ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Tech Alpharetta is celebrating the first graduate of 2020 from its Innovation Center program.
Finosec, a fintech startup that assists financial institutions in navigating cybersecurity and regulatory compliance, has established headquarters in the city on McGinnis Ferry Road. The company has eight employees
Tech Alpharetta’s Innovation Center, launched in 2015, serves as a tech startup incubator in Alpharetta that provides education, mentoring and other resources to its startup members to help them grow and succeed. Finosec joined Tech Alpharetta’s incubator in early 2018.
Finosec President and founder Zach Duke built the company during its tenure at the incubator.
“Tech Alpharetta’s Innovation Center connected Finosec to essential resources that directly and positively impacted the company’s progress by accelerating our speed to market,” Duke said, adding that expansion may be in the future.
“Obviously, bringing on customers is the first requisite for adding additional staff, and having great technology is part of that process,” he said.
Duke, who lives in Milton, said headquartering in Alpharetta made sense.
“The technology talent in Alpharetta is really unparalleled,” he said. “We talk a lot about Fin-Tech Alley (tech firms specializing in financial services), but there’s just a lot of great, technical talent in Alpharetta. And being headquartered where the talent is is a critical concern for us.”
Finosec’s platform enables its customers to automate and easily validate labor-intensive tasks that are required to keep banking systems secure and meet regulatory expectations.
Duke said he has found strong traction in the market for Finosec’s platform. He also called Tech Alpharetta’s assistance invaluable.
“Building a company starting from nothing is extremely hard,” he said. “Having an accelerator that makes it so you don’t have to start from scratch — wow, does it help you.”
Tech Alpharetta CEO, Karen Cashion said the Innovation Center is home to 48 tech startups currently receiving mentoring, coaching, investor relationships and other services.
“We try to provide the additional things all startups need to grow their companies,” Cashion said.
Tech Alpharetta, which receives some of its funding from the city, was challenged last year by the City Council to begin laying the groundwork for self-sufficiency. The nonprofit had received $125,000 in annual funding through the city’s Development Authority up to then.
Last fall, after the organization bolstered its board membership and met other benchmarks, the council approved a three-year funding contract for $100,000 annually.
“It’s been a process,” Cashion said. “Our organization was actually created by the city in 2013, and we’re really an economic engine for Alpharetta.”
Today, Tech Alpharetta has 30 tech companies represented on its board of directors. Its goal is to graduate at least two new firms a year from its incubator.
The Innovation Center has had 12 companies graduate since it began in 2015, nine of them are located in Alpharetta.
Job creation is simple to track by company, but some studies suggest that tech jobs have a multiplier effect on other jobs. Enrico Moretti, economist with the University of California, Berkeley, says each new tech job creates five additional jobs in the service section.
Tech Alpharetta uses a common algorithm that places the number at 4.3 new service sector jobs.
“Just on their own, our graduates have already created 111 high-paying tech jobs for the city — those nine companies that headquartered in the city,” Cashion said. “Using that algorithm, that’s 477 new jobs total for Alpharetta that our graduates have created.”