The Georgia Tech campus, including all Georgia Tech offices statewide, is closed Dec. 25-29, 2017 for Winter Break.
In addition, Georgia Tech will be closed on January 1, 2018, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.
The Georgia Tech campus, including all Georgia Tech offices statewide, is closed Dec. 25-29, 2017 for Winter Break.
In addition, Georgia Tech will be closed on January 1, 2018, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the state of Georgia’s technology incubator, is now accepting applications from high-growth technology startups for its upcoming Dec. 4, 2017 Venture Showcase Roadtrip to New York City.
The application period is open from Oct. 2 through 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, and any Georgia-headquartered technology company raising a Series A round or higher is eligible. The 10 selected companies will be notified Oct. 27 after the selection committee has reviewed all applicants.
Those interested in applying should send a one-page executive summary to ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The initiative is an offshoot of the ATDC’s Investor Connect program, and allows funders — from angels to venture capitalists and other later-stage investors — to network with the highly vetted, market disruptive companies in ATDC’s Signature and Accelerate portfolios.
“The Venture Showcase Roadtrip introduces investors to a carefully curated group of companies to foster meaningful and targeted conversations and connections, as well as give the venture firms a sense of the caliber of technology startups in Georgia,” McCracken said. “Our inaugural roadtrip to the West Coast earlier this year is a perfect example of the kinds of connections we facilitate.”
In that trip to San Francisco, 11 Georgia companies met with a group of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Evident, an ATDC Signature portfolio company, met with New Enterprise Associates (NEA). That initial connection resulted in NEA becoming the lead investor in Evident’s recent $8.8 million Series A round.
“The San Francisco trip was an important milestone for our company. The ATDC name got us in front of an extremely selective and highly sought after group of venture capitalists eager to meet quality, disruptive companies,” said David Thomas, Evident’s founder and CEO. “It facilitated a critically important series of initial meetings that ultimately led to our successful Series A.”
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.
Are you looking to expand your workforce? Or have you always wanted to hire veterans but didn’t know where to start?
Learn more about our VET² (Veterans Education Training and Transition) program and how you can help area soldiers find meaningful employment at our upcoming Learners & Leaders session.
Join Georgia Tech Professional Education in Savannah on Thursday, October 19, to hear from Col. Jason Wolter, Garrison Commander, Ft. Stewart; Mike Tucker, director, Coastal Workforce Board; Brad Patterson, HR manager, Comcast; a recently transitioned service member from Ft. Stewart/HAAF; and Dr. James Wilburn, Military Programs director, Georgia Tech Professional Education. Learn how the program has evolved over the last 5 years, what soldiers are learning, and why this is important to area employers.
Breakfast & networking at 7:30 a.m.; program runs 8:00-9:30 a.m. The cost is only $15.
Click here for more details and to register: https://pe.gatech.edu/courses/learning-series-integrating-veterans-your-workplace
Over the next three years, as many as 60,000 military members are expected to return to Georgia. If we’re lucky, these veterans will continue to live and work in Georgia and contribute to the area’s economic viability!
On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, a Transit Industry Supply Chain Connectivity Forum is being held for the purpose of bringing large transit original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) together with smaller, qualified and interested U.S. manufacturers in an effort to facilitate the use of a higher percentage of domestic suppliers in transit products and systems.
The Forum offers a venue for smaller manufacturers to learn what products are needed and find out more about investments they need to consider when entering the transit industry.
As part of the Forum, time will be allocated for ten-minute introductory, private meetings between participating OEMs and prospective suppliers. Participating suppliers can include both current transit industry suppliers, and potential new suppliers.
OEMs currently confirmed to participate include: Alexander Dennis, Kiepe Electric Inc., Siemens, and United Rail, Inc. Others may be added at a later date.
Some of the products the OEMs will be sourcing include: Wiring Harnesses, Driver’s Display, Wiper System, Variable Frequency Drives, DC-DC Converter, Switches, Suspension Components, Steering Column, Brakes & Brake Valves, Brake Pedals, Stanchions, Overhead Lighting Panels, Flooring, Passenger and Drivers Seating, Destination Signs, ADA Ramp, HVAC Systems, Bike Rack, Fire Suppression, High and Low Voltage Cable, Connectors, Terminals, Plugs, Sensors, Lugs, Relays, Latches, Hinges, Springs Filters, Headlights, Paint, and Design Services.
This event is held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Annual Meeting and Expo, October 8-11, 2017 which will take place in the Georgia World Congress Center, Building C, Rooms C205 & C206, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Partners for this event include the National Institute of Standards in Technology (NIST), Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The Forum will be held between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. There is a $25 registration fee, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register at: http://ow.ly/KIW730fpvpe
Questions? Contact Tim Israel, GaMEP Associate Director, at Tim.Israel@innovate.gatech.edu or 770-354-3809.
Storms like Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters bring with them lots of uncertainty – where will they go, how much damage will they cause. But, what is certain is that no matter where they strike, natural disasters knock out power.
And, no power means no internet for thousands of people in affected areas.
However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are proposing a new way of gathering and sharing information during natural disasters that does not rely on the internet.
Using computing power built into mobile phones, routers, and other hardware to create a network, emergency managers and first responders will be able to share and act on information gathered from people impacted by hurricanes, tornados, floods, and other disasters.
“Increasingly, data gathered from passive and active sensors that people carry with them, such as their mobile phones, is being used to inform situational awareness in a variety of settings,” said Kishore Ramachandran, computer science professor at Georgia Tech.
“In this way, humans are providing beneficial social sensing services. However, current social sensing services depend on internet connectivity since the services are deployed on central cloud platforms.”
In a paper presented earlier this year at the 2nd International Workshop on Social Sensing, the Georgia Tech research team detailed how it may be possible to access these centralized services using a decentralized network that leverages the growing amount of computing power at the “edge” of the internet.
This ability will give a huge advantage to first responders.
In a flooded area, for example, search and rescue personnel using a geo-distributed network would be able to continuously ping enabled phones, sensors, and other devices in an area to determine their exact locations. The data is used to create density maps of people in that search region. These maps are then used to prioritize and guide emergency response teams.
The Georgia Tech proposal takes advantages of edge computing. Also known as fog computing, edge computing places more processing capabilities in sensing devices – like surveillance cameras, embedded pavement sensors, and others, as well as in consumer devices like cell phones, readers, and tablets – in order to improve network latency between sensors, apps, and users.
Rather than just being able to communicate through the internet with central cloud platforms, the Georgia Tech team has demonstrated that by harnessing edge computing resources, sensing devices can be enabled to identify and communicate with other sensors in an area.
“We believe fog computing can become a potent enabler of decentralized, local social sensing services that can operate when internet connectivity is constrained,” said Ramachandran.
“This capability will provide first responders and others with the level of situational awareness they need to make effective decisions in emergency situations.”
The team has proposed a generic software architecture for social sensing applications that is capable of exploiting the fog-enabled devices. The design has three components – a central management function that resides in the cloud, a data processing element placed in the fog infrastructure, and a sensing component on the user’s device.
The researchers say that it is not enough to simply run a centralized social sensing service on a number of parallel fog nodes.
“Rather, the social sensing service has to become a distributed service capable of discovering available fog nodes and building a network that aggregates and shares information between social sensors that are connected to different fog nodes,” said computer science Ph.D. student Harshit Gupta.
Beyond emergency response during natural disasters, the team believes its proposed fog architecture can also benefit communities with limited or no internet access. These include applications for public transportation management, job recruitment, and housing.
Another possible application of the new approach is monitoring sensing devices in remote areas.
To monitor far-flung devices in areas with no internet access, a bus could be outfitted with fog-enabled sensing capabilities. As it travels in remote areas it would collect data from sensing devices. Once in range of internet connectivity, the “data mule” bus would upload the information to the centralized cloud-based platforms.
“In places that did not benefit from the first wave of cloud-based social sensing services, our hope is that these communities can leapfrog having to rely solely on the internet and directly use fog-based services,” said Ramachandran.
This action is in accordance with the governor’s Sunday announcement that state government offices will be closed.
Accordingly, client appointments and seminars originally scheduled by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) to take place on the midtown Atlanta campus on Monday and Tuesday, September 11-12, 2017 have been cancelled.
Georgia Tech’s Office of Emergency Preparedness will continue to monitor the storm’s path. Complete updates regarding the storm’s impact on campus operations will be posted to gatech.edu/irma.
For more information regarding Georgia Tech’s hazardous weather protocols: http://www.gatech.edu/emergency/weather
Eight companies will be part of the inaugural class of Engage Ventures, a new early-stage venture firm created by Georgia Tech and 10 leading global companies.
The selected startups are from across the country and the companies’ leaders include first-time founders and serial entrepreneurs. The startups are:
Cyrano and Sudu are part of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which was established at Georgia Tech by Georgia lawmakers in 1980 to launch and build technology companies. Engage Ventures will offer programming and other services through a contract with ATDC.
Engage Ventures is the largest strategic grouping of major corporations in an independent venture firm. The focus is helping startups develop and execute go-to-market strategies.
“What makes Engage unique is the level of access and interaction with our founding corporate partners at the executive and C-suite level to help streamline partnerships and strategic relationships with these startups and growth companies,” said Thiago Olson, managing director at Engage Ventures.
The 10 founding companies contributing capital, expertise, time and resources in support of Engage include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot and UPS. Executives from these firms will serve as mentors to the companies receiving financial support from the venture fund.
Engage is headquartered in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square.
Georgia is a one of the nation’s leading agriculture states, with the industry contributing about $74.9 billion to the state economy each year.
A related sector — food processing — is a strong and growing component of the Georgia economy, and accounts for $11 billion to $12 billion each year of the state’s gross domestic product. Food processing also employs 69,000 across the state, with 10,000 of those jobs being created since 2010, according to Georgia Power’s 2016 Food Processing Industry Report.
It’s that strength in food processing, which comprises the largest segment of Georgia’s manufacturing sector, that led to the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (GaMEP) new initiative focused on those manufacturers’ unique needs.
GaMEP, a federally funded economic development program at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, works with manufacturers across Georgia to help them remain viable and economically competitive.
“Food processing comprises many different products and sizes of manufacturers and it is important to assure their viability and growth,” said GaMEP Director Karen Fite. “This effort is in recognition of where the growth is occurring in the manufacturing sector and we want to make sure we’re applying our resources and expertise, as well as cutting edge research coming out of Georgia Tech, that can help our manufacturers.”
Damon C. Nix, GaMEP’s senior project manager, is leading the food manufacturing programming, which includes coaching, analysis, and consulting in:
“Georgia’s food processing GDP ranks it sixth in the country and we rank sixth in employment,” Nix said, noting the state has roughly 680 food processing manufacturers, including the 127 that either relocated to Georgia or built new facilities here since 2010.
“The GaMEP has created significant results serving manufacturers overall,” Nix said. “We want to continue that momentum in food processing. Georgia’s manufacturing industry remains competitive and continues to grow because the food processing industry is expanding. We want food processors to know that the GaMEP is a resource to support their continued growth.”
About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):
The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia released its fiscal year 2016 state economic impact report August 22, 2017, revealing an overall impact of $16.8 billion. The Georgia Institute of Technology’s state economic impact was $3.05 billion, up from $2.87 billion in fiscal year 2015.
Conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, the report revealed Georgia Tech once again led the state in economic impact. Here are the impact statistics from the top five universities in the USG:
“Our University System institutions in Georgia are vital to the economies throughout our state, as calculated by the multiplier effect in the new state economic impact report,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “In addition, Georgia Tech is honored to be a driving force behind such enterprises as innovation neighborhoods that attract business and industry; research collaborations with other institutions, industry, and government; the building and strengthening of Georgia’s STEM workforce; and commercializing new ideas and inventions.”
Listed as “output impact” in the study, the overall economic impact figure for the system and the individual institutions was calculated by adding the initial spending to the respending, or multiplier effect, for each institution in its host community.
Other findings for the system include an $11.3 billion in value added, $8.2 billion in income and $157,967 full- and part-time jobs. According to the study, the system generated 2.2 off-campus jobs for every job created at a USG institution.
For Georgia Tech, the value added was $2.14 billion, income generated was $1.64 billion, and a total of 24,213 full- and part-time jobs.
On a sunny afternoon, Norman “Finn” Findley stands beneath a canopy of shiny solar panels that covers a parking lot adjacent to what will be Atlanta’s new football stadium.
“It blows people’s minds,” Findley said, explaining to two visitors how his company’s QuadPod Solar Canopy system will work. “It still blows my mind a little bit.”
Findley is CEO of the startup Quest Renewables, and this project is one of their most expansive undertakings to date. It comprises two sets of canopies that measure about 130 feet by 250 feet each.
Solar canopies are high ground-clearance structures designed for solar panels, but they also function as carports by providing shade for vehicles parked beneath them.
Quest Renewables’ technology allows for about 90 percent of the canopy construction to take place on the ground. Then, cranes hoist the solar panels up in the air to mount them atop the company’s specially engineered trusses and members.
The total system will produce 617.5 kilowatts of power for each hour of sunlight. When fully operational, the system will generate enough electricity to power nine home games per season.
For Findley, this show-and-tell at the stadium is all in a day’s work. This particular day will be filled with meetings. Some are planned — there’s the staff meeting, a new employee orientation, and an investor call — but others come up unexpectedly, such as an impromptu meeting with another investor who is touring the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the startup incubator that’s home to Quest Renewables’ operations.
“This is an angel investor,” said Frank Tighe, ATDC’s lead entrepreneur-in-residence and advisor to Quest Renewables’ leadership team, making the introduction between Findley and the visitor. “He wanted to know a little bit about ATDC, and I wanted to take him around to meet some of the companies.”
Straight away, Findley goes into presentation mode, giving his 30-second “elevator pitch” to the visitor, explaining as succinctly as possible what his company does and how it creates value for its customers.
“We manufacture racking systems that hold solar panels up off the ground for solar commercial installations at lower cost and in a shorter time frame,” Findley said, before going into a deeper conversation with the investor.
Planned or unplanned, these opportunities are all part of the pattern in the life of a startup CEO, said Findley, a former Coca-Cola executive who left the beverage giant in 2016 to focus on Quest Renewables full time.
And while each new day is different, Findley pointed out, he begins and ends each one the same way.
“It’s get the kids up and out the door for carpool to school and get out to the gym,” the married father of two said. “Then it’s work and then to get out in time to go home and put the kids to bed.”
Although Findley has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, he joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1996 and held several managerial positions in sales and marketing.
Going the corporate route before venturing into the startup world was part of a long-term career strategy.
“I’ll take risks, but only calculated risks,” Findley said. “And for me, the corporate life made sense 20 years ago, while I was taking some risks on the side through investing in some startups.”
Over time, his entrepreneurial interest would grow, and in 2013, a friend introduced him to Joseph Goodman, who at the time was a senior research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Tech’s applied research and development organization.
“Our mutual friend encouraged us to meet, and we met once a month to see how things were going with his research,” Findley said, explaining that their matchmaking friend thought his commercialization experience at Coke could be beneficial to Goodman. “Joseph said he thought there might be a business in his research, but he couldn’t be certain. As we spent time together and I saw how things were going, I got to understand the size of the business opportunity.”
The year after that initial meeting, Findley, along with Beau Baldock and Will Arnold, founded Quest Renewables, licensing a patent from Georgia Tech based on research that Goodman and others at the Institute had conducted.
On Quest Renewables’ team, Goodman is chief technology officer, Baldock is senior vice president of supply chain, and Arnold is senior vice president of operations.
“I went to Babson College to get my MBA in entrepreneurship, and what they tell you is, the three most important things to have are a strong team, a strong team, and a strong team,” Findley said. “If you have a great idea but a weak team, you won’t be able to execute on that idea.”
As the founding team members began to build the company, they went through Georgia Tech’s VentureLab, the Institute’s startup and incubation support program for Tech faculty and students who want to create companies based on their research.
After graduating from VentureLab, Quest Renewables was accepted into ATDC’s Signature portfolio. ATDC, a sister incubation program to VentureLab, works with entrepreneurs across Georgia (no Georgia Tech affiliation required) who have a proven business model and customers, and are most likely to succeed long term in the marketplace.
The Georgia Tech research that got Findley’s attention led to a foundation design and support structure that takes up less physical space and uses less than half the steel found in traditional solar canopy construction. Because of the design and the weight it can support, the canopy can hold more solar panels than other canopies without having to expand the support structure’s footprint.
The goal behind the initial research and development was to see if there was a way to increase cost efficiencies in the non-photovoltaic part of solar panel installations, Findley said. That meant focusing on the labor, support structure, and electrical costs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative funded the original research.
The design is a modular space frame, which makes it easier to construct and allows crews to erect the canopies in half the time it takes to build competing structures.
“We’re extremely efficient from the standpoint that we can put them up faster, we can put more of them up per acre — so we can generate more power over a given parking lot — and we can put them up generally at a lower cost to the customer,” Findley said.
Since the solar canopy structures are elevated, they create functional parking lots in addition to energy.
“We can build on surface parking lots and elevated parking decks, which allows us to produce the energy close to where the power is needed, which puts less stress on the electrical grid because you don’t have to produce it in south Georgia, for example, and then try to pipe it all the way up here,” Findley said.
While the energy industry doesn’t track the solar canopy sector specifically, the solar energy business is growing and accounted for 39 percent of all new electric capacity that was added to the U.S. electric grid in 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group based in Washington, D.C. The industry attracted $23 billion in investments in 2016, up from about $18.3 billion in 2015, according to SEIA/GTM Research’s U.S. Solar Market Report and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Under Findley’s leadership, Quest Renewables tripled its revenue between 2014 and 2015, repeating that feat again in 2016. The company projects it will quadruple revenue in 2017.
Partnering with Gentry, Quest Renewables presents challenges to his students, who are tasked with coming up with ways to improve the canopy’s efficiency.
“The question we asked them is, do you see where we could be better and more efficient in our use of materials,” said James Keane, Quest Renewables’ system specialist and a 2013 Georgia Tech graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
“We’re asking them whether there is a more optimal size for these components or whether they should somehow be designed differently.”
The technology has garnered the company some national attention. In the spring of 2016, then-U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Georgia Tech, noting the Institute’s role as a leader in developing innovative energy solutions in the Southeast and meeting with a select group of ATDC companies in the energy space, including Quest Renewables.
That same year, the Georgia Research Alliance, which seeds and funds startup companies in the state, announced it was making an investment in Quest Renewables via its GRA Venture Fund, which was established to finance high-potential companies spinning out of Georgia’s universities.
The stadium initiative is the largest to date for Quest Renewables, though the company has other projects in its portfolio, including a canopy array at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and projects in other states including Maryland, Oregon, California, and Maine.
One recently completed project is with Standard Solar, a Rockville, Maryland-based company that specializes in the development and financing of solar electric systems.
The company hired Quest Renewables to design and put together a canopy for a Rockville-area parking deck.
Parking decks are more challenging than surface lots for solar canopy projects, said C.J. Colavito, Standard Solar’s director of engineering.
That’s because the canopy has to be integrated within and anchored to an existing structure and requires a customized engineering approach, he said.
“There are a number of things Quest does well where they are able to add value where other providers have struggled,” Colavito said, adding that his firm is working on another project with Quest Renewables, scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2017. “One of the things Quest does better than anybody else is, they have a system that’s capable of having very long spans between connections. You get a lot more density at lower costs than other systems because of their proprietary truss system while maintaining the canopy’s structural integrity.”
Accolades such as this come with a hiccup that most startups would love to have: demand for services — so much so that the company is scaling back its growth. Findley wants each customer to have a quality experience.
“We created such a compelling product that we have demand that exceeds our ability to deliver a quality customer experience, so we’ve been ratcheting back our growth to make sure that every customer we work with is delighted,” he said.
This approach, he said, fits in with the company’s long-term goal regarding its place and impact on the industry.
“The inspiration for our company comes from a very big-picture perspective. The idea that we could lower the cost of solar and be able to produce it near where the demand is located while still using existing spaces like parking lots rather than covering up natural green fields with solar panels is what drives what we do,” Findley said. “What we would really like is that in 10 years, for people to say that we really made solar and renewable energy to be preferential to fossil fuels.”