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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”