UGA Idea Accelerator Now Accepting Applications

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Applications are now open for the fall 2017 round of teams to be selected for the UGA Idea Accelerator program powered by the Advanced Technology Development Center. The Accelerator, which is organized by local economic development nonprofit Four Athens, in partnership with ATDC, and the University of Georgia Entrepreneurship Program, chooses a cohort of promising business concepts to be put to the test each semester.

Now entering its fourth year, the Accelerator is an eight-week experience and participants meet twice a week for 90-minute sessions on a series of startup viability topics that range from identifying customers and making a pitch to partners and investors, to validating financial assumptions. Teams that survive the process are given an opportunity to pitch to a panel of active investors for a $5,000 prize, plus membership into Four Athens.

“We are looking for teams chasing big ideas,” said Jim Flannery, ATDC’s startup catalyst in Athens.

More than 145 teams have participated in previous Accelerator rounds, including Puppyfax, winner of the Spring 2017 competition. “The program forces teams to test the validity of their idea,” said Puppyfax co-founder Tommy Naranjo. “It pushes us to critically think about our customer.”

Other previous participants include Fee Favor, an innovative courthouse document retrieval system, Vestigo, an outdoor adventure platform now in its third year of operation, and Reservoir, a patent pending sensor for the agriculture industry.

 “As the program matures, a significant number of participants from our first three rounds are entering their third year of business,” Flannery said. “This is a great testament to this program’s methodology and the caliber of ideas coming out of Athens’ tech community.”

The fall 2017 UGA Idea Accelerator kicks off Monday, Sept. 18, and runs until the finalists’ pitch contest Nov. 13. The deadline to apply is Sept. 14. Applications are online at