Sage, the business software firm, has picked four startups based in the British city of Newcastle to visit Atlanta for a program in October that could help them attract investors and scale into the U.S. market.
Two Atlanta firms have also been selected to reciprocate the visit during a trip in November, where they will attend the North East Venture Fest.
Based in Newcastle with a major presence in Atlanta, Sage judged a competition that led to selections as part of the Atlanta International Startup Exchange, a sister-city program that started with Atlanta and Toulouse, France, in 2016 and this year is including Newcastle.
The four tech companies hail from Newcastle, London and Bristol. They will attend Venture Atlanta and Atlanta Cyber Week in October and will engage in a curated series of meetings to build their knowledge and find potential partners.
Newcastle-based Drone Ops offers research and development of small unmanned aerial systems and robotics. Also based in Atlanta’s British sister city, Recite boosts accessibility and makes websites more inclusive for people with dyslexia or visual impairments.
London-based Citizen, which uses biometrics to valid customer identity, could be a good fit for Atlanta’s financial technology ecosystem. Based in Bristol, Immersive Labs helps companies identify assess their cybersecurity skills and train workers.
Sage sponsored the exchange as part of its commitment to the “business builders” who are its key customers, said Nancy Harris, Sage’s head of North America.
“Without question, Atlanta has become a hotbed for international business builders. This, coupled with a strong growing ecosystem of technology innovation, is why we chose to establish our North American headquarters here just a few years ago,” Ms. Harris said in a Sage news release. “We are proud to sponsor an initiative that brings together local and global innovation while also supporting business builders around the globe.”
The sectors represented — cybersecurity, fintech and aerospace — align well with those targeted by Invest Atlanta and the City of Atlanta’s Office of International Affairs.
The same goes for those selected on the Atlanta side: Qoins is an app that uses spare change to pay down debt automatically, while Baby Logger makes devices that help families more easily record their baby’s activities.
The announcement of the companies comes just after a visit to Atlanta by British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch, who praised the exchange of technology and creative-industry firms between Georgia and the United Kingdom.
“Innovation is our tradition,” said Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, U.K. consul general in Atlanta, who hosted the ambassador’s visit. “Britain is at the forefront of many tech developments, like driverless cars, graphene, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and the microchips behind smartphones. Some of these discoveries are supported by start-ups in the U.K.’s innovation-friendly economy and we see potential for strong partnerships here in Atlanta.”
It also comes a month before Atlanta and London mark the first-ever P20 payments conference Oct 10, which is designed to share regulatory and industry knowledge at the highest levels while positioning the cities as continental leaders in financial technology.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is not attending P20, but representatives from Invest Atlanta will be there, along with the Atlanta-based American Transaction Processors Coalition and many of its members.
Sister city leaders are visiting Atlanta this week for its inaugural forum on cities and international economic development.
Four companies — two from Atlanta and two from Toulouse — were also selected for the exchange with that city. They’re focused on travel, technology and the Internet of Things. More here.