Today, 10 people from Atlanta, including Mayor Kasim Reed, are heading out to Silicon Valley to meet with several venture capitalists and large tech companies in order to espouse the benefits of Atlanta. All the great benefits of Atlanta will be highlighted including strong technical talent from Georgia Tech, massive airport with direct flights around the world, low cost of living, and growing population of educated young professionals. It’s important to convey this message as there’s real value to it.
Only, this isn’t going to get VCs excited. VCs get excited about the prospect of making huge amounts of money for their limited partners, which in turn makes huge amounts of money for themselves. If they don’t do that, they can’t raise another fund, and they go out of business.
A great city with strong fundamentals doesn’t incite the fiery capitalist function in an investor.
Instead, what’s needed is a conversation that accomplishes two things:
- Builds confidence that Atlanta has good people that care about making the city great, and
- Reveals the investors’ sweet spots in terms of stages, industries, growth rates, revenue run rates, etc. and everyone makes a commitment to talk to entrepreneurs that meet these specifications.
With this in place, city leaders then organize a program to continually stay apprised of startups in town and qualify them against the necessary parameters provided by the VCs. Finally, introductions are coordinated for good fits and an annual trip is facilitated to maintain rapport and continually calibrate the quality of deals.
Great startups that make investors a ton of money will put Atlanta on the map. Let’s start with a tactical plan that produces more success stories and everything else will fall into place.
What else? What are some other thoughts on Atlanta’s pitch to West Coast VCs?