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. The Bridge by Coca-Cola began in 2014 as a collaboration between The Coca-Cola Company and the entrepreneurial tech community in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2016 the program expanded to Atlanta, Georgia with a specific focus to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem through startup engagement, partnerships, a powerful corporate member-to-member network and a local community initiative to help raise the technical skill level from high school onwards. Since inception, 74 startups and 9 corporations – Capgemini, Coca-Cola, COX Enterprises, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche North America, SunTrust Bank, Turner, The Weather Company – have participated in the program. Anthony Newstead, Co-Founder of The BridgeCommunity by Coca-Cola, 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...

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 BridgeCommunity by Coca-Cola. 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 corporate participants on their home turf to discuss piloting opportunities. For Coca-Cola the organization of the Sponsor Connect Days and the follow-up of connections made were organized by BridgeCommunity corporate member and Coca-Cola Consulting and Services Partner Capgemini, as part of a detailed startup engagement process they established this year, led by Todd Redmon (Principal & Client Partner, North America) and Adam Agnew (EVP & Global Client Partner for Coca-Cola), that was integral in helping to socialize and integrate BridgeCommunity startups into...

Verady Pivots to Launch Cryptocurrency Accounting and Audit Platform

Kell Canty and co-founder, Nathan Eppinger, have been in the blockchain space for a little over four years. In that time they built 2017 BridgeCommunity cohort startup, Verady, a platform that utilizes critical business information to power smart contracts in a private enterprise blockchain. While working through the program and customer interviews the team found their product’s complexity was making it difficult to describe, piloting was proving tough because of so many implementation points, and the year-and-a-half-long sales cycle was not sustainable. Based on the BridgeCommunity education and exposure, the Verady team realized they had built the product offering of a big company with only the resources of a small company to make it a success. So the Verady team is pivoting back to a product they previously created, but did not find enough market appetite for at the time. “Verady was super innovative, but it was a lot of innovation all at once and required a huge amount of buy-in. We’re sitting on a gem and need to focus on VeraNet.” – Kell Canty In 2013, Kell and Nathan were approached by the largest independent Georgia-based accounting and auditing firm to assist with validating transactions and other key data on the blockchain. This came as part of completing certain required auditing procedures necessary to finalize an independent financial audit of a client whose business operated in cryptocurrency. The accounting firm did not have the tools to audit these bitcoin assets and the underlying transactions. Typically, auditors check with the financial institutions that enabled catalogued transactions to cross-reference records. In contrast, cryptocurrency transaction information is stored on the blockchain....

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...