Friday, May 05, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Atlanta ~ by Frank Wrenn

With this issue, Atlanta makes its way into The Cyber Scene, and with good reason. Last year, Atlanta created 106,300 (net) new jobs, leading the nation in job growth, with 21,000 of these jobs being technology jobs. Technology jobs increased 12% in 1999, more than twice the rate of all other job sectors. Yahoo! Internet Life named Atlanta one of its “Most Wired Cities in the USA.” ComputerWorld ranked Hotlanta the 3rd top market for IT jobs, and Inc Magazine named it the 3rd best “Entrepreneurial Hot Spot.” The Chamber of Commerce even recently hired someone who is solely responsible for recruiting technology talent to the region.

So now you can check out The Cyber Scene to read about the people, companies, and events making waves in Atlanta’s cyber scene. And if you have any Atlanta news or events that I should know about, write me at

This week’s news: announced the acquisition of on April 17. The combination is expected to create the second largest on-line recruiting service.

The Atlanta-based company also reported record first quarter revenues this week.’s quarter 1 revenues were $6.4 million compared to less than $1 million for the same time period last year. Visitors to the site grew from to 10.8 million from 8.1 million last quarter as well. Robert M. Montgomery, president and CEO attributes increased visitor growth to “major advertising flights.” The company recorded marketing and selling expenses of 9.3 million in 2000’s Q1 compared to $1.2 million for the first quarter of 1999, helping to contribute to a $5.1 million net loss for the first quarter, compared to a $3.9 million loss.

Atlanta’s EarthLink Inc, the nation’s second largest ISP, also reported increased revenues. The company’s first quarter revenues were $219.7 million, versus revenues of $129.9 million for the first quarter of 1999.  Like, EarthLink reported a widening loss in the first quarter—a net loss of $108.5 million compared to $27.8 million last year. Marketing costs were also the culprit. Earthlink currently has 3.46 million subscribers.

Earthlink also announced this week that it had hit the 50,000 broad band customer milestone. Mike Lunsford, executive vice president of broadband services, says “Hitting the 50,000-customer mark is significant because it confirms our status as a major retail broadband provider. But this is just the start. New initiatives like self-installs and waived up-front fees should allow us to roll out our broadband service even more aggressively.”

And, speaking of broadband, RF Solutions, a developer of high-volume broadband wireless products based in Atlanta’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator, has received $2 million in early-stage funding. Georgia Governor Roy Barnes announced RF Solution as the first recipient of seed money ($250,000) from the Yamacraw Seed Capital Fund, a fund facilitating the growth of Georgia start-ups developing next-generation technology in the optical networking, high-speed access devices and content processing. Additional funding came from Imlay Investments, heading a group of investors that includes Intelligent Systems, Encina Technology Ventures and Atlanta Technology Angels.

CheckFree Holdings, Inc., ( headquartered in Atlanta, and Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, announced a strategic agreement on April 27 to accelerate on-line payments by extending electronic billing and payment to 30 million households. Under the terms of the agreement, CheckFree will obtain Bank of America's electronic billing and payment assets. Bank of America will receive 10 million restricted shares of CheckFree Common Stock and 10 million performance-based warrants for CheckFree Common Stock (about 16% of the company).

And finally, to close off this first Atlanta column, I have a quote from a press release from Internet Security Systems, whose 26 year old founder Christopher Klaus recently gave Georgia Tech $15 million: “What's happening in Atlanta is not only changing the face of the economy, it is literally changing the face of those who drive it. The old money days of cotton and manufacturing are rapidly morphing into a digital composite of high tech America.”