ATDC companies raise $280.2 million in investments in 2023

Team Shot Slip Robotics
Employees of Slip Robotics. The Norcross, Georgia-based ATDC portfolio company raised $11 million in 2023. (PHOTO: Erin McDuff/McDuff Photography)

ATLANTA — Startups in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) current portfolio raised more than $280.2 million in investment capital and created or saved more 2,021 jobs in 2023.

While the investment capital raised was down from the $305.7 million ATDC’s active portfolio companies raised in 2022, it mirrors the prevailing trend across the investment landscape, said Caroline Ford, investor relations manager at ATDC, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

“As expected, deal raise and deal volume for Georgia are down in all stages of venture capital,” Ford said, “but we are stable and holding our own relative to the past 5 years in terms of percent of deals done and percent of all capital raised among Georgia’s early-stage tech companies.”

Still, companies at ATDC, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, represented a large slice of the completed deals in Georgia under $12 million in 2023.

“While deal volume and deal amounts were weaker across tech companies raising venture capital in 2023, we are pleased that ATDC companies continued to account for about 18 percent of all reported deals done under $12 million for tech or tech-enabled businesses,” ATDC Director John Avery said. “This figure is consistent with the aggregate activity in Georgia from our companies.”

Among select deal highlights in 2023:

  • ATDC portfolio company Slip Robotics raised $11 millionFounded in 2020, Slip Robotics, whose clients include Nissan, John Deere, and Valeo, is a developer of robotic trailer technology designed to simplify the loading and unloading process of trucks.
  • Layr, a 2022 ATDC graduate, an insurance technology business that builds software to automate and digitize insurance brokerages’ small business departments, closed on an oversubscribed $10 million round.
  • Kayhan Space, a leading provider of high-performance software and solutions for space mission operations, raised $7 million in an oversubscribed seed extension round.  The company is scaling quickly as it accelerates the commercial delivery of the industry’s first autonomous space traffic coordination (STC) framework, Pathfinder™ 3.0.

There were other bright spots in ATDC’s overall 2023 results, too.

ATDC portfolio companies received more the $10.2 million in non-dilutive federal funding grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in 2023.

When ATDC’s graduate companies are included with the incubator’s current startup portfolio, more than $6.2 billion in investment capital was raised in 2023, up nearly 8% from the $5.7 billion reported in 2022.

What’s more, ATDC’s current portfolio and graduate companies recorded revenue of $2.43 billion in 2023 — up nearly 54% from the $1.58 billion they reported in 2022.

“Traditionally, our companies stay in business after graduating from the portfolio and will typically go on to raise later rounds of capital, bringing jobs and economic activity to the Georgia economy as they scale,” Avery said.

Greenlight, a 2018 ATDC graduate is one example, he said. The ATDC-born financial technology startup behind smart debit cards for parents monitoring their children’s spending, reached unicorn status in 2020, is now valued at $2.3 billion, and employs 515.

ATDC companies are also more likely to be acquired than their Georgia peers as evidenced with the acquisition of Medxoom, a 2023 ATDC graduate and healthcare financing platform, which was acquired by Allied Health that same year.

Jobs were also a highlight in 2023 in the incubator’s ecosystem. ATDC’s current and graduate companies reported saving or creating 14,770 jobs in 2023, up from 11,793 in 2022.

The Advanced Technology Development Center Announces its Startup Graduating Class of 2022

Thirteen graduating companies comprise one of the incubator’s largest and most diverse graduating class of founders

ATLANTA — The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, announced today 13 startups will graduate from the program’s top-tier Signature portfolio.

The 2022 class marks some significant milestones for ATDC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. The 13 startups constitute one of the most diverse and largest graduating class in ATDC’s 42-year history.

Eight of the companies have diverse founders or co-founders, including four women.

The ATDC Class of 2022 also brings the total number of graduating startups to more than 210 companies. Collectively, the ATDC Class of 2022 has raised more than $216.7 million in capital from investors since January 2021.

“This is an outstanding and spectacular class of graduates,” said Chris Nedza, ATDC’s lead entrepreneur in residence. “This group of founders are gamechangers and disruptors in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, insurance, energy, ecommerce, artificial intelligence, and information security. We are extremely proud of the ATDC Class of 2022 and all their achievements.”

One of the graduating companies, Apptega, founded by Armistead Whitney, works to address challenges that companies of all sizes face in implementing effective cybersecurity.

Being part of the ATDC experience helped the company navigate the challenges all startups face as well as scale successfully, he said.

“Starting a company from scratch is long, exciting, painful, and rewarding all at once. ATDC delivers the support, infrastructure, and guidance critical to our success,” Whitney said. “Sharing issues with other CEOs, receiving advice from the entrepreneurs in residence, getting connected to capital, and participating in programs at Georgia Tech gave us a huge competitive advantage not only to survive, but to thrive.”

Similarly, OncoLens, a leading data and clinical decision support hub that supports the multi-disciplinary discussion of cancer cases by experts and care teams, credits ATDC with its growth trajectory.

In the past four years, the company, co-founded by Anju Mathew and Dr. Lijo Simpson, has expanded to serve nearly 200 clients, including international customers.

“The favorite part of our ATDC experience has been the guidance received from ATDC catalysts and mentors,” Mathew, the company’s CEO, said. “The ability to engage with other startups and learn from each other is so key for early founders. And Aubrey Lenyard (ATDC Community Engagement Manager), is of course, just the best.”

The ATDC Class of 2021 will be honored October 27 in a special ceremony being held on the Georgia Tech campus.

The class includes:

  • Apptega: Makes it easy for businesses to build, manage, and report their cybersecurity programs while meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Buckle: Provides insurance to ride share drivers using new data, technology, and analytics.
  • Carbice: Produces multifunctional material solutions from Carbice® Nanotube Technology that set the standard for performance, reliability, and low-cost assembly within the world’s most important electronic, energy, and industrial products.
  • cove.tool: A web-based software platform for analyzing, drawing, engineering, and connecting data for building design and construction.
  • DataSeers: A big data platform for reconciliation, compliance, fraud, and analytics in the financial services sector.
  • Field Pros Direct: The industry’s first on-demand adjusters’ network.
  • Layr: InsureTech business that builds software to automate and digitize insurance brokerages’ smallbusiness departments.
  • Momnt: Helps merchants and merchant networks master the art of lending.
  • OncoLens: A healthcare technology company that enables the development of the best treatment plan for each cancer case.
  • SmartCommerce: Its technology platform enables one-click conversion from any digital impulse point, into any retailer cart.
  • Tonic: Anonymizes production data.
  • Voxie: Technology platform to connect with customers via text message, build real relationships, and turn those relationships into action.
  • Worthix: Customer survey platform built with artificial intelligence to help marketers pinpoint the “why behind the buy.”

It was important to Marty Young, Buckle’s co-founder, to be part of an incubator equally dedicated to finding technology companies focused on substantive impact for the better along with ensuring their overall success.

“As Buckle has grown its efforts to transform financial services offerings for an underserved audience of gig drivers, it has been a privilege to be surrounded by ATDC companies that are similarly focused on making a difference for their core target groups,” Young said. “In addition, Atlanta has been a center of gravity for Buckle since the first days of our formation, and it remains important to us to be active and connected in the communities where we live and operate.”

Companies in the ATDC Signature portfolio are those deemed most ready for long-term growth and success. ATDC Signature is a rigorous, metrics-driven, and milestones-based program for companies with transformative products.

To graduate from ATDC Signature, startups must meet several milestones, including annualized recurring revenue of at least $1 million, an identified scalable business model, and the ability to finance growth.

“ATDC has allowed Carbice to grow from an idea to a thriving leader in the thermal solutions market,” said Baratunde Cola, the company’s founder and professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “The best part of the company’s time at ATDCwas the ability to learn how to build and scale a manufacturing operation with the support of Georgia Tech and ATDC every step of the way.”

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 atdc.org.

Enterprise Innovation Institute to Host Spanish Technology Entrepreneurs for Training Series

Georgia Tech Administration and Finance Vice President Kelly Fox (left) and Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology Director General Javier Ponce Martinez sign a letter of intent to create a training program for Spanish technology entrepreneurs. (Photo: Matt Hummel)

In the fall of 2022, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute will host 20 technology startup founders from the Kingdom of Spain in a training program designed to expose Spanish entrepreneurs to the startup ecosystem in metro Atlanta, Georgia, and the broader United States.

 

The initiative stems from a collaborative effort between the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Innovation Ecosystems program and Spain’s Centre Para El Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology) to develop the training program for Spanish entrepreneurs.

 

As a part of Spain’s Ministry of Science and Innovation, the government office charged with fostering technological development and innovation of Spanish companies, the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology coordinates the funding and support applications for those startups’ national and international research and development projects. The Centre also manages, including managing Spanish companies’ participation in international technological cooperation programs.

 

Innovation Ecosystems works with communities, governments, and organizations to help them launch, operate, and sustain successful entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

 

From left: Georgia Tech Innovation Ecosystems Interim Director Juli Golemi; Kelly Fox; Javier Ponce Martinez; Enterprise Innovation Institute Vice President David Bridges; Centre Technical Innovation Director Carlos de la Cruz Molina; Economic Development Lab Interim Director Lynne Henkiel; and ATDC Director John Avery. (Photo: Matt Hummel)

The early-stage startup founders, who are tentatively scheduled to come to campus for a week in September, would participate in a series of workshops being led by some of the Institute’s flagship ecosystem development programs, including the Advanced Technology Development Center, VentureLab, and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.

 

Centre leaders — Director General Javier Ponce Martinez and Director of Technical Innovation Carlos de la Cruz Molina — visited the Georgia Tech campus to sign an agreement that establishes a framework for the training and curriculum, which includes an overview of the Georgia ecosystem, lean startup methodology, and innovating for sustainability.

 

“This is an opportunity to get together to collaborate together towards the future,” Martinez said during the signing ceremony. “The future looking at sustainability issues, industrial, and social activities. This is the starting point, and a great starting point.”

 

The organization has collaborations with other countries, but this is its first such effort in the United States.

 

The Enterprise Innovation Institute — Georgia Tech’s economic development arm — is the largest, most comprehensive, university-based program of entrepreneurship and startup company development, business and industry growth, ecosystem development, international outreach in the United States. As a globally recognized model of university-based economic development, the Enterprise Innovation Institute has hosted a number of international delegations in recent years looking to engage with Georgia Tech and its programs, including from the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and South Africa.

 

“We are celebrating connecting globally and inclusive innovation and this agreement is at the heart of a space that is very important to the Institute,” said Georgia Tech Administration and Finance Vice President Kelly Fox, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Institute. “We’re honored that you are working with us, and we look forward to seeing how this grows from there.”

Honeywell Joins Atlanta-Based Engage to Help City Grow as a Leading Innovation Hub

Honeywell Connected Enterprise President and CEO Que Dallara joins Engage’s Board of Directors.

 

Honeywell announced today it has joined Atlanta-based Engage, a collaborative innovation and corporate venture platform that is dedicated to promoting the city as a technology hub. Honeywell Connected Enterprise is based in Midtown Atlanta and is one of the city’s leading businesses in the enterprise software industry.

 

Honeywell and other leading Atlanta companies in Engage are helping high-growth startups accelerate their enterprise go-to-market strategies through collaboration with Fortune 500 organizations. As an Engage partner, Honeywell will work with entrepreneurs who are developing new business ideas and participate in its bi-annual Enterprise Go-To-Market program. Additionally, getting plugged into this innovation ecosystem will create experiences for Honeywell employees to advance their entrepreneurial capability and gain exposure to leading innovators, top researchers, and ambitious startup founders.

 

“Honeywell is proud to call Atlanta home for our software business, and we share a common goal with Engage in helping businesses grow through new technology,” said Que Dallara, president and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “We believe this is an important partnership to assist organizations here and in the surrounding region as Atlanta rapidly expands as an innovation hub.”

 

In addition to Honeywell Connected Enterprise’s investment into the Engage Venture Fund that is managed by Tech Square Ventures to support the Engage program, Dallara will join Engage’s board of directors. Usman Shuja, vice president and general manager of Connected Buildings, will become a member of the advisory board.

 

“Honeywell is a leading innovator in enterprise software and brings valuable leadership, future-forward ideas, and strategic execution to Engage,” said Daley Ervin, Engage managing director. “We are looking forward to the expertise that Honeywell will bring to our network of senior executives and entrepreneurs working together in the pursuit of industry-changing technology.”

 

“Supporting startups and entrepreneurs through Engage is an opportunity for Honeywell to invest in Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem,” Shuja said. “By advising and partnering with some of nation’s newest transformative companies, we aspire to help them become well positioned for long-term growth. We believe the success of these new startups will strengthen the city’s international leadership as a center for innovation, particularly in the software and technology industries.”

 

By partnering with Engage, startups and entrepreneurs gain fresh insights to help them better achieve their strategic goals, understand new growth opportunities, and explore solutions to key business challenges. Engage also provides entrepreneurs with access to new customers and markets.

 

“As a founding partner of the Engage program, Georgia-Pacific is pleased to see the continued commitment by leading enterprises to work with startups and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Engage board member Jim Hannan, Koch Industries executive vice president and CEO-Enterprises. “With Honeywell joining the platform, Engage will further accelerate its mission of strengthening corporate connectivity and fueling economic development across Atlanta and the Southeast.”

 

About Honeywell
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.

 

About Engage
Based in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square, Engage is a first-of-its-kind collaborative innovation and corporate venture platform where category-leading corporations in the Southeast have joined forces to support startups building the future of enterprise. Engage partners include Chick-fil-A, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Georgia Tech, Goldman Sachs, The Home Depot, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Inspire Brands, Intercontinental Exchange, Invesco, Invest Georgia, Tech Square Ventures, UPS, and Wellstar Health System. The Engage Fund is managed by Tech Square Ventures. As an affiliate of Georgia Tech, a top 10 public research technology and commercialization university, Engage has direct access to Tech’s startup, innovation, and research initiatives. Learn more about Engage at engage.vc.

T-Mobile, Georgia Tech, and Curiosity Lab Team Up to Fuel 5G Innovation in Drones, Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics, and More

New 5G Connected Future incubator program will support
growth and development of 5G entrepreneurs and startups.

 

Outside picture of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners
Curiosity Labs at Peachtree Corners is home to the 5G Connected Future incubator that will be managed by Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

The new 5G incubator is located in the city of Peachtree Corners’ 500-acre smart city technology park, a living lab powered by T-Mobile 5G where more than 8,000 people live or work. The facility features a 25,000 square foot Innovation Center and 3-mile autonomous vehicle test track. T-Mobile has deployed its Extended Range 5G and Ultra Capacity 5G network across the park enabling developers to build solutions in a real-world environment. Here developers will build and test new 5G use cases such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, industrial drone applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care, personal health and fitness wearables, and more.

“What a match-up! America’s leading 5G network, the brilliant minds of Georgia Tech and the most advanced living lab in the country — now that’s a powerhouse combination,” said John Saw, EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile. “We cannot wait to see the innovation that occurs as entrepreneurs and developers build the next big thing in 5G backed by these world-class resources.”

Hedshot of ATDC Director John Avery
John Avery is director of ATDC.

The new incubator, managed in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), is an expansion of the T-Mobile Accelerator and part of the Un-carrier’s efforts to fuel 5G innovation. T-Mobile supports numerous initiatives to help startups and entrepreneurs develop, test and bring to market groundbreaking new 5G products and services. T-Mobile Accelerator is an award-winning program founded in 2014 that originated in the smart city corridor of Kansas City.

Companies participating in the 5G Connected Future program will work directly with technology and business leaders at T-Mobile Accelerator, Georgia Tech, and Curiosity Lab as they build, test and bring to market new products and services that unleash the potential of T-Mobile 5G. ATDC is a globally recognized technology incubator. The 5G Connected Future vertical is the fourth of its kind at ATDC and follows other targeted programs in health, retail and financial technologies.

“In addition to the normal startup concerns, entrepreneurs in the 5G space face a unique set of challenges such as regulatory issues at the state and local levels, network security, and integration testing,” said ATDC Director John Avery.

Betsy Plattenburg
Betsy Plattenberg is executive director of Curiosity Lab.

ATDC brings a unique framework that combines its startup curriculum, coaching, connections, and community, as well as direct access to Georgia Tech resources, research expertise, and student talent, to help entrepreneurs learn, launch, scale, and succeed. In this effort, ATDC will offer programing, recruit and evaluate startups, and hire staff to manage the vertical in Peachtree Corners.

“This collaboration is a great opportunity for ATDC and Georgia Tech, the city of Peachtree Corners and Curiosity Lab, and T-Mobile, a Fortune 50 company, to create a unique collection to work with these companies, refine their ideas into scalable companies, and bring these solutions to market more quickly,” Avery said.

Such a partnership underscores “Georgia Tech’s commitment to enabling tomorrow’s technology leaders, which remains as strong as when ATDC was founded 41 years ago,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, Georgia Tech’s executive vice president for research. “Innovation cannot take place in a vacuum, which is why entrepreneurs and startups require the knowledge and resources provided through partnerships such as ours.”

“The City of Peachtree Corners and Curiosity Lab continue to affirm our commitment to technology innovation through programs, partnerships and engagements with industry leaders such as T-Mobile and Georgia Tech,” said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of Curiosity Lab. “These two organizations were instrumental in the launch of Curiosity Lab and our continued collaboration will create opportunities for the next-generation of intelligent mobility and smart city entrepreneurs.”

T-Mobile 5G, A Platform for Innovation
T-Mobile is America’s 5G leader, with the fastest and largest nationwide 5G network. T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G covers more than 280 million people across nearly 1.6 million square miles – more geographic coverage than AT&T and Verizon combined. With Sprint now part of T-Mobile, the Un-carrier is widening its lead, using dedicated spectrum to bring customers with capable devices download speeds of around 300 Mbps and peak speeds up to 1 Gbps.

With its supercharged 5G network as the foundation, T-Mobile is working to fuel 5G innovation and build the 5G ecosystem. The Un-carrier collaborates with universities and standards bodies to support 5G research and development.  In addition to running the award-winning T-Mobile Accelerator, it also operates the T-Mobile Ventures investment fund and is a co-founder of the 5G Open Innovation Lab.

Startups interested in joining the 5G Connected Future program can apply here.

Daley Ervin joins Engage Ventures as Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Veteran entrepreneur and ultramarathoner spent more than a decade leading venture capital-backed startups around the world.

 

 

Daley Ervin
Daley Ervin has joined Engage as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. (Photo: Allie Schonberg)

Engage, the strategic grouping of 11 major corporations in an independent venture fund and platform,announced today that Daley Ervin, a seasoned entrepreneur and executive, has joined as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR).

 

Ervin, who is Engage’s first named EIR, will focus on deepening corporate partner relationships and assisting portfolio founders in partnership development, go-to-market refinement, and the issues surrounding high-growth and scale.

 

“Engage’s mission is to leverage our platform to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain access to customers, distribution channels, and Fortune 500 scale,” said Engage Managing Director, Thiago Olson “Daley will bring immediate value to Engage, our portfolio founders, and our corporate partners, we’re excited to have him on board.”

 

Ervin has more than 10 years leading four venture capital-backed startups on three continents that raised a collective $4.6 billion. Most recently, he was Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Amazon-backed Nucleus in New York. Prior to that, he was the General Manager and Head of North American Operations for Student.com, launched international offices for YPlan, and was part of the International Expansion Team at Airbnb.

 

“My belief in the Engage mission and seeing howcommitted the corporate partners are – from the CEOs down to operating teams – is what drew me to Engage. The partner appetite for more engagement seems to be growing rapidly. They want to build out an even more comprehensive platform,” Ervin said. “I am excited to help create opportunities for the Engage partners to connect and learn from each other by building out that platform.”

 

As a competitive ultramarathoner and extreme endurance athlete, Ervin set the United States’ pairs record having rowed 3,000 miles over 45-days across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to the Caribbean in the “World’s Toughest Rowing Race.”

 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business and communication from Arizona State University.

 

About Engage

Engage is a venture fund and growth platformthat gives entrepreneurs what they need most — customers and market access. Engage corporate partners contributing capital, expertise, time, and resources include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia Tech, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., Tech Square Ventures, The Home Depot and UPS. These corporate partners, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and Tech Square Ventures, provide tools, hands-on support and resources.Engage is headquartered in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square. For more information, visit engage.vc.