Georgia Tech to launch health technology initiative at the Advanced Technology Development Center

    NASCO’s gift to the Institute will support development

    of health technology entrepreneurs and startups in Georgia.


    NASCO, a leading provider of information technology products and services designed to help healthcare payers across the United States address unique business challenges and revolutionize business operations, is making a significant commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to create a new initiative for entrepreneurs in healthcare-focused technology.


    The ATDC Health Technology (HealthTech) Program is slated to formally launch in July and Atlanta-based NASCO’s gift will provide the initial funding to support the current and future HealthTech startups in ATDC’s portfolio. The initiative is the third of its kind at ATDC and follows other gifts used to launch programs in the financial and retail technology sectors.


    “NASCO views this partnership with the ATDC and the launch of the HealthTech initiative as critical to our mission to deliver innovative health services and to support the Georgia healthcare and technology communities,” said David Weeks, NASCO’s chief technology officer. “Healthcare is a highly interconnected ecosystem, and new technologies are helping us to both reduce customer friction and improve health outcomes. The HealthTech vertical will be a key incubator of new ideas to enable these changes.”


    In addition to one-on-one coaching and resources for commercial success, the funds also will support healthcare-focused commercialization workshops, hackathons, and hosting industry thought leaders in healthcare innovations in regulation, production, and manufacturing.


    The more than 40 startups in ATDC’s current HealthTech portfolio are building companies with innovative approaches to population health, caregiver support, billing fraud, precision medicine, genomics, medical devices, diagnostics, data analytics, and process improvements in drug research.


    “Healthcare systems across the U.S. as well as the patients in their care continue to explore ways to leverage innovation and technology to reduce costs, improve patient satisfaction, eliminate waste, increase access, and improve outcomes,” said Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s HealthTech catalyst and who spearheaded the development of this initiative. “We are extremely excited about the partnership with NASCO. The company embraces innovation and technology to improve the way that healthcare is delivered.”


    The NASCO partnership will help the Georgia economy by helping entrepreneurs launch viable companies in the state, said ATDC Interim Director Jane McCracken.


    "We look forward to working with NASCO to establish this program for HealthTech entrepreneurs,” McCracken said. “We will leverage NASCO’s market knowledge and that of other leading companies in the sector. Combined with Georgia Tech’s expertise and organizations throughout the state, we will help entrepreneurs develop and bring to market dynamic, leading-edge technologies that will benefit healthcare providers, payers, and patients.”


    About NASCO

    NASCO provides an integrated suite of information technology products and services that help healthcare payers address unique business challenges and revolutionize business operations. Owned by and exclusively serving Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans for more than 30 years, NASCO provides seamless benefit management, eligibility, membership, billing and claims processing support for Blue Plans, allowing them to provide competitive healthcare products in federal, state and multistate markets for nearly 25 million members. NASCO’s partnership with multiple Blue Plans cultivates a community that fosters the collaboration needed to promote innovation, deliver shared solutions and create a competitive cost advantage. NASCO is shaping the future of healthcare IT. For more information, visit


    About Georgia Tech

    The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students in fields ranging from engineering, computing, and sciences, to business, design, and liberal arts. For additional information, visit


    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


    Economic Development Lab hosts Peruvian delegation seeking innovation development
    Universidad del Pacifico's Emprende UP

    Members of the Universidad del Pacifico's Emprende UP, were at Georgia Tech to learn about entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Georgia Institute of Technology's Economic Development Lab (EDL) hosted a group of 12 professionals from Peru’s Universidad del Pacifico who sought to get a better understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support.


    The group represents the university’s Emprende UP, which serves as its center for entrepreneurship and innovation. Emprende UP runs pre-incubation, incubation, and acceleration programs at  the Universidad del Pacifico, a small, private Jesuit school and highly ranked in Peru and across Latin America.


    “We chose Georgia Tech because the Tech model in entrepreneurship and innovation is similar to what we are doing in Peru,” said Javier Salinas, Emprende UP’s director. “At the end of our three days here, we recognized that we’re on the right track, but we can improve and refine our services for the Peruvian innovation ecosystem.


    EDL, a program of Tech’s economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.


    Economic Development Lab workshop

    Brandy Stanfield-Nagel (right), program manager and faculty researcher at Economic Development Lab, discusses best practices techniques in startup development, with Diego Joseph Rengifo (left) and Carlos Zapata of Universidad del Pacifico's Emprende UP. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    “The objective of this three-day immersion program at Tech was for the Emprende UP team to experience and learn from the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems here at the Institute and across Atlanta,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL project manager.


    “The group learned and acquired key insights and best practices by interacting with us, and with the invited speakers, entrepreneurs, and city officials through a series of intensive and experiential workshops.”


    As part of that learning process, the Emprende UP team toured Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which is the state’s technology incubator, and met with some of its startups in the financial technology (FinTech) sector.


    The FinTech space was of particular interest because Emprende UP has spent the past 18 months developing an ecosystem around it and working with Peru’s banking regulators, leading financial institutions and international technology firms towards that initiative, Salinas said.


    Beyond FinTech, the team focused on learning about other components that comprise successful innovation ecosystems, such as closer alignment with academics. They also saw how corporations seek to be near universities and tap into those schools’ research and innovation expertise.


    In the past five years, more than 20 large corporations, including Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and Anthem, have opened corporate innovation centers in and around Technology Square to access the talents and technologies developed at Georgia Tech.


    “The first takeaway is that we need to work more closely with the academia side — teachers and students,” said Martha Zúñiga, Emprende UP’s head of special projects. “The second takeaway is that Peru is just developing its innovation ecosystem and we have to support the growth of corporate innovation centers, because their inclusion is part of that ecosystem growth.”


    EDL, which has had projects in 151 of Georgia’s 159 counties and more than six dozen initiatives in 9 countries, will be going to Peru in August as a follow up in continuing its ecosystem development work with Emprende UP.


    Inaugural Tech Square Innovation Week a success
    Arrested Development

    Arrested Development, the Grammy Award winning band with Atlanta roots, capped off Tech Square Innovation Week with a performance in the Centergy Courtyard.

    Hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and technology enthusiasts descended upon Midtown the week of May 7, 2018 for the inaugural Tech Square Innovation Week.


    The week, which featured more than a dozen events, including the Advanced Technology Development Center's 2018 ATDC Startup Showcase, was designed to highlight the innovation and collaboration occurring in and around Tech Square.


    Hosted by Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) and ATDC, Tech Square Innovation Week brought the spotlight to the different programs and resources that have converged to make Tech Square a national model of an ecosystem where business and industry, startup entrepreneurs, students, and the investment communities grow, succeed, and thrive.


    The week included more than a dozen events ranging from FinTech South and the Atlanta Startup Battle, to the Georgia Tech Innovation Showcase and the ATDC Startup Showcase. It also included a visit from Ga. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to ATDC to mark a milestone in the incubator's expansion and reach.


    "Tech Square has come a long way in the past 15 years, but in many ways I think we are just getting started," said Chris Downing, vice president and director of EI2, noting the Tech Square concept was launched in 2003.


    "Technology is all about momentum and change and innovation and Tech Square embodies that because today, it is home to more than 100 startup companies, 22 corporate innovation centers representing Fortune 500 companies," he said. "We have several flagship entrepreneur-focused programs including ATDC and Venturelab, as well as Engage, our newest accelerator program, and we are building the second phase of Tech Square right now with the new CODA building."


    See photos from the 2018 ATDC Startup Showcase and the Georgia Tech Innovation Showcase at our Facebook photo gallery.



    ATDC's Jen Bonnett accepts position with Savannah Economic Development Authority
    Jen Bonnett headshot

    Jen Bonnett is general manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center.

    Jen Bonnett, general manager of Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), has been named vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA).


    Bonnett was also named executive director of The Creative Coast, which is partly funded by SEDA, the city of Savannah, and ATDC. She will leave Georgia Tech effective June 2, said Chris Downing, vice president and director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech's economic development unit that includes ATDC.


    Downing said EI2 will launch a national search for new general manager and that Jane McCracken, ATDC's assistant director, will serve as interim general manager until a permanent replacement is found.


    "Jen has done an exceptional job for Georgia Tech and ATDC over the past six years and her leadership of ATDC during the past two years has put us in an excellent position with a very strong bench," Downing said. "The vision she had to accelerate ATDC's scope and impact here in metro Atlanta and across the state will continue. I am extremely pleased her new position with SEDA will allow her to help us continue to build the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Savannah."


    A technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years’ experience in the information technology and software development fields with a specialty in Web and mobile technologies, Bonnett joined ATDC as a community catalyst in October 2011.


    She held that role for three years before being named assistant director of education and curriculum in October 2014. She was named acting general manager in October 2015 and named general manager in July 2016.


    "It has been an honor to serve the state of Georgia, the Institute and our Entrepreneurs for the last six plus years,” Bonnett said. “The ATDC team is amazing and I have full confidence that they will continue to create innovative, impactful programs and meaningful connections for our companies across the state to ensure ATDC’s future success."


    Among her many accomplishments, Bonnett helped ATDC secure two $1 million gifts to Georgia Tech that funded the creation of a financial technology and retail technology initiatives to identify and help entrepreneurs build viable Georgia-based companies in those sectors. In 2017, the incubator served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs across the state and she more than doubled the number of companies in ATDC's top tier portfolios to 180.


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


    Bonnett has served as founder or chief technology officer of a number of venture- and angel-backed firms, acting as both lead architect and growing or managing their technology teams. She and her co-founders raised more than $46 million to fund three companies.


    An ardent supporter of diversity in technology, she also is the founder of StartupChicks, a 501c3 focused on empowering women entrepreneurs through education, community, coaching, connections, and investment. StartupChicks has touched more than 10,000 women globally through its content and events.


    Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC is one of the longest-running and largest research university-affiliated incubators in the United States. Since its inception, ATDC has fostered innovation and economic development and has graduated more than 170 companies, which, collectively, have raised more than $3 billion in outside financing n investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia.


    Georgia Tech marks startup expansion milestone with visit from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

    Chris Downing (left), vice president of Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, shows a new suite of offices to (from left) ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken, Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson. The office expansion is designed to meet growing service needs of Tech's startup programs, ATDC, VentureLab, and CREATE-X. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    In a 2016 visit to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle challenged the state’s tech startup incubator to double the number of resident startups it served in Atlanta and the rest of the state.


    Two years later, ATDC — a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology — not only met the challenge, but has exceeded initial expectations, with more than 180 companies now in its Signature and Accelerate portfolios across the state.


    The growth has led to an expansion of ATDC’s offices in Technology Square to accommodate that demand. The creation of new suites at ATDC’s second floor offices in the Centergy Building — and expansion onto the third floor — allows for the incubator to house an additional 25 resident startups.


    Cagle was on the Tech campus in a May 8 reception to mark the milestone, visit with some ATDC startup company CEOs, get an update on the Engage venture fund and growth accelerator, and to learn more about the innovation ecosystem that also includes the Institute’s VentureLab, CREATE-X, and Flashpoint programs.


    His visit was part of a weeklong series of events taking place during Tech Square Innovation Week, which celebrated Tech Square as a hub of ideation.


    Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, during a visit to Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Develpment Center, discusses how technology startup entrepreneurship programs such as ATDC and VentureLab incubators are to giving new economic development opportunities to communities across Georgia. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    “Entrepreneurship is critically important to what the new economy is going to look like,” Cagle said during his visit. “I am thrilled to be with you here today and I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every single person here. We’re just getting started and we’re going to take Georgia to even higher levels than we ever imagined, and you are the very reason for that.”


    The expansion underscores the explosion of demand for ATDC’s services not only in Atlanta, but across the state, including Athens, Augusta, and Savannah.


    “We were able to meet that demand in part because we received an increase in state funding — thanks to Lt. Governor Cagle’s leadership — that allowed us to increase our services and statewide reach,” said Chris Downing, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s economic development arm whose programs include ATDC.


    In 2017, ATDC’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment capital and in the in the first quarter of 2018, they attracted more than $33 million in investment dollars to the state.


    Jane McCracken, ATDC's assistant director, explains how the incubator's portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment dollars in 2017 and about $33 million in the first quarter of 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    “All of the ATDC’s work — the coaching, connections and community building — further establishes Georgia’s reputation a leading place for entrepreneurs and technology companies to flourish,” said Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director. “That means jobs, additional funding and increased revenues, which benefit all of Georgia’s citizens.”


    Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who welcomed Cagle to campus, said ATDC’s success is just one of the many successful components in the Institute’s technology startup support.


    Other programs include CREATE-X, a faculty-led initiative that helps students pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.


    VentureLab collaborates with Institute faculty and students to create startups based on Tech research. Flashpoint is a startup accelerator, and Engage is an independent, early-stage venture fund and growth program.


    The additional office spaces will allow for greater collaboration and partnership between ATDC, VentureLab and CREATE-X.


    Keith McGreggor (left), director of Georgia Tech's VentureLab program, gives Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle an overview of the incubator and explains how its companies raised $125 million in investment dollars in 2017. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)


    “This success all around Tech Square has been possible largely due to state support, and the lieutenant governor’s vision for fostering innovation in the state,” Peterson said.


    “Thanks to increased state funding to ATDC and establishment of the Invest Georgia fund, we can continue to foster home-grown innovation. We are dedicated to helping keep these entrepreneurs in Georgia.”