[TechCONNECT] Atlanta Tech News Roundup | March 2021

Spring is here, and we can feel the energy of a new season sweeping through our city. March was a major month of growth and new beginnings for Atlanta’s tech scene, and we’re here to help you stay up-to-date on the latest tech news stories. From the latest in neurotechnology to major funding rounds, here are the top stories Atlanta tech leaders need to know from this past month.

Atlanta Funding News

Silicon Road Ventures Closes on $31M Fund
Silicon Road Ventures, which invests in US-based technology startups ranging from seed to series A across e-commerce, retail, and CPG, announced the close of their $31 million fund focused on commerce tech. Founded in 2019 and based in Atlanta, Silicon Road Ventures is a vertical fund whose primary focus areas include in-store retail & shopper tech, multi-channel commerce, supply chain & logistics, and fintech & payments. Last year, Silicon Road invested in ten startups and aims to invest in around thirty more by 2023. The company has several significant programs that aim to help portfolio companies beyond just writing a check, such as their Retail Sandbox Program, which allows the  portfolio companies to test their technology in the real world through a joint venture with Citizen Supply—a highly curated marketplace located in Ponce City Market. Citizen Supply embraces tech innovation and encourages the portfolio companies to test-and-learn in order to gather data and insights as shoppers browse the latest small brands and artisan goods. Get the full story here.

Alcohol Recovery Startup Reframe Raises a $1.4M Seed
Alcohol recovery startup Reframe just raised a $1.4M seed round led by Atlanta Ventures. Reframe’s app, which currently has about 3,000 users, includes a mix of interactive activities, recovery stories, affirmations, and educational tools to help people struggling with alcoholism. Two Georgia Tech graduates (and Inno Under 25 honorees) developed the app using lessons they learned while talking with Emory University and Johns Hopkins University medical experts, Georgia Tech professors, and more than 500 members of Alcoholics Anonymous. At less than $10 a month, the app is a fraction of the cost of going to a recovery center. With the new funding, Reframe plans to add personalized coaching to the app and expand their two-person team to ten. Learn more about Reframe and its goals for 2021.

Mergers, Acquisitions, & More

ParkMobile to Be Acquired by EasyPark, a European Parking Tech Company
The Atlanta-based company ParkMobile just announced its plans to be acquired by European parking technology company, EasyPark, which currently operates in over 2,200 cities across 20 countries. CMO and Head of Product at ParkMobile, Jeff Perkins, explained, “EasyPark Group is the parking technology leader in Europe. ParkMobile is the leader in North America. The combination creates a dominant global player in this rapidly growing space.” ParkMobile, which was founded in 2008, had been part of PARK NOW—a joint venture between BMW Group and Daimler that brought together companies looking to address ride-sharing, charging, trip planning, and parking issues across the transportation and mobility space. The other PARK NOW Group companies, including RingGo and Park-line, will also be part of the acquisition. Learn more about EasyPark and the acquisition here.

Atlanta-based Pindrop Acquires Next Caller
Atlanta-based Pindrop, the global technology leader in identity, security, and trust for voice interactions, announced the acquisition of Next Caller, the industry’s smartest enterprise-grade call verification and fraud detection technology for contact centers. The timing of this acquisition couldn’t come at a more important time for contact centers. According to a Forrester Report commissioned by Pindrop in November 2020, 42% of brands saw an increase in year-over-year call center call volume since the pandemic began, 65% struggled to manage the high call volume, and 80% reported fraud being a very serious issue in the call center. This acquisition will allow current and future customers of both companies to experience greater flexibility and increase their options to support personalization, fraud prevention, ANI validation, authentication, and caller verification. Customers can now work with the two organizations to accelerate better customer experiences and reduce the average time to serve, all while mitigating risk. Learn more about Pindrop and Next Caller here.

Top Atlanta Stories

LA-Based Emotive is Moving Into Atlanta
Atlanta’s diverse talent pool and solid startup scene attracted another emerging west-coast company—Emotive. After raising a $50 million Series B round, Los Angeles-based Emotive announced that it would be expanding and opening an office in Atlanta. Emotive is the first and only conversational sales platform helping e-commerce brands scale 1:1 text messaging campaigns with customers to improve online conversion rates. Despite being founded just over two years ago, Emotive says it’s tripling the size of its team to over 200 employees during 2021, which includes several new C-Suite hires coming from SpaceX, Drift, and ZocDoc, as well as Atlanta-based Adam Waid, formerly of SalesLoft and Salesforce, who will join Emotive as Chief Customer Officer. Learn more about Emotive’s big move here.

TEDxAtlanta to Host Virtual Lineup on April 16th
After canceling its annual conference in 2020, TEDxAtlanta will be returning with a virtual lineup on April 16th. Because this will be the first TEDxAtlanta event of the decade, the theme is “Begin at the Beginning,” which focuses on the importance of embracing change, renewal, and new beginnings. The conference will be hosted on the EventTech platform Hopin and will include Discovery Sessions led by this year’s speakers. Secure your ticket to TEDxAtlanta with a special discount here.

Getting to the Heart of What Motivates Women in Tech
March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, Hypepotamus featured an article by Lauren Patrick of Curricula, where she connected with over 50 women working in technology and asked them, ‘What motivates you as a woman in tech?’ Allyson Eman, CEO of Venture Atlanta, explained how helping entrepreneurs grow motivates her. More specifically, she loves watching their success and being a small part of it through collaboration and community. For SalesLoft’s Aly Merritt, building a big-city network from scratch coupled with a late-in-life career change drives her to serve as an example to others who may find themselves in similar situations. She’s eager to show them that even though it can be difficult, it can be done. Read more of what motivates these women in tech.

Trending: Top National Tech Stories

21 Neurotech Startups That Are Pushing Boundaries
Neuroscience startups are pushing the boundaries of tech and medicine in order to help patients cure disease, regain mobility, optimize performance, and more. Over the last decade, the digital health sector has matured from basic tracking apps, like original Fitbit, into highly regulated medical devices. By 2024, the market is projected to grow to $64 billion. Startups like Synchron and BrainCo, for example, are working to help paralyzed patients regain movement. Synchron’s device passes through cerebral blood vessels, allowing it to implant in the brain to give patients direct brain control of mobility-assistive devices. On the other hand, products like the Halo Sport, which the USA Cycling team uses to train its athletes, stimulate the brain in order to enhance the efficiency of physical training by increasing plasticity in the brain prior to an activity. Check out 21 early and mid-stage neurotech companies working across brain-machine interfaces, neuroprosthetics, neuromonitoring, and neurostimulatory devices.

Google Invests $7B Into Offices and Data Centers, Creating at Least 10,000 Jobs
After Google slowed spending and hiring last year in response to the pandemic, the company recently announced that it would create at least 10,000 new full-time jobs as part of a $7 billion investment into offices and data centers across the country. The spending commitment will help expand the company’s workspace footprint in anticipation of a post-pandemic recovery in the U.S. Google shared its plans to add thousands of roles at existing sites in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. While this year’s investment plan is mainly aimed at existing sites, Google is also planning to create three new office sites in Minnesota, Texas, and North Carolina, expanding its presence to 19 states. Learn more about Google’s spending commitment, including more information about how the company plans to support affordable housing initiatives in the Bay Area as part of the $1 billion housing commitment in its home state of California.


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