Have a Coke and a… marketing tech company? Why, yes

Atlanta: A Marketing Technology Hotbed

This is a guest post written by Anand Thaker, an advisor, entrepreneur, connector and fellow futurist in the Martech ecosystem. In the spirit of illustrating how marketing technology is thriving beyond just the Bay Area and New York, Anand gives a glimpse of the thriving martech ecosystem in Atlanta.

Several years ago, after leaving Atlanta for some time, my wife and I were deciding on our next move. The company I worked for was acquired and her post-doc fellowship was complete. We looked at various metro areas that were headquartered or included a ripe environment for marketing or sales technology companies. We ultimately decided to end up back in Atlanta.

A number of marketing, sales and analytics technology companies were making Atlanta and metro area their home. Also, we learned of a budding startup community capturing the attention of large investors.

Atlanta is considered by many to be the Southeast’s Silicon Valley. This is evident when looking at the number of tech startups emerging. Atlanta is a growing and fertile environment for marketing and tech companies of any size. The city has begun to expand the variety of in-town work, play, and live opportunities, with communities such as the BeltLine, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Inman Park, and Cabbagetown. Not to mention the availability of choice of suburbs to call home.

The Atlanta Technology Village (ATV) in Buckhead, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech, TechSquare Labs, Switchyards, CollabTech Business Incubator are a few of the centers which exist to support start-ups operating in marketing and technology. Also, new “spaces to create” are beginning to arise, such as the expansion of the Savannah College Art & Design (SCAD).

According to AngelList, Atlanta has nearly 1000 startups, with an average valuation of $3.2M by thousands of interested investors worldwide. Of these companies, the investments into the space are reaching close to $200 million.

Enterprise companies such as Salesforce have seen the importance of acquiring martech companies in Atlanta, namely Pardot via ExactTarget, as well as deploying and attracting talent in the area. Vitrue was acquired by Oracle. Silverpop was acquired by IBM. Marketo and Twitter have also recognized Atlanta as an opportunity to flourish and expand.

Marketing technology acquisitions in the Atlanta area have already reached $700 million in the last two years alone!

Large public companies are either headquartered or moving significant operations to Atlanta. Home to not only some of the top fortune 500 brands such as Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta, First Data, Southern Company, SunTrust, Porsche, Mercedes and Newell Rubbermaid, Atlanta also has numerous enterprise B2B businesses.

Atlanta has the highest per capita number of creative digital workers in the country, partly due to Georgia Tech and the Savannah College of Art and Design. The metro Atlanta area has already established itself with a breadth of enterprise software talent in place from diverse industries.

With all of this, Atlanta has become a ripe environment for marketing technology companies to grow and thrive. Below are a number of examples of pure marketing technology names that have made Atlanta their first or second home:

Atlanta Marketing Technology Companies

Here are other companies supporting or complimenting the marketing tech ecosystem:

Atlanta Marketing Technology Ecosystem

Of course, this list doesn’t include the ecosystem of large and mid-size creative and digital marketing agencies, consultancies and support organizations leveraging marketing technology who are early adopters in Atlanta to be the perfect center to achieve rapid and sustainable success.

Atlanta is a leading hub for marketing technology. This, coupled with the city’s affordability and numerous lifestyle options, makes me believe we’ve made the right decision in choosing Atlanta as our home.

If we’ve missed any other marketing tech companies in or around the Atlanta area please feel free to share below.

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30 thoughts on “Have a Coke and a… marketing tech company? Why, yes”

  1. Being part of Pardot which got acquired twice, once by ExactTarget and then by Salesforce has just made Atlanta the coolest #martech space for me. Lots happening in Atlanta and best of all the people working in these companies are super humble which makes it a great place to work. Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. Those of us in Atlanta already know that this is a marketing technology hotspot. Thanks for sharing that there are big pockets of innovation outside of Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley and Boston!

  3. Excellent post, Anand. Atlanta’s an incredible community to be building another company in. Thanks for including Sideqik. We’re super excited to be growing here and making noise (and results) from coast to coast.

  4. Devon Wijesinghe

    When you can start competing with companies next door instead of across time zones….now you that’s an EcoSystem. Atlanta is really getting that now

  5. Thanks for posting! It’s an exciting time to be marketing technology in Atlanta! Smart talent, exciting growth, fun city, great weather- what’s not to like?

  6. Atlanta’s diversity in range when it comes to ways companies are built is unique. The styles range the gambit. Normally, most companies raise a ton of money, try to scale, guess on a market, adapt, pivot, and hope to hit the mark. In Atlanta, we have to be a bit more thoughtful. Thanks for sharing, Anand. It’s good to educate a wider audience to Rivalry and many other great Atlanta companies.

    Great post.

  7. As a reporter at the Austin Business Journal during the dot.com bubble in ’99 – ’00, I used to receive many calls from city planners and chambers of commerce across the country asking how they could transform their cities into dynamic tech startup hubs – especially after writing this story about how Austin transformed from sleepy college town to Silicon Hills:http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2001/04/23/focus1.html?page=all

    Atlanta now has these magic ingredients to make it not only a startup hub, but also a MarTech hub: Georgia Tech; collaboration across the education, government and business sectors; per Anand’s post – major brands that support innovation; and the flow of capital – angel, vc and equity. And in a city that is home to the best marketing machine in the world (Coca-Cola), it’s not surprising that Marketing Technology companies continue to not only start up, but also thrive.

  8. Hey there! Great article on ATL startups making the city the true Silicon Valley of the SE! Another I’d like to bring up is my own – menguin.com – is an online fomalwear rental startup with seed funding from Mark Cuban and other big name investors looking to change a very stale space and HQ’d right here in ATL!

  9. Jaime Davenport @jaimepdavenport

    Thanks, Anand, for that fantastic ATL shout-out. As a long-suffering Atlantan working in the tech marketing space and enduring constant ribbing from my west-coast colleagues, I’m so excited to see us finally getting the props we deserve! Some of them have even jumped on the bandwagon and re-located here. 🙂

  10. Great post Anand. Being a transplant from London, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming to Atlanta 13 years ago. The dynamism and energy of the city, particularly in the martech space, has been great to watch evolve over this time, and I’m personally looking forward to participating in it’s promising future.

  11. Anand, great post.

    One of the trends I’m seeing is that our marcomm “center” is attracting a lot of investment from outside our region. This last year, early stage investment in the SE was up 41% –the biggest jump for any one region. In another point of positive geographic “reality,” large headquarters that thrive on marketing are moving to our center–like NCR moving down to midtown and Mercedes moving their HQ here.

  12. Our family moved here in ’85 and we have loved it. The level of innovation and entrepreneurship in this area is impressive. The funding picture is improving, but even during economic downswings the ideas and the creativity keep on rolling. Atlanta’s huge advantage is its strength as a global business center. Combine this with our tech brains and you’ve got one of the most effective catalysts for marketing technology invention. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Great post, Anand.

  13. Yes, agreed Anand…Atlanta has an exceptional technology infrastructure, both for growing companies, and for consumers …and like my friend Stacy Williams notes above, it’s a great place to live. That environment helps attract more techies and marketers. I expect this means we will continue to grow our own “valley” here.

  14. Great piece Anand ! Having interviewed several Execs from the companies you mention (including some of the commenters above), the leadership teams in these organizations are “top cabin.” I know I learn something every time they come to the studio. Most recent fav for me (probably because of my sales role at our shop) is SalesLoft, but they all are doing great work.

  15. As a tech marketer in Atlanta since ’94, it’s exciting to see the local community passion around marketing and sales technologies. Companies across the globe can’t be successful without sophisticated marketing, which means they can’t be successful without embracing Atlanta’s marketing technology offerings. Timely post, Anand.

  16. A great article. Let’s not also forget the portfolio schools, Creative Circus and Portfolio Center. These two entities have been pumping out great creative talent for years. I encourage anyone looking for creative talent to check them both out.

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