Velocity Medical: Revolutionizing the Oncology Imaging Market

Tim Fox, one of the founders of Velocity Medical Solutions, LLC, tells people that radiation oncology is akin to designing a war plan on a map – there are areas that are meant to be targeted and areas that need to be avoided. Velocity, a developer of post-diagnostic medical imaging software, was recently accepted into the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia Tech’s nationally-recognized science and technology incubator that helps Georgia entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.

“The goal in radiation oncology is to maximize the dose to the tumor volume and minimize the dose to surrounding normal tissue,” he explained. “Physicians need better tools for multi-modality medical imaging and quantitative assessment, and we’ve built a very sophisticated software system that does just that.”

Velocity was founded in 2004 by a group of Emory University School of Medicine colleagues: Fox, Ph.D., board-certified in medical physics and an associate professor of radiation oncology; Ian Crocker, M.D., a board-certified oncologist and professor of radiation oncology; and Paul Pantalone, M.S., a senior computational imaging scientist. According to Fox, the company was born out of their own needs in radiation oncology for better imaging tools.

“We’ve looked at our competitors and focused on what we think are strengths and weaknesses. At Emory, we use other software tools side-by-side with our product, and clinicians are migrating over to our system,” said Fox, who received his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech. “Our strength lies in our ability to incorporate leading-edge molecular imaging techniques while adhering to a physician-based user design.”

The technology – Velocity Advanced Imaging (VelocityAI™) – uses proprietary, scientific algorithms and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last March. Version 1.0, which holds copyright IP protection for the software code, is already in use and features multi-modality image registration and automated tumor contouring technology. This allows various scans such as positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to be overlaid, used and assessed together.

According to Pantalone, who oversees software development, Velocity has incorporated a unique user interface with sophisticated visualization that allows physicians to easily delineate tumor extent, manage workflow and integrate the results into conventional treatment planning systems.

“More and more medical images are being acquired for cancer patients, and VelocityAI™ has the ability to fuse and blend all of these images together,” he noted. “Another simple way of looking at our product is comparing the value contained in weather maps. Combining satellite imagery with Doppler radar provides valuable information to everyone on planning their daily lives. With this product, physicians have a more objective way to plan the ultimate tumor border by viewing many different types of images. When we show this product to them, they immediately see the value.”

Future versions of the software will feature deformable image registration, a means of warping a set of images to match the patient’s planning image with disease sites where the body may morph due to positional changes or changes in the patient’s anatomy. New software will also include atlas-based auto-segmentation, which transposes atlases of normal tissue anatomy onto a patient’s treatment plan. According to Crocker, current systems have very limited anatomical auto-segmentation, so Velocity’s developments in this area will be appreciated by the radiation oncology community.

“Today a physician may spend hours outlining normal tissues on CT and MRI images for an individual patient and this problem is becoming more acute because of the quantity of image information that we have to handle,” commented Crocker.  “Like the atlas-based tool, there are no good tools available commercially to meet this important clinical need.”

Other key differences between Velocity and its competitors include the system’s competitive pricing, the ability to increase physicians’ productivity and its simplicity and mobility. For physicians who move between centers, having a software program that can be installed on a laptop is a big plus.

Velocity capitalizes on three market forces: continually rising cancer incidence rates, profitable reimbursement for radiation treatment and the increasing use of functional imaging, which is expected to grow 189 percent over the next 10 years. According to Fox, the product provides a better visualization and localization of the actual disease, thereby increasing treatment success rates.

“Our soon-to-be released therapy response assessment module capitalizes on an unmet need for a product to provide information on the efficacy of cancer therapies,” he stated. “If you can determine at a certain stage that a particular medication is not working, you can switch to another drug. Response assessment during treatment using molecular imaging will certainly be valuable to drug companies.”

Hospital-based treatment sites and freestanding clinics will serve as Velocity’s two primary customer targets; already there have been five site installations. Eventually, the company will perform installations remotely and will offer training sessions in Atlanta.

“In total, we expect to canvas at least 75 to 80 percent of the potential market through a multi-pronged approach,” said Fox. “As a startup, the key is to convince customers that we will be here next year and will be available for product support. We want to selectively target the first 10 to 20 customers, because we understand that having buy-in from certain institutions will make it easier for us to sell to others.”

Currently, the Velocity team includes three employees, not including the three founders. Future growth plans include expanding the engineering group and establishing a service organization for product support as well as a sales and marketing team. Fox said that in five years he expects Velocity to have 30 employees with annual revenues in excess of $10 million.

“As a new company with an FDA-approved medical device on the market, we hope to tap into ATDC’s expertise in developing our sales and service organizations for Velocity. Using the fundraising connections within ATDC, we plan to explore the options for an infusion of outside capital over the next year,” he said. “Our expertise in medical software development combined with FDA regulatory knowledge will complement ATDC’s strengths in marketing, finance and service development.”

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Intelligent Power Amplifiers: Atlanta IC Developer VT Silicon Receives $3.3 Million to Develop WiMax Chips

Atlanta radio-frequency integrated circuit developer VT Silicon has received a $3.3 million round of financing from California-based Menlo Ventures. The Series A funding will help the company design and produce prototypes of its new “intelligent power amplifier” chips for the next-generation of WiMax mobile devices.

Based on silicon-germanium (SiGe) semiconductor materials, the VT Silicon chips will include patent-pending distortion-prevention techniques – known as linearization enhancement – that are designed to support the complex signals used by WiMax devices. To reduce chip costs to justify high-volume consumer applications, the company is building its amplifiers on low-cost SiGe instead of the more exotic – and costly – gallium arsenide (GaAs) materials used in most existing WiMax power amplifiers.

“This funding will allow us to take the linearization techniques we have already proven in a test chip and apply them to commercial chips within the next 9 to 12 months,” said Mike Hooper, VT Silicon’s CEO. “Our plan is to be shipping samples to customers early next year and to begin ramping to production by the middle of next year.”

VT Silicon is a member company of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

WiMax is intended to provide significantly higher bandwidth and broader coverage for the next generation of mobile devices that will support such applications as streaming video. Sprint Nextel Corp. has already announced plans to roll out WiMax service in large metropolitan areas during 2008, and as a result, manufacturers are rushing to provide the special chipsets the devices need.

That will require some engineering innovation, as the new WiMax mobile devices will demand more power – but be less forgiving of the distortion caused by nonlinear effects that occur at higher power levels, Hooper noted. “They are going up on the complexity curve because they are trying to get more and more information into the same bandwidth.”

Meeting the technical demands in potentially high-volume devices will require new levels of optimization — in addition to new techniques for controlling distortion. VT Silicon has already developed one linearization technique, and is working on others.

“What you want to do is build a power amplifier that is more linear for higher power levels,” Hooper said. “That can give you more range, better battery life and compensate for other issues that you associate with higher performance. Since power amplifiers require a balance of power, linearization, efficiency and other factors, you have to optimize each of these for the specific application where they will be used.”

For its chips, VT Silicon has developed proprietary Linear Enhancement Technology (LET) that will permit the higher power levels. Because SiGe can support both conventional bipolar transistors as well as CMOS, the LET can be implemented on the same chip as the power amplifier, providing cost and design simplicity advantages.

“SiGe affords us the ability to put very sophisticated control and intelligence within the power amplifier because SiGe can combine both CMOS – which is low power control circuitry – and bipolar transistors in one fabrication process,” Hooper noted. “It gives us the ability to get fairly complex, allowing us to make intelligent power amplifiers.”

However, the designers will have to compensate for the relatively lower RF power levels currently produced by most SiGe power ICs. “We have some proprietary technologies to get the power we need,” said Hooper. “We can be competitive with gallium arsenide on power levels.”

The company initially plans to produce two power amplifiers for the WiMax market, operating at 2.5 GHz or 3.5 GHz. As a step toward volume manufacturing, it will work with customers to create a reference design for each prototype chip. Jazz Semiconductor Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif. will produce the chips.

Hal Calhoun, managing director at Menlo Ventures, is bullish on the future of the WiMax market – and VT Silicon’s solutions. “We believe that the leading-edge technology from VT Silicon will be very competitive in this fast-moving market,” he said. “The combination of silicon germanium and unique linearization techniques makes the company’s technology attractive to the key players in this new market.”

Hardware costs will be a significant issue in the success of WiMax, which is just one of the technologies vying for dominance in the next generation of mobile devices. “If the chipsets can be produced inexpensively compared to current WiFi devices, WiMax can supplant WiFi and become the leading technology for mobile broadband applications,” Hooper said.

The company’s most significant challenge, he added, is hiring enough RFIC engineers to meet its growth needs. VT Silicon is trying to hire four engineers in a very tight market for top professionals.

“The industry is rebounding, and RFIC engineers are hard to get,” Hooper said. “Atlanta is becoming a new growth center for semiconductor technology. We hope to create a bigger synergy in semiconductor development in the Atlanta area. We’ve got some very exciting new technologies and need smart people to help bring them to market.”

About VT Silicon: VT Silicon designs and manufactures multi-band radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) solutions for the mobile wireless broadband market. The company’s products leverage novel linearization and efficiency enhancement technologies that enable original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers and reference design houses to manufacture broadband, highly-efficient, low-cost and small-footprint modules and transceivers. For more information, please visit (

About Menlo Ventures: Menlo Ventures provides long-term capital and management support to early-stage and emerging-growth companies. It is one of Silicon Valley’s oldest venture capital partnerships, and has organized and managed nine venture funds since its inception in 1976. The firm has more than $4 billion under management, and a team with more than 100 years of collective experience in technology, marketing, sales and general management. For more information, please visit (

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Georgia Tech Announces Minority Companies of the Year

As part of its annual Financial Roundtable Forum held on Aug. 22, the Georgia Minority Business Enterprise Center (GMBEC) recognized the winners of minority firms of the year in manufacturing, construction, service and technology. The winners were TechnoChem, LLC of Atlanta (manufacturer), ARS Mechanical, LLC of Conyers (construction), Caduceus Occupational Medicine of Atlanta (service) and Syntellus Dataworks of Atlanta (technology). ARS Mechanical also won regional minority construction firm of the year, beating out nominees in eight southeastern states.

TechnoChem provides electro deposition and powder coating for the automotive, industrial and aerospace industries; ARS Mechanical is a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) services firm; Caduceus Occupational Medicine provides medical management services related to occupational health; and Syntellus Dataworks is a technology solutions provider.

Lord and Dominion, a corporate housing and relocation company that landed a $3 million contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shortly after becoming a GMBEC client, was also recognized at the Aug. 22 event with the Minority Business Development Agency Regional Director’s Award.

“This is a tremendous honor for not just the winning companies, but for all Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs),” said Donna Ennis, GMBEC project director. “These companies have worked hard to be successful and are leaders in their industries. I hope this award stands as a symbol of encouragement to all minority business owners to embrace the challenge and help mentor and encourage smaller MBEs.”

The recognition was part of the 25th anniversary of Minority Enterprise Development (MED) activities. MED Week celebrates the achievements of the minority business community and honors outstanding minority business leaders every year who excel in their field of business and demonstrate excellent leadership at the local, regional or national level. Winning firms were chosen based on economic impact, job creation and community leadership.

Approximately 150 participants at GMBEC’s third annual Financial Roundtable Forum learned how to develop successful growth strategies and had the opportunity to hear from CEOs of high-revenue firms such as Steve Ewing of Wade Ford, Woodrow Hall of Diversapack, Rory Sanderson of Sanderson Industries, and Mark Wilson of Ryla Teleservices.

GMBEC’s mission is to provide business and technical assistance that helps emerging and existing minority businesses experience significant growth and sustainability and have a long-term economic impact through the creation of jobs and revenue.

For more information on MBE services offered by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, contact Donna Ennis (404-894-2096); E-mail: (

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

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SparkIP: Creating an Online Community and Exchange for Intellectual Property

Startup company SparkIP, which was recently accepted into Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), wants to be the “eBay of intellectual property” and the “myspace of science” for universities and government labs. The goal is to efficiently connect buyers and sellers of intellectual property via a single Web destination.

According to CEO Ed Trimble, global licensing of intellectual property (IP) is a $100 billion per year market, and continues to grow. From 1997 to 2005, annual investment in research and development in the United States increased from $239 billion to $289 billion, and annual filings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office increased by 80 percent. As a result, a cottage industry has emerged of IP strategy firms and acquirers/developers.

“In the United States we have outsourced our manufacturing and more and more of our services jobs. We have to ask ourselves what we have that keeps America competitive, and it’s innovation. All countries want to become knowledge-driven,” Trimble observed. “That being said, the market for innovation and intellectual property is incredibly inefficient, built on disorganized processes, systems and personal relationships.”

Through patented research tools and a first-of-its-kind data repository, SparkIP is offering a one-stop shop for inventors, attorneys, licensors and licensees to realize dramatic gains in the creation and commercialization of new technologies. This science community will include advanced research tools, automation of IP development and patent protection processes, invention and research requests, community tools to enhance communication and collaboration, standardization of licensing terms and contracts, funds transfer and premium data services.

“Our engineering team is diligently working on two parts of our offering. On one side, we have SparkstreamSM, a Web-based tool that helps universities capture invention disclosure forms (IDFs), identify bundling opportunities, communicate and collaborate with other researchers and tech transfer offices, market inventions on the SparkIP exchange and manage and report on their invention pipeline,” Trimble explained. “Our other offering is the SparkIP public marketplace, or Exchange. Here, technology buyers can research innovation, file invention and research requests, bid on exclusive first-view of new technologies and contact the licensor to initiate licensing discussions.”

SparkIP’s offerings are different from others on the market, said Trimble. The patent-pending database and research tools provide an innovation landscape that users can visually navigate to discover new technologies, bundling opportunities among existing technologies and industry research needs. Trimble also pointed out that the first-view rights gives buyers a competitive advantage in the market and the client interface allows users to access information and transactions efficiently.

Early on, SparkIP will target universities for its products. According to Trimble, the three main constituents – faculty inventors, technology transfer offices and buyers – are all frustrated by ineffective marketing, fixed budgets, trouble assessing viability of ideas and difficulty finding desired IP within the university environment. In essence, SparkIP’s products will allow the marketplace to determine the value of IP generated by universities.

Another reason SparkIP will focus on universities is the opportunity for improvement in the commercialization and licensing process. Today, annual license revenue for American universities is about three percent of annual government and corporate research and development investment in those universities. In comparison, corporations like Texas Instruments, IBM and DuPont generate out-licensing revenue between eight and 14 percent of research and development investment – a number which represents the leftover, non-strategic innovation and ignores the more than 500 percent return in the form of core product revenue resulting from research and development investment.

“Maximizing revenue is not the sole mission of universities, so that number is never going to be what it is in corporations. However, everyone agrees that there is a lot of opportunity to lift these numbers,” Trimble said. “Our experience and relationships are strongest within American universities, and we have the ability to create an attractive and predictable pipeline of innovation for the buying community, which includes corporations, private equity firms, technology incubators, entrepreneurs and even other research organizations.”

Initially, universities and government labs will be able to post their innovations on the Exchange free for one year to accelerate adoption and build critical mass; Sparkstream will be deeply discounted for one year. Eventually, revenue will be derived from commissions on upfront license fees, auctions for exclusive first-view of new innovation and fees for submission of invention and research requests. The Sparkstream co-branded university Web sites will also generate revenue through license fees and patent services.

“Our objective is to have 500 or more exchange listings by our October launch, 1,000 listings by the end of the year and 2,900 by the end of 2008,” Trimble said. “If we hit these numbers – and we think we can – this will be a very valuable business by 2012.”

Trimble also stressed that ATDC would be the perfect place from which to launch SparkIP.

“We’re excited about the midtown location, the facilities, the support services and the proximity to one of the top research institutions in the country. But we’re most excited about joining such a great community of people,” he said. “Everyone I’ve known here is so vibrant and energetic, and we look forward to enjoying that energy as well as contributing to it.”

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IVOX: Gaining Traction in the Risk Assessment Industry

High-risk drivers are the number one concern of safety managers. From a financial perspective, that certainly stands to reason: 80 percent of insurance claims are generated by the worst five percent of the driver pool, and truck accident lawsuits settle for as much as $10 million. These are just a few of the issues being addressed by information services company IVOX, the newest member of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

IVOX uses an innovative, patent-pending algorithm to calculate driver ranking information. Similar to a credit score that assesses financial risk, IVOX’s DriverScore® assesses a driver’s accident risk – information that can be used by commercial trucking fleets and the insurance industry to better manage risk.

“Driver behavior data is derived from the global positioning system accelerometer boxes that are installed in trucks and cars, and the data is processed through a patent-pending, risk-weighted algorithm to determine the DriverScore,” explained Gregg Warren, founder and CEO of IVOX. “We have the ability to assess data at a granular level – both for intuitive and non-intuitive risks – and the capacity to predict specific driver behavior.”

The timing is right for a company like IVOX, since commercial fleet accidents are a $300 billion-a-year problem. In addition to insurance claims and regulatory fees, lost productivity impacts the entire economy. Most importantly, Warren wants his product to save lives by improving highway safety.

“DriverScore incorporates elements such as speeding, aggressive driving, time of day and route risk. The score is like a golf score – the higher the score, the worse the driver,” Warren noted. “In the commercial trucking industry, there’s a lot of data, but not a lot of information. Our product allows that data to be utilized in an effective way.”

IVOX directly targets large commercial self-insured fleets and insurance companies for both personal vehicles and commercial fleet clients. By 2012, Warren projects that IVOX’s potential market will be worth more than $5 billion.

Already, IVOX is creating buzz. The company won a business launch competition last May sponsored by the Georgia Research Alliance and the Technology Association of Georgia. The grand prize was $100,000 cash and a service package worth nearly $200,000.

“We were gratified by the win, but also feel a responsibility,” said Warren, who developed the idea for IVOX from his years of consulting to the wireless and financial services industries. “We want to drive demand and let the transportation industry know that all of these issues impact line item cost.”

IVOX delivers its product via the Web, and its revenue model includes monthly monitoring fees (generally $15 to $20 per vehicle), implementation fees and consulting fees. Warren projects that a large portion of IVOX’s later term business revenues will come from licensing agreements.

“There is no national claim database. State departments of transportation can tell you how many crashes there are at a particular point, but that doesn’t mean it’s a high propensity for accidents,” he said. “We have to normalize it for traffic and class of road on a state-by-state basis. It’s more laborious, but it has to be done that way to accurately assess risk.”

According to Warren, IVOX’s competitors include pay-as-you-drive insurance companies, video-based accident reconstruction companies, device-based companies that sell the GPS accelerometer boxes and consultants. However, he said there are no competitors thinking about the intellectual property around risk assessment like IVOX.

“We’re constantly thinking about risk and what impacts it. No one else can replicate this – they’ll have to license it from us,” he explained. “We have the ability to marry GPS and GIS data with risk assessment. The goal is to have a smart learning data model, so when accidents do occur, we can become smarter about it and adapt and develop new algorithms.”

IVOX recently signed an agreement with a top 10 property and casualty insurance company and has an agreement in principle with one of the top two fleet finance companies – two proposals totaling 9,000 commercial vehicles. Already, there are 15,000 vehicles in IVOX’s database.

“In the near future, we want to close five to six million dollars in funding and roll out our products and services,” Warren said. “We have a conceptual product that works, but to make it truly work we have to match the scale of our demand.”

Warren, who expects to employ 18 people by the end of this year and 47 by the end of 2008, says this is an exciting time for IVOX.

“We’re excited about being in Atlanta. We can draw from Georgia Tech’s Ph.D. program in GIS and GPS, Georgia State’s graduate-level program in actuarial science and mathematics and statistics programs at Emory, Georgia State and Georgia Tech,” he noted. “We think that we can be the next great technology company that Georgia can hang its hat on.”

IVOX is also proud to be an ADTC company: “The ATDC has a strong history of nurturing technology startups in Georgia, and we look forward to learning from their experience and leveraging the many resources the ATDC has to offer IVOX,” said Warren.

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Vivonetics: Enabling Drug Discovery and Disease Diagnostics Through Tiny Molecular Beacons

Vivonetics is bringing several Georgia Tech technologies to market that could dramatically change drug discovery process and disease diagnosis. The company, which was recently accepted into the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), is developing and commercializing nano-scale sensors called molecular beacons.

“Our molecular beacon technologies provide a novel way to detect gene transcripts in live cells. Such an invention may be used to measure biomarkers, which are used to assess a patient’s disease state and thus provide vital information with regards to how well a patient is responding to a drug regimen,” said Thanh Doan, director of business & research development for Vivonetics. “Molecular beacons can also be applied to drug discovery. For instance, a drug that turns on a gene can be discovered by looking at the amount of light emitted by the molecular beacons in living cells.”

A molecular beacon is a hairpin oligonucleotide probe that fluoresces when it binds to a target RNA molecule. Vivonetics uses two technologies – dual FRET molecular beacons and peptide-linked molecular beacons – developed in the laboratory of Gang Bao, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. These technologies offer improvements over what is currently in use through its specificity, signal-to-noise aspect and its unique application for cells and tissues. Company officials say this is a key advance for detecting specific genes in living cells.

The company was founded in 2003 by Bao and Karim Godamunne, a VentureLab fellow. Vivonetics has already received Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants from the National Cancer Institute totaling more than $1.8 million. Other funding has come from Georgia Research Alliance and VentureLab.

The market is right for a company like Vivonetics. Of an estimated $682 billion in revenue reported by the global drug development industry, $126 billion was generated within the biotechnology sector for 2006. The in-vitro diagnostic market reported $21 billion in revenue (2003) with $2.2 billion specifically in molecular diagnostics. The areas in which Vivonetics is working – infectious diseases, immune disease, cancer and hematology – account for 36 percent of the pie.

“We can create drug discovery research tools with this technology that assess genetic transcripts, screen for drugs in living cells, assess levels of toxicity and isolate characterized cells and tissues,” Doan said. “This will be of great value to the pharmaceutical industry.”

Vivonetics will also market diagnostic kits that can detect biomarkers in clinical samples. According to Doan, existing in-vitro diagnostics are limited by turn-around time, sensitivity, availability of commercial probes and non-standardized methods.

Vivonetics is located on the Georgia Tech campus in the ATDC Biosciences Center. The company plans to use its startup time to build relations with academic and pharmaceutical experts for its research programs, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, viral infection and stem cells.

“During this initial phase, we are optimizing our core technologies while understanding the ins and outs, the advantages and disadvantages, to applying the technique,” Doan said. “We will develop molecular beacon assays and hence commercialize our technologies. The academic research community is just now beginning to use it, and in another five years or so, pharmaceuticals will adopt our technologies.”

Vivonetics expects to be manufacturing and distributing diagnostic kits and research tools and assays to customers within the next five years. It is anticipated that the company will take off exponentially once its products are validated and others begin using it.

Doan expects that Vivonetics’ association with ATDC will help propel the company to the next stage: “It is important for us as a young company to be able to tap into the experts within ATDC, whether it’s in venture capital, marketing or sales. We will be able to access the local and state community for fundraising and networking opportunities without having to reinvent the wheel.”

Vivonetics is a graduate company of VentureLab, a one-stop center for technology innovation that provides comprehensive assistance to Georgia Tech faculty members, research staff members and graduate students who want to form startup companies to commercialize innovative technology. Formed in 2001 and part of Georgia Tech’s Commercialization Services, VentureLab builds on more than 25 years of experience at the ATDC.

About the ATDC: The Advanced Technology Development Center is a nationally-recognized science and technology incubator that helps Georgia entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies. ATDC provides strategic business advice and connects its member companies to the people and resources they need to succeed.

More than 110 companies have emerged from the ATDC, including publicly-traded firms such as MindSpring Enteprises – now part of EarthLink. Headquartered at Technology Square on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, ATDC has been recognized by both BusinessWeek and Inc. magazines as among the nation’s top nonprofit incubators. Since 1999, ATDC companies have attracted more than a billion dollars in venture capital funding.

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Companies from Georgia Tech’s Science & Technology Incubator Attract $1 Billion in Venture Funding

Companies associated with Georgia Tech’s science and technology incubator have raised more than a billion dollars in venture capital since 1999 – and in 2006 accounted for 10 of the top 25 venture deals in Georgia, including the two largest.

The incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), has turned out 112 science and technology companies since 1986 – including 31 that have been represented on the public markets through IPOs or acquisitions.

At a May 10 event held to showcase the incubator’s companies, ATDC “graduated” six early-stage firms – three Internet companies, two semiconductor firms and a developer of homeland security technology.  Together, those six early-stage firms raised more than $50 million while in the incubator.

“ATDC is a source of exciting deal flow, and we have invested in many ATDC companies,” said Fred Sturgis, managing director of Miami-based venture capital firm H.I.G. Ventures, a $4 billion fund.  “ATDC attracts leading entrepreneurs in Georgia and increases the probability of success for its companies.”

The billion dollars raised by ATDC companies included 160 deals in 75 companies from 138 venture investors.  The average deal size was $6.7 million, though funding amounts varied, with 32 companies raising less than $5 million and 10 raising more than $25 million.   More than 90 of the 160 deals involved investors from outside Georgia.

“ATDC is an invaluable resource to Georgia, as the leading organization for advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship,” said Susan O’Dwyer, national director of venture capital research for PricewaterhouseCoopers.  “Over its 26-year history, ATDC’s staff has provided hundreds of entrepreneurs at early-stage companies with the right experience, business planning advice and networking resources needed to grow their companies – while contributing to Georgia’s reputation for innovation.”

ATDC companies accounted for one of every five venture capital deals done in Georgia over the last eight years, and 15 percent of the total dollars raised in the state.  The one billion includes funds raised by companies throughout their growth, including their time in the incubator and after they graduated.  The amount does not include the value of mergers and acquisitions – which would add another $830 million in shareholder value.

While Georgia has pursued traditional economic development strategies, it has also made substantial, long-term investments in supporting startup companies.  In 2005, ATDC companies – including both graduates and current members – generated $1.7 billion in revenues and provided 4,326 jobs.

The incubator is an example of how universities are making an increasingly important contribution to local and state economies, noted Wayne Hodges, vice provost for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute – ATDC’s parent organization.

“Through ATDC, Georgia Tech is helping build a strong community of experienced entrepreneurs,” Hodges noted.  “The billion-dollar celebration demonstrates that the strategy of supporting the development and growth of startup companies has paid off for the state.”

About a quarter of ATDC companies grew out of technology developed at Georgia Tech.  Two of the 2007 graduates, Jacket Micro Devices and Qcept Technologies, got their start in the Georgia Tech VentureLab program, an initiative that helps form companies from research innovations.

At the May 10 event, VentureLab graduated seven companies, of which three – Asankya, Sentrinsic and Vivonetics – have already been accepted into the ATDC.

“Because of its focus on real-world applications, Georgia Tech’s research program generates a large number of innovations – nearly one a day – that have potential commercial value,” Hodges added.  “We want to move those innovations in the marketplace, through startups where those make sense and through transferring technology to existing companies.”

For more information about the ATDC’s billion-dollar milestone, please visit (

About the ATDC:  The Advanced Technology Development Center is a nationally-recognized science and technology incubator that helps Georgia entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.  ATDC provides strategic business advice and connects its member companies to the people and resources they need to succeed.

More than 110 companies have emerged from the ATDC, including publicly-traded firms such as MindSpring Enteprises – now part of EarthLink.  Headquartered at Technology Square on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, ATDC has been recognized by both BusinessWeek and Inc. Magazines as among the nation’s top nonprofit incubators.  Since 1999, ATDC companies have attracted more than a billion dollars in venture capital funding.

ATDC Facts

1) As of June 2007, ATDC had 34 member companies in its program.  The companies are working in the following technologies:

* Software and Information Technology – 38 percent
* Bioscience and Health Care – 26 percent
* Electronics – 21 percent
* New Media and the Internet – 15 percent

2) ATDC companies do business in four Georgia cities:

* Atlanta (25 companies)
* Columbus (1 company)
* Savannah (5 companies
* Warner Robins (3 companies)

3) Ten of the top 25 venture capital deals included in the MoneyTree™ Report for 2006 involved ATDC companies.  (The report is a collaboration between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data provided by Thomson Financial.)  The five largest deals involving ATDC companies were:

* Air2Web ($25 million)
* CardioMEMS ($22.6 million)
* EGT ($14 million)
* Jacket Micro Devices ($12 million)
* iVivity ($9.9 million)

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (

Writer: John Toon

Technology Entrepreneurs Accelerate Business in FastTrac TechVenture Program

“Cajuns use the word lagniappe to mean a little something extra,” explained native Louisianan Dave Bernard, vice president and co-founder of The Intellection Group, based in Duluth. “And that’s what I feel like we got with FastTrac. Every entrepreneur should go through this program.”

Last fall, The Intellection Group and 16 other companies were accepted into FastTrac® TechVenture™, a comprehensive business training program that addresses the needs of startup technology entrepreneurs. The inaugural 12-week program, licensed by the Kauffman Foundation, was presented by Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Participants heard from guest speakers and mentors on subjects such as defining target markets, conducting market research and analysis, planning for financial success, protecting intellectual property, identifying funding and managing cash, among others.

“There was a lot of preparation and homework for each class, and for a small company, the investment can be a strain,” said Bernard, whose startup technology company produces customized software applications. “That being said, it was worth 10 times what it cost. We were able to better position ourselves and make a better pitch. The networking alone pushed our company forward 12 to 18 months.”

According to Cindy Cheatham, director of business development for ATDC, the 17 FastTrac companies were chosen from a select group of 50 applicants, creating an environment of strong, committed entrepreneurs. The program concluded with a graduation in which each company presented a 60-second elevator pitch that incorporated lessons learned. Some of the “most fundable” companies presented focused, five-minute investor presentations to the graduation audience of angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and event sponsors.

“Overall the program was a great success for the companies and the community,” Cheatham noted. “Companies sharpened their plans and impressed investors, which led to more than a dozen in-person meetings and built a community of mentors and entrepreneur peers.”

One such mentor who participated with FastTrac was Emma Morris, founding partner of The Morris Group, a strategy and execution consulting firm. She says she got involved with the program because she wanted to give back to the community that helped her get her start, something she says is critical to growing leadership within the technology community. Other mentors who participated included Steve Bachman, Ilaria Derr, Jeff Hoffman, Greg Peters and Jim Stratigos.

“None of us got to wherever we are today without the help of a lot of wonderful mentors. One of my mentors once told me, ‘I can help you avoid the mistakes I made, but you are on your own for the new ones,’” she recalled. “FastTrac is a way to be that mentor to five companies at once. Plus, I learned a lot from the other mentors. Most of us are going so fast on a daily basis that we don’t take time to do peer-to-peer learning. This gave us weekly time to do just that before, during and after the meetings each week.”

Morris acknowledged the intensity of the workshop, but encouraged young entrepreneurs to stick with the program: “It is a bit like drinking out of a fire hose for both mentors and participants – just like the real world of starting a company. You never have time to fully digest any single event or thought before the next crisis or opportunity hits, which is great training for the day-to-day life of an entrepreneur.”

Sanjay Bhatia is CEO and founder of Izenda, an enterprise web 2.0 startup that makes it possible for business users to generate custom reports without involving IT. He agrees that the training provided by FastTrac added tremendous momentum to his company’s growth. Izenda has recently been accepted into ATDC.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “The program enabled us to target a larger market than we otherwise would have been able to, and the networking opportunities were incredible. Any entrepreneur starting a company needs to think about these issues.”

Bernard echoed Bhatia’s sentiments: “Now I have an informed network of advisors. It’s a very giving network and it makes me want to help others. This experience has been the equivalent of gaining access to ATDC – and all the unexpected benefits that come with that – without being an ATDC company.”

ATDC will begin accepting applications for the next FastTrac® TechVenture™ in July with the program targeted to begin in late August.  For more information, go to

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Georgia Minority Business Enterprise Center Wins Renewed Funding from U.S. Department of Commerce

The Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology recently won renewed funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue operating the Georgia Statewide Minority Business Enterprise Center (GMBEC). Since its inception three years ago, GMBEC has helped its clients secure nearly $70 million in financing and create more than 240 jobs.

The GMBEC is part of a national network of centers established to increase the number of minority-owned businesses and strengthen existing ones. Its services are designed to improve access to capital, make business more profitable, create jobs and make companies sustainable. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

One such client is Lord and Dominion, a corporate housing and relocation company that landed a $3 million contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shortly after becoming a GMBEC client. It has since won two additional contracts.

“My company definitely would not have had this growth spurt without GMBEC,” said President and CEO Mary McFaddin. “They are the best thing around for the small businessperson.”

Stephen A. Dawkins, M.D. is medical director of Caduceus Occupational Medicine, a practice founded in April 1999 that provides services such as drug screens, physical exams, workers compensation services and injury treatment. He has also experienced the benefits of GMBEC’s financial expertise, and is currently working with the Center on organizational and lean process and site selection projects.

“I have been impressed with the range of services they offer,” said Dawkins. “And I have significant expectations of how the Center will be able to help us.”

Donna Ennis, project director for the GMBEC, noted that customers like Dawkins and McFaddin have made the Center what it is today.

“Our clients’ support of our efforts and belief in our abilities to deliver were the key ingredients to our success,” she said. “Winning the re-bid means we can look forward to taking the GMBEC to the next level. We’ll continue to provide one-on-one management and technical assistance and we’ll add new programs that will bring value to our clients’ efforts to grow their businesses.”

For more information on minority business services offered by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, contact Donna Ennis (404-894-2096); E-mail: (

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (

Writer: Nancy Fullbright