The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech is adding to its startup support team with Thiago Olson joining Georgia’s technology incubator as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR).
Olson will work with entrepreneurs and startups in ATDC’s financial technology (FinTech) program by coaching them and making connections to potential investors and customers.
“I’m really looking forward to helping to mentor and advise the companies that are here but also help bring in additional companies and ideas into the funnel.”
Olson is the co-founder of Stratos Technologies, a connected card platform that allows consumers to carry just one payment card that stores all their credit, debit, and gift card information.
Founded in 2012, Olson helped Stratos raise more than $10 million Seed and Series A capital funding to develop and commercialize Stratos via investors that included Hyde Park Venture Partners, Resonant Venture Partners, Toba Capital, and Western Technology Investment.
Ciright, a technology company, acquired Stratos in 2015.
“My background is in FinTech with my last startup, but also connected hardware, which is another specialty area of mine,” Olson said. “That’s another thing that I’ll be helping out with here which is hardware and the Internet of Things.”
Olson is a resident of Atlanta and holds an electrical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University. He also was a fellow in the National Fellowship Program in Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy Sciences at Princeton University.
“He’s a great addition to the ATDC team with own successful launch of Stratos and his deep connections in FinTech, which is key growth sector for Georgia and a core focus for us at ATDC through our partnership with Worldpay, which is funding our FinTech program,” said Jennifer Bonnet, acting general manager of ATDC. “He also has a deep background in engineering and physics, which will bring another invaluable skill set to our entrepreneurs, particularly those with hardware needs.”
Prior to being an entrepreneur, he used his engineering and physics expertise working in various roles with the U.S. Department of Defense, including with the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, and the U.S. Department of Energy where he worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Sandia National Laboratories. Olson also worked overseas in research capacities at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
His interest in physics and engineering came early, having built a fusion reactor while he was a high school student. The experience, Olson said, will help him in his EIR role.
“I’m always drawn to hard problems, “ Olson said. “Mobile payments and FinTech is the epitome of the problem of how do you get people to start paying with their phone if they’re not used to doing it, and then the structure is not there. The same thing applied when I heard about fusion, which made me more attracted to doing it. From that experience I think that there’s little that’s impossible.”