When ATDC sponsored a networking event last fall to introduce the organizers of Healthbox, one member startup benefited greatly from their meet-and-greet with the new business accelerator. Three months later, Kishore Eechambadi and Raj Mehra of My Coupon Doc packed their bags and headed to Chicago to join the incubator’s inaugural class. Of course, they first had to beat out hundreds of applicants from 26 states and eight countries to be named one of the 10 finalists – but it’s a process they said was less challenging thanks to the education and networking opportunities ATDC provided.
“I give full credit to ATDC for giving us the chance to interact with Healthbox staff, and helping us to prepare and refine our business model for the selection process,” said Eechambadi. “Healthbox was a great opportunity for My Coupon Doc. Through their network, we were connected to many healthcare industry experts, experienced entrepreneurs and potential investors. We gained exposure to many prominent names in the healthcare space, and prior to the conclusion of the program even signed a pilot agreement with MERGE Healthcare, one of Healthbox’s sponsors, to distribute our couponing technology to health kiosks across the nation.”
My Coupon Doc is among a growing list of ATDC member companies that have recently proved they can compete with the nation’s startup elite through acceptance in prestigious accelerators such as Y Combinator and TechStars. In fact, SalesLoft, a sales intelligence software company, will represent the Atlanta startup community today at TechStars Demo Day in Boulder – which is expected to draw hundreds of influential investors and entrepreneurs. The ATDC member was one of only 12 companies accepted to the high-impact accelerator program out of a pool of 1,400 applications, and is the first participant to hail from Atlanta.
“TechStars has been an opportunity of a lifetime for our business and each of our principals,” said Kyle Porter, SalesLoft’s President & Co-founder. “It’s helped us access people and networks which were previously unavailable geographically to us and opened our eyes to new levels of growth and expansion. We’ve been fortunate that ATDC has been with us every step of the way. They helped groom us to get to where we are and we’ve maintained communication with our mentors and other founders throughout the entire process.”
Over at Y Combinator (YC), viaCycle is also helping to prove ATDC’s reputation as the hub for technology entrepreneurship in the Southeast. Founded in March 2010 by Georgia Tech graduates Kyle Azevedo, Siddharth Doshi, Koji Intlekofer and Yuriy Romaniw, the startup aims to make bikes available for communal use without the pricey infrastructure that has plagued similar programs in other cities. Although Azevedo compares the Y Combinator experience to “being thrown into a hurricane and trying to learn how to ride it,” he touts ATDC’s resources as providing them with a huge leg up.
“Many companies enter YC as a brand new business, or even no more than an idea. While viaCycle came to the program with a bit more experience, we used ATDC as a similar resource when we were in our early stages,” said Azevedo. “When you’re a young entrepreneur, it’s hard to get people to trust you and help you. Investors pick holes in your idea, customers are scared of risking money on you, and vendors are worried you won’t be able to pay them. ATDC will help and gives solid advice, which is perhaps even harder to find… Any new entrepreneur (heck, any entrepreneur!) would be remiss not to take advantage of those resources as much as possible.”
Congratulations to all of the current and former members now rocking the competition at these high-profile accelerator programs!