ATDC representatives made a strong showing at Venture Atlanta this week, helping to prove ATDC’s reputation as a major hub for technology entrepreneurship. More than one dozen member companies and graduates took the stage to pitch their concepts before an audience of venture capitalists, bankers, angel investors and others who can help them raise the capital they need to grow their businesses.
“Venture Atlanta is the premier tech ecosystem event in Atlanta. There’s no other time when you can find such depth of investors and great entrepreneurs in the same room at the same time,” said Kyle Porter, President & Co-founder of SalesLoft, one of the many ATDC companies selected to present at the event. “The presenters and attendees at Venture Atlanta this year proved that our technology ecosystem is in the midst of a massive surge. I haven’t seen this much energy in Atlanta startups in my entire career.”
Held earlier this week at the Georgia Aquarium, the two-day conference drew more than 725 attendees – the largest audience yet. The annual event is a collaboration of three leading Georgia business organizations: Atlanta CEO Council, Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Over the course of the past decade, Venture Atlanta and its earlier iteration have helped Georgia companies raise nearly $1 billion in funding.
“Venture Atlanta is truly a community event whose goal is to connect entrepreneurs with sources of capital,” said Allyson Eman, Executive Director of Venture Atlanta. “This year’s event definitely lived up to that objective. There were great keynote speeches, relevant messaging to investors and entrepreneurs, and the number of angel investors supporting us grows each year…I feel like great connections were made and money will be put into our companies.”
This year, attendees heard from some of the nation’s most prestigious entrepreneurs, including Phil Wickham, CEO of the Kauffman Fellows Program, Jonathan Bush of athenahealth and Steve Case, best known as the co-founder of America Online (AOL). In addition to the list of ATDC-connected early-stage and venture spotlight companies that were featured, member TOHL won Start Up Atlanta’s $10,000 Entrepreneur Video Competition – which was announced by Mayor Kasim Reed during the conference. The Georgia Tech startup has developed methods to quickly install water transport infrastructure for humanitarian applications.
Venture Atlanta organizers say the event helped put a broader spotlight on the region’s quality startup scene.
“Investors from inside and outside the Atlanta area were impressed with the breadth of companies – from promising early-stage startups to businesses generating $20 to $30 million of revenue. This helped attract many different types of investors to the show,” said event chair Spence McClelland of Noro-Moseley Partners. “Overall, the feedback was overwhelmingly consistent. There are some REAL companies in Atlanta.”