August 10, 2017 in ATDC News, Blog

ATDC-supported Idea Accelerator returns to University of Georgia in Fall 2017

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Eight-week program launches Sept. 18.

ATHENS, Ga.Applications are now open for the fall 2017 round of teams to be selected for the UGA Idea Accelerator program powered by the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). The Accelerator, which is organized by local economic development nonprofit Four Athens, in partnership with ATDC, and the University of Georgia Entrepreneurship Program, chooses a cohort of promising business concepts to be put to the test each semester.

Now entering its fourth year, the Accelerator is an eight-week experience and participants meet twice a week for 90-minute sessions on a series of startup viability topics that range from identifying customers and making a pitch to partners and investors, to validating financial assumptions. Teams that survive the process are given an opportunity to pitch to a panel of active investors for a $5,000 prize, plus membership into Four Athens.

“We are looking for teams chasing big ideas,” said Jim Flannery, ATDC’s startup catalyst in Athens.

More than 145 teams have participated in previous Accelerator rounds, including Puppyfax, winner of the Spring 2017 competition. “The program forces teams to test the validity of their idea,” said Puppyfax co-founder Tommy Naranjo. “It pushes us to critically think about our customer.”

Other previous participants include Fee Favor, an innovative courthouse document retrieval system, Vestigo, an outdoor adventure platform now in its third year of operation, and Reservoir, a patent pending sensor for the agriculture industry.

“As the program matures, a significant number of participants from our first three rounds are entering their third year of business,” Flannery said. “This is a great testament to this program’s methodology and the caliber of ideas coming out of Athens’ tech community.”

The fall 2017 UGA Idea Accelerator kicks off Monday, Sept. 18, and runs until the finalists’ pitch contest Nov. 13. The deadline to apply is Sept. 14. Applications are online at


Four Athens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the mission of improving economic outcomes in Athens by fostering entrepreneurship and expanding tech education in the area. Since forming in 2011, Four Athens has worked to discover startups, build community, connect creativity, accelerate growth and invest in success. For more information about Four Athens, visit and follow on Facebook at


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

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