The Coca-Cola BridgeCommunity, an Atlanta-based startup commercialization program that matches young companies with corporate partners to generate pilots and contracts, has selected its third cohort of startups. 11 companies will join the program to connect with Coca-Cola, Capgemini, Cox Enterprises, MailChimp, Porsche Financial Services and SunTrust Bank.
“In order for Coca-Cola to drive a total beverage company, it is important for us to be curious and constantly innovate the way we think, plan, and execute. With the Atlanta BridgeCommunity, we have the opportunity to be curious in our own backyard,” says Noa Davidson, The Bridge Program Manager at Coca-Cola.
BridgeCommunity targets early or growth stage technology startups that can help the corporate members solve business pain points. Rather than providing funding and taking equity, the program provides founders with tactical training, mentorship and direct connection to decision-makers at enterprises to help accelerate their business.
MailChimp is a new member of the program this year. VP of Operations Joe Uhl says the company is looking forward to being a part of the innovation process.
“By joining the BridgeCommunity’s 2018 cohort, MailChimp is able to better support startup innovation through revenue and pilots in a way that offers Atlanta businesses an alternative method to grow,” says Uhl. “We appreciate being able to invest in the Atlanta tech community with the BridgeCommunity and the other companies involved.”
The program has proven itself effective on both sides: during last year’s program, the 22 startups participating hired 54 total new employees, raised over $5 million in venture capital funding, and increased month over month revenue by 57 percent on average.
This year, the BridgeCommunity team decided to cut the number of participating startups in half to better pair each with relevant corporate partners.
Carie Davis, executive director of The BridgeCommunity, explains how the “white glove” selection process began, not with the startups, but with the corporations. The BridgeCommunity team conducted in-depth interviews with business team leaders in each of the six member companies to identify what their problems and challenges were.
“This tailored approach helps corporations achieve first-mover advantage and increased competitiveness in the market while avoiding the risks and costs associated with building new technology solutions from scratch,” Davis says.
Several of this year’s startups use artificial intelligence to improve business processes. Other technologies include digital health, voice analysis and data analytics.
While the startups do not need to be based in Atlanta, seven are from the Southeast — five from Georgia and two from Tennessee.
“Pass It Down is excited to join BridgeCommunity because it is an incredible chance to work with some of the best corporations in the world,” says Chris Cummings, founder and CEO of Chattanooga-based Pass It Down. The digital storytelling platform allows cities and companies to share individual stories and save them for posterity. “Our team is thankful to the participating corporate members, BridgeCommunity, and the city of Atlanta for this opportunity,” he says.
The six-month program kicked off this week and will conclude with a corporate innovation showcase event in October.
“Implementing pilots of our technology with such established companies will give our company the credibility we need to then gain traction with other Fortune 500 companies and really grow our business,” says Doll Avant, founder of Aquagenuity. The Harvard-educated data scientist has developed a water quality analysis platform that helps companies determine the health of their water sources.
“We’re thrilled about what’s ahead for Aquagenuity.”
Check out the full list of BridgeCommunity startups below:
Aquagenuity (Atlanta, GA) provides easy access to real-time water quality data
BigTeam (Atlanta, GA) brings seamless feedback to companies and networks
Evisort (Boston, MA) is artificial intelligence for contracts
Filtered.Ai (Boston, MA) is a platform to hire technical talent on ability not on resumes
fyiio (Omaha, NE) is a tutorial management platform for creating guides that work
Graph Story (Memphis, TN) offers graph databases as a service
Inspector 6 (Atlanta, GA) is an AI-powered brand analytics tool
MoQuality (Atlanta, GA) is a self-learning artificial intelligence that tests mobile apps better than humans
NeuroLex (Atlanta, GA) empowers patients with tools to measure their overall health through collecting and analyzing speech samples
Pass It Down (Chattanooga, TN) is a digital storytelling platform innovating how cities tell their story
Sidewalk (Chicago, IL) helps tech companies and lifestyle brands close more sales to SMBs
Photos provided by BridgeCommunity