In 2017, Acuity had the pleasure of being a presenting sponsor of Venture Atlanta, the region’s premier opportunity for top-tier investors to connect with the area’s most promising technology companies. Throughout the two-day conference, Acuity COO Matthew May learned first hand how essential, and diverse, the conference network is.
To get in the headspace for this year’s event, Matthew shared his insights on the six opportunities that make Venture Atlanta a must-attend experience.
1. Venture capital and funding
“The primary mission of the conference is to inject capital into the Southeastern United States, and it is phenomenal at that. I’ve even seen companies get funded leading up to the conference, just through the coaching process. Of course, the majority of companies get funded after Venture Atlanta through the relationships that they made. But it’s more than just one offering, it’s often additional offerings down the road as well.”
2. New customers
“At least once a year, someone gets a client through Venture Atlanta that’s worth telling a story about, and it’s inspiring when you see bigger corporations participating, paying attention, and getting involved in some of the things going on at the earliest stages. The best story in recent years is from a health IT company. One of the hospital groups in attendance watched this health IT company presentation and became their biggest client.”
3. New talent
“It’s a big showcase for who’s doing cool stuff in the Southeast, and the founders have really used that as a platform like they would Inc. 500 or Best Places To Work. Venture Atlanta has become a place where people who want to get behind one of the up and coming companies in Atlanta can really engage and do this. People pay attention to who’s in Venture Atlanta, and they get a real lift on applications for their open jobs.”
4. A more impactful service provider network
“At Venture Atlanta, a lot of companies realize that their existing service providers are doing an okay job but those providers don’t necessarily understand the space they’re in. The conference is a place where people go and say: These people are deep in my space, they really understand what’s going to happen to my company, and they are hyper-focused on my specific area. It’s a big perk that isn’t as obvious as some of the other connections.”
“One of the most underreported value props is the alumni network that presenting CEOs get plugged into. Every year people who have been through Venture Atlanta come back to help someone else through it. Take for instance the pitfalls of fundraising: These guys help with customer connections, they help with talent recruiting, they help recommend service providers, they help navigate all of that. It’s an amazing network of entrepreneurs.”
6. Expand your network outside of Atlanta
“On the fundraising front, the conference is a great place to open the door to other geographical areas. The conference is bigger than Atlanta, so you might meet someone from San Francisco, New York, and D.C. and all of sudden, you have access to people in those cities. It’s invaluable. It really challenges everyone to find the right fit for their funders because there are so many options opened up to them. It also gives companies a head start on B-round fundraising efforts and establishing those relationships earlier in the process. ”