Startup Incubators and Accelerator Programs in Atlanta
Within the dynamic startup ecosystem of Atlanta, several prominent incubators and accelerators have established their presence to empower and propel early-stage ventures toward success.
By providing a conducive environment for startups to grow, learn, and refine their business models, these incubators and accelerators play a vital role in fostering innovation and driving economic growth in the region.
Founded in 2014 with the support of the Georgia Institute of Technology and seed gifts from alumni donor Chris Klaus and the Marcus Foundation, Create-X identifies visionary ideas and turns them into viable realities. This transformative accelerator has played a significant role in shaping the entrepreneurial landscape at Georgia Tech, leaving an indelible mark on the university's history.
Create-X emerged from the inherent belief that motivated students have the potential to revolutionize industries through their ingenuity and dedication. It was born out of the desire to empower budding entrepreneurs, providing them with the necessary resources and guidance to turn blossoming ideas into thriving ventures. Create-X has consequently positioned itself as a haven for the dreamers, the doers, and the fearless innovators within the Georgia Tech community.
Create-X is set apart by its comprehensive and immersive program that equips participants with the knowledge, skills, and connections required to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape successfully. The program operates on a well-defined timeline, typically spanning a summer, where aspiring entrepreneurs undergo a transformative journey. Through a carefully curated blend of coursework, mentorship, and experiential learning, participants are exposed to the multifaceted aspects of entrepreneurship, ranging from ideation and business development to market validation and investor pitching.
Create-X boasts an impressive industry focus, recognizing the diversity and scope of entrepreneurial energy. From technology to healthcare and social impact to just about any other sector, the program accommodates a wide range of interests. By leveraging the expertise and networks of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry leaders, Create-X ensures that participants receive sector-specific guidance and support tailored to their ventures.
Over the years, Create-X has nurtured and launched numerous remarkable startups, cementing its status as a breeding ground for exceptional talent. Among its notable portfolio companies are Black Medical Inc., Augment Health, and Block Transfer, among several others.
2. Atlanta Ventures
David Cummings, the founder of Atlanta Ventures, started his entrepreneurial journey as a college student, operating from a dorm room that doubled as an office. While studying at Duke University, he laid the foundation for his first venture – Hannon Hill. A professor's astute insight and belief in his potential led to a $20,000 investment, propelling his dorm room enterprise into a thriving technology company that remains profitable to this day. Despite weathering the storm of the dot-com crash, David steered Hannon Hill to growth and eventually relocated it to Atlanta upon graduating.
Following Hannon Hill's recognition as one of Atlanta's fastest-growing companies, David reunited with a former Duke classmate, Adam Blitzer, during a local community event. Together, they co-founded Pardot in 2007. Navigating the dynamic landscape of Marketing Automation, they successfully pivoted the business, leading to its acquisition by ExactTarget/Salesforce.com in 2012 – a momentous deal amounting to $95 million.
Soon after, David's vision of revitalizing a building in Atlanta exclusively dedicated to supporting startups became a reality. He acquired what is now known as the Atlanta Tech Village, situated in the bustling heart of Buckhead. This vibrant tech hub has grown to become the fourth largest in the country, housing over 300 startups that thrive within its walls.
Atlanta Ventures was driven by a singular purpose: to serve entrepreneurs. This mission is fulfilled through the intentional cultivation of a supportive community, providing entrepreneurs with educational resources, tools, and the capital necessary to elevate their ventures to new heights.
Notable portfolio companies include Adpipe, Greenprint, Hazlnut, Infinite Giving, and Musical Overture. Industries include technology, healthcare, and finance in the SaaS arena. Thus far, Atlanta Ventures has raised a total of $2.6M in one fund.
3. Goodie Nation
For diverse business minds and social entrepreneurs who have graduated from accelerators, Goodie Nation is a community for post-accelerator support bolstered by investors, experts, and companies that champion their cause.
Goodie Nation recognizes the vital role of a strong support network in the entrepreneurial journey and understands the disparities in access and opportunity that can be obstacles for social entrepreneurs.
Goodie Nation’s primary mission is to bridge the relationship gap that hampers progress for many promising entrepreneurs, particularly for people of color, women, or residents outside the coastal financial hubs. By ensuring that every entrepreneur, regardless of their background or geographical location, can access the essential relationships they need to thrive, Goodie Nation paves the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.
With 527 active founders supported by a network of 1,200 experts who offer their knowledge and guidance, Goodie Nation’s impact is already being widely seen. An impressive 3,000 warm introductions have been facilitated through the program, connecting entrepreneurs to valuable opportunities.
The collective efforts of Goodie Nation have resulted in an astounding $40 million raised or awarded in capital. Notable portfolio companies includeSpeakalytics, i-Subz, and Mini.
4. Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator powered by Techstars
Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator, powered by Techstars, supports for-profit companies that make a positive impact on underrepresented groups, underserved communities, and environmental sustainability.
The accelerator funds all types of startups in most verticals, using any type of business model. accelerator or incubator’s history. Techstars is run by entrepreneurs who value learning, networking, and mentoring.
The Techstars program provides entrepreneurs with a solid start and greatly improves their chances for success and sustainability. The fund provides support through strategy, finding more investors, and generally helping business owners create a more seamless entrepreneurial journey.
Techstars primarily invests at the accelerator stage and also has a dedicated follow-on fund to continue to invest in portfolio companies as they grow. The accelerator makes a first investment of up to $120,000 in each company at the time of the accelerator program: a $20,000 equity investment for the right to 6% in common shares and an optional $100,000 convertible note.
Techstars will also receive 6% of the Token Reserve if a company is conducting a Network Launch using distributed ledger technology (an ICO, SAFT, token event, etc.). A description of its standard deal term
Notable portfolio companies include 14bis Supply Tracking, AAZUR Berlin, Answers Now, and Zuri Fertility.
5. Invest Atlanta
Invest Atlanta handpicks women entrepreneurs who are given an opportunity to incubate their businesses through the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), an advanced technological environment aimed at promoting business growth and sustainability.
Over 15 months, entrepreneurs gain access to educational resources, funding assistance, and mentorship within an ecosystem provided by WEI. At the end of the incubation period, the businesses transition back into Atlanta.
The tools offered by WEI include the use of an innovative workspace as a business incubator, guidance from a network of expert mentors and consultants, refinement of business plans, strategic marketing and branding development, targeted financial education, legal advice and planning assistance, and metrics to measure business growth and progress. Post-transition support is provided to reinforce the long-term success of the businesses within the community.
The application process for entry into the WEI incubator is highly competitive and rigorous, ensuring a selection from a pool of highly qualified candidates. In addition to assessing the scalability, investability, and sustainability of the business models, WEI Atlanta considers specific qualities of women entrepreneurs. These include their passion, focus, and demonstration of running purpose-driven businesses, alignment with Atlanta's commitment to diversity, inclusion, integrity, and professional excellence, and openness and enthusiasm towards coaching, mentoring, and constructive feedback.
Although the entry criteria for the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative may evolve, the baseline criteria used for selecting the 2016-2017 participants remain relevant. The criteria include being a woman-owned business based in and licensed to do business within the City of Atlanta, having a business maturity of at least two years or a total profit from the business of $30,000, and employing one to five individuals.
6. Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech
Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech operates as a hub for sourcing, funding, and accelerating the most innovative startups globally, with a specific focus on revolutionizing the sports industry. Recognizing the transformative potential of technology in shaping the way we engage with sports, the program actively invests in and nurtures the next generation of sports technology.
Understanding the intricacies of the sports industry, which encompasses a wide range of stakeholders such as brands, leagues, media distributors, broadcasters, and teams, Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech ensures that selected entrepreneurs receive comprehensive support. To facilitate their success, a handpicked team of top-tier advisors and experts, who are deeply passionate about fostering innovation, are made available to guide the startups on their journey.
One of the key advantages for participating startups is the unparalleled access they gain to influential decision-makers and leaders within the sports industry. Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech's partner consortium includes renowned sports brands such as NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Comcast Spectacor, and Golf, alongside esteemed organizations like NASCAR, WWE, PGA TOUR, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, USA Swimming, and USA Cycling. This broad network empowers startups with invaluable connections, industry insights, and potential collaboration opportunities.
By bridging the gap between emerging sports technology startups and established industry giants, Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech seeks to propel innovation forward and reshape the way sports are experienced. Through strategic investments, mentorship, and access to a powerful network, the program aims to facilitate the growth and success of these startups, ultimately revolutionizing the sports landscape.
Notable portfolio companies include Aircast, Fanfest, Rivalry, and Rizzarr.
7. Comcast NBCUniversal The Farm Accelerator
Comcast NBCUniversal The Farm Accelerator plays an essential role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurial growth in Atlanta. Built on a rich history of supporting startups, the program offers a unique blend of resources, mentorship, and industry expertise to empower entrepreneurs. With a focus on sports media, technology, and connectivity, The Farm accelerator nurtures disruptive ideas that reshape the industry at large.
The program at The Farm offers a comprehensive 12-week accelerator experience where selected startups gain access to invaluable resources and support. Entrepreneurs are guided on refining their business models, developing scalable products, and gaining market traction.
To be considered for The Farm Accelerator, startups must undergo a rigorous application process. The application typically includes submitting a detailed business plan, showcasing the team's capabilities, and outlining the market opportunity. The Farm accelerator's selection committee evaluates these applications, looking for innovative ideas with high growth potential and a strong fit within their industry focus.
The accelerator is backed by the resources and expertise of media powerhouse Comcast NBCUniversal, a renowned global media and technology company. So, the accelerator is well-equipped to provide support and potentially invest in promising startups.
The Farm accelerator boasts an impressive portfolio of notable companies, including Civic Eagle, Divvi, Last Bottle Clothing, and Smart Tones Media.
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is Georgia's foremost technology business incubator, providing assistance to entrepreneurs statewide. With a distinctive blend of coaching, curriculum, community, and connections, ATDC goes beyond its affiliation with Georgia Tech to provide entrepreneurs access to vital resources, including capital and customers.
ATDC helps entrepreneurs navigate the pitfalls of transforming an idea into a working product prototype that is ultimately ready to launch.
Entrepreneurs – both in the early idea stages or with functional prototypes in hand – can join ATDC as “Educate” members. This unlocks access to a comprehensive curriculum and expert coaching, establishing a solid foundation for startup success.
Entrepreneurs at this stage typically define their value proposition, identify their target market, and work toward building a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). ATDC Educate membership welcomes entrepreneurs from across Georgia, fostering a supportive environment conducive to growth and innovation.
The ATDC portfolio comprises Accelerate and Signature members. Accelerate members have usually attained an MVP or are in the beta testing phase, actively acquiring initial customers and refining their business models.
Signature members, on the other hand, demonstrate significant progress by attracting more customers, expanding their workforce, raising venture funding, and acquiring the essential knowledge to scale their businesses effectively.
Startups looking to become ATDC Accelerate or ATDC Signature companies can submit applications throughout the year. Applications undergo a stringent evaluation process conducted by the ATDC team.