What’s Atlanta’s Grade in the Competition for Startups?

Mark Suster has a solid new post up titled How to Kick Start Your Community’s Startup Scene. Whenever I see a post like this I always size up Atlanta relative to the recommendations. Under the “What does a city need to compete” section Mark offers five areas of focus. Here are the five areas and how Atlanta’s doing:

  1. Events (Grade: B+) – With a strong set of metro events like the Atlanta Startup Village Meetup, Startup ChowdownATDC Entrepreneurs Night, and TAG Entrepreneurs Society there are a number of great events that connect the community. Without a national event that brings outsiders to Atlanta, it’s tough to get a better grade (we have a great venture conference with Venture Atlanta).
  2. Co-Working Space (Grade: A) – Between ATDC at 40,000 sq. ft. and the Atlanta Tech Village at 103,000 sq. ft. Atlanta has a tremendous amount of startup-friendly office space.
  3. Angels & Recycled Capital (Grade: B-) – With the Atlanta Technology Angels (one of the largest and most active angel groups in the country) combined with a number of local angels, Atlanta is making great progress. It’s still extremely difficult to raise seed stage capital and there’s limited recycled capital.
  4. Venture Capital (Grade: B-) – There are a number of active venture firms in town including Noro-Moseley Partners, BIP Capital, Mosley Ventures, Fulcrum Equity Partners, TechOperators, and Kinetic Ventures. Even with those firms, a general guideline is that they’ll average one investment per year in Atlanta, meaning there’s only six local VC investments per year. Venture capital, and all other capital, is much more mobile now, meaning it will find the best entrepreneurs and opportunity to make money, regardless of geography. Entrepreneurs with proven metrics and a scaling business can easily raise money in Atlanta.
  5. Mavens & Marketing (Grade: B) – We’re working hard to spread the word about Atlanta’s great startup community, especially for bootstrapped businesses, startups for grownups, and our strong clusters (like digital marketing, internet security, logistics, mobility, financial technology, health IT, and more). Atlanta unicorns happen fairly regularly, but we can still do more to get the word out.

Atlanta’s making great progress and is well positioned to be one of the top 10 cities in the country for tech entrepreneurs.

What else? What are your thoughts on Atlanta’s grades in the competition for startups?

4 thoughts on “What’s Atlanta’s Grade in the Competition for Startups?

  1. Sorry, but Atlanta does not get a “B” average for startup ecosystem. That’s the kind of self-congratulatory, non-competitive bullshit that results in “Participation Trophies” for kids and is ruining our country. Also love that the guy who owns the city’s largest co-working space gives himself the only “A” in the whole article.

    A+ Palo Alto
    A San Francisco
    A- Seattle
    A- NYC
    B+ Boston
    B Austin
    B- Boulder
    C+ Nashville
    C Raleigh Durham
    C D.C.
    C- Atlanta
    D Everywhere else

  2. I agree with most of your grades, except the last one. I’d give us a C+ at best for marketing, and the “plus” is pretty much due to what you and the Village have done in the last year. Otherwise, we’re a solid C-minus.

    I remain amazed how many people outside Atlanta don’t ever consider Atlanta as a startup city. On the numbers, we stack up well: $64 billion worth of exits, half of that since the Bubble burst: http://bit.ly/AtlantaStartupExits

    But we can’t market our way out of a wet paper sack. If you believe my “Not the Valley” mantra, there are half a dozen top places in the country to build your startup outside of Silicon Valley. I think Atlanta is #1 or maybe #2 behind Austin. But — unless they have a prior connection to Atlanta — no one thinks of us that way. We need to change that.

  3. How about wealth creation as a metric for founders, employees and investors as a metric in overall exit value vs other markets. My bet is we still have a lot of work to do. At the end of the day it is all about wealth creation and the reinvestment output associated with it across the entire ecosystem for the local community.

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