Georgia’s technology startup incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and its philosophy of “Startup Success, Engineered” has once again proven successful with Partpic.
A global online retailer is acquiring Partpic, a startup in ATDC’s Signature portfolio of companies.
The company’s technology allows people to find items and replacement parts they need by taking a picture with their mobile devices or tablets. Jewel Burks, CEO, and Jason Crain, chief operating officer, founded Partpic in 2013.
The Partpic team now operates out of the acquirer’s Buckhead offices, which means the technology and team developing it will remain in Atlanta.
“We are extremely proud of Jewel and Jason, along with the entire Partpic team for this milestone achievement, which is not only a win for them, but also Georgia since the jobs will stay here,” said Jen Bonnett, ATDC general manager. “The big successes of startups like Partpic and others that have gone through our ATDC program always grab attention and headlines. But equally, if not more important, is something that doesn’t always draw the spotlight: the hard work, commitment, and dedicated focus required from entrepreneurs to take their vision from just an idea to a disruptive and successful company.”
Since inception in 1980, ATDC has grown to be one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States.
Burks, who had been in sales management for a major parts distributor, developed the idea following scores of calls from customers who called to obtain replacement parts but had difficulty describing the exact items needed.
Burks and Crain joined ATDC Educate to refine the idea into a workable and scalable business model. That model, now proven with Partpic’s acquisition, is the birth of a technology that has revolutionized the way component parts are purchased and sold both in industrial and consumer applications.
“A lot of people have good ideas, but to get to the next stage, the successful entrepreneur has to put in a lot of work to see if there’s a real market for that idea, how to capture that market, protect their intellectual property, and build a core team for a strong foundation,” said Jane McCracken, a serial entrepreneur who is ATDC’s assistant director for membership and programs and served as the company’s assigned staff advisor.
“Jewel and Jason worked hard at the onset and never pulled back on their commitment to creating a market disrupting enterprise,” McCracken said. “That made for near-seamless growth and transition from where they began as ATDC Educate members at a stage where they were still determining if they had a viable startup, to being accepted into ATDC Signature.”
ATDC Signature companies are deemed most ready to succeed, get investors, and thrive as stand-alone enterprises. Partpic took advantage of ATDC’s strategic resources, such as its Industry Connect program, which links startups with the needs of the Fortune 1000.
The company also tapped into ATDC’s Campus Connect program, which pairs entrepreneurs and startups with key resources, technologies, resources, and talent at Georgia Tech. Many of the Partpic’s employees are Georgia Tech graduates, including Nashlie H. Sephus, chief technology officer, who obtained her doctorate and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the Institute.
Partpic also drew industry accolades and investment attention, raising more than $1.5 million in seed funding from angel and venture capital investors in 2015. That same year, it also won a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case during his Rise of the Rest tour.
The South By Southwest Accelerator Showcase gave Partpic the best Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies award at its 2015 event, which came with a $4,000 prize. And Atlanta-based State Bank & Trust Co. named Partpic its 2015 Startup of the Year.
Burks and Crain were invited to the White House in 2015 to participate in the inaugural White House Demo Day, where they presented their technology to the president.
“Partpic is the quintessential ATDC and Georgia Tech success story that underscores our methodical approach to our mission of startup success engineered and the Institute’s commitment to economic development in Georgia,” Bonnett said. “But more importantly, this is a success story for Georgia.”