In the past two years, membership in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) has grown from 40 companies to more than 500, with members ranging from startups at the earliest conception stage to revenue generating, venture-fundable companies. Now, in an effort to better serve that diverse base, the Georgia Tech-based incubator is unveiling a new membership level aimed at startups ready for acceleration.
To be included in the “ATDC Select” membership group, which will launch on Jan. 1, startups must first be screened and selected based on readiness for acceleration and fit with ATDC services and staffing. The “select” distinction helps to clarify the difference between open and selective memberships. The benefits are similar: coaching, connecting and community. But while most ATDC events and programing are open to the broad membership base, ATDC Select members will be engaged on a more focused and individual level. In addition, they are candidates for ATDC’s annual graduation ceremony.
“We will continue to welcome and support all technology entrepreneurs in Georgia. From business coaching to networking, there are services we can offer to startups of all sizes,” said Nina Sawczuk, ATDC’s General Manager and Georgia Tech’s Director of Startup Services. “However, companies that have identified scalable business models and are ready to take advantage of ATDC’s more focused, individual support are encouraged to apply for the Select membership. This includes custom access to our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), mentors, graduate companies and sponsors, ultimately increasing access to potential investors and strategic partners.”
The ATDC Select level will help accommodate a massive membership base that developed when ATDC began welcoming all Georgia-based technology entrepreneurs two years ago. Historically, ATDC has had a selective process of admitting companies into its office and lab spaces in Midtown’s Tech Square and the satellite campus in Savannah. These “resident” companies have demonstrated growth significantly above and beyond that of the typical member, collectively raising more than $40 million in the last 12 months. They will now become the first members of “ATDC Select,” although the membership level is open to companies regardless of physical location.
“Back in 2009, ATDC established new programs to support the broader entrepreneurial community beyond Midtown Atlanta,” said Stephen Fleming, vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. “This enabled the scaling of key ATDC services, including the EIR office hours, expanded Mentor program, Startup Circles and Lunch-N-Learn educational series. These programs are designed for all ATDC members, while additional customized programs will focus on ATDC Select members.”
Sawczuk said introducing the two membership types will help boost member involvement and pave the way for more relevant member services, ultimately helping ATDC achieve its mission of “coaching, connecting, and community.”
The new membership structure is one of many recent changes at ATDC, including the development of the EIR program and the addition of Community Catalysts to support geographic outreach and further develop ATDC’s educational and mentor programs. Earlier this summer, ATDC worked with Georgia Tech to launch a four-month accelerator program called Flashpoint that is supporting an inaugural cohort of 17 startup teams in their search for a rapidly scalable business model.