Rating the Atlanta Startup Scene

Two years ago I put together a few thoughts on the Atlanta startup scene and gave ratings for each of the major components. Well, it’s time for an update. We’ve made good progress in a few areas and moved backwards in others.

Here’s my rating of the Atlanta startup scene:

  • Office Space (A)
    Unlike several years ago, there are a number of great options for startups to find their first office and even grow to 20 or 30 employees. Post 30 employees, there aren’t any turnkey office options and thus the growth stage startups are sprinkled all over the different submarkets.
  • Community (A-)
    Combined with the office space function, there are a number of great startup communities in Atlanta with different focuses like B2B SaaS, consumer apps, etc. One area that needs more attention is scale ups, and that’ll develop with time as more startups reach the growth stage.
  • Exits (C-)
    Things have been really quiet on the exit front for a while. With Cisco’s acquisition of Lancope for $452M and SecureWorks going public earlier this year there’s some minimal activity, but generally things have been much too quiet to be a healthy ecosystem.
  • Angel Capital (C)
    A steady number of angel investors write checks with most of the money coming from the usual sources (local non-tech professionals) and a small handful of successful tech entrepreneurs continue to write invest in 2-3 deals per year.
  • Institutional Capital (C-)
    Deals continue to get done (usually two Series A rounds per quarter and one Series B or later per quarter) and 95% of the institutional capital is from out of state. In the grand scheme, it’s a tiny number of deals but there’s a continual flow of activity.

Overall, I’d give the community a B with a quality foundation and significant room to grow and improve. As a community, the most important thing is to increase the number of startup success stories. Results matter.

What else? How would you rating the different components of the Atlanta startup scene?

3 thoughts on “Rating the Atlanta Startup Scene

  1. People (A): Great people like Kyle Porter, Derek Grant, Jordan Rackie, Sangram and Eric from Terminus. These are all proven and emerging leaders in SaaS. Know you’ve played a role in mentoring and helping each of them. They’ll all send the elevator back down and help grow more future leaders so talent will grow and grow.

  2. The grade I see changing the fastest is diversity of product. A few years ago, it seemed like everybody was out to put a new spin on a couple tried and true B2B concepts, partially because investor capital was rewarding a few narrow niches. The breadth of offerings from Atlanta startups is growing exponentially. It speaks volumes that people feel confident enough to take big risks here.

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