How 5 Atlanta-based Companies are Leveraging Local Startups to Foster Innovation

By Kathleen Atanasoff
May 11, 2016 12:00 PM ET

Five Atlanta-based companies are shrinking the gap between startup entrepreneurs and established businesses.

Coca-Cola, Capgemini, Cox Enterprises, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and The Weather Company combined forces to create The Bridge: Atlanta, a startup commercialization program focused on mentoring up-and-coming technology entrepreneurs that can help solve challenges one or more of the sponsoring companies may face.

Ten startups were chosen for the six-month program, which focuses on early-stage software technology solutions in one of five business areas – consumer engagement, consumer retail, supply chain, marketing innovation or health and wellness.

During the program, startups receive mentoring and connections to people and resources within the five sponsors’ businesses. These connections enable the startups to test their technology in markets where they likely would not have access otherwise. The sponsor companies don’t take any equity or IP ownership, but rather look for opportunities to test the solutions of the startups through pilot tests. 

The Bridge: Atlanta partners strive to keep an entrepreneurial mindset.

“Cox Enterprises was founded by a great entrepreneur, my great-grandfather, Governor James M. Cox,” said Alex Taylor, executive vice president, Cox Enterprises. “I want to make sure our company never loses its innovative roots and that our leaders always stay close to new ideas and next generation thinkers. The Bridge program is a great way for Cox to support and stay connected to Atlanta's startup community, and we are pleased to be involved.”

Learn more about the program.