Our community embraces this power of collision. That’s what’s unique to Atlanta. The collision of capital, corporate, startups, entrepreneurs, technologists, futurists and creatives and next-gen talent has changed how we work. And we’re seeing chain reaction after chain reaction.
October was a great case in point, showcasing the innovation in Atlanta: the A3C Festival and Conference has been a collider of music, tech and film in the region for the past 15 years. Venture Atlanta is the top venture capital conference for the entire Southeast, locating the next big innovations and raising $4 billion in the process. The Atlanta Startup Battle, started by serial entrepreneur and investor Dr. Paul Judge, awards $100,000 in investment to startups at multiple points throughout the year with a pitch day event that has become a must-attend date for an entire ecosystem. And then there is Engage Ventures – what I believe to be the best example of corporate/startup collaboration in the U.S. because it engages from both sides. Engage is a fund backed by 11 major corporations around Atlanta, and 45 signed corporate contracts in the past year and a half speaks to the success obtained there.
All in all, these events and a multitude of others spanned our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem over a two-week period in October, showcasing the collisions happening daily in metro Atlanta – it’s just how we do things.
We began October talking and startups and appropriately ended talking about scale-up. We announced new companies joining the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Backed by ATL program, dedicated to connecting middle-market companies to resources and the broader business community. CulturaLink, NOW Corp, Revenue Analytics, Trella Health and The Gathering Spot are driving the innovation ecosystem in a critical way that adds to the economy of metro Atlanta. They will join other companies in the program that have raised nearly $1 billion in capital and created 3,000 jobs in this region.
This example and others that showcase collaboration across industries and across organizations in our 29-county region, and even outside of it, have resulted in an intentional approach that is leveraging our region’s unique assets: diversity of industry, multigenerational and multicultural talent, and the creative culture of Atlanta itself. Here, these things collide daily to create an energy and momentum that are palpable. More important, the result is Atlanta as a thriving cluster of innovation and entrepreneurship that is unrivaled.
Alex Gonzalez is chief innovation officer, Metro Atlanta Chamber.