A first-of-its-kind partnership: 10 major Atlanta-based companies have announced the creation of a new venture, part VC fund, part accelerator, in partnership with Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Committee for Progress (ACP), Georgia Tech’s ATDC and Tech Square Ventures. Each company will provide $1.5 million to launch the fund, called Engage, which plans to start its first cohort in spring of 2017.
The participating companies are: AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot and UPS.
Engage will be based at ATDC in Tech Square and have access to the robust educational resources of what Forbes named as one of the “Top 12 Incubators Changing the World.” The fund will be managed by Tech Square Ventures Managing Partner Blake Patton, who also formerly served as the General Manager at ATDC.
“Engage highlights the best of the Atlanta technology ecosystem,” says Patton. “ I don’t know anywhere else that you could bring together this kind of group of forward thinking leading corporations and a world class university with the vision and dedication to driving innovation and providing entrepreneurs this kind of unparalleled access to capital, mentoring, education, and resources.”
Along with funding, each company will provide mentors, insights, and access to executives for the startup founders in the program.
“I’m excited about Engage because it’s a great example of how Atlanta works together for the greater good,” said John Dyer, chair of the ACP and president and CEO of Cox Enterprises. “We have world class universities, collaborative civic organizations and industry-leading corporations. Through Engage, we’re all coming together to bring high-tech startups to our region and show why Atlanta is a great place for innovation.”
Engage was first initiated by Mayor Reed after a visit to Silicon Valley, where he recognized a need for entrepreneurial support in Atlanta and the Southeast.
“Atlanta is the Southeast’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship capital, with the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country,” said Mayor Reed. “We must take advantage of these unique assets to further stimulate our growing ecosystem of start-ups and growth-stage companies, connecting them to capital, talent and mentorship. This new venture fund and accelerator program will offer an unmatched opportunity for entrepreneurs in Atlanta and the region, and I am confident its success will lead to greater interest and investment in our emerging technology companies.”
Engage will begin accepting applications for its first cohort early this year. The companies do not need to be from Atlanta, but will need to be located here for the duration of the program.