When it comes to starting a business and venturing out into the world of startups, the place where you land can almost be as important as your business model.
As Atlanta grows on the map as a tech hub for innovation, startups and advancement in the South, numerous businesses have flocked from their founding cities to make a home in Georgia.
- Airbus Aerial, a commercial drone start-up unit of international aerospace firm Airbus, is situated in Ponce City Market in downtown Atlanta. President of Airbus Aerial Jesse Kallman, a Georgia Tech graduate, said the cost of living, access to university talent, a growing startup ecosystem and a desire to work on the East Coast were the driving factors behind the company’s decision to open Airbus Aerial U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
- DefenseStorm’s CEO Sean Feeney assumed his role in July 2016, and officially moved the company’s headquarters from Seattle to Atlanta earlier this year. DefenseStorm provides real-time cybersecurity and cyber-compliance to community banks and credit unions. Feeney’s move to the East Coast was driven by Atlanta’s ranking as a hub for both cybersecurity and FinTech, with more than 50,000 highly skilled workers to select from.
- Featurespace, a data analytics startup that uses customer data to identify fraud and conduct risk management based in the United Kingdom, chose Atlanta as its U.S. headquarters last fall. Co-founder and CTO Dave Excell said the decision was primarily based on Featurespace’s customer base and the city’s growing FinTech ecosystem. “It’s a great city with the best fit, and a lot of our potential customers have presence in Atlanta,” he said. “Atlanta’s known as Transaction Alley.”
- GroundFloor, a tech startup that allows customers to invest in real estate loans at a low entry point, started in Durham, N.C. in 2014. Co-founder Brian Dally said his company had a unique reason to move after the passage of the Invest Georgia Exemption, one of only two states in the country at the time to adopt legislation that made crowdfunding and other financial aspects cheaper for businesses. About 15 months after the move, GroundFloor closed a $5 million funding round with FinTech Ventures, their first VC deal, attracted the talent they needed in order to grow and were adopted into the ATDC program. “It’s a great time to be building a startup in Atlanta and I would tell any founder, I unhesitatingly recommend that they do it,” he said.
- Bungii, an app that launched in Nov. 2016 in Kansas City that allows users to rent pickup trucks around town for their moves, has called Atlanta home after selecting the city as the company’s second launch site, according to co-founder Ben Jackson. Bungii chose Atlanta as its new base after Jackson realized the city had the second highest rate of downloads for the app. In addition, talent from Georgia Tech and Emory, as well as the amount of resources in the growing tech ecosystem, were a driving factor behind the move, Jackson said. “Our hunch was correct,” he said. “We launched in Atlanta about four months ago and we’re seeing a growth rate that’s twice as fast that we saw in Kansas City in terms of gross revenue, and I think that again that kind of answered our questions of whether or not we should we launch in Atlanta and that Atlanta is a place that should attract tech startups.”
- Co-founder of Taylor Kehne Industries Stacy Taylor heard about the ATDC program from a business associate and decided to move her startup from Maine to Atlanta last month. The company is planning to disrupt online retail using tech for shoppers on the web, Taylor said. “ATDC is great as a resource, there’s so many smart, engaged, connected people here in technology in generally, but Atlanta and Georgia Tech have a lot of resources as far as logistics, supply chain management…so I’ve since started to get a feel for all the resources that are here,” she said.
- MedXoom, a healthcare and FinTech firm focused on patient identification, authentication ID and payment and price transparency, was founded in Boca Raton, Fla. CEO Jeffrey Toewe moved the company to Atlanta to join ATDC and work among other financial technology companies based in the South.
- Dev/Con, a tech company that works with media and other agencies to detect and prevent hacks, as well as other threats, moved from Tennessee to Atlanta to join ATDC in January. Founder and CEO Maggie Louie said the presence of large media companies and possible enterprise customers like Cox, Turner and Comcast played a huge role in the decision, as well as the growing cybersecurity community in the city.