When David Sung left ATDC for the greener pastures of the private sector I was once again charged with leading the process of screening the companies that applied to the GRA/TAG Business Launch competition. Yesterday TAG announced the final four. They are:
Khush, intelligent music applications for mobile phones;
SolidFire, a next-generation
storage platform for cloud computing providers and other enterprises that need
scalable, reliable storage for thousands of servers;
Toomah, a suite of interview management
tools that dramatically reduce hiring costs by automating the scheduling,
conducting and voice recording of phone interviews, which are then captured and
stored via the web;
TransactionTree, an event driven
digital receipt and marketing delivery system.
These four companies are slated to make their final presentations on June 2 at IBM as they go for over $300,000 in prizes including $50k in cold cash.
The final judges include my current leader Stephen Fleming, Vice President, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Tom Crotty, Managing Director, Battery Ventures, whom I got to know in my CipherTrust days; and Alan Taetle, General Partner, Noro Moseley Partners, the guy that took a chance on me when I wanted to get in the tech business.
Just as important as these guys are the people that helped in the early stages of the process. That included Mike Eckert, investor; Lawrence Guillory, CEO Racemi; Jeff McConnell, serial entrepreneur; Karen Robinson, Managing Partner, Atlanta Technology Advisors; and Gordon Rogers, President Atlanta Technology Angels. These folks spent time reading through the final business plans, listening to short pitches, and debating what twelve companies were worthy of going forward. It is somewhat interesting that this group picked only two of the final four.
Once the twelve were selected Glenn Bachman, President, Bachman International: Mike Lowry, investor; Craig Miller, Miller Ventures; and Nandan Sheth, President and COO, Acculynk spent a day of their valuable time coaching the contestants on their pitches.
Thanks again to all the volunteers for devoting the effort it takes to make the GRA/TAG Business Launch a success. While your time is quite valuable your expertise and insights are invaluable to the entrepreneurs.
And congrats to the final four! If you are an entrepreneur and want to come see what a good investor pitch looks like when there is real money on the line go and register for the finals. It's going to be a good show