A Look Back at the 2018 Atlanta International Startup Exchange

 In Company News

Get Ready, ThingTech is going international. The City of Atlanta, along with Invest Atlanta, selects ThingTech as one of four local startups to participate in a startup exchange with Atlanta’s sister city, Toulouse, France.

ThingTech CEO, Tim Quinn, recently traveled to Toulouse, France to be a part of the 2018 Atlanta International Startup Exchange program. After being chosen as one of eight Atlanta-based startup finalists in late September, ThingTech was selected as one of four startups who would attend the EmTech conference October 1-5, 2018. Alongside ThingTech were Loupe LLC, TC Poly, and Blind Tiger Communications. The four participants were chosen based on their alignment with regional innovation and industry ecosystems.

The EmTech conference is held in one of Atlanta’s sister cities, Metropole, Toulouse and offers the startups the chance to connect with international investors and international companies. Four Toulouse-based startups will attend Venture Atlanta in mid-October, as the final stage of the Exchange. “The International Startup Exchange provides businesses in Atlanta with unique opportunities and resources to increase their global presence and achieve sustainable growth,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is also the Invest Atlanta Board Chair.1 Invest Atlanta is a major sponsor of the exchange and a large proponent of investing in startups.

The Atlanta International Startup Exchange helps startups expand internationally by introducing them to potential investors, partners, and other startups abroad. The exchange encourages the French tech companies to set up offices in Atlanta and is therefore very beneficial to the city. Toulouse is also the home to one of the oldest universities in France, with 25% of the town’s population being students. This young, driven population is likely the main reason that the startup culture in Toulouse exists in the first place. Atlanta’s significant Fortune 100 presence has catalyzed its current ecosystem of innovative tech startups. “Startups need customers, and Atlanta has a pool of large companies seeking innovative solutions,” says John Yates of Morris, Manning & Martin.2 Both the startups from Atlanta and the startups from Toulouse benefit from the exchange by being able to visit and learn about the different markets.

Over the week spent in Toulouse, ThingTech pitched their product and business, attended talks by growing startups, and networked with the other startups in attendance. Tim Quinn said, “EmTech and the Atlanta International Startup Exchange provided insight into how to expand to international markets, particularly the European market.  Our vision is to be a global leader in our space and Europe is the first international expansion opportunity (outside of North America) that we will look at.  Creating partnerships with the economic development organizations could certainly assist and provide value.” Over the past two years of the Startup Exchange, 14 startups have created contracts with Global Fortune 500 Companies, several IoT pilot projects have been formed, and new partnerships with industry leaders from across the globe have been established.

Atlanta and Toulouse have been sister cities since 1974 after Mayor Maynard Jackson of Atlanta and Mayor Pierre Baudis of Toulouse signed a proclamation. Jackson’s tie to Toulouse stemmed from his living there while his mother received her doctorate from the University. He believed the two cities would become excellent partners, and that they are alike in more ways than one. “France is very focused on creating tech-based jobs so there are many opportunities to participate in university-based incubators and accelerators,” Tim Quinn states. “Toulouse is a global hub for the Industrial IoT markets so many of the startups are very industrial and B2B.”  Like Atlanta, the startup culture in Toulouse focuses on science, aerospace, the IoT, hardware, and software technologies.

ThingTech is excited about this opportunity and looks forward to the potential outcomes and benefits from participating in the 2018 Atlanta International Startup Exchange. If you are a French or U.S. based company seeking to improve operational efficiencies, please feel free to contact us.


Click here to learn how ThingTech helped the City of Burleson, Texas cut costs and increase efficiencies.


1 https://www.atlantaga.gov/Home/Components/News/News/11723/1338

2 https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2016/02/05/why-silicon-valley-loves-atlanta.html