Atlanta and Georgia Targets Startup Growth : Atlanta as a Startup’s Opportunity Hub
I attended TAG Entrepreneurs Presentation” Micro Angels, Startups, Acceleration, Exits” last Thursday 6/5/14 11:30 – 1 pm. Here is my review. The event was hosted at the Opportunity Hub (about http://ohub200.com/) located at OHub 200 Peachtree Atlanta, GA. (location http://ohub200.com/ourspaces).
I had some difficulty finding parking but later was parking is available right around the corner. The parking I found was in a public lot and cost around $10 and was about 3 blocks away. Before I attend future events at this venue I will try to have a better idea about my parking choices.
The event was worthwhile and was attended by about 50 from groups of all ages and nationalities. It included a buffet lunch with refreshment. The panel was moderated by Jim Beach who asked some very good questions about funding and problems with funding startups. Based on the questions and answers discussed, one can assume that funding is always an issue for startups.
My Comment: It is my belief that many business owners start to look for money too early in the new business startup cycle. Every business owner approaching investors believes they have the million dollar ( billion-dollar ? ) idea with a similar mindset as the many good high school basketball players expecting they will find careers in the NBA. The idea and talent may be there but the goal is not easily obtained. Many startups do not fail for lack of investor money. In most cases, it does take a special talent, intelligence, drive, passion and heart to be successful in the pros yet even with these attributes businesses and players may not make it.
Organizations like TAG and businesses like Opportunity Hub are there to help support and mentor the business founders. They can make it much easier for the founders to test their ideas and get exposed to investors. But funding for startups probably should not be discussed until the founders are further along and can prove their capabilities and intentions.
Georgia is a good state for Startups…but
Some very positive remarks were made about changes to Georgia laws that make it easier for nonaccredited investors to invest in Georgia startup. Nonaccredited investors are apparently investors with incomes of less than $250K per year. It was mentioned that Georgia is one of the better states to make small investor contributions easier.
Each of the panelist had an opportunity to talk about themselves, their backgrounds and their current involvement in the startup community. Tying their background in their current involvements to the panel discussion made a lot of sense. All of the panelists were good communicators, knowledgeable about their topics and enjoyable to listen too.
Some comments and thoughts from the discussion:
Jim Beach www.linkedin.com/in/jamesabeach
Founder, School for Startups
Rodney Sampson www.linkedin.com/in/rodneysampson
CoFounder, Opportunity Hub
Rodney did not see a lot of checks being written to startups and he said there was a lack of ramp capital. There is a need for money and mentors and we need to see more exits for companies that have gotten through startups. He did recommend a book or organization called 500 startups.
Scott Maucere www.linkedin.com/pub/scott-maucere/10/893/871
CEO, Push To Start
Scott says that Georgia wants to be a player in the startup environment but so do many others. He said that Georgia was a great state to do business in. He says that we need to hold onto our own identity. Look for it at the intersection of culture and technology. We are strong in the international stage, hip-hop, entertainment industry and technology. We should continue to have the southern feel and work to help companies take an idea to a product or service to a thriving business.
Brandon Rickman www.linkedin.com/pub/brandon-rickman/2/5a2/988
CoFounder, Opportunity Hub
Brandon is a cofounder of Opportunity hub which has taken 10 companies per year through their program. He said that he had to go out of state for money for some of the investments. Brandon wants to help make it less on top city for startups. He is trying to help build the Atlanta ecosystem for startups. He says he looks for energy in the founders. He also expects that the entrepreneurs would be good listeners but many are not.
Mike Ross www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-h-ross/8/727/598
President, MHR International
Mike has mentioned there have been startups and growth in the music and movie industry here in Atlanta and Georgia. He also sees growth in the tech industries and Atlanta might be considered a hot area for growth. Mike said there is a lack of education from the investor’s perspective as well as the startups. There is lots of money but it is not being invested in startups. He said a lot of the decisions for made by investors are based not only on the idea and business but also on the personality, energy and stamina of the founders. Heart and Spirit are important. Mike is working with some current minority groups from the Georgia Tech community. Mike believes that part of the uniqueness of Atlanta from a startup environmental perspective is that we have great diversity in people and we are willing to work together.
Vincent Russo http://www.linkedin.com/pub/vincent-russo/4a/984/7ba
Counsel at Robbins Firms
Author of Invest Georgia Exemption
Vincent worked for the state and helped overcome hurdles so that investing in startups could be easier. He talked about accredited and nonaccredited investors. He says that the lawmakers in Georgia are willing to help the startup community and are doing what they can through regulation and laws.
Megan Johnson www.linkedin.com/pub/megan-johnson/57/686/b43
Megan is part of a startup to help founders get money from smaller investors. She suggests that we educate business owners about what is available as a startup.
Atlanta as a Startup’s Opportunity Hub? What can we do to push ahead?
Author: Rick Zabor
Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.