In honor of Venture Atlanta’s ten year anniversary, we’re featuring a few of the incredible sponsors who help bring the event to life year after year. This week, we are featuring one of our VERY FIRST Venture Atlanta sponsors, Aprio. We sat down with Mitchell Kopelman, CPA & Partner-In-Charge of Aprio’s Technology Practice, to hear the story.
Go Behind-the-Scenes With Aprio, Venture Atlanta’s First Sponsor
How did your relationship with Venture Atlanta begin?
We were actually sponsors of the three organizations that came together to create the unified Venture Atlanta event. For us, it was a no brainer to show our support. We knew right away that this would be an important event for our city – and it turns out we were right. We’re all about bringing the community together, and sponsoring Venture Atlanta fits seamlessly with that goal.
What makes you say “yes” to Venture Atlanta sponsorship, year after year?
The community. Venture Atlanta gives us the opportunity to get our name out in front of hundreds of venture investors in one place. It also doesn’t hurt that about half of the presenting companies each year are our clients and we love to show our support.
It really is more than just a pitch event. The team truly cares and is dedicated to helping companies improve. We join other top industry leaders volunteering their time to coach these up and coming companies, and VA does a great job of pulling the entire ecosystem together. We continue to see the organization grow and the event run successfully, which makes sponsorship an easy decision.
Any incredible Venture Atlanta moments you remember from over the years?
That’s a tough question. There have been so many highlights since it all began. Tom Noonan’s keynote comes to mind. But mainly, we love watching the transformation of the companies. They are nervous, and understandably so…but the atmosphere at Venture Atlanta really helps to cut away tension to allow these founders a forum to deliver exceptional pitches. The training/coaching bootcamp VA puts companies through is invaluable.
What makes Venture Atlanta different from other venture conferences?
We’ve attended venture conferences around the world, but none are quite like Venture Atlanta. The event really captures the energy of this city as a whole. The energy in the room is palpable, and you’re surrounded by a community of people who are excited to be there. Connections are made, deals happen – it’s an exciting conference, for sure.
How has the funding scene in Atlanta evolved over the last 10 years? Where is it going?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a fair amount of venture capital originate from outside Atlanta, as well as a number of funds start locally. That’s really a testament to successes of the local venture capital funds and their limited partners repeatedly investing back into their new funds. We’ve noticed particularly high growth in the city over the last five years, with plenty of funds coming in from all over the world, ready to invest in Atlanta companies. Atlanta is an attractive market (low cost of living, compensation levels are lower, etc.), so as long as we continue to encourage bright people to take their ideas and run with them, we’ll continue to see businesses form, grow, and stay in Atlanta.
Any words of wisdom for companies thinking about applying for #VA2017?
Go for it. Seriously, just apply. And, if you do get selected, be sure to soak up the advice from your coaches. It’s an invaluable experience. When you’re pitching, remember that investors don’t always know that an idea is going to be successful – they’re betting on the people who bring them to life.
Sponsor Spotlight: Aprio
Aprio is a premier CPA-led business advisory firm with a mission to advise clients to help them achieve “What’s Next”, whatever that may be. Their powerful ecosystem of over 400 partners and associates help businesses reach their goals and, ultimately, fuel their success. To meet the needs to today’s global economy, team Aprio’s professionals speak over 30 languages to serve clients in more than 40 countries. If you’re ready for your early-stage company to become acquisition worthy, contact Aprio today.