10/20/21 - 10/21/21

Southern Exchange Ballrooms at 200 Peachtree

The 14th annual Venture Atlanta conference was held in-person AND virtually on October 20-21, 2021. The event showcased 91 pitch companies from 12 states across the Southeast and featured several world-renowned keynote speakers — including Ben Chestnut, Robert F. Smith, Dan Schulman, and Arlan Hamilton, among others.

Venture Atlanta COVID-19 Statement

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising due to the Delta variant, all attendees (to include venue staff and event staff) at Venture Atlanta are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or you must provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending this event. According to the current City of Atlanta mask mandate, masks are required at all times at Venture Atlanta. Vaccination cards or COVID-19 tests must be presented at registration before receiving a badge. This policy is subject to change and will be reviewed again as we move closer to our October event.

What to Expect

  • We will be limiting in-person attendance this year, so it’s more important than ever to get your tickets early! If we sell out our in-person event, you will still be able to purchase a virtual event ticket. See our “Virtual Event Pricing” section for more information.


  • All speaker content and company pitches will be viewable online, but there are some added benefits to attending in-person (including our popular breakfast sessions, VC panel, networking dinners, and more). Something to consider when deciding which ticket to buy!


  • In-person tickets will also come with access to the virtual platform. This will allow you to create your own experience and be in-person when you want to and be online when you want to. You will also have access to the platform for a full-year after the event so that you’re able to catch up on any pitches or speaker content that you may have missed live.

Hotel Blocks

The Westin Peachtree Plaza:

210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303


Reserve Your Room Here

The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta:

181 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303


Reserve Your Room Here

Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Downtown:

133 Carnegie Way NW, Atlanta, GA 30303


Reserve Your Room Here

Ellis Hotel, Atlanta:

176 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303


Reserve Your Room Here


Keynote Speakers

Tope Awotona | Calendly CEO & Founder

Unicorn Panel Panelist 

Tope Awotona is the founder and CEO of Calendly, the fastest growing and global leader in meeting scheduling software. Calendly takes the back and forth out of scheduling meetings so everyone can accomplish more, and saves users over 100 emails per week.

Tope founded Calendly in 2013 after three other failed startups and spending an entire day trying to schedule one meeting. He knew there had to be a better way, so he raided his bank account and 401(k) to fund the company. Seven years later, more than 30 million customers across the globe, the majority of Fortune 500 companies, and nearly all companies in the SaaS 1000 use Calendly to schedule over 5 million meetings per month.

Prior to Calendly, Tope spent the majority of his career in enterprise software sales, working for companies such as IBM, Perceptive Software, and Dell Technologies. He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and came to the US in 1996. Tope graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in Management Information Systems, and currently resides in Atlanta and Palm Beach. When not fine-tuning and perfecting Calendly, he’s probably LOLing at a standup comedy club, occasionally showing up for CrossFit or dreaming about a tropical vacation.

Jay Bailey | President & CEO of the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE)

"Sustaining Support for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs" Panel 

Committed to living by his personal motto, "Build As We Climb", change agent, thought leader, entrepreneur and emerging philanthropist, James M. Bailey has dedicated his life to serving others.

James was recently named President and CEO of the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE). Honoring the great legacy and visionary business leadership of Herman J. Russell, he will lead the development of the largest center in America, driven by community impact, devoted to empowering African American entrepreneurs and small business owners; over 50,000 square feet designed to inspire ideas, create jobs, grow companies, and increase wealth in the community.

An Atlanta native and die-hard Georgia Bulldog, James has a proven track record of success, recognized by 3 U.S. Presidents for his leadership and community efforts. In 2012, James was one of eight Americans honored at the White House as a "Champion of Change: Following in the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.".

A graduate of Leadership Georgia, Leadership Atlanta, and the Regional Leadership Institute, James was also named to both the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Georgia Trend Magazine’s "40 Under 40 Best and Brightest Leaders of the Future". He is a recipient of the coveted Whitney M. Young National Community Service Medallion, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Service Award, a New Leaders Council Fellow, member of Alpha Phi Alpha and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

James has served on numerous boards including The Historic Wren’s Nest in Atlanta’s West End, the Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Advisors, the Atlanta Beltline TAD Advisory Committee, and Chairman of Citizens Trust Bank’s, Next Generation Advisory Board.

James and his wife, NBC news correspondent Blayne Alexander live between Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C.

Kabir Barday | OneTrust CEO, President, & Founder

Unicorn Panel Panelist

Kabir Barday is the Founder, President, and CEO of OneTrust. In five years, Kabir has grown the company into the #1 fastest growing company on the Inc. 500 and category-defining enterprise technology platform to operationalize trust. According to TCV, OneTrust is the fastest growing enterprise software company in history. OneTrust has largely pioneered the trust technology market, has been awarded 150 patents, and acquired 7 companies along the way.

OneTrust's mission is simple: Use technology to help organizations be more trusted, and turn trust into a competitive advantage. OneTrust has developed a Trust Cloud platform that helps organizations embed privacy, security, data governance, ethics, GRC, and ESG into their culture and operations. Today, OneTrust is used by more than 10,000 companies, both big and small, including over half of the Fortune 500. OneTrust employs 2,000 people in 13 global offices across North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

OneTrust has raised $920 million funding round a $5.3 billion valuation from investors Insight Partners, Coatue, TCV, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Franklin Templeton.

Kabir oversees all aspects of OneTrust’s product development, operations, and sales internationally. Kabir holds a Fellow of Information Privacy with the IAPP, the highest designation of a privacy professional, and sits on the advisory boards for the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), the Center of Information Policy Leadership (CIPL), The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), and Shared Assessments (known for the SIG third-party risk standard). He has spoken at hundreds of leading industry events globally including Gartner Symposium, Gartner Security & Risk, IAPP Global Privacy Summit, RSA Conference and Infosecurity Europe.

In 2019, Kabir received the National EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was named a Most Admired CEO by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2020, with a 48,337% three-year growth rate, OneTrust was named the #1 fastest growing company in America on the Inc. 500.

He holds a B.S. in Computer Science with a certificate in Entrepreneurship from Georgia Institute of Technology. As an Eagle Scout, Kabir has an appreciation for the outdoors, and is also passionate about giving back through the Aga Khan Foundation in their mission to end global poverty.

Eric Boduch | Pendo Co-Founder

Unicorn Panel Panelist

Eric Boduch is an experienced executive, investor and serial entrepreneur, who co-founded and serves as an advisor to Pendo in addition to launching his own venture studio. Prior to Pendo, Eric served as CEO of Brainstorm SMS Technologies LLC (dba SMaSh, Inc.), and in marketing and product marketing leadership roles at Vitria Technology Inc. and Embarcadero Technologies. Earlier in his career, Eric co-founded Pittsburgh-based Cerebellum Software in 1995, serving as its CEO through 2001. He then founded ProductSoft, Inc. Eric has been recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for western Pennsylvania and was the recipient of the Carnegie Mellon University Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1996. A proud CMU alum, he holds a bachelor of science degree from The School of Computer Engineering and is a graduate of its Executive Management Program. Eric also hosts the Product Love podcast, which explores the evolving craft of product management through interviews with product leaders from around the world.

Ben Chestnut | Co-Founder & CEO of Mailchimp

Evolution of the Startup Ecosystem Fireside Chat

Ben Chestnut is co-founder and CEO of Mailchimp, an all-in-one marketing platform for growing businesses. Headquartered in Atlanta since 2001, Mailchimp is privately held and profitable, with over 1,200 employees and 14 million global users. Mailchimp was named the 2017 Company of the Year by Inc. Magazine, recognized as one of the world’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, and listed on the Forbes Cloud 100 for 6 straight years. Ben is a dedicated leader whose mantra for employees is "listen hard, change fast." He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Georgia Tech and was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2016. Mailchimp recently announced its sale to Intuit for $12 Billion.

Austin Dean | Co-Founder & Partner, Spinta Capital

Alternative Funding Panel

Austin co-founded Spinta Capital in 2017 to help growth companies navigate an expanding array of lending options, with a focus on pre-profit tech companies. Spinta has since facilitated over 50 financings, ranging in size from $1m to $50m. Previously he was a CFO for a high growth startup, where he raised $54m of capital over $50m of which was debt. He was also a Partner at White Oak Merchant Partners and served in credit leadership roles at Triplepoint, Newstar, and BofA. Throughout his career, he has participated in over $1.5b of loan transactions. He is an alum of Davidson College (BA).

Marty Flanagan | President & CEO of Invesco

Evolution of the Startup Ecosystem Fireside Chat

Martin L. Flanagan, CFA, CPA is president and CEO of Invesco, a position he has held since August 2005. He is also a member of the board of directors of Invesco and serves as a trustee and vice chairman of the Invesco Funds.

Mr. Flanagan joined Invesco from Franklin Resources, Inc., where he was president and co-chief executive officer from January 2004 to July 2005. Previously he had been Franklin’s co president from May 2003 to January 2004, chief operating officer and chief financial officer from November 1999 to May 2003, and senior vice president and chief financial officer from 1993 until November 1999. Mr. Flanagan served as director, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger, Ltd. before its acquisition by Franklin in 1992. Before joining Templeton in 1983, he worked with Arthur Andersen & Co.

Mr. Flanagan earned a BA and BBA from Southern Methodist University (SMU). He is a CFA charterholder and a certified public accountant. He serves on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Investment Company Institute, and is a former chairman. He serves as a member of the Executive Board at the SMU Cox School of Business.

Frederik Groce | Deal Lead, Wellington Access Ventures (WAV)

Alternative Funding Panel Moderator

Frederik helps manage the firm’s private company investment activity in diverse early-stage companies and venture capital funds, working closely with portfolio managers, global industry analysts, and other global research resources within the firm to identify and pursue investments.

Prior to joining Wellington Management, Frederik was a Partner a Storm Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California. Prior to Storm, he was the CEO of Stanford Student Enterprises (2014-2016), an organization which manages businesses enterprises created ‘for and by students’.

He is also the Co-Founder of BLCK VC, a non-profit organization focused on connecting, engaging, empowering, and advancing Black venture investors. BLCK VC is the largest Black venture community in the United States.

Frederik holds a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science from Stanford University (2014).

Arlan Hamilton | Backstage Capital Founder & Managing Partner

Backstage Capital Fireside Chat

Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now raised $20 million and invested in nearly 200 startup companies led by underestimated founders. In early 2021, they orchestrated an equity crowdfunding campaign to allow people to invest in their operations, which maxed out at $5 million in less than a week.

Arlan is the author of, It's About Damn Time, an inspirational and tactical business book for budding entrepreneurs and aspiring investors. She hosts the popular podcast, Your First Million, and has been featured on CNN, PBS, and others, and in 2019 became the first Black woman to have an entirely devoted episode of Emily Chang's Bloomberg 1.0.

In October 2018, Arlan was featured on the cover of Fast Company magazine as the first Black woman non-celebrity to do so (following Oprah, Serena, and Beyonce).

In 2019, Arlan and her mother, Mrs. Earline Butler-Sims, announced their new scholarship program, which kicked off with Oxford University's first-ever undergraduate scholarship for a Black student, as well as a commitment to fund a full-ride scholarship for a Psychology student at Mrs. Sims' alma mater, HBCU Dillard University.

Jan Hammer | General Partner at Index Ventures

Midas List Panel

Jan joined Index in 2010 and focuses on financial and information/data services across all stages. His investments include Adyen, Alan, Capitolis, Collibra, Fast, Robinhood, SafetyCulture, and Wise.

Prior to joining Index, Jan worked at General Atlantic in London. He started his career at Morgan Stanley in M&A and capital markets. Jan holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD, and is a graduate of Oxford University.

Katie Kirkpatrick | President & CEO of Metro Atlanta Chamber

Evolution of the Startup Ecosystem Fireside Chat

Katie Kirkpatrick currently serves as the president and CEO of the 160-year-old Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC). Kirkpatrick is known for her public policy prowess, courageous leadership and more than a decade of driving impact through her work at MAC.

Previously MAC’s chief policy officer, Kirkpatrick served as the link between the metro Atlanta business community and local and national government. She galvanized the Public Policy team’s priorities in business climate, educated workforce, transportation and sustainability – including water, energy and the environment. The Public Policy team continues to fight to protect Georgia’s top-rated business climate against legislation discriminatory in nature or harmful to the region’s ability to create, recruit and retain jobs.

Kirkpatrick joined the Chamber in 2007 as vice president of environmental affairs, previously serving in numerous roles directly related to environmental policy and water-related issues. Kirkpatrick later served as the Chamber’s senior vice president for business higher education, leading the execution of key initiatives strengthening the region’s higher education ecosystem and workforce development. Before joining MAC, she served as director of environmental engineering for Gold Kist, Inc., with responsibilities in regulatory compliance, designing treatment systems, strategic planning and more.
Kirkpatrick currently serves on the GRACE Commission, comprised of public officials, law enforcement, businesses and nonprofit organizations, committed to ending human trafficking in the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta. She is a vice-chair for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and a past board chair for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Atlanta Track Club.

Kirkpatrick lives in Atlanta with her husband, Dow, and their two sons, who currently attend The Lovett School, where she regularly serves on the parent volunteer association.

Lauren Kolodny | Managing Partner at Acrew Capital

Midas List Panel

Lauren is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Acrew Capital where she invests in fintech. Lauren led the 2016 Series A round in Chime. Other investments include Divvy, Gusto, Lolli, La Haus, Papaya Payments, Pie Insurance, and EvidentID, among others.

Previously, Lauren worked in product marketing at Google leading a number of launches for GSuite, including Google Drive. After seeing the early success of product led growth in productivity, Lauren became extremely passionate about the opportunity for fintech to become more collaborative.

Lauren began her career building tech partnerships for the Clinton Foundation in India. While there, she witnessed some of the earliest entrepreneurial activity around mobile money and developed a strong belief in the opportunity for fintech to drive financial inclusion.

Lauren is a Trustee Emerita at Brown University where she served as the university’s youngest board member.

Lauren was featured on the 2021 Forbes Midas Brink List. Lauren has been recognized in publications such as WSJ’s 10 Women to Watch List, Business Insider’s Rising Stars of Venture Capital, and named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital (2016).

Vanessa Larco | Partner at NEA

Unicorn Panel Moderator

Vanessa Larco joined NEA as a Partner in 2016 and focuses on Enterprise SaaS and Consumer Services investing. She is passionate about technology, services and products that enable people to be more productive and efficient at work and at home. Vanessa has led investments in EvidentID, Cleo, Greenlight Card, Feather, and Lily AI. She is also a board observer at Robinhood and OmniSci.
Prior to joining NEA, she was the Director of Product Management at Box (NYSE: BOX) where she worked on building the next generation of productivity apps across web and mobile. Her passion for design and analytics stems from her experience in the gaming industry, which includes leading the Speech Recognition Experience team at Xbox Kinect v1, and building a top grossing gaming studio at Disney Social.

Vanessa holds a BS in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Suneera Madhani | Stax Founder & CEO

Backstage Capital Fireside Chat

Suneera Madhani is founder and CEO of Stax by Fattmechant. Under her leadership, Stax has catapulted from startup to eight figures in revenue, and Suneera has become a notable minority female entrepreneur raising over $100 million in venture capital.

A technology innovator and proven leader, Suneera Madhani was recognized as the 2018 Most Influential Woman in Payments and a 2020 honoree of Fortune’s prestigious 40 Under 40 list. Suneera has spoken at national fintech, tech and payments conferences such as Money 20/20, Collision and TedX. She is also an active writer for Forbes, Inc. and the Entrepreneur network.

Josh Mangel | Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Pipe

Alternative Funding Panel

Josh Mangel is a repeat entrepreneur who has started several innovative technology companies over the last decade. He founded Pipe in 2019 to unlock the largest untapped asset class in the world - revenue - to empower entrepreneurs to grow their companies on their terms without debt or dilution. Previously, he co-founded Skurt, a financial technology company in the mobility space with Pipe co-founder Harry Hurst. At Skurt, Josh learned firsthand how SaaS subscription models work and grow, which is how the idea of Pipe came to life after Skurt was successfully acquired by Fair in 2018. Josh got his start as an entrepreneur when he co-founded Beatdeck, a data analytics company for the music industry launched out of Y Combinator. He is an expert on product design and building technologies that address specific market demands.

Chuck Pettid | CEO, Republic

Alternative Funding Panel

Chuck is CEO, Republic Crowdfunding Portal, a leading investment crowdfunding site, President of Fig and co-producer of the international television show Meet the Drapers. He is also GP of micro VC fund RainmakeMe, sat on the boards of Ruby Love (aka PantyProp), RidersShare, CrowdSmart and is an active mentor at 500 Startups and MassChallenge. Chuck has an MBA from Fordham Gabelli School of Business and a BS from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dan Schulman | President & CEO of PayPal

"Sustaining Support for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs" Panel

Dan Schulman is focused on democratizing and transforming financial services and e-commerce to improve the financial health of billions of people, families and businesses around the world. With extensive experience in payments and mobile technology, Dan is leading PayPal to reimagine how people move and manage money, and how merchants and consumers interact and transact. Under Dan’s leadership, PayPal has been named as one of the top companies on JUST Capital and Forbes’ JUST 100 list, featuring "companies doing right by America". PayPal has also been recognized as a Fortune Change the World company for its work to tackle the biggest challenges facing society today.

Dan’s leadership and impact have been recognized by several notable organizations. The New York Urban League presented Dan with the 2021 Frederick Douglass Award, in recognition of his commitment, dedication, and influence to advance the rights of generations of underserved Black Americans. In 2020, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights honored him with the Ripple of Hope Award, which recognizes those who have demonstrated a commitment to social change and a passion for equality, justice and basic human rights. In 2019, Dan was recognized by Endeavor Global with the High-Impact Leader of the Year Award for his work to support entrepreneurs around the globe. He was also honored with the Financial Health Network’s inaugural Visionary Award in 2018 for his commitment to improving the financial lives of people around the world. Dan received the 2017 Brennan Legacy Award, established to honor the late Supreme Court justice and his career-long commitment to social justice and "common human dignity". The Council for Economic Education named Dan as its 2017 Visionary for promoting economic and financial literacy to create a better-informed society. Rutgers University bestowed upon Dan an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, and he also delivered the University’s 252nd anniversary commencement speech.

In 2021, Dan was ranked third on Fortune's list of the World's Greatest Leaders, an honor that recognized individuals for their leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also frequently been recognized by Fortune as one of the top 20 Businesspersons of the Year. Dan has been named one of the top 100 Most Creative People by Fast Company and, in 2019, he was named one of Glassdoor's Top 50 CEOs. In addition, he has been recognized as one of the top 10 Most Innovative CEOs in Banking.

Tim Sheehan | Greenlight CEO & Co-Founder

Unicorn Panel Panelist

Tim Sheehan is the co-founder and CEO of Greenlight, an Atlanta-based fintech company committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Greenlight is the leader of the family finance category as the comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families.

Prior to Greenlight, Tim was the Lead Entrepreneur In Residence at Georgia Tech’s startup incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center. Earlier in Tim’s career, he led Yahoo! Finance, which became the #1 finance site in the world. Tim also served as SVP Products, Marketing and Strategy at Fiserv, General Manager of Yodlee (acquired by Envestnet), Co-Founder of Attributor (acquired by Digimarc), Senior Manager at E*Trade (acquired by Morgan Stanley) and Senior Producer for at Starwave (acquired by Disney).

Robert F. Smith | Founder, Chairman, & CEO of Vista Equity Partners

Tech Trends Fireside Chat 

Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $77Bn and oversees a portfolio of over 70 enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled companies that have more than 300 million users and employ over 75,000 people worldwide.

In 2017, Smith was named by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.

Born in Colorado to two parents with EdDs, Mr. Smith trained as an engineer at Cornell University, earning his B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Following his MBA from Columbia Business School with honors, Mr. Smith worked at Kraft General Foods, where he earned two United States and two European patents. In 1994, he joined Goldman Sachs in tech investment banking, first in New York and then in Silicon Valley.

Smith is the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the African American experience, safeguarding human rights, providing music education, preserving the environment while promoting the benefits of the outdoors, and sustaining critical American values.

In 2017, Smith signed on to the Giving Pledge, the only African American to do so. His gift of $20 million was the largest by an individual donor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall and Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Business Roundtable, the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, as a Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco.

In 2019, Smith made headlines by announcing that he would cover the student loans of nearly 400 Morehouse College 2019 graduates in a commencement address. After his Morehouse pledge, Smith founded the Student Freedom Initiative to relieve the crushing burden of student debt for STEM students at all HBCUs.

Smith also has been a strong advocate for what he has named the 2% solution - calling on large corporations to commit 2% of their annual net income for the next decade to empower minority communities.

Jewel Burks Solomon | Head of Google for Startups in the U.S. and Managing Partner at Collab Capital

Tech Trends Fireside Chat 

Jewel Burks Solomon is the Head of Google for Startups in the US. In this role, Jewel works to level the playing field for underrepresented startup founders and communities by connecting them with the best of Google’s products, people and platforms. In addition to this role, Jewel also serves as Managing Partner at Collab Capital, an alternative investment fund she launched to close the funding gap for Black entrepreneurs. Jewel’s work and mission is about creating more access to the technology innovation ecosystem.

Prior to leading Google for Startups and Collab Capital, Jewel was Founder/CEO of Partpic, a startup that was acquired by Amazon in 2016, which streamlined the purchase of maintenance and repair parts using computer vision technology. After the acquisition of Partpic, Jewel became a product leader at Amazon’s Visual Search and AR team. She led the integration of Partpic’s technology and launched it as Amazon PartFinder in 2018 to the over 150M users of Amazon’s Mobile Shopping App.

Before founding Partpic, Jewel held management and sales roles at McMaster-Carr and Google, Inc. Jewel was named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016, one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 in 2018, and one of Atlanta’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020.

Jewel serves on the boards of reImagine:ATL, a non-profit that trains, equips, and inspires Generation Z to build careers in the creative and digital media industries and 12 Days of Christmas, Inc, a volunteer service organization committed to keeping the spirit of the holidays for less fortunate families. She is a member of the 2019 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.

Jewel received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Howard University. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Zekarias.

Rachel Spasser | Managing Director & CMO for the Accel-KKR Consulting Group

Midas List Panel Moderator

Rachel Spasser is a Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer for the Accel-KKR Consulting Group. In this role, Rachel provides leadership across commercial functions including strategy, sales, marketing and business development for Accel-KKR’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining Accel-KKR's Consulting Group, Rachel was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for SAP Ariba. At Ariba she led the design and execution of the company’s marketing strategy and programs.

With over 25 years of experience in marketing, business development and general management, Ms. Spasser has spent the past 25 years focused on the business-to-business technology space. Prior to joining Ariba, she worked in executive roles with numerous cloud software and Internet-related companies including IBM and KnowledgeStorm Inc (acquired by TechTarget.)

Ms. Spasser sits on the board of directors at Cendyn, Click Dimensions, Energy Services Group, Smart Communications, SugarCRM and TravelTripper. Rachel holds an MBA with honors from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Breakout Sessions

These three breakout sessions will occur on Wednesday 10/20 from 3 PM - 3:40 PM

VA 2021 Breakout Session

The Impact of Decentralized Finance 

Sponsored by
Invesco Logo

  • Gavin Brown: Associate Professor in Financial Technology, The University of Liverpool
  • Dave Dowsett: Global Head of Technology Strategy & Innovation, Invesco
  • Evan Darr: Managing Partner, Invesco Private Capital
  • Donie Lochan: Managing Director, Chief Technology Officer, & Global Head of Technology, Invesco

VA 2021 Breakout Session

Looking to Increase Value? Drive Platform Adoption with Integrated Payments 

Sponsored by
Stax Logo

  • Ricky Dunbar: Sr. Director of Partner Success, Stax
  • Tom LoMedico: Sr. Director of ISV Partnerships, Stax
  • Ryan Burks: ISV Account Executive, Stax

VA 2021 Breakout Session

Family Office Investing 

Sponsored by
Southern Equity Logo

  • Allen Nance: Founder, Chief Investment Officer, & Chairman, Southern Equity
  • David Sawyer: Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Legacy Knight
  • Carlos Castro: Director - Investment Strategies, CAZ Investments

Venture Atlanta 2021 Schedule

Join us for all of these industry events happening the week of Venture Atlanta!

View the company presentation order here

Mon. 10/18

  • 5:00 - 8:00 PM

    Techstars Atlanta Demo Day
    The Eastern (Old Flat Shoals Rd. SE)
    Register For Free

Tue. 10/19

  • 6:30 - 9:00 PM

    Alumni Dinner
    Invite Only

Wed. 10/20

  • 8:30 - 10:00 AM

    Opening Private Breakfast & Panel for Investors & Entrepreneurs: Cutting Through the Noise — How VC's Can Build Real Partnerships With Entrepreneurs
    Lucas Swisher, Coatue Management; Mendy Yang, Lerer Hippeau; Blake Patton, Tech Square Ventures; Moderated by: Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage; Opening & Closing Remarks by: Christian Devlin, CBRE

  • 10:00 - 11:00 AM

    Networking and General Registration

  • 11:00 - 12:10 PM

    Building a Unicorn in the Southeast
    Tim Sheehan, Greenlight; Kabir Barday, OneTrust; Tope Awotona, Calendly; Eric Boduch, Pendo; moderated by: Vanessa Larco, NEA

    Session 1 Company Pitches

  • 12:10 - 1:45 PM

    (In-Person Networking + Platform Open For Speed Dating)


  • 1:50 - 3:00 PM

    Session 2-A Company Pitches

    Fueling Growth Through Alternative Funding Sources
    Chuck Pettid, Republic; Josh Mangel, Pipe; Austin Dean, Spinta Capital Moderated by: Frederik Groce, Wellington Access Ventures (WAV)

    Session 2-B Company Pitches

  • 3:00 - 3:40 PM

    Incredible Live Breakout Sessions you can join through our Virtual Platform
    Your Breakout Session Hosts Include: Invesco, Stax, & Southern Equity

  • 3:45 - 4:30 PM

    Session 4 Company Pitches

    Sustaining Support for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
    Dan Schulman, PayPal and Moderated by: Jay Bailey, Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

    (In-Person Networking + Platform Open For Speed Dating)

  • 6:30 PM

    Investor Dinner at Ponce City Market

Thu. 10/21

  • 8:30 - 10:00 AM

    Breakfast Panel (Open to All In-Person Attendees): Liquidity Transactions — Current Trends, Future Prospects, and the Impact on All Stages of Finance and M&A
    Brandon Watkins, Goldman Sachs; James Kuklinski, Spark Capital; Andy Trujillo, Carta X; Jonathan Rosenbaum, Insight Partners; Moderated by: Doug Spear, Nelson Mullins

  • 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

    Session 5-A Company Pitches

    The Evolution of the Startup Ecosystem and How Invesco and Mailchimp have Supported It 
    Ben Chestnut, Mailchimp; Marty Flanagan, Invesco; Moderated by: Katie Kirkpatrick, Metro Atlanta Chamber 

    Session 5-B Company Pitches

  • 12:15 - 1:30 PM

    (In-Person Networking + Platform Open For Speed Dating)


  • 1:30 - 2:40 PM

    Session 6-A Company Pitches

    Resilience in the Face of Adversity
    Arlan Hamilton, Backstage Capital; Moderated by: Suneera Madhani, STAX by Fattmerchant

    Session 6-B Company Pitches

    Showcase Pitches

  • 2:30 - 3:15 PM

    Session 7 Company Pitches

    Identifying Mega Opportunities in the Early Days from two Midas list Investors
    Jan Hammer, Index Ventures; Lauren Kolodny, Acrew Capital; Moderated by: Rachel Spassser, ACCEL-KKR

    Showcase Pitches

  • 3:20 - 4:00 PM

    The Tangible Benefits of Investing in Diversity Early and Often
    Robet Smith Founder, Vista Equity Partners; Moderated by: Jewel Burks Solomon, Collab Capital and Google for Startups in the U.S.

    (In-Person Networking + Platform Open For Speed Dating)

  • 4:45 - 7:00 PM

  • Atlanta Startup Battle

Fri. 10/22

A3C Festival & Confernece logo


We are excited to be back in person this year at 200 Peachtree! We will be limiting attendance, so we encourage you to get your tickets early! For those who are not comfortable attending in person, the conference will be available to stream virtually. In-person attendees will also have access to the virtual platform, so you can catch up on any content or pitches that you don't get to see live.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising due to the Delta variant, all attendees (to include venue staff and event staff) at Venture Atlanta are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or you must provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending this event. According to the current City of Atlanta mask mandate, masks are required at all times at Venture Atlanta. Vaccination cards or COVID-19 tests must be presented at registration before receiving a badge. This policy is subject to change and will be reviewed again as we move closer to our October event.

You may register more than one person at one time. Simply register one main contact and then as many guests as you’d like. This will allow you to input your billing and credit card information only once. All major credit cards are accepted at the time of registration. There is no option to pay by check online.

Refunds or credits are not extended for this event.  However, all registrations are fully transferable. Also, if you cannot attend part of the event, all in-person tickets will have full access to the virtual conference as well.

This year we are limiting in-person capacity, so it’s highly likely that we will sell out early! For this reason, if you’re interested in attending in person, we strongly encourage you to buy your tickets as soon as possible! If we sell out our in-person event, virtual tickets will still be available and can be purchased any time leading up to the event and even during the event.

No, we do not sell partial tickets.

We accept all major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA and AMEX). Checks are not accepted.

Contact Allyson Eman at 770-298-4202