It’s understandable that the staff of the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech in Atlanta take great pride in the success of EGT, a 2004 graduate of the incubation program. After all, if it weren’t for the incubator, the small (but growing) technology firm might not be around today.
In 2000, serial entrepreneurs Bill Hogan and Greg Nicholson, both alumni of the ATDC program, approached the incubator looking for new technologies to commercialize. At the same time, ATDC staff were working with Nikil Jayant, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who had developed a video compression technology but lacked business experience. So, the ATDC staff played matchmaker.
"We’re always looking for ways to marry university technology with our businesses," says Tony Antoniades, ATDC general manager. "With EGT, we had a couple of entrepreneurs who had been through ATDC before and, in a parallel world, a professor with promising technology. It was like striking gold."
Just a few months after the initial introduction, the three men launched EGT. And three months later, they entered the ATDC incubator. Incubator offices within the Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, a premier research center for broadband and wireless technologies, and access to ATDC’s bank of electrical equipment proved especially beneficial to the company in its earliest stages, Antoniades says. "They were just an elevator ride away from some of the greatest broadband and wireless experts," he says. "There was research going on all around them."
EGT has benefited from the less-technical aspect of the incubator experience, too. The opportunity to interact with other entrepreneurs played an important role in the company’s incubator experience, and its association with ATDC, a well-respected incubator, helped EGT receive its first round of funding. Since then, EGT has gone on to receive more than $17 million in venture capital.
Although EGT just began selling commercially in September 2003, its customers already include the top three cable providers in the United States. And Antoniades expects a bright future for the incubator graduate. "They have a great model with a unique technology, a large and growing market, an experienced management team, and community-oriented and coachable founders," he says. "We just helped them put the pieces together initially."
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