It’s been over a month since our 10 year anniversary event at the College Football Hall of Fame. Now that Venture Atlanta 2017 is behind us, we wanted to share highlights from the big event from the eyes of the participants, investors, and tech enthusiasts in attendance. Up first is local entrepreneur and investor, Allen Nance, Founding Partner at TechSquare Labs.
10 Takeaways From My First Ever Venture Atlanta Experience
Venture Atlanta recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Just another ten-year, overnight success. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the very first time.
You must be thinking, “Allen, your first Venture Atlanta? Seriously. What is wrong with you?” Great question. Fair question. Partly, I never raised venture capital for my first company. Back when I started in 2000, we called it ASPs (application service providers) not SaaS, and scrappy not bootstrapped. A terrible excuse for not being more involved–I will do better over the next 10 years.
Now that I am parading around as a fancy investor, I thought it might be time to get involved, and I’m glad that I did. Here are ten takeaways from my first Venture Atlanta experience.
Events are Hard
The Venture Atlanta team makes it look simple, but I know enough to know that isn’t true. The logistics, the people, the content, the speakers, the egos! It’s hard work. Their team does an amazing job.
Atlanta is Big
The event gave me a chance to see the ecosystem at one-time together. Seeing investors, entrepreneurs, and service providers all in the same room eating chicken together gave me a feel for the size and scale. It was exciting to see.
Small Talk is Underrated
One of my favorite moments of #VA2017 happened at the investor dinner. It was a great chance to reconnect with the ecosystem. I enjoyed sitting with Kyle Porter of SalesLoft, catching up on all things startups, family, and how much things have changed since 2013 when I spoke at his B2BCamp.
Mark Cuban for President
All of the content at the event was great. I enjoyed the speakers and learned at least one big thing from each of them. Apparently Mark Cuban is running for President, or, at least that’s what he said during his closing keynote at the event. I hope someone got him to agree to come back if he gets elected…
You Tweet It, You Own It
I made this one number five, to ease you into it. By now, you should have been thinking, “Where is Allen?” OK, apparently every company is claimed by a startup hub. I missed this memo. Seriously the shout-out twitter claiming caught me off guard.
Rap Music Helps
I finally got to speak at Venture Atlanta. No one claimed me while I was on stage (ok, that was funny). I had a great time introducing the early stage teams to pitch, but I’ll admit, it is more fun with rap music intros. T.I.’s surprise appearance also helped up the cool factor.
TechSquare Labs is a Startup
I had a great time working the booth. Yes, I stood in the booth, and pitched TechSquare Labs. It is a startup. I think that surprised some people. I fully understand that we have to tell our story just like all the other entrepreneurs.
People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know
I learned that many people don’t know how we invest at TechSquare Labs. Again, we are a startup. We made it clear that we invest in technical founders. We invest between $100,000 and $500,000 at the seed stage.
We Don’t See all Deals
This was a huge takeaway for me personally. Had you asked me before I attended Venture Atlanta if investors see all deals, I would have said yes. I was wrong. We don’t see all deals. We want to. Come see us.
3, 2, 1, ThingTech
I left Venture Atlanta interested in three companies that I met. We ended up making an investment in ThingTech. The team is impressive, the space is big, they have traction, and Tim Quinn is rustic (sorry, inside joke).
My first Venture Atlanta experience was great and exceeded my expectations. I reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and found an amazing team to invest in. I’m already looking forward to next year — having small talk, standing in the booth pitching TechSquare Labs, and hoping someone asks me if I am running for President while I am on stage doing a fireside chat.