The 2nd Annual Atlanta Corporate Innovation Summit brought together corporate titans and key players in the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem to talk innovation and partnerships.
Taking place at The Gathering Spot, last month’s event hosted 400 plus startups and corporate innovators. Around 125 matchmaking meetings took place between founders and corporations to explore potential revenue relationships.
The one-day program kicked off with a fireside chat with Marc Golin, founder & CEO of Roadie and Alex Gonzalez, CIO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Roadie, an idea sparked by a personal dilemma, has grown to become a competitive nationwide delivery service. Notably, the startup landed a contract in 2015 with Atlanta-based Delta Airlines and further expanded its partnership earlier this year.
Case study presentations by big name brands such as Coca-Cola and Cox Enterprises demonstrated clear and vivid examples of the benefit of bringing on startups for pilot programs, which are temporary contracts to test a new product, system, or service line for a company.
Topics explored included why piloting can be an investment worth exploring, how to encourage upper management to get behind it, and how startups can successfully conduct an assignment.
Participants were Ed Wagner, Director Business Platform Services and Enterprise Architecture at Cox Enterprises; Noa Davidson, Enterprise Architecture at The Coca-Cola Company; Domonique Bouldrick, Corporate Development Manager at Porsche Cars North America; and Carie Davis, Chief Strategy Officer of TechPublic and Director of the BridgeCommunity.
Bouldrick described why startups should not underestimate the value that they can bring to larger corporations.
“I think it’s important for startups to realize that what they bring to the table that we don’t have internally is that sometimes we have identified a problem and we can potentially solve it but we may not have the resource constraints or we may also have other items that are more important at the time than solving that particular problem,” Bouldrick told UrbanGeekz.
“So a startup can come in and solve this problem relatively quickly for us, and get the experience as well to improve their business and it’s beneficial for both sides because in most cases it isn’t as expensive as going with another big box provider to solve the problem for us as well.”
To be certain, startups can benefit immensely from opportunities to touch base and potentially partner with corporate executives and their companies, like what the Innovation Summit provided. Further, eleven startups part of the BridgeCommunity were set up in the Innovation Alley to familiarize attendees with new innovations in the tech ecosystem.
The head of a revolutionary water filtering platform spoke on how tabling in the alley gave insight into future business developments.
“It’s been really great visibility for us,” said Doll Avant, Founder and CEO of Aquagenuity. “A lot of people think that their water is fine. And then they find out through our technology that they need to take action to better protect their health. We found a lot of traction with some of the corporate clients that are here, that are represented at the summit. So Coca-Cola, Cox, some of these companies have been really great working with us trying to decide what an early pilot looks like. So this platform just gives us more visibility and helps us meet people in the Atlanta and Georgia ecosystem in technology that we would have never encountered.”
The Summit was hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta BridgeCommunity founded by Coca-Cola. Launched in 2016, Bridge seeks to connect select B2B and B2C startups with large corporations, granting unparalleled access. According to the website, the program is designed to engineer and accelerate startup and corporate relationships. This year’s cohort accepted startups from commutable distances outside of Atlanta, as well.
The event was sponsored by 325. Inc. and Tyrannosaurus Tech. UrbanGeekz alongside other players in the tech ecosystem — such as Kompass Events, digitalundivided, and Atlanta Tech Village — was a community partner for the event.