How Atlanta Tech Startup Sonar Continues to Grow Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

On the latest episode of the Atlanta Small Business Show, Brad Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Sonar, joins Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss his entrepreneurial journey. Sonar was founded by Smith and Jack McGlinchey in 2018. Smith has worked in the tech startup space in Atlanta for over seven years, starting with Cloud Sherpas back in 2013. Smith and McGlinchey started Sonar after experiencing a need for tech stack management within a number of different organizations.

Smith opens the conversation by sharing his background in the tech industry. He says that technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we conduct business. Technology has also provided a level of safety during the ongoing pandemic, allowing businesses to collaborate with their teams to accomplish tasks without being in the office. 

During the spring of 2020, Sonar raised $1.6 million in funds. Smith says Sonar has gained the business of over 30 paying clients, of which many are locally found in the Atlanta area. Sonar has a wide variety of clients that range from small businesses to large enterprises.

Smith says that their approach to business hasn’t changed due to COVID-19. He says the company has done its part to control what it can control on a daily basis. Despite the challenges of the virus, Smith wanted Sonar to push ahead. 

“It doesn’t change how we want to go to the market and go build a fantastic solution,” said Smith. “We all said after we raise the money, let’s keep our heads down, let’s keep building, and control what we can control. Even going into our last board meeting, I told our board that I had one slide to talk about coronavirus and if they had any questions let me know. We didn’t start this company to make excuses, we started this company to go build something big and fun.”

Smith then shares some of his advice on working with investors. Smith encourages entrepreneurs to remember that investors are people too. Instead of worrying so much about perfecting the pitch, Smith says that entrepreneurs should shoot straight with investors by asking pointed questions. Investors are more likely to jump on board with an idea that is clearly stated, an understanding of their role with the business, and entrepreneurs who intentionally work to not waste the investor’s time.

Smith concludes by encouraging entrepreneurs to take on the journey of a startup with someone you can trust. Smith still has a great relationship with McGlinchey as they continue to get coffee and play golf together. Smith says he and McGlinchey are committed to Sonar growing in the Atlanta area from their ties to the area and the potential they see in the market. 


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