In partnership with the UT-Austin’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group and the City of Austin, ATI launched its Wireless program in 2006 – ahead of the smart phone/iPhone/Android explosion.
Now, with over 50 billion connected devices, everything is wireless. ATI’s Wireless program looks at “wireless” as a market sector – wireless network infrastructure, the software that makes it run, and the devices and applications that run on it – and also as an enabling technology in other sectors (including healthcare and energy.)
ATI-Wireless leverages the installed base of wireless expertise in Austin. In particular, our partnership with the University’s wireless research team brings deep technology and industry experience. That partnership also enables the Texas Wireless Summit and Wireless Seed-Stage Forum, two premier wireless industry events.
In addition, ATI-Wireless has a special relationship with the WiFi Alliance, the international wireless standards and certification organization: the Alliance moved to Austin in part due to support from ATI, and was housed at ATI until it outgrew ATI’s facilities in 2010.
Kyle Cox leads the Wireless program. A former principal in a seed-stage investment firm and multiple time entrepreneur, Kyle holds regular “office hours” at WNCG, in order to accelerate the commercialization of promising wireless technologies out of The University. Bart also chairs the Texas Wireless Summit (www.twsummit.com) and Wireless Seed Stage Forum (www.seedstageforum.com) and works closely MobileMondayAustin (www.mobilemondayaustin.com.)
In addition to Kyle, ATI surrounds each wireless portfolio company with a “virtual board” of experienced wireless executives and successful entrepreneurs and technologists. These include: Sriram Vishwanath and Jeff Andrews (the founder and current leader, respectively, of UT-Austin’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group); Ben Scott (investor, former CEO of IXC, former CEO of PrimeCo); Richard Schwartz (Founding CEO Macheen, former Founding CEO SoloMio); Moris Simson (President Wavenet, former senior executive Nortel); and Liz Maxfield (Wireless Hall of Fame.)
The best illustrations of the success of ATI-Wireless come from our company leaders themselves:
Melissa Simpler has built Affinegy into a profitable, privately-held home network management and support solutions company. She describes her experience as a founding CEO at ATI:
We are example of how ATI engages and fosters growth of the entrepreneurial sector in Austin, TX. ATI established a vertical focus on Wireless and IT in the Fall of 2005 and Affinegy was asked to join and participate as portfolio company in this area. At the time, co-founder, Art, and I were a bit skeptical what the 'incubator' label might do for our early, but revenue-generating, business (having launched Affinegy in 2003). But just a few phone calls into the vetting process to see if that was a good move for our company, I heard nothing but praise for what ATI was doing. Through ATI we gained invaluable relationships with other entrepreneurs within the ATI and the extended local community; we signed our first advisors; we grew our skill sets through ATI's brown bag lunch series; we received industry visibility with companies like Intel and AT&T and community visibility just by being part of and having our logo/company description marketed by ATI. We continue to maintain and nurture the connections that ATI helped us establish, and believe ATI helped greatly broaden our perspective and enable our growth!
Former ATI interns Q Beck (MBA) and Matt Sullivan (PhD Neuroscience) had the idea of building a networking platform focused on families. They refined their idea through 3 Day Start-up, took the resulting company through The Capital Factory’s 2009 summer program for mentorship and pre-seed funding, joined ATI, and secured their Series A in 2011. Here’s what Q has to say:
We are an example of how ATI can and should work with UT and the greater Austin business community. My co-founder, Matt, and I were both interns at ATI, during different grad school programs at UT (McCombs MBA and Neuroscience PhD). By working with a number of member companies at ATI, we each received valuable hands-on startup experience and whetted our appetite for entrepreneurship. That led us to being part of 3 Day Start Up, a cool program ATI runs for UT students, where Famigo was born and introduced to the wonderful people at Capital Factory, who gave us our initial seed funding. Because we knew well the ATI value, we applied to ATI as soon as we knew we wanted to take Famigo to market and are proud to be part of the ATI portfolio. ATI was not only hugely instrumental in getting us where we are today, it will also be hugely important in getting us where we're going!