When you think of technology and where it thrives, the first place that pops into your mind is likely Silicon Valley. Based in San Francisco, California, Silicon Valley is home to several of the world’s leading technology companies, including Apple, Google, Oracle, HP and many more. With so many of the world’s leading innovators in life-changing technology, it is only natural to think of Silicon Valley when thinking of tech. However, the Valley is not the only place that nurtures tech innovators and startups. Recent research shows that Atlanta, Georgia is becoming something of a cultural hotbed for emerging technology companies and venture capitalists.
In a recent report from Forbes, Atlanta was noted to have a large number of incubators and accelerators, which is helping in the creation of companies, particularly fintech companies. Fintech (financial technology) companies, as the name suggests, incorporate new technology into the financial industry, ranging anywhere from simplistic transaction processing applications to bill payment software.
Why, exactly, is Atlanta becoming such a tech-heavy area? Georgina Nelson, CEO of TruRating, a company offering an application that allows users to rate their shopping experience with a business the moment they purchase something, believes it is the city’s location. In a statement on why she chose Atlanta to be the headquarters of TruRating, Nelson said, “We initially chose Atlanta because all our global payment partners were down the road, in Transaction Alley, the incredibly good value office space and the busiest airport in the world–so quick routes to our other offices.” The Transaction Alley which Nelson mentions is the nickname for Atlanta’s booming payment processing district. Transaction Alley is responsible for roughly 70 percent of all card payment transactions. The finance businesses in the area that are already established have clearly motivated start ups to co-locate.
Atlanta is also home to the offices of NCR, First Data and KPMG to name a few established firms, which, combined, employ almost 6,000 people. The city also houses incubators, such as the Switchyards Downtown Club. The Switchyards is dedicated to creating Atlanta’s newest and brightest startups, with a core concentration on consumer oriented technology. But none compare to The Atlanta Tech Village, which is currently the fourth largest tech hub in America. With 103,000-square feet of dynamic office space, over 100 different startups and the ability for members to consult with experts in their field regarding the challenges they face, The Atlanta Tech Village is bursting at the seams with talent and companies ready to make a name for themselves.
Large corporate giants such as The Coca Cola Company and The Intercontinental Hotel Group are investing in their own technology hubs and accelerators. With these new hubs and accelerators, they will be looking for talented individuals already familiar with startups, which makes Atlanta a prime area to invest in.
Venture capitalists are also thriving in the area. Mohammed Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta, believes that venture capital has a major impact on the city, and will continue to help Atlanta grow in the future. “Atlanta is one of the eight leading cities in America for venture capitalism in the tech and finance space,” says Reed. And according to a report from Blackenterprise.com, CityLab claims that Atlanta has around $514 million in venture capital investment.
With the large amount of money and resources already invested in fintech, Transaction Alley’s tremendous cachet and young entrepreneurs all ready to take their startups to the next level, Atlanta is certainly a city to keep your eye on.