Regional Spotlight: Atlanta, Georgia
Enjoyable weather, award-winning restaurants, and a dynamic business landscape are among the many factors that are retaining and engaging young professionals in Atlanta, Georgia. The job growth in Atlanta is out-pacing that of the U.S. economy, which helps explain Georgia’s 2018 ranking by Site Selection as the No. 1 business climate for the sixth consecutive year. In addition to experiencing a boom in filming, aerospace production, and start-ups in general, Atlanta has recently grown to boast a global lead in both the financial technology & healthcare services industries.
Georgia’s reputation as a prosperous FinTech community can be traced back to 1987 when the Georgia Assembly relieved restrictions on credit card rates for banks, leading to a deep association with the payments sector. According to the American Transaction Processors Coalition, roughly 70 percent of U.S. purchased transactions are processed through companies in Atlanta. But the FinTech industry in Atlanta encompasses a vast array of organizations, ranging from payment processors to data analytics software providers. As of 2017, the Top 20 Georgia based FinTech companies generated annual revenue of over $72 billion, the third highest status in the nation. The density of talent and knowledge Atlanta provides in the same sector results in a cycle of shared and innovative ideas consistently leading to new startups, which then grow into middle-market companies.
The State boasts an even longer history of cultivating and supporting the growth of successful healthcare services and healthcare technology companies. Often referred to as the health information technology capital of the U.S., Georgia is at the forefront of consumer digital health. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the health IT sector in Georgia is the largest in the U.S., with over 250 companies and 30,000 employees. This number does not account for healthcare providers such as Kaiser Permanente, which installed its global technology headquarters in the Atlanta area as well. While the boom in health IT capital is statewide, industry leaders say it is particularly strong in metro Atlanta.
One of the founders of Aldrich Capital, Raz Zia, was an early investor in iHealth Technologies, the predecessor firm of Cotiviti. iHealth was a pioneer in the use of analytics and data sciences to process healthcare claims. The business was a major success story in Atlanta. Cotiviti merged with iHealth in 2014 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 2016, before its acquisition by Verscend Technologies in 2018 for $4.9 billion.
FinTech and health IT are integral elements of the Georgia economy. The industries continue to thrive due to improved collaboration and investments in infrastructure and talent. As the only major city in its region, Atlanta features access to several universities, drawing even more resources to the area. Growing talent and an existing pool of entrepreneurs create a climate of collaboration and innovation, where experts compete to provide the best solutions and work together to test and improve innovative ideas. The city also provides national and global connectivity with its proximity to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. That is a primary reason why global companies such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and others established their U.S. headquarters in here. In fact, the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country is located in Atlanta. The city also serves as the headquarters to national and global health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), the Carter Center, and the Task Force for Global Health. After years of decreasing obscurity, it is now evident why Atlanta is increasingly noted as the FinTech and healthcare IT capital of the world.