Marietta’s IgniteHQ startup incubator is opening several “innovation labs” for entrepreneurs or would-be founders in specific industries. Two labs, one focused on blo’ckchain/cryptoeconomics and one on social impact startups, are now open, with a third for ‘highly-scalable non-tech companies coming soon.
The labs are intended to provide support and connections in areas where the IgniteHQ team both has expertise and feels are underserved in the Southeast, IgniteHQ President and CEO Mark Hubbard tells Hypepotamus.
Hubbard has grown IgniteHQ to be much more than a co-working space or basic incubator. His CurateForUs funding initiative connects founders to $4.5 billion of hedge fund, family office, venture and private equity capital. Partnerships with Kennesaw State University help IgniteHQ startups find talent and student founders gain resources. And a partnership with India-based accelerator Commence Mint helps expose startups to international markets.
Hubbard foresees the labs as being a place for multiple stakeholders within these industries to collaborate, including startups, agencies, service providers, investors and corporations.
“IgniteHQ already has strong relationships with pioneers and leaders in both Social Impact and Blockchain/Crypto, and we want to leverage those resources to serve the entrepreneurs, innovators, and enterprises of the state of Georgia,” Alfredo Narez, IgniteHQ Advisor in Residence, said in a statement.
The labs will be both in-person and virtually-based, accessible at IgniteHQ, its partner innovation centers across the state of Georgia, and in an online community group format. Though Hubbard says they are still shaping exactly what that community looks like, he’s confident in their connections with experts in these areas both in Georgia and across the country.
Blockchain continues to barrel into the mainstream. While ICOs still remain the funding method of choice for blockchain entrepreneurs, traditional capital is increasingly cashing in — equity deals in these startups set records in 2017. IgniteHQ’s lab aims to advise and create more of those deals.
Meanwhile, social impact investing’s profile is also rising. A social impact company is a for-profit entity that has a mission to do good in addition to making money — that could be in public health, environmental causes, social justice or another field. According to the Global Impact Investment Network’s (GIIN) 2018 figures, the market is growing robustly.
In regards to the third lab, focused on what Hubbard calls ‘high-scale, non-tech companies’, IgniteHQ wants to provide resources where traditional technology incubators don’t. Think of the many consumer-facing, non-tech industries where investors still stand to make a nice return: clothing, home goods, non-tech-enabled services and more.
Hubbard is currently working to solidify corporate partners for each of the labs. Find out more and apply for an IgniteHQ lab here.
Photos provided by IgniteHQ