By Sarah Tourville, Founder and CEO
As a Brit living in Georgia people often ask if I like living here and because of my love for sunshine, good customer service, and fried green tomatoes, I always nod vigorously. What I sometimes fail to tell them is my other Georgia loves: technology innovation, creativity, startup fever and people’s display of “I can do anything’” (while obligingly helping others do the same). Now for my fellow English friends the ‘tech’ comment may surprise you, but since moving here in 2011, I have witnessed an explosion in tech startups, incubators, co-working spaces, tech giants partnering with Georgia Tech grads, war rooms, creative rooms and just last week, a VR and AR event that attracted Turner Broadcasting, CNN, IHG. So what can we expect 2017 to bring to tech in Atlanta? Will MarTech continue to be Atlanta’s golden child? Will more West Coast investors dig deep into their pockets to drive Atlanta growth? What else?
#1 MarTech Revolution
It’s an exciting time to be in Atlanta. There is so much untapped talent here that is ready to take the Silicon Valley by storm. In the last 18 months, I have seen a resurgence of VC firms making Atlanta their second home for investment, which is very promising.
With companies like Silverpop (acquired by IBM), and Pardot (acquired by Salesforce) and other budding firms like Salesloft and Terminus, we are on a cusp of a revolution. Many companies like Marketo and Salesforce are making a significant investment in both tech and hiring in Atlanta, bringing the city of Atlanta in the limelight. Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder & CMO at Terminus
#2 Mergers and Acquisitions Abound
Atlanta has a huge concentration of startups and companies focused on marketing technology. The sheer number of marketing technologies available is overwhelming to marketers and the focus of these technologies too narrow. The only logical future is the continued consolidation of problem-specific solutions under larger, more strategic companies. Only then will these point solutions reach their full potential as part of a more complete answer to addressing enterprise-wide marketing problems.
Eric Holtzclaw, Marketing Expert, Growth Strategist, Inc Columnist, Author, Speaker
#3 Technology Leader
The greater Atlanta area has a bright future as a technology incubator and leader. In particular, we are seeing some compelling new business-to-business marketing technologies emerging. One such example is SalesTing, which we are using to help align and strengthen our sales and marketing organization here at Verint.
Ryan Hollenbeck – Senior Vice President, Marketing, Verint
With Atlanta included as one of the top five cities of Fortune 500 companies and being at the cross-road of higher-education and technology, Atlanta is percolating as one of the most important cities for emerging mixed reality technologies. 2017 will prove to be a critical year as to how this story unfolds for Atlanta as it is told through VR, AR, and other mixed realities.
Dana Xavier Dojnik, IHG, Hotel Content Strategy, Innovation, and VR
#5 Start-Up Investment
As millennials progress in their careers and see more success, I suspect investing in Atlanta tech startups to become more and more standard and a smart form of investing one’s capital. Also since many of us built careers via tech startups, or even saw our first success in tech startups, that nostalgia will lead to more investment as well.
Atlanta will continue growing in the tech space. We have more millennials moving to the city each day and because of this; you will see more co-working and incubators like Atlanta Tech Village (ATV). Co-working spaces are a great way to test an idea and lay the groundwork for a new business. They allow start-ups access to investors, mentors, and collaboration that you can’t find anywhere else.
Stephanie Wargo, Director of Marketing at PrimeRevenue
#7 MarTech Cluster
I am confident Atlanta is going to strengthen its heritage in marketing technology. This MarTech cluster started long ago by first-generation interactive companies such as 360i and iXL. Today we are seeing this play out with great anchor companies such as MailChimp, national companies such as Marketo and Salesforce making regional offices in Atlanta, and successful exits among the likes of Pardot and Silverpop. All this feeds the next generation of emerging marketing technology companies like CallRail, SalesLoft, and Springbot, which will continue to feed this virtuous circle.
#8 Mobility and Security
Atlanta’s key technologies are mobility and security. We have already seen Airwatch start here in Atlanta, grow and be sold to VMware for $1.54 billion in 2014. When your cell phone is basically your remote control to the world, we’ll see a lot more technologies launched and created around mobility catering to our “on-demand” needs. As for security, you can’t go online without reading about a breach. Whether it’s tethered to the presidential election, a utility in Vermont or a ransomware threat at your neighbor’s company, we are at the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to security. Security is also no longer only a business concern. As we go deeper into the Internet of Things (IoT), security concerns will only grow more and more throughout households. Matt Goggin, SVP, Global Marketing at Softvision
#9 Center of Innovation
With Georgia Tech as an anchor in Midtown ATL and their mission to bring forward 100 new start-ups per year by 2020 (they’re at 40-50 per year now), Atlanta is destined to be at the center of innovation – launching new technologies practically daily that will continue to revolutionize and disrupt industries like media, travel, transactions, telecom, retail, healthcare… virtually every industry at some level.
Our roles as industry leaders may be to ensure that as we adopt new technologies to streamline, simplify and make our lives and industries more efficient and productive that we do not lose sight of the importance of layering in human connection and life experiences. The ability to love, dream, have compassion, passion and empathy cannot be replicated in machines/technology. Embrace these technology disrupters and free up your time and space to allow for greater human connections. Liz Gillespie, Partner, VP Marketing, North American Properties
#10 Cyber Security
I see more development in the cybersecurity area. With Governor Nathan Deal’s recent announcement of funding for such activity in Augusta, I look for Atlanta to be the nucleus that supports those efforts. In addition, FinTech and MarTech will continue to gain momentum due to the already well-established base of companies in the area.
Jeff Sheehan, Influencer, Marketing & Social Selling Pro, LinkedIn Trainer, Twitter Expert, Speaker, Author, Podcaster