[TechCONNECT] Atlanta Tech News Roundup | July 2020

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Blog

The world can feel like a pretty unpredictable place right now. That’s why we’re committed to bringing Atlanta the best in tech news every single week. Hosted by Titania Jordan, TechCONNECT is where tech leaders turn to stay informed on all things business and tech.

This month in Atlanta’s #tech scene → Wearable devices that can detect illnesses, “auto-land” aircrafts, & more. Read on! www.3ci-mau.com/blog/top-atlanta-tech-news-july-2020-edition via @AtlBizChron @TechCrunch @OneTrust

We hope you enjoy this month’s roundup of the top tech news and stories from the southeast and beyond.

Trending: Atlanta’s Top Tech Stories

Atlanta Added Almost 32,000 New Tech Jobs Over the Past 5 Years
CBRE ranked Atlanta number 9 out of 50 North American markets on its tech-talent scorecard and labels Atlanta as a “brain gain” market. Over the past 5 years, Atlanta added almost 32,000 technology jobs. This city does a great job of attracting talent from other places such as San Francisco, New York, and Seattle to meet the hiring demands of local tech firms. It definitely does not hurt that Atlanta is one of the most affordable cities for tech workers. The annual cost of renting an apartment here stood at $15, 178. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s annual technology salary average is $96,674 Atlanta also has a high rate of education attainment- ranking number 6 overall in the United States with just over 53% of its population having a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The final reason that Atlanta stood out was that the millennial population, age 22-36, has increased by 10% since 2013. Read more about CBRE’s 2020 tech-talent scorecard by clicking here.

Apple Selects Morehouse College as a New Tech Training Site
Apple recently announced it was teaming up with HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) across the country to bring more tech training and certification opportunities to African Americans, and Atlanta’s very own Morehouse College was selected as one of the ten new locations for the tech giant’s coding and creativity education initiative. This announcement comes on the heels of Apple’s $100M commitment to the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. In just a few weeks, Apple will provide Morehouse with equipment, and the school’s faculty will participate in Apple’s virtual community education initiative coding academy to learn more about coding and app development. Upon completion of the certification, Morehouse will then host similar training sessions for residents of Atlanta and at the southwest corridor, one of the city’s most economically challenged black communities. Click here to learn more about the HBCU C2 initiative.

Atlanta Funding & Acquisition News

Tech Square Ventures Launches New $75M Fund
Tech Square Ventures launches a new $75M early-stage fund focused on investing Seed and Series A companies in the southeast. In a quote from Blake Patton, managing partner and founder of Tech Square Ventures, “Since launching Tech Square Ventures in 2014, we have had the privilege of partnering with over 50 high-growth startups led by visionary entrepreneurs. We are proud to call Atlanta home, and we are honored to have the support of the city’s most innovative companies and innovation leaders as strategic LPs.” So far, their portfolio of companies has produced three exits, created 1,400 jobs (more than 300 in Georgia alone), and raised more than $400 million in additional funding. Also notable is that women and people of color account for more than 20 percent of the firm’s portfolio companies. We are thrilled to have firms like this in our city. Read more of Mike Jordan of Hypepotamus’ article by clicking here.

Atlanta Startup, Layr, Raises $5M
Atlanta insurtech startup has raised $5 million in a Seed round led by Sandbox Insurtech. Layr Co-Founder and CEO Phillip Naples said the funding will primarily be used to expand the company’s AI and machine learning technology, but also for distribution and scaling the company. Layr is an ATDC Signature portfolio company. Click here to read more about Layr and how they are helping businesses meet their insurance needs.

OneTrust Acquires Integris Software
According to Madison Hogan of the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Atlanta Inno, Atlanta-based privacy unicorn startup OneTrust recently acquired Integris Software, a Seattle-based startup. Integris Software’s AI technology helps companies understand their data and automate privacy, security and data governance programs. Kabir Barday, OneTrust CEO and Fellow of Information Privacy said the following: “After evaluating dozens of discovery technologies, we identified Integris Software as having best in class technology and team that will combine with OneTrust to accelerate our innovation and benefit our customers.” OneTrust works with companies’ privacy departments to be sure they are complying with privacy regulations and laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, the EU’s GDPR, and Brazil’s LGPD. As both local and global privacy security laws only become more and more complex, the need for their services continues to expand. Read more by clicking here.

Atlanta Companies and Tech Leaders On the Move

Shout Out to Atlanta Business Chronicle for their Series “A Walk Together”
Shout out to Atlanta Business Chronicle for their spotlight series “A Walk Together.” This compilation highlights black leaders and business owners in Atlanta voicing their fears as well as solutions for how Atlanta can truly come together during this time of unrest and evolution. According to David Cummings, founder of Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta is a U.S. center of African-American tech entrepreneurship, and the city should be a leader in investing in Black-owned startups, but investments are lagging. According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 1% of venture capital dollars go to companies founded by minorities. Click here to read more about these powerful pieces.

Amebous Labs is Moving to Midtown
A virtual reality studio is coming to Midtown. Amebous Labs, an Atlanta-based gaming software company, founded by a Georgia Tech graduate, will be opening a 4,457 square foot studio with a price tag of $1.5 million early next year. This announcement represents a growing trend of investment in Georgia’s esports community and creative economy. Annie Eaton, Amebous Labs Founder and Executive Producer, also shared that her production team, composed of gaming, media, entertainment, education and marketing backgrounds, is already knee-deep working on the company’s first game title for consumer launch. Click here to read more about this new VR studio.

COVID-19 Related News

Increased Funding in the Biotech Industry
While venture funding for industries like travel and hospitality has decreased significantly, life sciences funding, in particular, remains on a tear. In fact, Crunchbase reported this week that industries such as biotech and digital health earned 44 so-called supergiant funding rounds of $100 million or more in just the first half of 2020 alone. To put this number in perspective, companies in this space secured 56 supergiant funding rounds during all of 2019. Not to mention that just 3 years ago, the annual total was only 29. Enhanced public interest in the inner workings of biotech during the search for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines is certainly a contributing factor in this spike, but it also does not hurt that biotech stocks have performed well in recent quarters too. The bottom line is that biotech rounds, which cover a diverse assortment of sectors including cell engineering, cancer diagnostics, and gene therapy are getting bigger. There’s little reason to think this situation will shift in the near-term. Get the full picture by clicking here.

Could Your Smartwatch Detect if You Have COVID-19?
Joanna Stern highlights how tech companies and medical researchers are hard at work figuring out if wearable devices can spot COVID-19, the flu and other illnesses—even seeing if they can function as a personal early-detection system to contain the virus.  From temperature and heart rate tracking to blood oxygen tracking, wearable sensor data from both healthy people and those afflicted by COVID are helping to shape artificial intelligence that could help alert others whose own data patterns point to trouble. Click here to read more.

Trending: Top National Tech Stories

University of California, San Francisco, Made a $1.14M Payment to Hackers
According to The Wall Street Journal, The University of California, San Francisco made a $1.14M ransom payment to hackers, who locked up servers in the University’s medical school, in early June. UCSF said the following in a statement, “The data that was encrypted is important to some of the academic work we pursue as a university serving the public good. We, therefore, made the difficult decision to pay some portion of the ransom.” Read the full statement from UCSF by clicking here.

Uber Acquires Postmates in a $2.65B Deal
According to Ingrid London of TechCrunch, Uber Confirmed their acquisition of Postmates in an all-stock, $2.65B deal. In its most recent quarterly earnings results, the Uber Eats business grew 52% and managed to somewhat offset a big decline in its ride-hailing revenues, albeit the company still experienced a $3B loss last quarter. Uber plans to merge some of the tech and delivery operations on the back end while keeping the Postmates app alive and kicking on the front end. Click here to read more of London’s article about the acquisition.

Samsung’s Second-Quarter Operating Profits are Booming
According to Elizabeth Koh of The Wall Street Journal, Samsung estimates a 22.7% rise in second-quarter operating profit- thanks to a boom in internet use fueled by remote working. The global increase in computing demand will help to offset the decrease in consumers’ demand for the newest and most expensive smartphones. Analysts and industry experts expect semiconductor demands to continue into the second half of the year; as working from home looks like it will remain the new working normal for the foreseeable future. Samsung chips are in high demand as they power everything, from massive data centers to 5G base stations and computer processors. Read more by clicking here.

The White House Pushes $10B Funding for AI Investments
Venture Beat reports that according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), one way to strengthen America’s “industries of the future” is for the U.S. to increase non-defense federal investments in AI by 10 times over the next 10 years. In the report, the committee argues the U.S. will need to boost AI R&D investments from $1 billion a year in 2020 to $10 billion a year by 2030 in order to remain competitive. Another aspect of this report calls for the federal government to create national AI “testbeds,” expanding the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) AI Institutes with at least one AI Institute in each state and creating “National AI Consortia” to share capabilities, data, and resources. You can read more by clicking here.

Launch Tennessee to Virtually Host Festival 36|86
What are you doing on August 17-28? If you are craving community, culture, and connection but from the comfort of your home and laptop, make sure you grab tickets for the 36|86 Festival hosted by Launch Tennessee. 36|86 connects innovators, pioneers, investors and visionaries to shape the business community of the future. This will be a ten-day experience offering 40+ sessions with countless quality speakers, conversations, and stories designed to inspire, inform, and connect. Click here to learn more about this event.

Push to…Land? New “Auto-Land” Technology for Aircrafts
Until just recently, civilian aircrafts with total “auto-land” capabilities were practically unimaginable, but in May Garmin Ltd. made this technology accessible and began outfitting Piper Aircraft’s M600 turboprops with a big red button. For decades, air-safety experts have anticipated the day when a confused or incapacitated pilot would be able to rely on a single command to land the plane. Garmin’s technology, which adds an additional $150,000 to the M600’s $3.2 million price tag, automatically brings the aircraft down to the nearest suitable airport. It is able to communicate with air-traffic controllers, line up with the correct runway and extend the landing gear. While Piper Aircraft Inc. has sold 35 planes with these safeguards, none of them have been activated in flight yet. Click here to learn more about the plane that can land itself.

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