The Rise of a Southern Tech Hub: Spotlight on Georgia‘s Largest Tech Companies

Over the past three decades, Georgia has rapidly emerged as a magnet for technology innovation across various sectors from fintech to cybersecurity and beyond. Fueled by a thriving startup ecosystem centered in Atlanta along with the growth of corporate giants like Cox Enterprises, the state now stakes a formidable reputation as a tech leader in the Southeast U.S.

Let‘s examine the factors powering Georgia‘s rise before profiling some of the most influential and highest-grossing tech companies anchored in the region today.

Catalyzing a Tech Hotspot in the South

With tech representing nearly 10% of Georgia‘s total economic output as of 2022, the industry has gained tremendous scale and impact statewide:

Several key advantages have fueled such prolific growth in Georgia‘s tech sector:

  • Top-tier research universities like Georgia Tech supplying ~10,000 skilled STEM graduates annually, many of whom remain local after college
  • Business incentives such as angel investor tax credits that catalyze startup funding
  • Lower average wages and overhead costs compared to coastal tech hubs
  • An influx of venture capital with Georgia ranking #4 nationwide for growth in VC deals

Armed with analytical talent and ample capital, startups and tech giants alike have flocked to metro Atlanta and beyond. Next let‘s profile some homegrown successes.

Spotlight: Georgia‘s Top Tech Innovators

While not yet equalling the sheer density found in Silicon Valley, Atlanta and surrounding cities still nurture their share of elite tech firms. Here are three enterprises that represent Georgia‘s best and brightest:

Mailchimp: Email Marketing Juggernaut

Perhaps the Peach State‘s biggest consumer tech breakthrough, Rocket Science Group‘s Mailchimp needs little introduction as a wildly popular email marketing platform serving millions of customers globally.

  • 13+ million monthly active users across 100 countries
  • 800 employees after 21+ years in business
  • $700 million in annual recurring revenue

|Key Stats||
|Founded | 2001 in Atlanta, GA |
|Founders|Ben Chestnut & Dan Kurzius|
|Funding Raised|Self-funded / Bootstrapped|
|Customers|13 million|
|Revenue| $700 million|
|Employees| 800|

With an integrated suite of marketing, automation, landing page, and CRM tools, Mailchimp has earned renown for its ease of use helping businesses turn causal contacts into loyal following. Expect its ascent to continue.

Secureworks: Pioneering Cybersecurity

Veteran Atlanta security vendor Secureworks operates on the frontlines safeguarding thousands of enterprise and government networks globally from escalating cyber threats.

  • Founded in 1999 making it one of Georgia‘s first dedicated cyber firms
  • Protects over 4,000 clients across 50+ countries
  • Public firm trading on the NASDAQ exchange

For over two decades Secureworks has driven innovation around next-gen cyber defense solutions spanning:

✅ Managed Detection & Response (MDR)
✅ Forensic Investigation
✅ Incident Readiness Planning
✅ Compliance & Assessment

Reporting over $540M in annual revenue, this cybersecurity lynchpin anchors Georgia as a information security hub alongside fast-growing startups like Ionic Security raising eight figures annually.

Urjanet: Data Aggregation Trailblazer

Recognized as one of Georgia‘s pioneers in intelligent data aggregation and analytics software, Urjanet serves leading financial services institutions, global energy companies, and other enterprises worldwide via its cloud platform.

  • Collects, standardizes, and delivers data from 21,000+ utility and telecom providers
  • Attracted $50 million+ in VC backing through 2021
  • Expected to pursue public offering within next 3 years.

Urjanet‘s mission revolves around unlocking value from previously inaccessible data by converting messy streams into decision-ready business intelligence. With top-notch talent and impressive early traction, this Atlanta-based outfit seems destined for continued high growth.

Beyond marquee startups like the above, Georgia also provides prime headquarters for some of the country‘s largest public technology giants.

Corporate Pillars: Georgia‘s Biggest Public Tech Companies

Contributing equally to Georgia‘s tech workforce and output stands an array of longstanding technology corporations choosing to center major operations within state borders reacting to the favorable business climate.

Examining latest annual financial filings, these public companies currently rank as the top revenue generators:

Cox Enterprises: Diversified Conglomerate ($20 Billion Revenue)

The sweepingly vast Cox Enterprises empire encompasses broadband, automotive, media properties and manages over $100 billion in total assets. However, at its core sits Cox Communications serving 6+ million cable and internet subscribers across 18 states. With 2020 annual revenue surging past $20 billion Cox dominates as Georgia‘s largest tech-centric business.

Global Payments: Payments Processor ($8.4 Billion Revenue)

As one of the foremost worldwide payments solutions suppliers, Global Payments topped $8.4 billion in 2021 revenue through its integrated suite for acceptance, disbursement and reconciliation of electronic transactions across 130+ currencies. Further cementing its stature, Global Payments made headline news in 2023 with a $21 billion merger pact with peer Fiserv.

First Data: Payments Behemoth ($12 Billion Revenue)

Now fully owned by Fiserv after a 2019 acquisition yet still Atlanta-anchored, First Data handles underlying Visa and Mastercard transactions representing nearly 50% of total U.S. card spending. This payment infrastructure titan leads the market servicing over 6 million business locations and 4,000 financial institutions. First Data‘s 2022 full-year revenue crossed $12 billion as one of America‘s payment volume leaders.

With globally recognized brands like those above anchored locally plus scores of disruptive startups, Georgia‘s technology landscape appears brighter than ever.

Next let‘s examine the top late-stage private innovators before highlighting former heavy hitters now faded.

Private Sector Upstarts

Flying under Wall Street‘s radar (for now), these three rising Georgia-grown tech firms make big economic impact:

Greenlight Financial: Fintech Upstart

Founded in 2014, digital banking app Greenlight Financial brings smart money management to over 4 million parents and children combined.

  • $260+ million funding, ~$100 million 2020 revenue
  • All-digital debit card for allowances, chores, investing
  • Surging demand from families seeking financial literacy tools

With a fully mobile experience uniquely tailored for kids/teens yet controlled by parents, Greenlight Financial sits poised to achieve mainstream adoption as it pushes towards near-term IPO.

Calendly: Scheduling Automation Phenom

Atlanta scheduler Calendly has absolutely exploded onto the SaaS scene earning a quarter-billion dollar valuation on over $70 million in ARR.

  • More than 24 million monthly active individuals use Calendly
  • 50,000+ paying organizations now onboard
  • 87% annual recurring revenue growth through 2022

Offering flexible scheduling automation for meetings and appointments, Calendly has benefited hugely from remote work/living convergence during COVID. Top tier funds like Iconiq and OpenView bank on Calendly achieving unicorn status at IPO.

Sunday: Hospitality Payment Disruptor

Another hometown success, checkout/payment platform Sunday tailors point-of-sale SaaS specifically for high volume restaurants, coffee shops, bars and hotels.

  • Raised $45+ million to date from leading VC institutions
  • Powers payments and operations at thousands of hospitality locations
  • Saw peak demand for touchless pay amidst 2020 lockdowns.

After strong early traction, Sunday appears positioned to ride continuing mobile payment adoption across consumer sectors.

Major backers like Vertical Venture Partners expect a near-term liquidity event for the payments upstart within 18-24 months.

While showcasing Georgia‘s talent for producing high-growth tech firms, the graveyard unfortunately houses fallen comrades too…

Where Are They Now? Georgia‘s Forgotten Tech Experiments

Both ideas and execution must align to create durable companies. These two dissolved Georgia startups epitomize unfulfilled potential:

BoardSync – Acquired & Shuttered

Attempting to modernize governance through cloud software, digital board portal BoardSync offered real-time meeting organization tailored to SMBs and non-profits. But the fledgling firm couldn‘t scale or fundraise aggressively enough before selling to government website operator CivicPlus in 2017. Gradually absorbed into its acquirer, BoardSync was permanently retired as a standalone entity shortly after.

RenterUp – Out of Business

Seeking to streamline rental property management via its SaaS platform, RenterUp stumbled on messy market dynamics plus what VC backers deemed inadequate monetization mechanics for enterprise scale. Burdened by headwinds and facing rather unforgiving seed investors, the once promising RenterUp couldn‘t right course and ultimately went bust after burning nearly $2 million in early backing pre-maturity.

Final Takeaways: The Future Shines Bright

Fueled by bountiful tech talent cultivation programs via Georgia Tech and other universities, plus policymakers strongly emphasizing innovation sectors for job growth, exciting ventures continue gravitating toward Atlanta and environs seeking resources to scale.

With expertise and entrepreneurial drive in abundant supply, expect both young guns and old stalwarts to keep the Peach State firmly planted on the national tech map generating prosperity for citizens and investors alike for decades to come.

Georgia‘s technology expansion shows zero signs of slowing down.

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