For 20 years, ATI has been proving its worth with over 200 companies. Adding ATI to the equation equals success whether:
- Serial entrepreneur with the next vision
- Student with a big idea
- Scientist with a break through
Below are some of the stories of the 200+ companies who've come through the ATI doors, a brief description of the company and what ATI did for it, and words directly from the founders with the visions ATI helped. These testimonials are sorted by their sector:
From an Intel developer honing lag and latency reduction with a NIC (network interface chip), Bigfoot was able to develop this NIC specifically for the gaming community and commercialize it within ATI. Bigfoot quickly became a darling of extreme gamers, and funded by tier 1 VCs like North Bridge Partners.
Harlan Beverly, founder, former CEO, Mad Scientist, Bigfoot
ATI not only helped us refine our pitch, but also introduced us to our eventual $4M Series A investors. My first company, Bigfoot Networks, started with just one office in 2004, and as we grew, ATI helped us with the growth challenges of our company... expanding to an entire hallway and then wing of one floor. It's not just great free coffee, great free Internet, and great free friendly support, it's also the team of professionals such as Isaac Barchas and Bart Bohn, who can really provide invaluable fund-raising advice, introductions, and expertise maneuvering the challenges of startup life. I'm now on my second company with the ATI, and I can't imagine not incubating my start-up here... it was the first place I applied when I had my idea for Karmaback, a social networking startup.
A rare semiconductor start up that took its ATI guided ETF funding and turned it into $48 million investment from a strong syndicate of VCs and corporate funders in August 2010. CEO Barry Evans, an Intel veteran, brought his start up to ATI because of his UT roots and the belief that ATI would be his best path to ETF funding, which was key to getting them going.
Barry Evans, CEO, Calxeda
Calxeda received support from ATI in numerous ways – strategic advice, pitch development, go-to-market analyses, connections to advisors and mentors, access to industry and investor events, and most critically, establishing the path to funding. Partnering with ATI was crucial to Calxeda establishing the foundation we needed from the very start to be set up to take this company to market over the long haul, and to secure significant funding. ATI was invaluable in guiding us through the process to secure our critical $1 million seed funding from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), which truly provided the runway and confidence to begin implementing our bold vision
A Java deployment tool that emerged from MOOT Corp by a UT student, in less than two years was operationalized within ATI and sold to BMC Software end of 2009 for an eight fold return to investors.
Larry Warnock, president & CEO, Phurnace
Phurnace Software was founded by Daniel Nelson, a UT McCombs MBA student, as part of a class project. His business plan was entered and did well at the Moot Corp. competition. As part of the award, he and his technical co-founder, Robert Reeves, were given admittance into ATI. It was one of the critical success factors for them in the early days. It let them focus on market validation and building the technology vs. the overhead of starting a business. The ATI environment is conducive to early stage ideas and start ups. There is an energy about it. Too often, an early stage team can feel lost and alone off in some garage. At ATI there are always people present to mentor, ask questions, brainstorm and to share experiences. This is more helpful than many realize. After I joined the company as CEO, we continued to grow, graduated from ATI and then built a great business. We were eventually acquired by BMC Software and the product lives on under their brand. It was a great ride and it all started at the ATI. We are friends of the program for life.
Within the Web 2.0 or social media infrastructure and tools category, this social dashboard technology earned a rare series A investment of $1 million plus from Austin Ventures in mid 2010.
Ken Cho, co-founder, Spredfast
ATI is an invaluable community of peer entrepreneurs and advisors. Early in our company's history, we faced a decision to continue down one path or pivot and head down another. The advice and guidance we received from Isaac Barchas and Bart Bohn helped to crystallize our decision. The ATI provided both the contacts and the networks needed to test our message. It is safe to say it was the right decision.
This was the second enterprise software company serial entrepreneur Manoj Saxena brought to ATI, after building and selling Exterprise in the heart of the dot com boom – and bust. Webify focused on the SOA space, and in mid 2006, had caught the eye of IBM who acquired the little start up to be a big part of Websphere.
Manoj Saxena, VP Global Solutions, IBM, formerly founder/CEO, Webify
ATI has been a vital part of my entrepreneurial success -- not once but twice. Over the past decade, I had the opportunity of starting both my companies at ATI: Exterprise which was acquired by Commerce One in 2001 and Webify which was acquired by IBM in 2006. Being a part of ATI provided my team with access to valuable support, counsel, and connections at a critical stage where we grew from a handful of people with Powerpoints to hundreds of people with innovative and compelling products. ATI is a tremendous resource for the Austin entrepreneurial community. I am grateful for their support and look forward to working with ATI leadership on fostering innovative programs such as the IBM-ATI internship we launched a few years ago.
Formidable – profitable! - privately-held company in the home networking and broadband management, support, solutions space, Affinegy was started by two senior engineers within Motorola who had the opportunity to take some code and establish a business, commercialize the solution. ATI was a critical partner in that effort.
Melissa Simpler, CEO, Affinegy
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!
Possibly the best poster child and most comprehensive combination of the ATI – and Austin Start Up resources, Famigo began as an idea – of better connecting families via interactive, collaborative family gaming – at ATI’s 3 Day Start Up (3DS). Q Beck and Matt Sullivan, were, at this time, interns with ATI, which gave them the introduction to 3DS. From there, in the Summer of 2009, Famigo applied and was accepted as one of only five companies for the inaugural “semester” of Capital Factory, an Austin early stage start up incubator. Upon Capital Factory graduation, Famigo applied and was accepted to ATI as a portfolio company, currently refining its business strategy, target customer and channels, within the ATI walls.
Q Beck, Co-founder, Famigo
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!
Dorsan Biofuels, Inc.
Is an early stage biofuels (both bioscience and clean energy) company with a proprietary technology for utilizing non-food feedstock to produce hydrocarbon-based diesel fuels that are compatible with the existing petroleum infrastructure and can be used in today’s engines. Founder Kay Hammer returns to ATI with Dorsan after also being the founder of one of the very first portfolio companies for ATI 20+ years ago!
Kay Hammer, CEO, Dorsan Biofuels
Some business ideas you can bootstrap because they require little in the way of external resources besides the ingenuity and commitment of their creators. Other ideas take more help – not just money, but information and collaboration. In 1991 I co-founded ETI – the first spin-out from MCC – to commercialize the results of a three-year research project to build an enterprise solution to data integration management. That product offering – which was successfully deployed by a large number of Global 1000-sized companies – would not have been possible without either the input from our seven corporate sponsors of the research at MCC (companies like Bellcore, Control Data, Eastman Kodak, and Motorola) or the support we got from being an early tenant of the Austin Technology Incubator. When we left MCC, we had seven people, a prototype, and $300K in capital – hardly enough to open a bike shop, much less establish an enterprise software company based on a re-targetable code generator. But with the support and connections afforded by ATI, we did establish a successful company that provided significant value to a large number of international customers for fifteen years before being sold to Versata in 2007.
In some ways Dorsan is like ETI in the sense it needs the same kind of supportive environment that we did in order to reach market. Our proprietary technology is based on the work of Dr. Thomas Hohn, our founder and chief science officer, who is the inventor on seven patents and the author of forty-six articles in refereed journals. Tom left his position at Syngenta in the spring of 2009 to pursue the research we needed to file Dorsan’s initial patent. I started working with him that summer to develop a strategy that would allow us to make sufficient headway to attract the kinds of partners and proof we will need to raise the money we need to get this important technology to market – a task that is not so easy in today’s troubled economy. Given my own experience, I could think of no better place to “land the company” than at the Clean Energy Incubator at ATI. Since our initial visit with Isaac Barchas in November 2009, we have attracted the angel funding we needed to perform the metabolic engineering required to exemplify our initial patent and formed partnerships with companies like Austin-based Balcones Resources and Chicago-based Recycle Processes that have helped us identify and develop a promising market entry for demonstrating the potential of applying the Dorsan technology to industrial waste streams.
This medical technology company used ATI resources and guidance to solidify strategy, obtain funding (especially a critical Texas Emerging Technology Fund grant), and execute on a business in electrocardiogram (ECG) analysis. Monebo’s products are used by leading cardiac companies in ambulatory monitoring and implantable devices to help identify and correct heart rhythm problems.
Dale Misczynski, CEO, Monebo Technologies
During our formative period, ATI was invaluable in helping us focus on our strategic alternatives and identify areas we should either exploit or abandon. Having mentors who had vast experience in start-ups, but also the discipline to follow a proven process, really helped us shorten our learning curve. While at ATI we completed our business plan, obtained an ETF grant, solidified the team, developed our technology, and obtained initial customers. The support from the ATI team, including mentors, interns, and executives, contributed to our early success and helped launch us with confidence into the medical technology market.
Is developing a pipeline of therapeutic applications based on RLIP76, an endogenous protein, that functions as a key element of an innovative drug delivery technology. As one of the few biopharmaceutical companies in Austin, Terapio tapped the unique talents and network at ATI to help secure Texas ETF, federal grant and venture capital funding totaling over $7M in a time span of less than two years.
Curt Bilby, President & CEO, Terapio
Isaac Barchas and the ATI team were instrumental in contributing to our management team's strategy and approach to positioning, corporate governance and organizational development along with keen insights into understanding the nuances of public policy that directly impact our unique markets.
Actacell was co-founded in 2007 by serial cleantech entrepreneur Bill Ott and Professor Arumugam (Ram) Manthiram from UT’s Material Sciences and Engineering program. ActaCell is focused on next generation Li-Ion battery materials for vehicle electrification. UT’s Material Sciences and Engineering team has been an integral part of the adoption of Li-Ion technology, going back to the original Li-Ion cell developed with Sony in the early 1990’s. Actcell is the perfect example of University research and technology coming to ATI to help commercialize, fund and build the business.
Bill Ott, CEO, Actacell
ActaCell joined the ATI Clean Energy Incubator in 2007 as it was being organized and was greatly benefited by the assistance in forming the company, access to potential investors and specifically an initial foundation grant of $25K that was supplied by Austin Energy. These funds allow the company to conduct early due diligence on the IP being licensed from the University as well as assisting in corporate formation. CEI assisted the company in securing a $5.1M series A financing in early 2008 as was as formulating a submission to the Texas Emerging Technology fund which was secured later that year. While we never actually resided in ATI facilities, the connection and assistance from the team was invaluable in getting ActaCell started rapidly and securing our own lab space to begin materials and cell development on our materials.
Dorsan Biofuels, Inc. (see above in Bioscience)
Xtreme Power Solutions
Joined ATI in 2005, even though they were already a larger company and past the incubator stage. This because the Xtreme executives knew and believed in the value of beingassociated with the ATI Clean Energy Incubator. As an affiliate company, Xtreme benefited from ATI’s network with introductions to partners, funders. ATI helped cement relationships with Austin Energy and Southwest Research for funding and technology proposals. Six years later, Xtreme Power has raised $50 Million and employs 200 people.
Michael Breen, co-founder and former CFO, Xtreme, current CEO, K Power, another ATI company
When I left day to day operations of Xtreme Power, I looked to the talent of the ATI CEI portfolio companies for my next move. After meeting with many, I joined k Power to help create the company that will develop the next evolution of wind power. ATI, and CEI lead Mitch Jacobson in particular, has been incredibly helpful in making introductions, cementing relationships and helping me to advance the company. Through Mitch and ATI, I have been able to build relationships with Austin Energy, DLA Piper, VCFO, SWRI, and multiple source of capital. In addition to ATI relationships, k Power has benefited from the raw talent of interns and the interaction of UT professors and grad students. As a serial entrepreneur, I'm looking for the leverage the ATI can bring to advance my company as quickly as possible.