Atlanta’s History with Tech Start-Ups

start up

When most people think of tech start-ups, they think of Silicon Valley. And while Silicon Valley has produced more billion dollar start-ups than any region in the country, tech focus is starting to shift from the West Coast to the East, namely the Southeast. Silicon Valley is losing both new and established companies to cities like Atlanta because of the high cost of doing business and the cost of living in Silicon Valley. Tech firms’ confidence in the Atlanta market is only growing as more and more tech firms relocate their headquarters to the Metro area, including MailChimp, Fiserv, and EnablePath. Tech incubators and education programs and courses geared towards the tech industry are popping up all over town, and some building owners are renovating and repositioning their assets to appeal specifically to start-ups (like David Cumming and his Atlanta Tech Village on the corner of Piedmont and Lenox in Buckhead).

While Atlanta’s list of billion dollar start-ups is not as extensive as Silicon Valley’s, Atlanta is certainly no stranger to the tech start-up game. In the last 10 years alone, AirWatch was sold to VMWare for $1.4 billion (2014), Radiant Systems was sold for $1.2 billion (2012), Per-Se Technologies was sold for $1.8 billion and Witness Systems was sold for $1 billion (2007), Internet Security Systems was sold for $1.3 billion and Scientific Atlanta was sold to Cisco Systems for $6.9 billion, both in (2006). All of these exits were business-to-business deals.

Atlanta’s tech presence has only gotten stronger since coming out of the recession, and the city is currently home to several multi-billion dollar tech companies, including Intercontinental Exchange ($23 billion), Costar ($6 billion), NCR Corp ($5.8 billion), and Manhattan Associates ($2.8 billion). It’s not just the established companies raising eyebrows in Atlanta, however. There are a lot of small and quickly-growing companies that have investors and consumers alike excited about the tech industry in Atlanta. Here are some of the most promising (and valuable) start-ups based in the city:

Autotrader
Cardlytics
Clearleap
CloudSherpas
Damballa
eFolder
Endgame
Endochoice
IngeniusMed
IonicSecurity
Kabbage
Mailchimp
News Distribution Network
Paymetics
Pindrop
PlayOn Sports
Purchasing Power
Salesfusion
ShareCare
Silverpop
SoloHealth
Suniva
The Rainmaker Group
Vendormate
WahtCounts

All sources indicate that Atlanta’s tech industry and position as a preeminent technology hub in the Southeast will only strength in coming years. Atlanta is currently ranked fifth in the nation of undergraduate and graduate engineering and technology degrees, ranks 7th amongst the nation’s largest cities, and ranks fifth in university research.

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