KENNESAW — The executive director of Marietta-based business incubator IgniteHQ said future companies could be sparked by an estimated $2 billion in funding that will soon be coming to the Atlanta market.
Mark Hubbard joined IgniteHQ in February, coming from the Alpharetta Technology Commission where he launched and led the ATC Innovation Center and served as the center’s CEO. Wednesday morning, Hubbard was the featured speaker at the Northwest Cobb Area Council meeting held at the Marietta Country Club, sharing with attendees some of the recent milestones of IgniteHQ, a business incubator and accelerator partnered with Kennesaw State University and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
Hubbard said IgniteHQ would soon officially announce its signed engagements with a $150-million hedge fund and a $1.8-billion group of private family offices, which are looking for companies in which to invest.
“This is all money that’s not active in Atlanta right now. That’s one of our big missions — to find money that’s not active in Atlanta right now, because there’s sort of a dearth of capital in Atlanta historically,” Hubbard said. “We find them companies to invest in, and we do due diligence, and we do oversight.”
While those agreements represent nearly $2 billion in investment, Hubbard said efforts are being made to lure another $1.5 billion from Chicago.
IgniteHQ opened its new office at 57 Waddell St. near the Square in February, a property leased by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on behalf of KSU. The facility offers entrepreneurs space to work and share ideas, and serves as a hub for services such as mentoring and training opportunities.
Among the startups that currently call IgniteHQ home is one called Traxion, a software company aimed at increasing businesses’ efficiency and personal accountability.
“They had a big team, but they were all completely virtual, they didn’t have any way to get together that was economical. Because we sort of function as a co-working space, this beautiful facility, they can come there when they need to, they can do meetings there, they can do investor meetings there, it doesn’t cost them hardly anything to have this big, gorgeous space,” Hubbard said of Traxion’s use of the IgniteHQ offices.
Traxion has grown to about 15 employees, Hubbard said, with nearly every employee a KSU graduate with the exception of its founder. He added that he sees great potential in the budding business. If the company takes off, he said, “It’s a billion-dollar company. Their problem right now is they did a beta private launch, and they can’t handle the demand.
(But) it could be a billiondollar software company.”
Kyle Cornelius serves as chief motivator of
Blesh, focusing on international commercial relations for the company centered around beacon devices that use low-energy Bluetooth signals to help brands build a contextual bridge between physical and online stores.
He said the company has gotten advice in accounting and public relations through IgniteHQ since it opened its Marietta office, with such resources being among the incubator’s best features.
“For a startup, you’d have to go with paid consultants, you’d have to pay a lot of money, or you’d have to be just very well-connected, whereas IgniteHQ is your connection into the Cobb network in terms of ‘You need accounting help,’ ‘You need legal advice,’ ‘You need PR assistance’ — they have people with a lot of experience in Cobb County who come and help the startups in need,” Cornelius said. “(IgniteHQ) is a huge incentive for the entire region, because I know they’re trying to build an ecosystem — they’re bringing in investors, they’re bringing in entrepreneurs, they’re bringing in students and qualified, skilled workers to come in and work with these startups. That’s key, in my opinion, for these to grow.”