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Tech Square Labs to put 15,000-square-foot innovation center in Midtown

Thursday, October 30, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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A Midtown Atlanta building, now stacked with printer toner and label makers, will bustle with coders and makers building billion-dollar companies.

The 15,000-square-foot Office Depot will become home to Tech Square Labs, that will birth information security, marketing automation, and business-to-consumer (B2C) startups. The venture is backed by serial techpreneurs and investors Paul Judge and Allen Nance.

The innovation center, expected to open in the second quarter, is the first phase of a broader expansion Tech Square Labs is planning, according to sources. Judge declined comment.

Tech Square Labs will add to the city's inventory of business-building hubs. The project is one of at least three tech startup-focused developments being considered in Georgia Tech-anchored Midtown Atlanta.

The Tech Square Labs building is a block from Tech Square, a mixed use development shared by startups, venture capitalists, research labs, business incubator Advanced Technology Development Center and tech accelerator Flashpoint.

The Office Depot is expected to close in mid-November, after which the leased space will be renovated into the open-plan, collaborative workspace favored by millennials.

The bunker-like building, adjacent to The Cheetah gentleman's club, will house up to 100 techies and include space and equipment for building hardware products, according to sources. (No word on whether Judge — who has a penchant for Christian Louboutins and British supercars— will hold weekly stand-up meetings with his startups at the Alluvia next door.)

Tech Square Labs is a bold bet on technical founders. The venture will invest a "multi-million dollar fund" and sweat equity into nascent technologies and unproven entrepreneurs.

"We'll take risks on things most investors in Atlanta won't touch," Judge said earlier this year.

Judge and Nance will take operating roles, helping with customer discovery, talent recruiting, product development and fundraising. The duo expects to work with up to six startups — in different life-cycles — at any give time.

Tech Square Labs will take an equity stake in its companies and, based on the extent of work required, participate as founding members.

Judge and Nance, both Georgia Tech grads, have experience juggling multiple ventures.

Judge helped found and build Pindrop Security, and is an advisor and investor at Ionic Security. Previously, Judge was CTO of CipherTrust (acquired by Secure Computing) , and cofounder of Purewire (acquired by Barracuda Networks) . He ' s now backing Monsieur, startup that's developed a cocktail-making machine.

Nance, a towering fast-talker, is co-founder and investor in e-commerce startup Springbot, and founder and CEO of email marketing firm WhatCounts.

Judge and Nance are the latest to reinvest their entrepreneurial winnings into building the next generation of businesses.

In Buckhead, David Cummings launched Atlanta Ventures Accelerato r — a three -to six-month business boot camp, provides coaching and capital.

And, in downtown Atlanta, Scoutmob co-founder Michael Tavani is planning a design and business-to-consumer incubator.

Meanwhile, a real estate developer will convert the 40,000 square foot Flatiron Building into an entrepreneurial hub.

Writer: Urvaksh Karkaria

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle: http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/atlantech/2014/10/tech-square-labs-to-put-15-000-square-foot.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2014-10-30&u=q1%20EnOO0bIrUsLJdAILw9sm0LCi&t=1414696673&page=all


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