[TechCONNECT] Atlanta Tech News Roundup | December 2020
With social distancing measures keeping us apart this year, we hope you found TechCONNECT to be a useful way to stay connected to Atlanta’s business and tech community. Even in the midst of a pandemic, our city found a way to come together, persevere, and grow. If you missed anything in 2020, you can access all of our monthly Atlanta tech news roundups here.
2020, we’re happy to see you go. Before you do, here’s a roundup of the top stories in Atlanta tech from December: @3Cipeople:
Atlanta Funding News
DefenseStorm, a Cybersecurity Firm, Raises $12M Series B Round
DefenseStorm, a cybersecurity firm, raised a $12 million Series B led by Georgian, a Canada-based fintech firm that invests in high-growth software companies. DefenseStorm focuses on cybersecurity solutions for community banks and credit unions and will use the funds to expand existing features and add new ones, such as combating fraud in real-time. The COVID-19 pandemic actually highlighted existing cybersecurity problems and made addressing these issues more urgent as employees of banks and credit unions started working from home. You can learn more about DefenseStorm and its platform by reading the Atlanta Inno article here.
ConnexPay Raises $6.1M in Series A Extension Led by F-Prime Capital
ConnexPay raised a $6.1 million Series A extension led by F-Prime Capital. The Atlanta-based payment processing company, which was founded in 2017, streamlines payments in the travel industry by using a single platform to process payments from the consumer to the travel company and the travel company to the hospitality company. Before ConnexPay’s launch, travel companies would have to work with and integrate three separate companies and transactions. Despite the lack of travel taking place in 2020, ConnexPay didn’t take a hit. In fact, they have signed more clients in the last three months than in all of 2019 combined as travel companies have taken the lack of business to make their processes more efficient. To find out more about ConnexPay’s technology and how they plan to use the funds, click here.
RevLifter Raises $4.4M in a Series A Funding Round
RevLifter raised $4.4 million in a Series A funding round in order to expand its U.S. operations and has designated metro Atlanta as its headquarters. London-based retail technology company uses artificial intelligence to create personalized content or deals for customers as they’re browsing through a retailer’s website and boasts clients such as AT&T, Nike, New Balance, and Hewlett Packard. RevLifter only began expanding into the U.S. market in early 2019; however, 60% of the company’s revenue comes from U.S. businesses. To find out why RevLifter chose to be headquartered in Atlanta over New York and how it plans to use the funding, you’ll want to check out the Atlanta Inno article linked here.
STORD Announced a $31M Series B Funding Round
Digital warehouse and distribution network start, STORD, announced a $31M Series B round led by Founders Fund. Not only does this news reinforce why many refer to Atlanta as the ‘Supply Chain City,’ but it also shows how the pandemic has highlighted the need to fix supply chain problems for brands of all sizes. While Amazon has spent decades solidifying their tech and logistics, the average company is simply trying to keep up with a prime-like experience through a mix of pricey fulfillment centers, third-party logistics providers, rigid contracts and complex software. STORD spent the last three years working to provide an affordable, world-class logistics network and software to these shippers, and this funding news is just the latest headline in what has been a busy year for the company. In 2020 alone, their team has grown from 40 to 125 employees, with shipment volume increasing by an impressive 15,000%. You can learn more about STORD’s Series B funding round, plus take a look at the nearly 50 jobs the company is looking to fill in the Hypepotamus article linked here.
Atlanta-Based Startup, CallRail Gains an Additional $56M in Investments
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, the 35% increase in call volume that Atlanta-based startup, CallRail, reported between June 2019 and June 2020 likely doesn’t come as a surprise. Since its founding in 2011, CallRail has been helping small-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs) convert phone calls into stronger customer leads through software integrations with marketing and sales platforms including HubSpot, Facebook, Salesforce, and Google Ads and Analytics. In 2020, stay at home orders required more people to make calls in order to get crucial business updates from stores, businesses, and healthcare facilities, and because of this, CallRail was able to reach $60 million in annual recurring revenue. This rapid growth earned the company an additional $56 million in investments from Sageview Capital and Leaders Fund, bringing CallRail’s total capital raised to $132 million to date. The announcement of this additional funding also comes after the phone call tracking and analytics startup rolled out two additional products, Conversation Intelligence and Lead Center, this year. To learn more about these new features as well as CallRail’s plans for 2021, check out the Hypepotamus article linked here.
TTV Capital, Local FinTech Investing Firm, Closes $127 Million
TTV Capital, a local fintech investing firm, recently closed $127M, $2M over its goal, for its fifth fund with plans to continue early-stage investing. TTV Capital typically invests between $1 and $5M and mostly focuses on seed and Series A rounds. Previously, the firm has invested in growing Atlanta startups such as e-commerce marketing platform Springbot, payment processing company Bitpay, and family debit card company Greenlight, and with the new fund, TTV Capital has invested in Medxoom, Ibble, Samcart, and Taxbit. Founding partner Gardiner Garrad III said completion of the fund comes at a time when the firm has seen an unprecedented spike in deals. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a three-to-five-year acceleration in the tech adoption cycle. Technology that likely would have come around in 2022 or 2023 has been created to address what is going on now. You can find out more about TTV’s fifth financial technology venture fund by reading this article on the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Mergers, Acquisitions, & More
Salesforce Buys Slack for $27.7B
B2C companies have been using psychographics for years to personalize our experiences across media platforms. Psychographic information is the data collected by our online behavior that helps Spotify create your year in review playlist and Instagram show an ad for the thing you never knew you needed. Until recently, B2B companies wouldn’t be able to attain this kind of detailed data about their users until three to five years down the road. GrowFlare, an innovative psychographic account profiling solution, uses AI and natural language processing to scan psychographic-rich sources like websites, social media, government filings, job listings, and other publicly available information to build unique profiles for tens of millions of companies, and they’ve just been acquired by Terminus. For Terminus customers, this means sales and marketing teams will be able to work closer together and become more effective in their strategies. They will be able to understand the most important focuses for businesses, the psychographic topics that are trending, and just how serious they are about those focuses. They’ll know who to reach out to, when to do it, and what to say to deliver a personalized experience. Learn more about this acquisition and what it means for B2B marketing here.
Top Atlanta Stories
Atlanta CPA, Jagruti Solanki, Named BitPay’s New CFO
Atlanta CPA, Jagruti Solanki, has been named BitPay’s new Chief Financial Officer. Solanki previously served as an assurance partner at Atlanta-based accounting firm Aprio LLP, where she specialized in technology and blockchain companies. BitPay, one of the largest providers of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment services, was Solanki’s very first blockchain and digital asset client when she started working in the space about seven years ago. Her impressive resume, which includes one of Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 under 40 this year, has led Solanki to be recognized as a pioneer in the industry. To learn more about how Solanki has contributed to the national blockchain accounting standards as well as what BitPay CEO and co-founder, Stephan Pair, had to say about her joining the team, continue reading the article we have shared here.
Atlanta-Based, Sanguine, Developed an App Requiring a “Fingernail Selfie”
While much of the health industry has been focused on Covid-related research, Atlanta-based Sanguine has been working to develop technology to address critical gaps in anemia-related monitoring. Recently, AnemoCheck Mobile launched in the Google Play Store. The app’s technology builds upon techniques doctors have used traditionally to spot potential anemic patients. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in four people suffer from anemia, which can lead to negative downstream health problems such as fatigue, weakness, complications in pregnancy, and in extreme cases, even cardiac arrest. The technology is quick and extremely easy to use, simply requiring users to upload a “fingernail selfie.” The photo is then added to Sanguina’s image processing algorithm and HIPAA-compliant servers and returns near-instant hemoglobin numbers to help users determine the next steps in their health and wellness journey. To learn more about how the idea for this technology was generated from CEO and co-founder Erika Tyburski's personal experience with anemia and the company's plan for the future, check out the article we've shared here.
Teklas is Opening its First North American Facility & HQ in Gordon County, GA
Earlier this month, Teklas announced it would be investing $6.5 million to open its first North American facility and headquarters in Gordon County, just 70 miles northwest of Atlanta. The Turkish manufacturing company and supplier of electric vehicle parts to household names like General Motors, Volkswagen, and Mercedes continues the growing trend of EV manufacturers locating plants in Georgia. Georgia’s Department of Economic Development has been working to foster an ecosystem of manufacturers and suppliers on the leading edge of the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles and e-mobility. To learn more about Teklas and other EV manufacturers that will be building facilities in Georgia soon, be sure to check out the Atlanta Business Chronicle article here.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
Would You Live on the Moon? NASA Funds New Project to Create a Lunar Habitat
The possibility of sustaining a typical human lifestyle on the moon is now closer than ever. The Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitats have been given a $15M grant, funded by NASA, to create a lunar habitat that will keep astronauts alive on the moon. Over the next five years, a team led by Purdue University will be tasked with carrying out research projects, advanced computer simulations, and physical tests to help inform how humans can build a lasting presence on the moon. Creating a durable home on the moon won't be easy. Lunar soil wears down equipment and accumulates on solar panels. Nighttime lasts for roughly 14 days, extended stays pose a radiation risk, there is no breathable air, and, of course, the moon has only a sixth of Earth’s gravity. You’ll definitely want to check out the Wall Street Journal article to learn about how hundreds of thousands of people could be living and working on the moon by the 2030s, as well as how the research into lunar habitats could help engineers here on earth design for a future of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires.
Ready to Travel to Outer Space? Here’s Your Chance
If 2020 has left you itching to travel, it’s finally looking like the exciting era of space tourism is about to erupt. Yes, that’s right. While SpaceX is currently the only private rocket company to ever send a human into orbit as well as the only NASA-certified company to send people to circle Earth, five other companies are also competing to sell space tourists trips on private spacecraft. In fact, right now, with a $1,000 deposit, you can join Virgin Atlantic’s waiting list of 600 people who are paying $250,000 to secure their seat on the world’s first commercial spaceline in early 2021. Unfortunately, few of us have that kind of disposable income to fund a trip beyond Earth’s atmosphere, but the hope is that in the future the cost will continue to decline. Until then, take a look at this Astronomy article to learn more about the six different ways humans can buy a ticket to space next year.
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