The energy of the crowd, the excitement of our applicants, the anticipation of our investors: There’s no denying the magic of Venture Atlanta—magic that would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors who help us set the stage, quite literally, for the region’s largest venture conference.
This year, we have over 80 sponsors on board to bring the Venture Atlanta Momentum 2021 experience to life. Southern Equity is one of them, and we were both thrilled and honored when the global investment platform signed on as a Venture Atlanta Headline Sponsor.
Southern Equity was founded in 2008 as the family office of entrepreneur, Chairman, and Chief Investment Officer Allen Nance. For the first 10 years, the firm solely managed Allen’s direct investing in private equity, venture capital, and real estate. Today, Southern Equity has grown into a highly successful, multi-family office that manages private equity and venture investments approaching $100 million in assets under management.
Investing in Early-Stage Tech Startups
Well-known in the world of tech, Allen—who also happens to be a Georgia Tech alum—is no stranger to Venture Atlanta.
“In Atlanta, getting on stage [at Venture Atlanta] is the ultimate goal for any entrepreneur,” Allen said. “It has been on my radar since the beginning. I’ve been privileged enough to watch it grow and also build a relationship with Allyson Eman [Venture Atlanta’s CEO] over the last five years.”
Though for Allen, Venture Atlanta isn’t solely about making smart investments. “I’m deeply passionate about the process of watching entrepreneurs go from an idea on a whiteboard to building a business. To me, there's nothing greater in the world than that journey.”
Allen, a five-time founder himself, is well acquainted with that journey as an entrepreneur, and also as one of Atlanta’s most active and successful early-stage investors. Since 2016, as the Managing Partner of TechSquare Capital’s early-stage venture fund, Allen has invested in more than 50 startups that have raised over $3 billion of investment capital.
With TechSquare Capital’s fund almost fully invested, Allen plans to invest an additional $25 million of capital in venture through Southern Equity. The firm will continue to focus on early-stage investments but will have the flexibility to make significant investments in later rounds by co-investing with Southern Equity’s family office clients and other investors.
“The premise of the first fund was really to address the lack of early-stage seed money and to democratize access to it,” Allen explained. “Since then, I think Atlanta has changed significantly; there are more funds and more organized capital at the early stages. This benefits Atlanta’s early-stage startups and creates more—and better—investment opportunities in Series A and beyond.”
Janet Mulroy, President of Southern Equity, agreed and added, “It used to be that the best ideas, the best startups, and most of the money came from the West Coast, and that’s no longer the case. That West Coast money is now looking everywhere, and it’s very exciting to see Atlanta and the rest of the Southeast become a hot spot for noteworthy startups.”
Southern Equity & Venture Atlanta’s Shared Values
It isn’t just the change in the geography of startups and funds, but a shift in thinking that aligned Southern Equity with Venture Atlanta. The firm has long been a believer in diversity—not only in the investments themselves but in whom they invest.
“The prism that anyone looks through is going to be as narrow as the experiences that they have,” explained Allen. “What I think Venture Atlanta does is expose people to more points of view. Whether it's through the application process, networking at the event, or even who you’re sitting next to… these are all opportunities for a diverse group of people to interact with one another. And out of that is going to come incredible opportunities.”
“I had the opportunity to serve on Venture Atlanta's recruiting and screening committee,” Janet shared, “and I was thrilled to see professionals in this ecosystem making an effort to attract applicants from underrepresented groups in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast.”
Venture Atlanta 2021 & Beyond
Aside from the networking and relationship-building opportunities that await, the Southern Equity team is looking forward to a few other things at the 14th annual conference.
“This year, we’re very excited to be back in person,” shared Allen. “While the actual act of investing can be done online, the act of being an investor is about the people you meet and the relationships you build. I just love the energy of meeting somebody in person, hearing their story firsthand, and witnessing their excitement. Being in a room full of people who are all trying to build something just fuels the fire.”
“Venture Atlanta is just really a unique opportunity to get your message out in front of both investors and startups,” Janet said. “Historically, it was centered in Atlanta but now it’s grown into a more regional conference. All the more reason for Southern Equity to support this incredible event.”
About Venture Atlanta Sponsorships
Every year, we rely on sponsors like Southern Equity to help make our event impactful, memorable, and successful. This year is especially notable for our contributors as it marks the first time our conference will be held both online and in-person—and that means more brand exposure than ever before!
“The caliber of what we do is directly correlated with the generous support of our sponsors,” said Allyson Eman, Venture Atlanta CEO. “Each year, the conference gets bigger and better—this year alone we received a record-breaking 400-plus applications to pitch on stage, and we are on track to sell out our event. The value and the experience that we’re able to deliver year after year wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors. And beyond the financial contributions, our sponsors have also always been very eager to offer their time and expertise to our attendees and connect them with others in their network who might be able to help their business. We are very appreciative of that as well.”
Thank you to Southern Equity and to all of our 2021 sponsors for supporting Venture Atlanta Momentum 2021. For those interested in attending this year’s conference, you can find all event information and registration details here.