Funding activity represents a near150 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
In the first half of 2017, startups at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the state of Georgia’s technology incubator, raised more than $50.6 million in investment capital.
The activity, which includes seed and Series A funding, is a jump of 145.6 percent from the comparable period in 2016, where ATDC companies reported investment activity of $20.6 million.
“Investors come to ATDC to meet our startups because they are extremely vetted and well-coached,” said Michael Maziar, ATDC’s investor relations manager. “We work closely with our companies to get them to the critical stage in their growth cycles where they are positioned to meet investors and close deals.”
“Through our Invest Connect program, we proactively facilitate connections between our companies and the investment community in Georgia and throughout the U.S. We regularly host meetings for investors to meet with our companies and earlier this year, we took a carefully curated group of 11 Atlanta startups to pitch to more than 30 key venture capitalists in San Francisco.”
The money raised is only a small testament to the hard work of the ATDC companies and the staff that prepares them for funding, which includes our catalysts top-quality entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs), and volunteer mentors, Maziar said. “Through our tools, contacts, and individual and collective expertise, ATDC has created a world-renowned technology incubator experience for our companies.”
While much of the funding activity in the first half of 2017 occurred in the financial technology (FinTech) sector — First Performance and Greenlight Financial Technology raised $17.5 million and $7.5 million, respectively — ATDC startups in other sectors, including health care, advanced manufacturing, and predictive analytics also raised capital.
“Being a part of ATDC has been critical to Greenlight’s growth. Not only have they provided an excellent environment for attracting top talent, they have helped connect us to investors, advisors, and more,” said Tim Sheehan, Greenlight’s chief executive officer.
A FinTech company, Greenlight’s technology allows parents to allocate money via a specially designed debit card for kids to be used at specific stores and merchants.
ATDC staff facilitated Greenlight’s meeting with New Enterprise Associates (NEA), which invested in the company’s $7.5 million raise. A global venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. NEA has more than $19 billion in cumulative committed capital.
“We were instantly excited about the team at Greenlight,” said Vanessa Larco, partner at NEA. “They have a ton of experience, truly understand customer needs, and are driven by an excellent product that addresses a new niche within the FinTech space. ATDC has been a great partner—they’ve taken the time to understand our investment thesis and have initiated relevant and worthwhile introductions.”
“We’ve had great experiences with ATDC startups,” Larco said. “I have a deep appreciation for ATDC; the access to technical talent, Georgia Tech resources, and other company-building tools they provide form a valuable platform to set startups up for success.”
Sudu, a technology-based logistics ATDC company, raised $2 million in the first half of 2017. Amari Ruff is CEO and co-founder of the company, which connects small, minority, women, or veteran-owned trucking companies with large corporations that have supplier diversity initiatives.
Ruff initially joined ATDC Educate, the incubator’s entry-level program, and formed Sudu after validating the market need and fit. The company was then accepted into ATDC Accelerate, the program where early-stage companies work on their go-to-market strategy and prove customer traction. The top-tier of the incubator’s membership is ATDC Signature, which Sudu joined earlier this year along with a diverse portfolio of technology companies focused on growing their customer base, revenues and profits.
“Being a part of ATDC and the coaching we received set the foundation to help us build a great business,” Ruff said. “If we weren’t a part of this program, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
A benefit of membership at the ATDC is access to talent and resources at Georgia Tech. Sudu has been working with Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain and Logistics Institute, among other programs and utilizes, big data, predictive analytics, and machine learning in its technology to match shippers and suppliers, and optimize routes, thus eliminating empty miles for drivers.
Jamie Hamilton managing partner of the Atlanta Seed Company, which was the lead investor in Sudu’s recent round, said ATDC’s 37-year legacy as an incubator makes a compelling difference.
“Look at the number of successful businesses that have gotten their start there at ATDC and the people involved, like General Manager Jen Bonnett, as well as Georgia Tech’s involvement tied into the research and talent and engineers that these companies have access to,” Hamilton said. “ATDC does a tremendous job of bringing all of that together, and for an investor it’s all wrapped up in a bow.”
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.