Originally posted on Metro Atlanta Chamber Newsroom, May 19, 2021.
Powered by the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), Backed by ATL today announces the addition of 14 high-potential middle-market companies representing a cross-section of metro Atlanta entrepreneurs – some of the most promising enterprises from a region that saw more than $2 billion in venture capital investment last year alone. With more than 60 successful entrepreneurial exits over the past five years, metro Atlanta ranks among the top three cities in the nation for startups1. Backed by ATL companies have raised over $1 billion2 in capital and created more than 3,600 jobs3 in metro Atlanta since the program’s inception in 2017.
The 2021 Backed by ATL businesses, comprised of industries ranging from textiles to FinTech, make up the largest and most diverse group inducted into Backed by ATL. Launched in 2017 to focus resources on emerging middle-market businesses, the Metro Atlanta Chamber initiative highlights a market segment of more than 2,800 companies, a majority of which generate between $10 million and $25 million in annual sales and employ an average of 78 people each3.
“Entrepreneurship is at the core of metro Atlanta’s business community, which is experiencing unstoppable momentum and has emerged as the global hub for innovation,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, President & CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Atlanta’s history of innovation, exceptionally diverse talent pool buoyed by our higher education institutions, and strong center of corporate headquarters form the foundation of this sustained innovation energy, which is powering Atlanta to produce unicorns at an unprecedented pace and welcome the most recognized technology firms in the world to join us.”
The 2021 companies joining Backed by ATL celebrate innovation across Atlanta’s wide range of industries, with enterprises created to help feed late-night cravings, protect neighborhoods, address food insecurity, modernize supply chain services and solve customer problems, keep people cool, dry and stylish, package goods and prevent fraud. They are: Banyan Hills Technologies, an Internet of Things platform and services company; brrr◦, a cooling fabric innovator that licenses its technology to retailers; CallRail, provider of leads-focused analytics platforms; Chime Solutions, which provides contact center solutions; DataSeers, a FinTech company focused on banking and payments; Flock Safety, a public-safety operating system; Goodr, food recovery and food distribution services, Hairbrella, maker of rainwear; Porter Logistics, provider of logistics and supply-chain services; PuffCuff, manufacturer of hair styling products; Summit Packaging Solutions, which offers packaging products; Slutty Vegan ATL, a vegan fast-food restaurant chain; Vital4, a FinTech company that provides data to corporations to prevent risk; and We Are Rosie, a community of independent marketing experts.
Founders and entrepreneurs who scale their businesses in metro Atlanta play a critical role in driving the region’s thriving business ecosystem, one that is transforming into a verified unicorn factory. Three metro Atlanta technology companies hit the classification of unicorn in the past two years — joining a growing list of 10 other local businesses that have achieved a valuation of $1 billion or greater since 2013.
“As a female founder of a cutting-edge cooling fabric innovation company, I know how important this type of business community and support will be for us to continue to grow and thrive,” says Mary-Cathryn Kolb, CEO of brrr°. “Joining Backed by ATL is an important step for us.”
Backed by ATL companies continue to thrive. Examples include SalesLoft, a platform for sales engagement declared a unicorn and The Gathering Spot, a private membership club that has expanded to Washington, DC, and will soon open locations in Los Angeles.
“Atlanta is built on a spirit of innovation and collaboration that is hard to match anywhere in the world,” said Ryan Wilson, Co-founder and CEO of The Gathering Spot. “When I sought to create The Gathering Spot, I knew there was no better place to grow from than metro Atlanta. Atlanta is a one-of-a-kind nexus of the biggest companies in the world, a legitimate startup ecosystem, and a culture capital.”
MAC provides a no-cost partnership with each Backed by ATL company to develop customized plans based on the organization’s growth strategies. This can include support ranging from building connections to potential customers and partners, talent recruitment and retention, and funding strategies. In addition, the program aims to create a collaborative and supportive community of middle-market companies that together will continue to fuel economic impact throughout the region. Backed by ATL founders have dedicated themselves to helping grow Atlanta by building thriving businesses and engaging with the community, giving back and helping inspire each other.
“Genuine collaboration across organizations, industries and communities is such an important part of what makes metro Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem uniquely strong and attractive,” said Scott Price, President of UPS International and Co-Chair of MAC’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. “The Backed By ATL program is a shining example of this thriving network, one that UPS is proud to participate in as we organize to help fuel the next wave of iconic Atlanta-made business success.”
“Atlanta entrepreneurs are associated with the perseverance, determination, outside-the-box thinking and grit that it often takes to turn an idea into a bona fide mechanism to help people,” said Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph. D., President, Spelman College, and Co-Chair of MAC’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. “As the leader of the nation’s top-ranked Historically Black College, I am filled with pride to see multiple Black founders represented within the Backed By ATL program, including Atlanta University Center alumni.”
“Atlanta is both home to some of the world’s largest enterprises as well as an entrepreneurial breeding ground for companies built to solve the next decade’s problems today,” said Alex Gonzalez, Chief Innovation Officer, Metro Atlanta Chamber. “When you add in the earnest collaboration we see across all levels of the business community, Atlanta becomes a destination of unparalleled opportunity. Backed by ATL is a terrific example of our community embracing businesses in a way that would be considered remarkable anywhere else in the world, but that is true to form for metro Atlanta.”
About the Metro Atlanta Chamber
The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) serves as a catalyst for a more prosperous and vibrant region. To advance economic growth and improve metro Atlanta’s quality of place, MAC is focused on starting, growing and recruiting companies to the 29-county metro Atlanta region. The Chamber is also focused on expanding the region’s innovation economy by promoting and strengthening connections to drive Atlanta’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture. MAC is committed to being an active voice for the business community, serving as an advocate for a competitive business climate and promoting Atlanta’s story. For more information, visit www.MetroAtlantaChamber.com.
About Backed by ATL
An initiative of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Backed by ATL provides customized assistance to a select group of scaling middle-market companies to accelerate growth and fuel economic impact across the metro Atlanta region. The initiative leverages the region’s key assets to offer personalized support in areas including talent recruitment, sales and marketing, public policy, leadership development and more. To learn more, visit www.backedbyatl.com.