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Viewpoint: Alpharetta tech startups innovating during pandemic

By Karen Cashion – Contributing Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle
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Oct 9, 2020, 5:00am EDT

With more than 700 tech companies within city limits, tech as its primary industry and a daytime population that nearly doubles due to the influx of workers, Alpharetta is a thriving tech hub. Tech Alpharetta is continuing to grow new companies, jobs and a skilled workforce for the city.

Tech Alpharetta’s tech startup incubator, which launched in 2015, offers educational and mentoring programs, funding connections and other resources to our member startups. The incubator’s membership ranges from 45 to 55 companies, all of whom are developing new technology across a wide range of industry verticals.

To date, 13 of our startups have graduated from our incubator, with the majority headquartered in Alpharetta. Those startups, in turn, have created nearly 600 new jobs for the city of Alpharetta, and nearly 1,000 new jobs for the state of Georgia, which makes Tech Alpharetta a vital tech economic development engine for both the city and the region. In addition, our current and startup graduates have collectively raised more than $100 million in investor funding to date.

Adversity tends to inspire innovation, and in 2020 we have seen firsthand how Covid-19 has inspired a number of our Tech Alpharetta startups to develop new technology to address pandemic-related challenges. This past spring, our incubator graduate Maptician anticipated the complexities of re-opening offices, and it rapidly developed new features for its workplace management platform. Those new features assist companies with bringing their teams back to the office by providing staggered scheduling, contact tracing and social distancing functions, and by offering automated Covid-19 pre-screening surveys for company employees, contractors or visitors. Looking beyond Covid, Maptician provides organizations with the flexibility and adaptability to respond to changing work patterns and office use strategies as they solidify.

Meanwhile, our startup Vacmobile was busy developing a contactless method for obtaining, storing and transmitting HIPAA-compliant, state-certified vaccination and pandemic records on demand from a user’s smartphone. This solution will enable users to provide immediate digital proof of their vaccination records and Covid-19 health status.

At the same time, our Tech Alpharetta startup Voxie has focused on helping omnichannel retail and franchise brands bring back business during Covid-19 by facilitating in-store, curbside and delivery purchases through conversational SMS, using AI to deepen those brands’ customer relationships.

The founders of these three startups exhibit a mindset common to all startup founders. Grit, persistence and creative problem-solving are hallmarks of the entrepreneurial disposition. It is these very traits that are driving the lightning-fast innovation, by startups here and throughout the metro area’s innovation ecosystem, that may help all of us better adapt to life in the midst of the pandemic.

To us, working with the startups is an honor, an inspiration and a passion. To quote Steve Jobs, “[W]hile some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle