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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Focused conversations within the Georgia technology community.

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On October 1st, Mobility Live will bring together technology innovators, mobile industry experts, and business leaders from the entire mobile value creation chain to connect mobile innovators and business decision makers.  Mobility Live is a one-day intensive conference that focuses on how to executing mobile strategies including business best practices and how to leverage technology innovations. This conference is a one-stop shop for learning how to solve the most pressing problems in mobility not only for today but also for tomorrow.

crowdfunding_maan

Is equity crowdfunding in Georgia really Much Ado About Nothing?    Contrary to the answer you might receive from a Shakespeare scholar, which I discuss below, I’d have to say no.  Clearly something is going on.  First of all the state adopted the Invest Georgia Exemption (IGE), which is radically different from federal securities law and superior to the federal Jobs Act.  Crowdfunding impresario Knox Massey has tirelessly sought to raise awareness and understanding through numerous meetups and panel discussions. To highlight a success story, each panel included representatives of ZPM Espresso, which completed a successful crowdfunding campaign. Except that it was not an equity crowdfunding. It was a Kickstarter rewards-based campaign.  My guess is that Knox includes Janet and Gleb of ZPM on the panels because, to my knowledge, no one has completed a successful crowdfunding using the IGE.

There remains a serious question as to whether IGE crowdfunding will ever work. The success of the IGE will depend on having enough quality Georgia companies seeking capital and enough Georgia investors willing to invest.  There will be no problem satisfying the first requirement.  Most of the people attending Knox’s panels expressed interest in raising capital, and many of their companies could be successful. The real issue is, if you build it, will the investors come?

By: Allison Norfleet, Vice President of Business Development at Porter Research

While Apple hints at soon entering the consumer healthcare space, it makes plain plans to go to market at a measured pace.

Rumors have been circulating for some time now that Apple will soon enter the consumer healthcare market with a number of devices – the iWatch and other wearable technologies being the most dissected in the blogosphere. A recent VentureBeat article dissects the likelihood of this happening with an almost investigative-like journalism – new but under-the-radar hires, secret workspaces, compelling industry statistics as to why the company would be foolish not to get into the consumer healthcare game RIGHT NOW.

ATLANTA (August 5th, 2013) – The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is pleased to announce that Atlanta’s surging Technology Sector has been prominently featured in the latest edition of Delta Airline’s Sky Magazine.

The magazine’s August edition, which features Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on the cover, profiles Atlanta and its Civil Rights Legacy in addition to a 5-page article focused on Atlanta as a “City of Innovation”.   The article represents a true victory for the state’s technology community and showcases some of Georgia’s best and brightest including:

  • AirWatch
  • AT&T Mobility
  • Elavon
  • First Data
  • Scoutmob
  • MailChimp

Scientific_Games_Stuffs_the_Bus_for_School_Supply_Drive_2

ALPHARETTA, GA –August 1, 2013 – Scientific Games today announced that employees at the Company’s Global Technology Center of Excellence in Alpharetta donated nearly 5,000 school supply items to United Way of Forsyth County as part of a Stuff the Bus event to benefit students in local schools. After gathering school supplies throughout the month of July, Scientific Games employees spent a lunch hour recently loading their donations onto a Forsyth County Schools bus with boxes of notebooks, folders, pencils, crayons, calculators and other needed supplies filling every bus seat.

“United Way of Forsyth County truly appreciates the generosity of each and every Scientific Games employee who donated these much needed school supplies for students in our community,” said Leigh Crow, Director, Resource Development, United Way of Forsyth County. “According to the U.S. Census, 6.6% of Forsyth County residents live in poverty and 21% of our students participate in the free and reduced lunch program in our schools.  The need for assistance in our community is growing every day and we want to do what we can to help those who are struggling.  However, we cannot do it alone.”

legal-dept

One of the intriguing, and potentially dangerous, aspects of the Invest Georgia Exemption (IGE) is its lack of regulation. For this reason, equity crowdfunding will succeed in Georgia only if the community works together to promote transparency and quality in our companies’ offerings. Transparency is one of the topics on the agenda at tomorrow’s crowdfunding Meetup, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday (July 30), at Atlanta Technology Village. Transparency facilitates the investor’s understanding of the risks and rewards associated with an investment.  If investors cannot trust the information (or lack thereof) provided by the market, then they won’t invest, and the IGE will be a failure.  So how would the marketplace promote transparency?

Federal securities laws promote transparency by requiring disclosure of information. While arguably the amounts raised in traditional private placements and public offerings justify the time and expense entailed in complying with these requirements, traditional levels of transparency would be burdensome in an equity crowdfunding. We should not, however, look to project crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter for guidance, where the scope of the project is usually relatively narrow and the risks and rewards clearly defined. Given the greater complexity of a decision to invest in equity crowdfunding, how do we strike a balance between the costs and benefits of disclosure?

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