Reprinted from the September 18 Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By David Cummings
The digital economy is changing the world, and we’re just getting started. Companies are launched every day with just an idea and an Internet connection. Technology has affected nearly every area of business, and Georgia’s growth trajectory within the digital economy is very promising.
Georgia’s strong information security cluster has stood out for years. Our state continues to be among the top three in the U.S. for information security technology and is home to hundreds of such companies. More than 25 percent of the worldwide security revenue market share is generated by companies right here in our home state, according to the Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Yet Georgia’s success is not limited to information security. We also have become a leader in other digital and tech industries, most notably marketing software, health care information technology and mobile apps.
(Learn more in this video on the Public Policy Foundation’s YouTube channel!)
In 2011, Georgia Tech won a $1.65 million grant to support job growth and workforce training in health information technology. At the time of the award, nearly 250 companies were operating in Atlanta’s health IT cluster. Today, Atlanta is often referred to as the health IT capital of the nation. It is seeing continued rapid growth in this area, from large companies such as McKesson Technology Solutions to fast-growth start-ups like Digital Assent.
Atlanta’s marketing software cluster has also been receiving a lot of attention. Companies like MailChimp, Vitrue, Silverpop, What Counts, BLiNQ Media and Pardot have made a massive impact with innovative technology and large exits. Last year alone, three of these compani3es were acquired for $500 million total. The remaining three are easily worth more than $500 million. I’ve spent over a decade in marketing software, and I’m excited about its future and the way it will continue to shape Atlanta business.
In 2012, Georgia ranked fifth in the nation in mobile app industry employment, and online job postings in that sector increased substantially, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
AirWatch, an Atlanta-based mobile software company that is one of the largest in the field, has hired more than 1,000 employees in the past 12 months. In February, it raised $200 million in a Series A round of financing. AirWatch is helping put Atlanta on the map. This is only the beginning of the growth we will see as Georgia becomes a leader in the mobile sector.
Communities around Georgia’s digital economy are growing and thriving. Late last year I founded the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead with a commitment of $20 million to make it the best and largest tech entrepreneurship center in the Southeast.
As the excitement around digital industries continues to grow, communities like Atlanta Tech Village, the Advanced Technology Development Center and Hypepotamus will foster innovation and talent that will continue to fuel Georgia’s digital economy.
David Cummings was a featured panelist at “Georgia’s Digital Economy,” presented by Google and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on September 16, 2013 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. Click here to view the panel discussion on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.