Startup Roundup 10.15.13

We know you’re busy running your startup. You don’t have time to search for all of the relevant content out there for entrepreneurs and small businesses. But we do. Each Tuesday, in Startup Roundup, we compile smart stuff we’ve seen. If we leave out something good, post a link at the bottom for others. This is a community, and Atlanta will keep thriving if we keep sharing.

Atlanta chases its Silicon Valley dreams Atlanta’s startup community has come a long way since David Cummings moved to the city 11 years ago. The Buckhead serial entrepreneur, considered one of the most important leaders in the city’s tech scene today, struggled to find a community of like-minded businesspeople back in 2002. Find out more about how things have changed in the last decade.
From the same issue of Creative Loafing, be sure to check out the Q&A articles from David Cummings, Michael Tavani, Startup Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed.

‘Choose ATL’ campaign to market metro Atlanta as ‘digital hub’ A collection of some of metro Atlanta’s largest companies and business groups is launching a campaign to promote the area as a “digital hub” to attract high-tech minded newcomers and prospective entrepreneurs. Read more in the AJC.

Mobile startup rings up $2.5M from Valley, Atlanta VCs Mobile software startup StarMobile has raised $2.5 million from West Coast and Atlanta investors.
The Georgia Tech spinoff says its technology can convert desktop enterprise software, such as, Oracle and SAP, into mobile applications for 80 percent less than third-party mobile platforms. Read more at Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Crowdfunding Atlanta Style For those still not in the know,crowdfunding is a way for people looking to raise money, primarily through the Internet, from a broad audience interested in the company’s project or cause.  Generally there is no financial return for the donor on the money raised during a crowdfunding effort. It should be noted the crowdfunding industry, as is the case here in Georgia, is evolving and investing terms in the future may change. Find out more here.

Vonage picks up Atlanta’s Vocalocity for $130M Atlanta’s tech industry M&A truck barrels forward, delivering a pay day for several local venture capital firms.
Holmdel, N.J.-based telecommunications provider Vonage Holdings Corp. said Thursday it will acquire Atlanta-based Vocalocity for $130 million.
Check out the story here.


Meet Ashish Mistry, Atlanta-based venture capitalist and CEO

Ashish Mistry says there’s “a great amount of entrepreneurial talent in this city.”

And he should know.

Mistry, a longtime player in Atlanta’s startup scene, is managing partner at BLH Venture Partners, a private investment firm specializing in early-stage technology companies. At BLH, Mistry is an investor and advisor to new businesses. He also serves as president and CEO of KontrolFreek, a fast-growing performance gaming gear company. And, in his spare time, he is active in many nonprofit organizations that foster entrepreneurship within the technology and business community, serving as both director and advisor for the Atlanta CEO Council, Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Hypepotamus and Venture Atlanta.

“After graduating from Emory, I was eager to enter the Atlanta tech startup scene,” says Mistry. “Since then, I have watched the scene develop in so many ways.”

Shortly after college graduation, Mistry co-founded Virtex Networks, a managed IT services provider that was acquired by Leapfrog Services in 2001. Mistry then joined and helped commercially launch AirDefense, a pioneer in the WiFi security market and now part of Motorola. In 2006, Mistry joined RCMS Group, a building information modeling, or BIM, services provider in the commercial construction market. Mistry also has twice served as entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgia Tech’s ATDC.

Startup Roundup 10.8.13

We know you’re busy running your startup. You don’t have time to search for all of the relevant content out there for entrepreneurs and small businesses. But we do. Each Tuesday, in Startup Roundup, we compile smart stuff we’ve seen. If we leave out something good, post a link at the bottom for others. This is a community, and Atlanta will keep thriving if we keep sharing.

Atlanta’s eFolder raises $26M eFolder Inc., an Atlanta-based cloud backup services firm, has raised $26 million through an equity sale, according to a Sept. 30 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Find out more from Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Atlanta Still Leads in Technology Job Growth TriNet’s SMBeat Report, a monthly analysis of small business employment, confirms that technology jobs are still showing net job growth, specifically in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Denver-Boulder. Atlanta leads net job growth at 3.31%, followed by Denver-Boulder at 1.69%, Los Angeles at 1.55% and the New York Metro area at 1.10%. Read more info at GPB.

Atlanta Technology Angels Invests $2.3 Million in Start-Ups in First Half of 2013 Atlanta Technology Angels (ATA), the entrepreneurs gateway to smart capital, today announced its investors have raised $2.3 million for eight startups in the first half of 2013. The organization has also received a record number of applications over the first half of the year and promoted Kate King to Chief Operating Officer. As a member-led organization, comprised of 120 accredited investors and sponsors, ATA has been recognized as one of the top 10 networks in the United States in portfolio size, members and opportunity flow. Read the rest of the story here.

Digital Atlanta Now in its fourth year, Digital Atlanta is a week long series of workshops, lectures, networking, and social events that brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, solution providers and executives. Presenters will discuss digital innovations, explore opportunities in the digital space and highlight how Atlanta is leading the charge in many of these areas. It’s going on all this week at Atlantic Station. You can find the schedule here.

GigaOM Research is coming back to Atlanta on Oct. 10th. Executives from leading companies will join entrepreneurs to discuss ways in which enterprises can capitalize on emerging technologies by engaging with and even emulating startups. Find out more from the AJC.

Atlanta startup Give to Win puts new spin on daily deals, gives back to community

Give to Win is an Atlanta-based startup that is putting a new spin on the daily deal industry. It all started with a single idea — give to those that are brightening the community. The platform offers purchases from partnering businesses that support socially-minded organizations working in the community.

Co-founded in 2010 by president and CEO Max Ruppersburg, Give to Win began as a nonprofit but re-launched as a for-profit social enterprise in 2012. Ruppersburg felt the company could achieve larger growth and impact with the ability to accept outside investment.

The Give to Win team poses in front of Atlanta's Java Vino, one of its business partners.  From left to right: TJ Harrison, Ralston Medouze, Max Ruppersburg

The Give to Win team poses in front of Atlanta’s Java Vino, one of its business partners.
From left to right: TJ Harrison, Ralston Medouze, Max Ruppersburg

“After seeing the Groupon boom I decided there was potential for a more community conscious solution that would support nonprofit organizations and provide a healthier marketing relationship for the businesses involved,” said Ruppersburg. “We’re creating a platform for cause-marketing. It’s very rewarding.”

After explaining the charitable nature of the organization, many Atlanta businesses loved the idea. However, convincing potential partners has been no easy feat.

“While nonprofits are more receptive to the idea, convincing small businesses of this new idea has proven challenging at times,” said Ruppersburg.

45 percent of each purchase goes to the participating company and another 45 percent goes to the chosen nonprofit. The remaining 10 percent goes towards Give to Win’s expansion and marketing efforts. While the organization isn’t seeing much revenue from the deals it offers yet, it all goes toward furthering the platform.

Among Give to Win’s nonprofit partners are the Empty Stocking Fund, WonderRoot, PAWS Atlanta and the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta.

Give to Win is currently growing its online presence so that it can one day expand to other cities. “Our main social media goal has been to build engagement, and we hope to further connect Atlanta’s volunteer, nonprofit and small business community,” said Ralston Medouze, Give to Win social media marketing manager.

A website redesign is also in the works. TJ Harrison, Give to Win CTO, believes the key to expansion is through connecting online.

“The new Give to Win website will help us effectively extend our brand and continue to benefit more organizations.” The Give to Win team hopes these efforts will help build a strong core of local business and nonprofit partners.

“Atlanta’s human capital and dedicated communities both provide great support for startups,” said Give to Win COO, Jacob Parnell. “We’re expanding in this great city organically. It takes time, but making the biggest impact is worth the wait.”

Give to Win, in partnership with Trees Atlanta, will be planting trees in Adams Park Oct. 26 as part of its #ATLove campaign. Click here for more information.

Startup Roundup 10.1.2013

We know you’re busy running your startup. You don’t have time to search for all of the relevant content out there for entrepreneurs and small businesses. But we do. Each Tuesday, in Startup Roundup, we compile smart stuff we’ve seen. If we leave out something good, post a link at the bottom for others. This is a community, and Atlanta will keep thriving if we keep sharing.

Startup Atlanta’s new site. Startup Atlanta, a nonprofit that aims to expand and support the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, has launched a brand new website. The site offers startup news, resources and events. Find out more on Atlanta INtown.

Thought Leaders in Atlanta. Entrepreneur is hosting its Thought Leaders Live event in Atlanta on Nov. 6. The free event will focus on the “Mathematics of Social Marketing.” To find out more and register, click here.

Collab/Space Atlanta. PBS MediaShift’s Collab/Space workshop, a hands-on networking event for startups, is taking place in Atlanta Oct. 16 at the Atlanta Tech Village. Entrepreneurs from around the country will gather to discuss various startup topics. Among the presenting startups are Sacramento, CA’s AdGlue and Atlanta’s Flashissue. Read more on MediaShift.

Hype’s Tools of the Trade. Hypepotamus has launched a weekly series called Tools of the Trade, an inside look into what Atlanta techies tote around. This past week, coders at development shop DANIEL revealed their most-used apps and must-haves for a productive workstation. Read more at Hypepotamus.

Be a social media rock star. There are many ways to stand out on social media. While outstanding content is essential, how you express that content is even more crucial. For an infographic and more, click here.

Terry Allen on marketing, design and civic projects in the tech space

A twenty-year veteran of the design, development and marketing industries, Terry Allen recently joined Atlanta-based startup ShootProof as director of user experience. A formally trained product designer, he oversees the design and user experience of the online photo proofing service across all platforms. Allen is also co-founder of Govathon, local organizer for the Interaction Design Association, and chair of Random Hacks of Kindness Atlanta.


Terry Allen, director of user experience at ShootProof

In this edition of Startup Q&A, Allen discusses the state of the Atlanta tech scene, civic projects and the role of marketing in the startup world.

Tell us how you got started in the Atlanta tech scene.

Allen: I have always been involved in the local design community, beginning with my time at Georgia Tech in the early 1990s. After designing environmental, medical and hi-tech products, I was led to web design by the Internet boom. I learned basic HTML and began making websites for friends and small companies. However, my love for technology really took off when my team won top prize at the landmark Random Hacks of Kindness Atlanta hackathon, an event that aims to create tech solutions for challenges facing humanity on a local and global scale. The organization hosts hackathons, app competitions and more to create “technology for social good.” Participating in this event was a thrilling experience that quickly formed an addiction. In addition to organizing hackathons, I am active in the design community, spreading the idea of creating delightful experiences to build great brands.

Earlier this year you co-founded Govathon, an event that aims to better communities in Atlanta. Why do you find it valuable to spend time on civic projects?

Allen: Projects that work to solve big problems like food scarcity, government transparency, transit, medicine, disaster recovery and other issues are so important. We started Govathon to engage citizens to make a difference by being proactive. Watching the teams organically form to design, develop and create amazing, innovative technology was amazing to behold. This process builds lasting relationships that go on to strengthen the startup community, and results in products and companies that make Atlanta an even better place to be.

Your past roles include leading and directing roles in marketing and design. What role does design and marketing play in the tech scene?

Allen: Design and marketing are critical to the new tech space. Unlike a few years ago, it’s very common for founders and early employees to be designers, but now it’s mainstream. I think this is because customers are more sophisticated now, and that means companies must take the product experience and brand more seriously. The local tech scene has really exploded in the last year and with that a good deal of marketing and good PR for Atlanta. We are doing a better job of telling our stories, but still need to be careful not to create an echo chamber of all talk and no action. Lately there has been a push to connect Atlanta’s large enterprises with the startup community, as that is where much of the innovation is happening. If this is successful and sustained, this key differentiator has the potential to distinguish Atlanta in the long run.

What’s next? 

Allen: Hack for CF, a hackathon for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), takes place the weekend of Oct. 5. This unique event will bring together CF subject matter experts, designers, data scientists, technologists and others interested in furthering CF causes to make a difference.

Startup Roundup 9.24.13

We know you’re busy running your startup. You don’t have time to search for all of the relevant content out there for entrepreneurs and small businesses. But we do. Each Tuesday, in Startup Roundup, we compile smart stuff we’ve seen. If we leave out something good, post a link at the bottom for others. This is a community, and Atlanta will keep thriving if we keep sharing.

Atlanta in “The Big Apple. New York’s TEDCity2.0 anchor event took place Sept. 20, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed represented Atlanta on stage. He spoke about shaping the future of Georgia’a capital, one of the nation’s most diverse cities. Read more and catch his presentation on Midtown Patch.

(co)laboration in ATL. This weekend, The Woodruff Arts Center hosted “A Collaborative Leadership Summit,” (co)lab for short. The event focused on how the Southeast can attract and retain talent, foster innovation and more. During the summit, off-site gatherings — Salons — were held across Atlanta. Invest Atlanta’s director of business development, Dr. Eloisa Klementich, spoke on the Fostering Regional Collaboration and Innovation panel, hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Read more on the (co)lab summit website.

Startups hot in Hotlanta. Forbes has listed Atlanta among the “10 Hot Cities for Entrepreneurs.” Our city has been praised for its quality of life, local universities and cosmopolitan amenities — all of which have contributed to its “startup renaissance.” Read more on Forbes.

Millenials choosing entrepreneurship. Recent research by Rasmussen College suggests millenials are ditching corporate jobs for entrepreneurship. What is one of the top influential aspects? Freedom. Read more and check out the infographic on Entrepreneur.

Best of ATL. Govathon, Atlanta’s first city-run hackathon, has won Creative Loafing’s “Best Step To Becoming A Smarter City.” The landmark event brought together Atlanta’s finest to create technical solutions for issues such as transit, homelessness and crime. curbb, featured on Startup Stories, won third place. Read more on Creative Loafing.

TiE Atlanta: fostering entrepreneurship in Atlanta youth

Pitching a business idea to billionaires — that’s not something many 16-year-olds can put on their list of extracurricular activities. But, high school junior Divya Chawla did just that at the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) Global Program.

“TYE was the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had,” said Chawla. “I went from being a completely shy, introverted person to ‘I can go on stage and pitch to billionaires.’ It was incredible.”

Chawla was one of six Atlanta students who went to the TYE 2013 Global Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C. To get to that point, team members completed TYE’s seven-month program, created a business plan and won first place at TYECON Atlanta. As the winner of this annual pitching competition, the team went on to pitch its idea against teams from around the world.

Ashish Thakur, executive director of TiE Atlanta, guided the students from the birth of their business idea to their final presentation. “I’m passionate about this program because it gives students the chance to learn from mentors and understand the foundations of entrepreneurship,” said Thakur. “It’s very enlightening, and I learn so much from the students. I’ll probably be working for them someday!”

The team’s idea was a flameless, self-heating bag that can be used to provide warm food for people in need around the globe. Although this business plan didn’t win top prize at the global competition, the idea was so impressive that potential investors have since approached the students. The team is still working to turn its idea into a reality.

“We didn’t think that winning was important,” said Arsh Chopra, TYE Young Entrepreneur. “Our passion for our idea allowed us to network with entrepreneurs from all around the world, and that in itself was amazing. We’ve built wonderful relationships.”

Team Members: Murtaza Bambot, Rajan Bedi, Divya Chawla, Arsh Chopra, Anand Murugappan, Preet Shah

Startup Roundup 9.17.13

We know you’re busy running your startup. You don’t have time to search for all of the relevant content out there for entrepreneurs and small businesses. But we do. Each Tuesday, in Startup Roundup, we compile smart stuff we’ve seen. If we leave out something good, post a link at the bottom for others. This is a community, and Atlanta will keep thriving if we keep sharing.

TEDCity2.0. This week is a TEDCity2.0 celebration at Hypepotamus. Leading up to Friday’s simulcast of TEDCity2.0 featuring Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at Atlanta City Hall, the startup center is hosting daily events. Sept. 18, catch the Code Sharks Meetup at Hypepotamus, and find out what else is happening this week.

A history of startup success. Alan Dabbiere, chairman of Atlanta-based mobile management company AirWatch, has seen much success in Georgia’s capital. Dabbiere said his first company, Manhattan Associates, as well as AirWatch, would not have succeeded anywhere else in the country. Emory University, ATDC and the new AT&T Foundry are a few resources he mentioned is his Wall Street Journal article, “Alan Dabbiere: Startups and Southern Hospitality.”

Peachy-keen startup scene. Fueled, a mobile design and development company based in New York and London, has picked the top 10 hottest startup companies in Atlanta. Among those mentioned are Scoutmob, Socialvest, We&Co and MailChimp. According to Fueled, the low cost of living and topnotch universities make Atlanta prime for startup growth. Find out who else made the list on The Next Web.

Accelerators: help or hurt? Here in Atlanta, many accelerators aim to foster small businesses and entrepreneurial growth, including the Atlanta Tech Village and the Atlanta Ventures Accelerator. David Cummings wonders if places like these coddle entrepreneurs, or, if instant community outweighs the downsides. Read more on David Cummings on Startups.

Learn to be social. Social media is here to stay. For any small business, a social media presence is absolutely necessary. And, a thought-out plan must be implemented before introducing your company to Facebook and Twitter. Find out what you need to know before launching a social media marketing plan on Entrepreneur.

The Wall Street Journal: David Cummings on finding success in Atlanta

Atlanta ranks as one of the top 20 startup hubs in America, and Atlanta entrepreneur David Cummings knows why.

Atlanta’s deep roots in history, high concentration of Fortune 500 companies and Southern hospitality make it the prime location for startup activity. Cummings explains this in his recent Wall Street Journal article, “David Cummings: Finding Success in Atlanta.

“Atlanta might not be the first city that comes to mind to build a tech startup, but it’s the best in the country if you want to bootstrap your way to success due to the large number of Fortune 500 companies, access to talent, local capital, strong community and low cost of living,” said Cummings.

Atlanta’s student enrollment in universities is also a factor that makes Georgia’s capital great for entrepreneurs. Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia enrich and develop intelligent, creative individuals ready to contribute to the community.

Sweet tea and warm smiles make Atlanta a perfect startup hub, too. Cummings notes that Atlanta’s Southern hospitality, combined with a big city feel, has made way for the Atlanta BeltLine, Piedmont Park expansions and more. Companies grow in amenity-rich cities.

The Atlanta Tech Village, created by Cummings, along with Hypepotamus, ATDC and other resources have created a great sense of community for startups. “Atlanta has a vibrant, growing startup community,” said Cummings.

And, with all of the talent in Atlanta, it’s sure to continue expanding.