The Advanced Technology Development Center, a technology incubator run by the Georgia Institute of Technology, is launching a new $1 million retail-focused initiative for entrepreneurs, ATDC announced at its recent 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase.
The ATDC Retail Program is being financed with a $1 million gift from the Atlanta-based Mookerji Foundation, and is intended to fully fund the retail technology startup initiative for the next five years, and support a retail technology expert who will serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor the startups and offer expertise relating to the field of entrepreneurship.
“The retail landscape has undergone a tumultuous shift in the last few years and retailers — from the national chains and department stores to the mom and pop shops on Main Street — are all looking for innovative technologies that help them remain competitive, stay engaged with their customers, and improve the bottom line,” Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC general manager, said in a statement.
There are now quite a few startup technology incubators and accelerators aimed at speeding the evolution of retail technology. In addition to the ATDC Retail Program, there is Target + Techstars, Wal-Mart's Store No. 8 , and Amazon's Alexa-focused accelerator, among others. And that doesn't even count individual retailer innovation labs and industry innovations centers, many of which work with technology startups in one way or another.
But, retail can use all the help it can get, from whomever is willing to deliver it, and Georgia Tech and the ATDC, which actually was started under a directive of the Georgia state government almost 40 years ago, are pretty viable candidates to do just that. In fact, the ATDC could be called the grandfather of tech incubators, as it has been around much for much longer than all of the other retail tech incubators and accelerators mentioned above combined, Georgia Tech itself also claims to be "the nation's leading producer of engineers."
This new initiative is the second of its kind for ATDC. In March 2015, Worldpay US, a global payments technology and services company, made a $1 million gift to Georgia Tech, which used the funds to launch a FinTech program at ATDC. Since its launch, that effort has reached more than 350 entrepreneurs across the state of Georgia, including 17 FinTech startups in the ATDC Signature and ATDC Accelerate portfolios. To date, those companies in both Signature and Accelerate have raised more than $34 million in outside funding.
That's pretty clear evidence of the success of ATDC programs, which are able to help tech startups get out of the lab and into the next phases of their evolutions.