Monthly Archives: January 2013

In the normal, high-level rhetoric of “job generation,” “keeping talent in Atlanta,” and “leveraging the Southeast’s talent” that’s discussed frequently, today I came across a real-as-it-gets scenario with a recent grad who’s extremely talented and looking to move back to San Fran or Chicago.

Sam Solomon graduated from Auburn University last December.

After working as an editor of the college newspaper and dabbling in entrepreneurship as a Tiger…or War Eagle (ah, whatever). Sam went to manage CrowdFunder’s FB advertising campaign for a few months as over $14mm was pledged to push legislation through the Hill, more specifically the JOBS Act. After “watching Cspan, like never before,” it passed (well kind of). Sam applied via a Hacker News job to DrChrono in SF. After cold-emailing the CEO and landing the job, Sam spent 4 months contracting for DrChrono — a YCombinator startup — managing PPC campaigns, handling inbound leads, and designing landing pages.

While Sam worked at DrChrono, he applied to The Starter League —  37Signals’ 3-month bootcamp for building awesome web apps.  It’s held in Chicago’s 1871 building.  While there, he built Mountain Metrics, an analytics platform for Tumblr that is used by the Chicago History Museum.

Sam can write, design, code, and has successful experiences running online advertising. He’s a businesses’ dream. Yet, he’s 80% leaning towards heading back to Chicago or San Francisco. In the mean time, he’s staying close to the parents in Atlanta until he finds his ideal next gig.

Don’t take my word, just check out his personal project/blog and his personal site.

This is a story occurring regularly in Atlanta: talented people in tech leaving for Chicago, New York, or San Francisco.

I hope Sam decides to stay in Atlanta. After touring him through the ATV, he was excited to see something like Chicago’s 1871 in the works.


Keep Sam in the A


Keeping Talent In Atlanta is going to be a whenever-it’s-needed regular column sharing stories of extremely talented folks who are about to leave Atlanta to another city for whatever reason.


Tomorrow, over 350 sales and marketing professionals will flock to GTRI in midtown to hear the best practices in the sales and marketing industry. An “un-conference” traditionally seen in the B2C space is taking place where it’s very participatory and all talks are voted on by attendees. Three sales and marketing leaders from Atlanta, Anand Thaker, Kevin O’Malley, and Kyle Porter, saw a need for a fun, dynamic conference in an industry where the city of Atlanta is a top-notch player.

B2B Camp was born.

It only took a brief meeting in the TechSquare Starbucks and a soon-after domin registration for a talented team to begin work on what would become a breakout year for B2B Camp.

Three city-stops and over 1000 sales and marketing professionals later, the B2BCamp movement is booming. Cities like Atlanta, Boston, and DC are welcoming the aggregation of talent, information, and capital. Not surprisingly, sponsor dollars are flowing in from some of the most reputable tech companies in the game: Pardot, Eloqua, HubSpot, and many more.

Tomorrow’s event is jumpstarted by Atlanta Tech Village mastermind, David Cummings who’s speaking on 7 Entrepreneurial Lessons From Pardot.

The most exciting aspect of B2BCamp is the future. They have the opportunity to take this one idea developed at Starbucks and help craft the future of the sales and marketing industry for years to come. It’s a journey that’s fun to be a part of especially since it’s home grown right out of Tech Square.

The waiting list is 65 deep but I still recommend you sign up. Writing as a B2BCamp veteren, you’ll leave tomorrow’s event informed, excited, and with some great leads.

Imagine getting a duel degree at Morehouse and Georgia Tech, becoming a Doctor by the time you’re 23 years of age, building 3 successful companies with a plethora in the pipeline…and you’re not even close to hitting 40. Welcome to the life and times of Paul Judge.  Here’s a good write up over on the Hypepotamus blog about Paul. 


Paul has been a staple in the community for sometime.

Tomorrow night at the Hype at 7:30 p.m., Scotty Hendo will interview Dr. Paul Judge on: how he did what he did, how business is now, and what’s in store for the future.

This is a must-make event in the Atlanta Startup Community.

Check out Paul’s most recent piece on TechCrunch to get a feel for his passion and ambition towards building great companies.

See many of you there!

Coming off last week’s high at Atlanta Startup Village #4 (pictured below) where Brad Feld talked about building startup communities and Atlanta, we wanted to pen a quick piece on how feeders can help the Atlanta Startup Community. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and define a “feeder.”

In Brad Feld’s Startup Communities, he puts people in one of two categories: entrepreneurs or feeders.

Feeders are everyone else in the startup community.

They include service providers, folks in government, universities, etc.

Lots of smart, kind, and helpful people in Atlanta are feeders and that’s great for our startup community.

If we can efficiently leverage the feeders to help build our startup community, it will make the journey of building a business smoother and more fun!

Here are the top 3 ways feeders can support the Atlanta Startup Community.

1. Sponsor local events. Each Atlanta Startup Village costs about $800 an event…that’s the going rate for free pizza and free booze for 150+ people. With more value-add events on the horizon, helping sponsor an Open Coffee Club (which someone should definitely start in Atlanta) or a cool meetup is huge. Jen Bonnett of the ATDC has sponsored the last couple of ASV’s with left over funds from Atlanta Startup Weekend. Rock on Jen. Major thanks.

2. Educate us on your business and industry: We all need accountants, lawyers, and office space. Educate us on your business in a convenient way. If I were a feeder looking to drum up business in the Atlanta Startup Community, I’d start writing about ways my industry expertise can help an entrepreneur. A great example of someone who’s done this really well is Matthew May as the The Tech CPA.

3. Refer leads: Every company is always looking for new leads. Good entrepreneurs are always selling. If you think existing customers of your’s would be a good prospect for a company, let them know about it.

Feeders should never be looked upon as a deficiency in a community. We need everyone in Atlanta to help build the startup community.

Go Falcons!

Atlanta Startup Village

Atlanta Startup Village #4 Photo credit: Adam Wexler (@thewordpainter)


Disclosure: I build a company in the Atlanta Technology Village.

An earlier post titled, What Pardot’s $100mm Acquisition Means for Atlanta, ended with: “Pardot’s acquisition is a big deal and it’s importance will only become clearer with time.”  That time has come sooner than most expected. In the past few weeks, Pardot’s co-founder, David Cummings, purchased Ivy Place — the circa 1986, hedge-fundy looking building at the corner of Lenox and Piedmont. It aptly has large, white letters spelling out “The Private Bank,” twice, on each corner of the building overlooking Buckhead.

In an inexplicable turn of events, a building architected for private wealth managers, investment bankers, and multi-generational law firms, is now about to be overrun with some of Atlanta’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. Any doubters should look no further than the Twitter stream of Atlanta Tech Village tenant @Urvaksh  — the personable Atlanta Business Chronicle writer (scoop master) who’s snark is masked by his authentic jollity towards life and hard-to-find information (send scoops his way).

Ivy Place transitioning to the Atlanta Tech Village is more than just a change in name. The dichotomy of young, ambitious tech entrepreneurs versus the traditional corporate types is a cultural clash that can only be compared to the scene of the opening resident party at the The Mansion (on Peachtree), where Atlanta’s most successful hip-hop artists shared drinks with the city’s old-money establishment.

Buckhead is known to most as Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhood. The Ritz, the St. Regis, our city’s best steak houses are all within a mile or two of the Atlanta Tech Village. Wait, what? It would make more sense to put a Racquet Club in old Ivy Place than it would to put a Tech Village.

Or would it?

In the summer of 2009 when Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council President were battling against each other in the race for mayor, they both kept using a similar line, stump speech after stump speech. “Real estate is to Atlanta what finance is to New York.” It’s the back bone of commerce in our city. Unquestionably, it’s true.

Of course, even Tom Wolfe nailed the depiction of Atlanta through an aging real estate tycoon who’s willing to bet the farm, actually plantation, on one real estate bet after another.

Constructing a building doesn’t put people in them. Jobs do. Jobs from entrepreneurs who create a product, take it to market, and scale it (see: Airwatch).

Entrepreneurs in this country run it; they always have and always will. Go back to Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Ford: all entrepreneurs, all builders. Today, Jobs (R.I.P.), Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Brin, are all household names because of the way they affect our daily lives.

That’s why every lawyer, banker, financial planner, insurance agent and more, want to see us win. They’ll put up with us “riding segways around the office” (hattip Urvaksh) or wearing jeans and a t-shirt to a meeting because they want us to succeed. If we win, they win. It’s simple.

So where does the Atlanta Tech Village leave us? In a cultural shift for sure. The other is a monetary shift.

Yes, Buckhead doesn’t foster the most creative vibe. However, there’s one thing Buckhead has that all startups need: capital. David’s decision to purchase the building in the heart of Buckhead and soon to replace the haughty and exclusive “The Private Bank” sign with a more open and friendly “Atlanta Tech Village” is down right courageous.

Most building purchases in Buckhead go through the traditional process of running it by the Buckhead Coalition, getting a feel of the community, figuring out who the players are, etc. before the project is started.

David bought Ivy Place in two weeks and I doubt he asked permission from anyone.

My past 3 days in the Atlanta Tech Village have been invigorating. Add to the fact that three venture capital/seed stage funds have stopped by and introduced themselves as they all toured the Atlanta Tech Village. Each one plans on getting space in the ATV.

More of Atlanta’s wealthier residents will finally see that technology in Atlanta isn’t something only done in the lonely hallways of Tech Square. Now it’s right in front of their nose and a few more successful exits will make them wonder what they’re missing out on.

I’m not sure if it’s because years and years of old money have dominated Atlanta business or if it’s just that our finest era of innovation was soon after Sherman burned our city down, maybe they’re two in the same. However, Atlanta is about to see the biggest cultural and economic disruption right in the heart of the city’s oldest and wealthiest guard: Buckhead. It’s exciting because everyone will thrive and that guard will embrace all of the business we bring them.

Atlanta Startup Village is getting bigger and better as each month goes on. Check out photos from last month’s ASV. It was great. We’re doing it again on Thursday, January 10th at Hypepotamus. Hope you can join.

Before the teams present this month, we’re Skyping in Brad Feld to talk for 30 minutes about Startup Communities, investing, and answers to whatever questions you have.


FlashIssue helps you build social newsletter digests in 5 minutes. Over 2,000 businesses have used their social newsletter service to create newsletters for their customers. FlashIssue’s CEO is Phil Hill who’s had multiple successful exits.

Pindrop Security stops phone fraud. Stellar team lead is by Paul Judge and invested in by Silicon Valley power house Andreessen Horowitz.

PatientCo makes it easier for you to pay your bills securely. Bird Blitch is a Ga Tech grad that’s steadily built PatientCo into a profit machine.

Bractlet is a Cleantech & IT startup changing the way hotel management and guests think about and use their energy.

Detail Reminders:
Time: Thursday, January 10th at 6:30 p.m. is when BFeld goes live.  Beer will be there bit before.
Location: Hypepotamus (Bottom floor the Biltmore Hotel)
Who: Anybody who wants to learn, be constructive, positive, and helpful.

Beer from Monday Night Brewing (we *hope* not to run out so early this time), pizza from Davinci’s, and great people will all be there.

We plan on doing another Pitch Improve as well which was very entertaining last time.

Come one, come all!

Good news! Uber is hooking folks ups with rides. Copy below:

ATL Startup Villagers, we’ve partnered up with Uber to score you a stylish ride to or from Hypepotamus on Jan 10th.NEW Uber riders receive $20 off of their FIRST trip! Uber is a mobile app that allows you to request a private black car or SUV at the touch of a button and ride through Atlanta in luxury and class. Simply download the app from iTunes or GooglePlay (you can also Uber from your BlackBerry), set up an account, and you’re ready to roll. Your private driver will arrive in ~10 minutes, and your credit card gets charged automatically for your ride (read: NO CASH NECESSARY!). 
  • To redeem, rider must enter the promotion code “StartupVillage2013” **before** requesting their first Uber (TIP: Enter the code at sign-up!)
  • This offer is only available on 1st ride, and only to or from  Hypepotamus
  • Only valids on rides *requested* between 1/10 4pm – 1/11 2am

What else should you know?

Atlanta Startup Village is co-hosted by Chris Beauregard of MailChimp and Jon Birdsong of WideAngle – 1 on 1 Meeting software, in coordination with the amazing staff of the Atlanta Tech Village.


Tom O'dea of RocketWhale shows off their product to the crowd. They're looking for developers.

Tom O’dea of RocketWhale shows off their product to the crowd. They’re looking for developers.

Anticipating the next presenter...

Anticipating the next presenter…