Earlier today I had the opportunity to moderate a panel for our downtown Atlanta Rotary club (see Panel Moderator Preparation). Collectively, the three entrepreneurs have raised $250 million for their current ventures, have hundreds of employees, and represent three major areas for Atlanta: FinTech, Health IT, and Mobility. Here are a few takeaways from the panel:
- Capital is mobile and entrepreneurs with traction can raise money from anywhere
- Almost all the capital raised by the entrepreneurs was from outside Atlanta
- Great front-end and back-end software engineers are available in Atlanta, but more specialized skill sets like machine learning are much harder to find
- Align with investors on the targeted outcome before raising money (e.g. a single/double vs going for a home run)
- Company-wide communication and alignment is more important than expected, and becomes increasingly difficult as the company grows
- Culture is one of the most important components of a company and is driven top-down (conversely, the stronger the culture, the more painful it is to merge two companies together)
- Developments like Ponce City Market and the Atlanta Tech Village help recruit great talent
A big thanks to the three panelists and Atlanta Rotary for having us — it was a great event.
What else? What are some other takeaways from the Atlanta startup community panel today?