Techstars Atlanta’s accelerator program, brought to the city in 2016 with support from Cox Enterprises, is announcing its fourth cohort today. These ten startups will spend the next three months heads down on building their businesses, with the help of mentors, resources, and a capital infusion.
This is the first cohort for Techstars Atlanta Managing Director Dave Payne, who took over direction of the program this year. Payne tells Hypepotamus that he decided to concentrate on recruiting startups from the Southeast, hoping to prove out a thesis that the region had great potential for high-growth companies.
The cohort certainly displays this focus, including entrepreneurs drawn to Atlanta from across the Southeast, from Florida to Louisiana to the Carolinas. Only two companies are not originally from the region.
To garner interest and applications, Payne traveled to 10 cities and met with hundreds of founders.
“I spent multiple days in every town, and I think that was a really important part of this,” says Payne. His legwork resulted in hundreds of applications and a competitive 2.5 percent acceptance rate for the final class.
Beyond the geographic focus, the cohort is fairly diverse, says Payne. Four out of the ten companies are founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs (people of color and/or women).
The companies also represent a wide range of industries, from e-commerce to real estate to marketing technology.
One overarching theme, Payne notes, is that a majority of the entrepreneurs are tackling problems that help real people address real pain points within their jobs. Rather than the generic “future of work” category, many of these companies help people with work as it looks today.
Coworks, for example, is a Raleigh, NC-based software company that helps co-working owners and employees manage their members and operations. It’s used at Switchyards, the Atlanta-based co-working space and members club that Payne co-founded.
RentCheck, a New Orleans startup, allows landlords to standardize the move-in/move-out inspection process for new and exiting tenants. The app brings transparency to often-obtuse security deposit returns.
“One of the reasons I like [these companies] is that I like introducing small solutions into real, maybe even niche, problems,” says Payne. “Then they can get this hyper-niche dedicated audience and expand from there.”
Though it’s an “impossible measure,” according to Payne, to try to measure the potential of startups this early in their lifecycle, he says he paid close attention to the dedication, passion, and “heart” of the founding teams.
While undergoing the accelerator, the companies will reside in Atlanta and work out of Techstars Ponce City Market office. They begin the program with ‘mentor madness’, a week-long sprint (1,000 hours in total) meeting with and learning from subject matter experts.
Along with Payne, new Program Manager Hannah Turner and four Associates will assist the startup teams through the curriculum. Payne and Turner recruited several highly-specific Associates this year, including a Fundraising Associate and Market Research Associate.
Techstars Atlanta will conclude with a public Demo Day on October 15.
Meet the startups
Bundl (Santa Rosa Beach, FL): A marketplace and platform for resale boutiques, consignment stores and individual sellers to connect to buyers all over the world.
Coworks (Raleigh, NC): Software that allows operators of flexible workspace/innovation hubs with what they need to better manage their members and spaces through data, automation, and member engagement.
DwellSocial (Chicago, IL): A platform that helps you take better care of your home by aggregating demand for seasonal home projects and services, sourcing professional referrals from users and group members, and leveraging the power of your group to negotiate competitive bids with group discounts.
Eletype (Atlanta, GA): A marketing operations platform enabling marketing teams to quickly respond to issues and opportunities in their campaigns and across their MarTech stack.
MaxRewards (Atlanta, GA): An app that helps consumers discover their best wallet, manage their credit cards, and maximize their rewards.
Meeter (Tysons Corner, VA): A community events platform that bridges event engagement into giving success.
RentCheck (New Orleans, LA): A mobile app that standardizes move-in and move-out inspections between renters and landlords by providing a guided walkthrough, bringing transparency and accountability to the security deposit deduction process.
StreetMetrics (Birmingham, AL): Uses location data to help brands tell better stories both online and in the real world by providing third party media measurement and insights for vehicle advertising.
Talented (Durham, NC): A mobile-first web platform and creative studio that converts creator’s professional development content into gamified micro-courses that drive real world action, growth, and impact.
WeStock (Fort Lee, NJ): A crowdstocking platform that lets shoppers request products at their local retailer, turning those requests into actionable data sets for brands and retailers to expedite product placement. WeStock then notifies and rewards the customer when the product hits the shelf.