Things move fast in the tech world. That’s why we’re happy to bring you this monthly roundup of the top tech news stories from the Southeast and beyond. To stay connected and up-to-date on all things business and tech in Atlanta, subscribe to TechCONNECT.
Here’s a roundup of the Atlanta tech news you need to know from this month with stories via @roadie, @verusen_AI, @fullstory, & more.
Atlanta Funding News
Delivery Service, Roadie, Raises $37M
Atlanta startup Roadie raised $37M with backers like Home Depot, but today is all about a specific Roadie shout-out. We want to say thank you to the entire team at Roadie and friend, founder, and CEO Marc Gorlin for creating this amazing startup right here in Atlanta. For those of you who don’t know, Roadie is a same-day delivery platform that connects people with stuff to send to drivers already heading in the right direction. According to Gorlin, “Any vehicle on the road can be a Roadie.” Roadie’s network now includes 120,000 drivers that have delivered packages to more than 11,000 cities and towns nationwide. Clients are able to go online, schedule a time, and have the item delivered and set up—all for about 25% of what other local companies are charging for the same service. Use Roadie and support this Atlanta startup!
Verusen Raises $8M in Series A
According to Maija Ehlinger of Hypepotamus, Verusen—a platform that organizes data from disparate inventory systems and helps users predict upcoming inventory needs— shows the strength of Atlanta’s supply chain infrastructure with its recent $8M Series A raise. Founder Paul Noble told Hypepotamus that the startup aims to provide organizations #MaterialTruth, which consists of eliminating costly, slow and multiple steps of data cleansing for organizations while driving fast and significant business value for inventory, procurement and demand planning. According to one investor, Verusen has demonstrated an average of $10 million of verified savings opportunities within 90 days for its customers, including Georgia Pacific, Graphic Packaging, AB InBev, and many other manufacturers around the world. Verusen will continue to call the city of Atlanta home, as it has for over four years now, as there is an abundance of growth opportunities and partnerships, especially in the tech community.
Financial Tech Startup, Gravy, Raised a $4.5M Series A Round
Alpharetta-based financial technology startup Gravy, which helps businesses with subscription-based revenue recover failed payments, raised a $4.5M Series A round led by Arlington Family Partners. Gravy combines automation and personalization to send either an email or text message to a customer whose payment has been declined. From there, it can walk that customer through processing the payment in order to keep their subscription active. Plus, Gravy also works with customers on individual payment plans if they are unhappy with the subscription. With the new funding, the company plans to hire 67 more people to its team of about 80, build out its integration capabilities to work with more payment processors and subscription managers, and refine the technology to provide more data to its customers about the failed payment. In the Atlanta Inno article linked here, Gravy’s CEO, Casey Graham, also shares how investing time and resources into its employees’ personal brand and content on LinkedIn resulted in a 45% increase in inbound calls.
Mergers, Acquisitions, & More
Paul Judge & Mark Buffington Team Up for a $300M Venture Fund
Paul Judge & Mark Buffington, two names familiar to those in the Atlanta venture capital and entrepreneurial scenes, are teaming up for a $300M venture fund. Panoramic Ventures will aim to help fund overlooked, high-potential startups across the Southeast and will look for founders based on three specific sectors: geography, diversity, and university. Judge’s background in enterprise SaaS and cybersecurity, coupled with Buffington’s work in healthcare IT and FinTech, will help the new venture find the next generation of founders in Atlanta and the Southeast, where they believe there is a gap between strong startups and a meaningful venture capital firm that is local active across multiple stages. You can learn more about Judge and Buffington’s impressive backgrounds and their plans for Panoramic Ventures in the Hypepotamus article linked here.
Atlanta-Based Mobile Health Company Sharecare is Heading to NASDAQ
The Atlanta-based mobile health company, Sharecare, is heading to NASDAQ. This month, the consumer-facing health and wellness platform released information about its plans to merge with the special purpose acquisition company Falcon Capital Acquisition Corporation. The combined company will be valued at $3.9B, and at the closing of the deal Sharecare and Falcon have agreed to donate $4M to both local and global charities. Sharecare also announced that health insurance giant, Anthem Healthcare, will be making a direct investment in the company. With this investment, Anthem will expand its strategic partnership with Sharecare as the company continues the development of products and services to enhance the healthcare experience. To learn more about Sharecare, Falcon, and Anthem, as well as Sharecare’s road to going public, check out the Hypepotamus article covering this announcement.
Top Atlanta Stories
The City of Atlanta Partners with Olea Edge Analytics to Monitor the City Water Meters
After the Atlanta City Council unanimously approved the $3.8M partnership in September 2020, the city of Atlanta is expanding its partnership with an Austin-based startup, Olea Edge Analytics, in order to monitor the city water meters and make sure they’re working efficiently. The partnership began in 2018 with 70 Olea sensors on water meters across the city and quickly expanded to 700 sensors to help the city identify $10M in potential revenue per year. Through this new partnership, Olea is now in the process of adding an additional 1,600 sensors to the city’s water meters so that the city can spend fewer resources diagnosing problems and more resources fixing them. Check out Erin Schilling’s Atlanta Inno article to learn more about Olea’s technology and how this partnership will identify the meters that have leaks, diagnose the problem and prioritize what should be fixed first to mitigate revenue losses.
SmartPM Brings Additional AI Software to the Construction Industry
When the pandemic caused delays across the construction industry, demand for construction analysis software, SmartPM, boomed. Using real-time data about performance, a company that uses SmartPM can analyze construction project timelines and pinpoint areas of possible inefficiency in order to figure out where the delays exist, plus prevent those problems from happening in the first place. The software helped many construction projects stay on track despite Covid-19-related disruptions, helping the startup to triple its sales revenue as well as raise a $500,000 seed round in early February 2021. With this new funding, SmartPM plans to hire five additional team members and expand the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities so that it has the ability to recommend solutions to construction managers after analyzing the data. If you want to read more about how SmartPM is transforming the construction industry and how founder Michael Pink started the company, check out the Atlanta Inno article linked here.
FullStory is Hiring 100 New Employees
Between now and the end of the year, FullStory– a digital experience analytics company founded by former Google engineers- will be hiring over 100 new employees. With a concentration on product development and sales, FullStory plans to hire about half of the new employees for its Atlanta office and half to work remotely. FullStory will focus outreach to include women and people of color in order to get a diverse pool of candidates. During the pandemic, the need for better digital analytics accelerated. While FullStory started with small and mid-sized businesses as its main customers for digital analytics, the company now works with enterprise retail, software-as-a-service companies, and healthcare clients. Building out capabilities to help those industries is the focus of their growth. With the new team members, FullStory plans to merge artificial intelligence and algorithms to analyze how frustrating user experiences may correlate with lost conversions and revenues on a site. Click here to check out the 25 openings currently available at FullStory.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
New Wave of Cyberattacks Leave Hospitals Suffering
According to James Rundle of the Wall Street Journal- Cyberattackers are renewing their activity as hospitals roll out Covid-19 vaccines- and hospitals are suffering new waves of hacking attempts. This is deeply disturbing as these hacks put additional pressure on an industry already struggling with managing the coronavirus pandemic. Hospital security chiefs say ransomware gangs, financial scammers and hackers backed by nation-states are the culprits behind these threats. According to a powerful graphic in the article, points of vulnerability include: Networks, IOT or Internet of Things, Personal Devices of staff, doctors, nurses, Data Storage, Records Disposal, and Remote Work nuances.
Tesla purchases $1.5B in Bitcoin
It’s no secret that Elon Musk has been both interested in and an advocate for cryptocurrency over the last several years. So it’s not surprising that Tesla has recently purchased $1.5B in Bitcoin and also shared that it expects to start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its electric vehicles soon. Following the bitcoin purchase, likely among the largest by a public company, and Tesla’s announcement about the purchase, Bitcoin’s prices jumped more than 10%. Purchases like these do not come without an accounting risk to the companies, because Bitcoin and other digital assets are considered “indefinite-lived intangible assets,” rather than currencies, any decrease in their value below what the company paid for them- even a temporary one- can force a company to write down the value, taking an impairment charge. Tesla shared that it would analyze its holdings in the cryptocurrency each quarter to see whether impairments are warranted based on bitcoin prices. Be sure to check out the Wall Street Journal article that covers this announcement to learn more about why companies like Tesla might be growing more optimistic about Bitcoin.
Clubhouse Leads the Surge of Social Audio Apps
Emerging social media apps that feature voice conversations are gaining users and drawing multimillion-dollar investments, and Clubhouse, an audio-only social app, featuring conversations with big names in Hollywood, politics and tech, is the latest app creating the biggest stir. Less than a year after its launch, Clubhouse raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation in January, and the platform is growing rapidly. Monthly downloads of the invite-only app jumped to 2.4 million last month from 2,000 in September. Interest in apps like Clubhouse is also grabbing the attention of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, which are now in the early stages of experimenting with social audio features. Audio apps became especially appealing amid pandemic lockdowns as people sought social connection, and live conversation seemed to foster more empathy than text chats. The biggest problem facing newer social networks, such as Clubhouse, is figuring out their business models in an industry where most digital advertising dollars go to Facebook and Google. Clubhouse shared that it is exploring options for performers to receive tips as well as offering paid events and memberships in order to generate revenue. Check out the Wall Street Journal article to learn more about Clubhouse and the rise of voice-based social platforms.
Comcast NBCUniversal Announces 10 Startups to Join SportsTech Accelerator
Comcast NBCUniversal announced that it has selected 10 startups to join its inaugural SportsTech Accelerator cohort, designed to help founders transform fan experiences, sports streaming, and smart devices for athletes. Unfortunately, the cohort will no longer be gathering at in-person at The Battery; however, Atlanta is still well represented. The program received over 1,000 applications, and two out of the ten startups selected for the cohort are Atlanta-based teams. XiQ is developing smart devices to secure non-automotive vehicles such as golf carts, and Ane Swim is creating apparel designed for diverse swimmers. You can learn more about the SportsTech Accelerator and how it had to pivot due to COVID-19 by checking out the Hypepotamus article linked here.
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