[TechCONNECT] Atlanta Tech News Roundup | September 2020
We’re wrapping up Q3 with a roundup of the top tech stories across the Southeast and beyond. If it’s your job to stay connected to the latest in business and technology, be sure to subscribe to TechCONNECT. We’re committed to bringing you the best in tech news every single week.
Trending: Atlanta's Top Tech Stories
Venture Atlanta Announces 2020 Lineup of Most Promising Tech Companies
Venture Atlanta announced its 2020 lineup of Most Promising Tech Companies. This top investment conference has selected the largest, most diverse lineup of companies to fuel tech capital and growth within a groundbreaking and immersive virtual format. The number of selected companies, 103, is the largest ever, with over 400 companies vying for a spot to pitch and be seen by investors this year, breaking previous conference records. Registration is now open. Grab your ticket for VA20 right here.
Atlanta Startup Battle Takes Place on October 22
The application deadline for the Atlanta Startup Battle, for all tech entrepreneurs, was on September 16th. Taking place October 22nd, the main event will showcase pitches form the top five teams to an audience of investors, community leaders, and fellow entrepreneurs for a chance to win a $100,000 investment. Don’t miss this event with powerful growth, mentorship, and investment opportunities.
Morehouse College Receives $9M Grant to Drive STEM Innovation
Morehouse College recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to drive STEM innovation. The $9 million grant also designates the school as a founding partner of the HBCU Undergraduate Success Research Center, a program designed to increase educational and employment opportunities for minorities interested in STEM subjects. STEM-US's goal is to secure HBCUs as leaders in innovating STEM education on a local and national level and funding will be used to examine how and why historically black colleges and universities are successful at supporting innovation and efforts in STEM subjects. To learn more about this grant and Morehouse’s new partnerships with UnitedHealth Group and Netflix, read this Atlanta Inno article by Madison Hogan.
Atlanta Business Chronicle Tech Webinars
In case you have not yet had your fill of webinars, the Atlanta Business Chronicle has a ton of valuable and free ones coming up. “Emerging Stronger in 2020: Key Learnings from the Pandemic” brought together Atlanta business leaders like Katie Kirkpatrick, President and CEO of Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Kathleen Edge, EVP of Operations at Southwire Company, to discuss their approach to overcoming the challenges that 2020 has presented and how they envision success in the future. Our very own Titania Jordan was part of the panel titled, “Atlanta Inno: State of Innovation in AI.” They also offered a webinar titled, “New Tools for Building a Diverse Workforce” with panelists like Carla Chaney, Chief Human Resources Officer at Equifax, and Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase & Co. If you missed out on these, be sure to check out the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s events page for upcoming webinars.
Atlanta Funding News, Mergers & Acquisitions
Greenlight Gets the Green Light on a $215 Million Series C
The Atlanta fintech company bringing debit cards to kids just raised a major $215 million Series C round. According to Maija Ehlinger at Hypepotamus, this brings the company’s valuation to over $1.2 million. Greenlight is one of the larger players in the Atlanta fintech community and has helped kids using the platform save over $50 million collectively. According to Greenlights’ CEO and co-founder Tim Sheehan, the company has grown 30% since April alone. Get the full story here.
The Providence Service Corporation Acquires Simplura Health Group
According to David Allison of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta-based The Providence Service Corporation is acquiring Simplura Health Group from One Equity Partners for $575 million. The Providence Service Corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary LogistiCare Solutions LLC, is the nation’s largest manager of non-emergency medical transportation programs for state governments and managed care organizations. The company also holds a minority interest in Matrix Medical Network which provides a broad array of assessment and care management services to individuals that improve health outcomes and health plan financial performance.
Atlanta Companies and Tech Leaders On the Move
Skynamo Invests $30M to Move into Atlanta
According to Hypepotamus, Atlanta’s newest SaaS company is ready to make waves in how outside sales teams operate thanks to a $30 million investment. Skynamo, a South African-based technology company, has picked The Battery Atlanta for its North American headquarters after hiring Georgia Tech grad Stan Deak as General Manager. Maija Ehlinger reports that Skynamo’s platform streamlines issues outside sales teams have when trying to run desktop software while traveling by leveraging a mobile-first, cloud-based approach. Essentially, Skynamo helps sales teams keep customer data secure while still accessing it anywhere, even offline. The 4-person Atlanta-based team is looking to bring on as many as 30 new hires as demand increases. Get the fully story here.
Trick 3D Reveals New AiRShow App That Brings the Concert Experience Right to your Living Room
Trick 3D, an Atlanta-based 3D animation studio, is livening up 2020 concerts with their new app, AirShow, designed to bring artists into your living room. Users can turn their house into a full, augmented reality concert experience right from the app. Founder Chad Eikhoff told Hypepotamus that COVID gave Trick3D Studios the opportunity to participate in something that is inherently inspirational. The first big event series will be with Atlanta rapper Offset at Axis Replay, a local entertainment and e-sports facility near Krog Street. Read more about this incredible and innovative collaboration.
All Things Artificial Intelligence
What’s New in Artificial Intelligence?
If you aren’t already subscribed to the Wall Street Journal’s Artificial Intelligence Weekly, here are a few of the key takeaways from this month. First, companies are racing to meet expectations by the U.S. Justice Department, who in June instructed prosecutors to ask businesses how they use data to monitor risks, a role likely to be taken on by smart algorithms. Second, House lawmakers are proposing a national strategy aimed at remaining competitive in global Artificial Intelligence development, citing a range of workforce issues and education, national security, research and development. Finally, federal agencies are leaning on AI by using smart applications to tackle soaring demand for unemployment benefits, health-care support, and other public services. AI is also reshaping the way government agencies operate, according to a new report.
Artificial Intelligence Continues to Advance
Artificial Intelligence may hold powerful keys to protecting people- and at scale. According to Angus Loten of the Wall Street Journal, work is underway to explore the use of artificial intelligence in preventing the kinds of wildfires that are engulfing the West Coast. For example, PG&E is now using computer vision and artificial intelligence to more thoroughly inspect its infrastructure to head off fire risk- identifying wear and tear before it’s too late. Also, AI is being enlisted to speed up drug discovery, check on patients, and even remind people to wear masks. Sensors and video cameras placed throughout a hospital can track patients, doctors, and nurses, feeding real-time data into software trained to detect anomalies. Smart hospital systems can alert caregivers when a patient gets out of bed or keep health-care workers from entering a room without washing their hands. Prepare to have your mind blown by all that is happening in the field of artificial intelligence.
COVID-19 Tech News
Hacking Attempts Skyrocket while Companies Continue Remote Work
53% of U.S. adults who are newly working from home due to COVID-19 say their employer has no new security policies in place for managing personally identifiable information, such as customers’ social Security numbers, financial data, and medical records. The shift to remote work has led to an increase in cybersecurity threats. In fact, as of late May, the FBI had received around 320,000 complaints of internet crime—nearly double the rate for the prior year. The Secret Service also told the Senate Judiciary Committee they expect more than $30 billion in stimulus funds will end up being embezzled through scams. Hackers use tactics such as calling the help desk and pretending to be an employee who is locked out of an account or a supplier who needs to confirm account credentials to process payment. No matter how a hacker chooses to infiltrate a company’s systems, an employee can be the strongest—or weakest—link. Has working from home prompted your employer to offer additional cybersecurity precautions or run phishing tests? Read the full story here.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
Here’s the Top 50 Startups in the US, According to LinkedIn
Last week, LinkedIn released its 4th annual list of the top 50 startups in the United States. According to Jessi Hempel, “The 2020 LinkedIn Top Startups list reveals the 50 young, resilient companies where America wants to work now.” The list was culled based on four pillars: employee growth, jobseeker interest, member engagement with the company and its employees, and how well these startups pulled talent from LinkedIn’s flagship Top Companies list. While the list showcased the typical bulk of companies coming out of California and New York, Atlanta-based Fullstory came in at number 33 on the list, as well as startups from Colorado, Texas, Nevado, Ohio, and Oregon. See the full list here.
Amazon Introduces New Wellness App, the Amazon Halo
Amazon will be making its first entry into the health and wellness space soon. The Amazon Halo, which is already available for pre-order, is a wristband and tracking app that monitors body-fat percentage, heart rate, sleep, and even the user's social and emotional well being. Amazon says the “Tone” feature is able to offer insights into the user’s mood by analyzing their voice, energy and positivity. The app will also encourage healthy habits by offering workouts and integrations with third-party programs, such as Weight Watchers. In addition, the Halo’s battery will be able to last up to seven days after just 90 minutes of being charged. The Amazon Halo will be offered to consumers at just under $100; however, early adopters can snag the band plus six months of membership for $64.99. To learn more about the Amazon Halo and how it compares to products like the Fitbit and Apple Watch click here.
TikTok to Become Standalone US Company
TikTok is set to become a standalone US company to satisfy the White House. This report from the Atlanta Business Chronicle, in partnership with Financial Times, is super relevant. According to the article, ByteDance will place TikTok’s global business in a new US-headquartered company with Oracle investing as a minority shareholder, said people briefed on a plan presented to US officials to avoid a ban of the popular video app by President Donald Trump. TikTok’s data across the globe will be processed independently by Oracle, and American data will be managed and stored in the US to address national security concerns. Following this intervention, China announced new restrictive rules on technology exports, which would have restricted ByteDance from selling its algorithms to a non-Chinese company. Read the full article here.
Samsung Unveils Next Generation Foldable Smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
Samsung recently unveiled new details about its next generation foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G. The Galaxy Z Fold2 5G became widely available on September 18, 2020. It is available in two stunning colors: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black, with 256GB storage and 12GB RAM. The Galaxy Z Fold2 includes a massive 7.6” Main Display with Ultra Thin Glass, when unfolded, Pro Grade camera features with Pro Video mode, Single Take, Bright Night and Night Mode, helping users capture moments in stunning quality, next generation productivity with advanced capabilities, like Multi-Active Window for seamless multitasking and access to Galaxy Z Premier Service: an on-demand concierge support service from a dedicated team of product experts. If you get excited about slick new tech, click here to learn more about if the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G is right for you.
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