A new startup growth engine has entered the Atlanta ecosystem, spearheaded by an impressive roster of Atlanta’s corporate giants and technology leaders. Global entrepreneur catalyst program Endeavor announced that Atlanta will be the site of its fourth U.S. office, following Detroit, Louisville, and Miami.
The Endeavor program helps a region’s startup ecosystem not only expand in size, but in long-term sustainability. In order to enter a market, the program requires the region to see a critical mass of entrepreneurs, as well as 5-10 local business leaders willing to contribute resources.
Endeavor Atlanta certainly has that support— along with seed funding provided by innovation catalyst Cox Enterprises, the founding board brings a wealth of experience across a range of industries. Co-chaired by WebMD and Sharecare Founder Jeff Arnold and PGi Founder Boland T. Jones, the board also includes Neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent for CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chik-fil-A, Inc. VP of Community Affairs and Foundation Executive Director Rodney Bullard, Cox Enterprises Senior VP of Corporate Strategy and Investments Duncan O’Brien, H.J. Russell & Company President and Chief Operating Officer H. Jerome Russell, Rubicon Global and QuarterMoore Founder Lane Moore, and Atlanta Ventures CEO David Cummings.
“Each of us on the Endeavor Atlanta board has experienced firsthand the wealth of talent and resources our city offers, and we are committed to paying that forward by investing in Atlanta’s entrepreneurial future,” says Arnold. “Our city has grown into a hotspot for high-growth companies — and the entrepreneurs that build them – and establishing Endeavor Atlanta will create opportunities for even more innovators, more ideas and more industries.”
Endeavor joins the ranks of several relatively new corporate-supported startup programs in Atlanta including the Engage Fund and the Coca-Cola BridgeCommunity Commercialization program, which is now in the midst of recruiting its second class of startups.
“It’s an exciting time for us as big brands in Atlanta because of the easy access we have to innovation, to the partnerships, to the startups,” O’Brien from Cox said at a SXSW panel highlighting corporate innovation this past week. “I definitely think Cox has a history of being entrepreneurial — throughout the history of the company there have been a number of startup programs and entrepreneurial innovations.
The Endeavor Atlanta office will be run by Aaron Hurst, a former vice president at global HR management technology company Ceridian. Endeavor Atlanta has not yet announced when it will begin recruiting companies for the first program class. Stay up-to-date on the program’s website.