Welcome to TechCONNECT—the place to stay connected to all things business and technology in Atlanta, the southeast, and beyond. From major funding rounds to exciting new partnerships, it’s been a big month for our community. We’ve pulled together all the top tech stories you need to know in this month’s roundup.
Catch up on the latest business and tech news from the Southeast and beyond with stories via @calendly, @salesloft, @gimmevend & more!
Atlanta Funding News
The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Raises $25M
The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the largest nonprofit center for Black entrepreneurs in the nation, raised $25 million and completed the second phase of its Beyond Innovation Campaign. Through education, mentorship, exposure and access to networks and capital, RCIE aims to support Black entrepreneurs in turning their ideas into enterprises. The funding in this latest round came from prominent philanthropic and corporate partners, including the Ressler Gertz Family Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Truist Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company Foundation, Citizens Trust Bank, T. Dallas Smith & Co., and JPMorgan Chase. Over the next five years, the organization will use the funds to create 2,000 jobs in Atlanta, develop 250 new startup companies, provide resources to 700 existing businesses, and increase Black household wealth in greater Atlanta by more than $70 million. Learn more about the RCIE and its impact in Atlanta.
Atlanta Startup Unicorn Raises a $100M Series E Round
SalesLoft, the sales engagement platform founded in 2011, raised a $100 million Series E round, putting the company’s valuation to $1.1 billion To date, the startup has taken in $245 million in funding, with the latest funding round being led by Owl Rock, with additional participation by Insight Partners, HarbourVest, and Emergence. While SalesLoft was certainly growing prior to the pandemic, remote work only increased the need for enterprise software for digital sales teams, and over the last year, the company was able to more than double its recurring revenue. CEO Kyle Porter and guest of the show says that with this additional financing, SalesLoft plans to invest in further scaling enterprise business, expand into new vertical markets, invest in machine learning-based product innovation, and expand its footprint in international markets. You can Learn more about SalesLoft and its Series E funding round right here.
DecisionLink Raises $18.5M Led by Accel
The ability to accurately understand the value of a prospective or existing customer is important for any growing business, and DecisionLink’s platform aims to help its customers achieve this by organizing the customer value management process. From its Atlanta Tech Village home, DecisionLink is the latest B2B SaaS company to raise a Series A round. Accel, a VC firm with investments in Slack, CrowdStrike, and other success stories, led the $18.5 million round. This funding will allow DecisionLink to expand its main product ValueCloud, a self-service platform that supports end-to-end customer lifetime value management. Plus, the DecisionLink team is growing rapidly. The company just hired its 30th full-time employee, up from 10 employees just a year and a half ago, and they expect to reach about 70-80 employees by the end of 2021. Learn more about DecisionLink and their lead investor, Accel.
Revel Systems Raises $15.2M in a SEC Filing
Revel Systems, a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale system for restaurants and retailers, reported raising $15.2 million in a SEC filing. Founded in 2010 and led by CEO Greg Dukat, the startup has offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Lithuania and supplies more than 20,000 businesses with POS systems. You may recognize a few of Revel Systems’ clients, including Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Carvel and Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants, which fall under the umbrella of parent company and prominent Atlanta franchiser Focus Brands. Last year, Revel focused on innovating its platform because of the pandemic, which led the company to launch Online Ordering XT, a mobile interface that allows customers to order online and keeps that data for the restaurant, as well as Delivery XT, a suite of apps that manages drivers, assignments and directions. To find out more about Revel Systems and their previous funding rounds, check out this Atlanta Inno article.
Atlanta Scheduling Startup Calendly Raises $350M
Congratulations to Calendly, an Atlanta-based cloud scheduling platform that recently raised a $350M investment. The company doubled its subscription revenue in 2020 and is now valued at more than $3B. In 2020, the company. Get the full story on Calendly and their funding news here.
Mergers, Acquisitions, & More
Activvely Partners with ChooseATL
Activvely founder and former guest/friend of the show, Stefanie Jewett, is partnering with ChooseATL to give us an awesome way to kick off our New Year’s resolutions by helping us achieve our professional goals and our health goals at the same time. The idea is simple- imagine biking with your future boss, hiking with a potential client, or yoga with a new friend. You’ll be doing something great for your body, mind, and career. So, if meeting other friendly go-getters by being active together instead of getting tipsy sounds enticing, this challenge is for you. Sign up to tap into more motivation, level up your social circle, and win cool prizes and giveaways in 2021.
Proterra is Now Publicly Listed After Merger with ArcLight Clean Transition Corp
Back in 2010, Proterra was on the brink of financial ruin as it waited for $8 million from its main source of funding, MK Energy and Infrastructure; however, after deciding to relocate from Colorado to Greenville, South Carolina, Proterra was offered a lifeline by a group of local investors partnered with the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN), SCRA and VentureSouth. Fast-forward to today: Proterra announced the intention to become publicly listed through a merger transaction with ArcLight Clean Transition Corporation, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company. Once the transaction is completed, Proterra expects to have up to $825M in cash and will be valued at $1.6B. As Proterra enters this next chapter as a publicly listed commercial EV technology leader, the future looks bright. Industry experts forecast commercial electric vehicles to grow to 100,000 by 2022, 500,000 by 2026 and one million by 2030. To learn more about Proterra’s rich history and what this announcement means for the future of the company, take a look at the Hypepotamus article we have shared.
Top Atlanta Stories
These 10 Atlanta Startups Thrived During the Pandemic
2020 was a year of problems. Luckily, problem-solving is what startup founders do best, and for Atlanta companies such as Upbeat Music, and Vacmobile, they took the challenges of the year 2020 and turned them into opportunities. Upbeat Music found a way to have musicians in an ensemble play together while staying apart. When it’s time to play a song, each musician hits the record button and plays their part with a backing track, and the software uses an algorithm to line those parts together and play it back to the group. On the other hand, Vacomobile’s technology will be extremely important as vaccines are being distributed because it will allow entities such as university health centers to keep track of student COVID-19 tests and vaccination records. These are just two of the ten startups that Atlanta Inno highlighted as having launched or pivoted to help during the pandemic last year.
ATV’s 7th “It Takes a Village” Pre-Accelerator Cohort Now Taking Applications
Applications have been accepted for Atlanta Tech Village’s 7th It Takes a Village pre-accelerator cohort. This program is specifically designed to give startups led by women and people of color the opportunity to gain direct access to community, education, mentorship, and capital. By the end of the four-month program the goal is to get all participating startups a seed investment, pilot with an enterprise company, or a spot in an accelerator program. In addition to identifying as a person of color or female founder, all applicants must have a functional product past the idea stage, have raised less than $150,000, and have a technology-focused company with proprietary software. We wish all of the applicants good luck!
7Factor Software Creates WellEntry, Infectious Disease Screening App
Atlanta startup, 7Factor Software, had more than three years of experience working with businesses to enhance their software and cloud services to make their operations more efficient. When the pandemic hit, the company became one of a handful of Atlanta startups pivoting to tackle the new set of obstacles we were facing. In less than two months, 7Factor created WellEntry, an infectious disease screening app that allows employers to monitor their employees’ health through surveys and real-time data reports. Now, 18 companies use WellEntry, including Aveanna Healthcare– an Atlanta-based network of home pediatric care services that helped 7Factor create it. As we move into a different phase of the pandemic, the WellEntry platform is continuing to be updated with new features, including vaccine tracking and notifications that show businesses how long it’s been since an employee was screened. Learn more about 7Factor and the effects that adding WellEntry as a product offering has had on the startup.
Atlanta-Based Startup, Gimme, Helps Grocery Store Logistics
Last March, when news of a lockdown began to spread, shoppers bought everything on the shelves — from toilet paper and canned goods to bread and coffee — so they could weather the pandemic with a full pantry. This put massive pressure on grocery stores, and many couldn’t produce food fast enough to keep the shelves stocked. That’s where Atlanta-based startup Gimme stepped in to help grocery stores better manage their supply chain. Gimme helps companies that deliver perishable groceries and vending machine snacks manage their inventory and delivery routes. So when a delivery person brings in a shipment, the Gimme software automatically sends the grocery store an invoice for the exact number of products. Now 70% of grocery stores across the country work with delivery companies that use Gimme’s hardware and software product on their routes. In fact, Gimme VMS won the 2020 Readers’ Choice New Product of the Year award in the technology category from “Automatic Merchandiser” magazine. You’ll definitely want to check out Atlanta Inno’s profile on Gimme to learn more about their fundraising and investments, as well as how they plan to expand their reach in 2021 with an improved product- the Gimme Key Pro.
Trending Tech Events
Fintech Generations Conference Coming Up in Charlotte
This year, the annual Fintech Generations conference will take place June 7-11 in Charlotte. Fintech Generations is one of the largest FinTech conferences outside of Silicon Valley, and each year it hosts the top leaders and innovators from around the world to discuss the industry’s most pressing topics and facilitate strategic networking among attendees. The 3-day virtual conference will have live panel discussions and fireside chats, access to recorded VIP roundtables, and strategic networking with executives, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world. Early bird tickets are available for a limited time, and you can grab yours here.
The Atlanta Startup Village Hosted Virtually on January 25th
The largest monthly gathering of entrepreneurs in the southeast, hosted by Atlanta Tech Village, took place on Monday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. Atlanta Startup Village is a fun, informative, and inclusive forum for networking and feedback where a select group of new or emerging startups get five minutes to pitch their business as well as discuss roadblocks, opportunities, and get feedback. The goal is to broaden each company’s exposure and highlight that all startups, not just tech startups, use technology and can benefit from one another. This month ATLSV was hosted virtually on YouTube.
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