Program Outreach in the Atlanta Community

The BridgeCommunity Outreach Program is seeding the next set of future technology startups. By supplying technical, business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy training, the program is encouraging the creation of startup companies and promoting intrapreneurship in Atlanta communities that have traditionally been overlooked when growing and searching for skilled technical talent. Anthony Newstead, Co-Founder of Atlanta BridgeCommunity, and Valarie W. Mackey, Founder of WrightNow Solutions, coalesced the local nonprofit sector and BridgeCommunity member companies to create three Future Entrepreneurship Programs in 2017: “I am so proud of what all the students have achieved during these courses. It has been incredibly rewarding to see them all grow and develop through our time together and I hope and believe we are seeing the next set of future Atlanta entrepreneurs in the making. I also want to thank our corporate members, our startups, CapTech, TAG-ED, Year Up, PowerMylearning, all our volunteers and of course our Outreach Lead, Valarie Mackey, all who collectively breathed life into this initiative, provided the resources and the passion to make this happen. This was truly a community effort that I am honored to be a part of.  I look forward to continuing the journey together.” – Anthony Newstead Global Group Director, Emerging Technology & Strategic Innovation, Co-Founder Atlanta BridgeCommunity   The High School Future Entrepreneurship Program is a four-week summer coding camp focused on front and backend web design and development, app design, 3D printing and graphical interface design, open to any 10th– 12th grade student attending a Title 1 Atlanta Public School. Non-profit organizations, Technology Association of Georgia – Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) and SteamSport, facilitated the summer...

The BridgeCommunity Halo Effect

The BridgeCommunity is laser-focused on building relationships between corporations and startups. We measure our immediate success by the number of pilots, proofs of concept and licensing deals that close during the 6 months of our program. But our program creates momentum beyond pilots. Since April 2017 the BridgeCommunity’s 2017 startup cohort collectively: Hired 54 new employees Raised over $5M in venture capital funding Increased month over month revenue by 57%* *Four pre-revenue startups that reached revenue during the program are not included due to their infinite growth rate Here are some other accomplishments and recognition our  2017 startup cohort received during their time in this year’s program: Cinamaker Inc. announced the launch of their private beta program for the Cinamaker Director Pad at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas. Cybraics won “Best of Ballston” for Most Innovative Company, the TAG SSA “Emerging Mega Trends” Impact award, and most innovative tech company in South Florida. They were also selected as one of Atlanta’s “Best and Brightest Companies to work for,” and Cybraics Board Chair, Jamie Dos Santos, was recognized as a South Florida influential businesswoman for 2017. The team also collaborated on a machine learning approach to cybersecurity that earned a bronze Edison award. Dream Agility was named one of only 35 official approved global Google Shopping Partners. Out of the top 10 SEM’s in the UK, they have been either number 1, or in the top 5, every month for 12 months – with growth nearly 300% more than the average of the top 10 SEM’s in the UK.  Dream Agility has expanded their reach from 6...

Coca-Cola Pilots with Reply.ai to Drive Consumer Engagement in sub-Saharan Africa

Reply.ai, the AI-powered customer experience platform, has landed a pilot with Coca-Cola during their participation in the Atlanta BridgeCommunity program. The startup enables businesses to scale personalized, 1:1 communication with their customers across messaging and voice channels, in any market or language, all while maintaining the highest security standards. Reply.ai works with Samsung, Kia, and Ryanair to facilitate their B2C communication via chatbots and is the only startup to make Forrester Research’s ranking of “Top 10 Chatbots for Enterprise Customer Support.” Reply.ai became aware of the BridgeCommunity through an accelerator in the commercialization program’s referral network. Co-founder, Clara de Soto, joined the BridgeCommunity to expand her startup’s corporate network and put a framework around the corporate sales cycle Reply.ai was navigating on their own.   The workshops and toolkit the BridgeCommunity provided gave us a concrete look into the best way to get into enterprises, build a pilot, work through KPI’s and move into an agreement. We finally saw the process in black and white. – Clara de Soto, Co-founder, Reply.ai             In the BridgeCommunity’s Connect Days, each startup meets with interested corporation participants on their home turf to discuss piloting opportunities. Reply.ai’s meetings with Coca-Cola sparked immediate internal interest. Word spread that a bot startup had been hand selected to work with the company. When Coca-Cola’s West Africa Business Unit circulated they were looking to start a consumer engagement bot initiative, Reply.ai surfaced as an obvious option given their participation in the BridgeCommunity. Our Corporate Connect Days were some of the best corporate meetings that we’ve ever had. It was clear all of...

Pivot Story: How One BridgeCommunity Startup Found a Bigger Problem to Solve

A startup in our current cohort is pivoting after a big opportunity revealed itself during a discussion with The Weather Company, a BridgeCommunity corporate member. Convergent’s initial focus on rapid application prototyping in the cloud created a lot of initial interest from business leadership and first meetings, but tended to stall when IT people were brought in. But Tyler Johnson, Convergent’s CEO, realized there was a disconnect. Convergent’s main offering was essentially improving overall business agility. This sparked interest in business leadership, but not IT – the ones with budgets for technology, looking to solve narrow technical problems and more urgent issues. Influencing organizational and budgetary issues within large enterprises as part of the sales process is simply too challenging for a startup. Tyler realized Convergent needed to pivot to a narrower, more clearly defined solution. Convergent’s conversation with The Weather Company, brokered through the BridgeCommunity, shed light on what that clearly defined solution could be. The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is giving Convergent a “hair-on-fire” corporate problem to tackle. With just 10 months before the enforcement date, this new European Union data privacy law is critical for every company with EU customers, as they will be liable for stiff new penalties of up to 4% of their global revenue. By attaching policies and metadata to customer data, Convergent’s technology will now enable automation of data governance with policies driven by permissible use, consent, and other compliance data. This makes it possible to quickly, safely and cost effectively use personal data to create better, more personalized customer experiences. The best part was that there was...

4 Pieces of Advice to Sell Your Pilot

Our startup workshop covering pilot program principles, models & case studies with Scott Sambucci was a roaring success. In line with our focus on building Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and our belief in the power of collaborating with other programs in the community, we opened up the workshop to B2B and B2B2C early-stage tech companies in other accelerators all over Atlanta. Five local startups joined our 2017 startup cohort and got to work building out a pilot program for their company’s active sales opportunities. We cherry-picked Scott Sambucci to lead the workshop because of his 20 years of experience in building and selling technology products – leading three Silicon Valley startups each to their first millions in revenue. His most recent startup, Blend Labs, was backed by Andressen-Horowitz and Peter Thiel. Scott is also a marketing professor at Hult International Business School and has been a featured speaker at a TEDx event in San Francisco, The Lean Startup Conference, and at the US Chamber of Commerce. Here are four top takeaways from Scott’s workshop on startup piloting:...