Atlanta’s Great for Idea Stage Startups

75 5th Street, Midtown Atlanta
Image by MikeSchinkel via Flickr

Yesterday’s post Atlanta Great for Early Stage Startups but Not Idea Stage? prompted a flurry of comments and tweets. Today I’d like to take the other side of the argument and outline why Atlanta is great for idea stage startups. Startups in this context are capital light web businesses with little-to-no funding and little-to-no revenues.

Here’s why Atlanta’s great for idea stage startups:

  • The low cost of living means the threshold for saving enough money to start your own business is lower than other parts of the county. In Atlanta, a person with no mortgage or kids can readily live on $1,000/mo (assuming no taxes). I know an entrepreneur that worked 60 hours a week on his startup and valeted cars at night to cover his living expenses — that shows serious determination.
  • While there aren’t a ton of potential co-founders in town that can go with no salary, there are a number of entrepreneurially minded business people and software developers that will freelance part-time in exchange for a reduced hourly rate and stock options (full-time co-founders are the way to go, but sometimes that isn’t always possible).
  • People in the Atlanta startup community are eager and willing to help entrepreneurs at no charge. The startup community in general is medium-sized compared to most cities, and the people in Atlanta are nicer on average, resulting in more opportunities to get help and guidance from people who enjoy giving back.
  • Startup groups, with ATDC being the heart of the community, readily provide peers and mentors to work with during the often challenging journey that is building a company (don’t get caught up in going to events so often that you aren’t making enough progress on your venture)

In the end, an idea stage startup can be successful anywhere. Atlanta, like every other city, has its strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to startups, especially bootstrapped startups with some revenue traction, I believe it is the best place to be in the country.

What else? Do you think Atlanta is or isn’t a great place for idea stage startups?

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