In Atlanta, an idea can become a movement. Long known as a birthplace of global brands, the city is now building cachet as a hub for civic tech.
“Our history is showcase to that, and the current activity around entrepreneurship and technology reflects that,” said Rohit Malhotra, founder and executive director of the city’s Center for Civic Innovation, which focuses on improving the efficiency of public organizations and increasing civic participation. “Entrepreneurship has always been alive and well in Atlanta, with many entrepreneurs from Atlanta turning their early-stage ideas into some of the most globally recognizable brands in the world.”
In addition to the likes of Home Depot, Pindrop Security and Coca-Cola coming out of Atlanta, Malhotra points to the area’s civic element as one of its special and unique attributes.
“As the city owns that narrative, we will see scale around civic tech solutions that change the way we look at education, health, food and other public services around the country,” Malhotra said. “For many cities, technology is the end result; for Atlanta, it’s a means to something much bigger.”
For this reason, Malhotra looks forward to being part of Tomorrow Tour Atlanta, the last stop on this leg of a national event series inspired by Comcast NBCUniversal and organized by Technical.ly. The series aims to explore and document how technology and innovation converge to strengthen the city.
The free evening roundtable and networking event on March 23 will connect local entrepreneurs, technologists, policymakers and new thinkers for discussions about the future of innovation and entrepreneurship. Following the networking happy hour, angel investor, Inc. columnist and CNBC contributor Kelly Hoey will present the keynote.
The evening concludes with a panel discussion on Atlanta’s position in national entrepreneurship and local innovation trends.
“It’s time [to share] the stories of how the city is coming together to advance industry ecosystems and make the city a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Malhotra said.
Meet these 6 other leaders driving the ATL business scene.
1. Jennifer Bonnett, StartupChicks
Jennifer Bonnett founded StartupChicks in 2009 to increase the number of women attending area entrepreneurship events. Today, with a membership of over 3,000, StartupChicks hosts a series of online and in-person programs to empower women entrepreneurs, including its accelerator program.
2. Jasmine Burton, Wish for WASH
Access to basic sanitation eludes approximately one-third of the world’s population. Even worse, the problem disproportionately affects young girls and women. To improve this global issue, Jasmine Burton — founder and president of Wish for WASH — helped to create the award-winning SafiChoo, a portable plastic toilet that costs around $50.
3. Michael Clay, Startup Grind Atlanta
As chapter director of Startup Grind Atlanta, Michael Clay is working to relaunch this startup community. Among the group’s recent programs was a fireside chat with Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.
4. Jake Edens, REscour
In 2012, Jake Edens founded REscour to help commercial real estate brokers, lenders, developers, investors and analysts find new opportunities and make better decisions about buying and selling properties. The company achieves this task by aggregating over 100 different types of data points. In December, REscour raised $1.5 million from angel investor Chamath Palihapitiya.
5. Mario Montag, Predikto
Led by CEO Mario Montag, Predikto assists manufacturers, railroad companies and other asset-intensive industries in increasing productivity and volume, as well as reducing downtime. The cloud-based software company anticipates equipment failure and warranty claims in, say, the oil and gas industry. For example, in a recent case study, Predikto predicted the battery health in cars with 90 percent accuracy.
6. Asif Ramji, Paymetric
The news of widespread data breaches have become an unfortunate monthly occurrence. Paymetric, where Asif Ramji serves as president and CEO, works to stop the bad guys from winning. The company develops fully integrated electronic payment acceptance and data security solutions. Paymetric recently made Deloitte’s Fast 500 list.
Tomorrow Tour Atlanta will be held March 23 from 5-7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Tech Village (3423 Piedmont Rd. NE).-30-