Global financial firm Goldman Sachs has joined as the newest partner in Atlanta’s Engage, the venture capital fund that serves as the largest group of corporate investors in one fund. This makes 11 companies, along with state-funded institutional investor Invest Georgia, that have contributed a total of $18 million to Engage.
Engage has invested in 16 startups from around the country thus far in two cohorts. The second cohort began the program, which runs for three months, in March. Startups receive capital, mentorship and education administered through Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator, and direct access to the corporate partners’ executive teams.
That team now includes Dave Dase, head of Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division’s Southeast Region, who is joining Engage’s Board of Directors.
“Engage is a unique model for a fund and accelerator because it allows an impressive group of corporations to lend their talent and resources to entrepreneurs in order to help them drive strategy and growth,” said Dase in a statement. “Goldman Sachs is committed to the Southeast, and to Atlanta, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in the entrepreneurial community is such a meaningful way.”
Dase has been leading Goldman’s efforts to put down more roots in the Atlanta market, part of an initiative announced in 2016 to de-centralize operations from solely the major financial hubs with boots on the ground in regional centers in Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, and Toronto.
Dase moved to the city to lead that initiative, Business Insider reported. Part of his role involved integrating the firm into the business scene, not only on the corporate side, but also with growing companies.
“Over the past year we have invested our time and focus into meeting companies and individuals who are influential members of the local business community, many of whom are also active within the startup ecosystem,” explains a Goldman Sachs spokesperson. “Our commitment to the startup community is evident through our investment in Engage, as well as our ongoing participation in the growth accelerator. We hope to continue to build relationships with local entrepreneurs and look for opportunities to make additional contributions.”
This new position with Engage will connect them directly to Atlanta’s thriving startup scene.
Engage was instituted as a joint project by the City of Atlanta, Georgia Tech, and Tech Square Ventures, which manages the fund. Its intention is to not only provide capital for startups, but quickly generate the pilots and contracts that young companies need to scale.
According to Thiago Olson, Engage’s Managing Director, as of last month the first cohort had generated 24 signed contracts and raised about $18 million total in follow-on funding.
The fund is industry-agnostic and has selected a wide range of emerging technologies for its portfolio, including startups exploring artificial intelligence, Adtech, fintech, blockchain, autonomous flight, and IoT services.
“Our portfolio companies will benefit from the deep market insights and support that Goldman Sachs brings to the table. This fits in perfectly with our increasing ability to help our startups scale as they enter later growth stages,” says Olson.
“Since its inception a little over one year ago, Engage is already having an impact on the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta and across the country,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson in a statement.