’s focus on rural healthcare, it’s great to see them embrace innovation as an agent of change so early on. This summit continues the dialogue of how we, as technology companies focused on bringing solutions and innovation to healthcare, can work with state and local leaders,” Faircloth said.


    “We want to find areas where we can work together in these public-private partnerships to leverage the resources of the Atlanta and Georgia ecosystems so that we really improve healthcare for all Georgians.”