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Delta is expanding its ability to develop innovative ways to bolster the customer experience by investing in a program supporting top tech startup talent in Atlanta.

The Atlanta-based Engage accelerator, announced Thursday by Mayor Kasim Reed, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the CEOs of Delta, AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Power, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot and UPS, has a singular goal to offer mentoring, education and collaboration opportunities with the 10 founding companies to up to 48 startups over the next three years.

“Innovation has always been a key driver of Delta’s success,” said Gil West, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. “But in an age when technology capabilities change quickly, Delta sees tremendous value in working with high-tech startups to align the Delta customer experience with the greatest brands in the world. Engage will give Delta the ability to mentor and potentially work with some high-potential startups, build relationships in the startup world and develop Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem – it’s a win for everyone involved, and ultimately, Delta customers.”

Each company committed $1.5 million to the endeavor.

In 2015 Delta and the Delta Foundation launched a collaborative research center at The Georgia Institute of Technology where the airline, through $5 million in grants, funds projects to enhance its operations and customer experience. Since then the airline has worked used the Delta Global Innovation Center, The Hangar to collaborate with Georgia Tech students to solve a number of challenges including maximizing storage space in aircraft galleys to better support product and service delivery in flight. Delta even hosted a “hackathon” in September to come up with innovative ways to improve the travel experience for customers. 

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