A Look Back at Venture Atlanta 2020
2020 was the year that the world got turned upside down.
The pandemic forced us physically apart. Racial tensions and politics drove us emotionally apart.
Venture Atlanta, which was founded on the mission of connecting companies to capital, was suddenly faced with one of our toughest challenges to-date: In a world so isolated and so divided, how do you create connection?
With Venture Atlanta 2020, we reinvented our annual in-person gathering — the largest, most prestigious venture conference in the Southeast — with an entirely new, digital twist. The feat was daunting, but our team of forward-thinking strategists stepped up and delivered an above-and-beyond virtual experience, Venture Atlanta Live Online, which was watched by 1,200+ people all over the world.
And instead of avoiding uncomfortable subjects, we addressed them head-on with a very honest discussion about diversity that turned out to be one of the most popular and talked about panel sessions in VA history.
Last year was a trial of our capability; a testament to our endurance; and a nod to our exceptional team. And our ability to innovate and adapt paid off. We broke our record for company applications and registrations; we received notes of praise and appreciation from our attendees; and, most importantly, we laid the groundwork for years to come. We were forced to think bigger and reimagine all of the ways that we can deliver value and reach those outside of our own network. Now we are continuing that momentum into 2021.
“Thoroughly enjoyed it! One of the best conferences of 2020.”
“Incredible production quality and very engaging content.”
“Some of the best panel sessions and keynotes in Venture Atlanta history.”
“I was tuned in the entire time!”
“What a great event for all involved.”
Venture Atlanta 2020 By the Numbers
- 1,200+ Registrations
- 400 Company Applications Submitted
- 103 Companies Selected (21 Venture Companies, 27 Early Stage Companies, & 55 Showcase Companies)
- 11 States Across the Greater Southeast Represented by Our Pitch Companies
Building a Board That Reflects Our Event
To kick off the 14th Venture Atlanta season, we are proud to introduce to you this year’s board of directors, an impressive group of distinctive and dedicated members seeking to once again deliver an incredible and memorable experience for our attendees. As a reflection of the triumphant effort of bringing together all walks of life to solve the challenges of 2020, this year, our board isn’t just diverse — it’s multifaceted in every respect.
“I’m very excited to work with this talented board we have assembled. With our continued mission to match companies with capital, we have created a board with extensive connections to companies and capital providers across the US. This diverse board includes institutional capital providers, entrepreneurs and industry leaders from the west coast to the east coast that will help us continue to expand the venture echo system geography we can impact.
With the phenomenal success of our digital conference last year allowing us to expand our reach across the nation, we’re very well positioned to take another major step towards becoming the leading venture conference in the nation. We are attracting capital providers across the nation that can support early stage through all levels of growth for our participating companies. Jim Douglass, Venture Atlanta 2021 Chairman & Partner at Fulcrum Equity Partners
We’ve entrusted a team of men and women of different backgrounds; different races; different roles; and different industries to help guide VA 2021 to success. We hail from various tech scenes across the country — from San Francisco to Atlanta to the Carolinas to Florida (the country’s latest hotspot) and beyond. We bring an array of different perspectives from industry leaders, seasoned venture capitalists, and more. Our investors represent firms looking to invest in everything from seed startups to growth stage companies — allowing us to appeal to a myriad of prospective pitch companies.
“As Managing Partner at CTW Venture Partners and a founding member of the Atlanta CEO Council, I’ve been heavily involved in the Atlanta startup scene for many years. Venture Atlanta has played such a large role in turning our city into a tech hotspot and putting Atlanta on the radar of our nation’s top investment firms. And over the past few years, our reach has extended beyond the Southeast, into other emerging tech hubs in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions. As I serve another year on the VA board, I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of this growth and bringing Venture Atlanta’s capital connections to our participating companies.” – Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan, Venture Atlanta Board Member & Managing Partner at CTW Venture Partners
Our board reflects our event — in terms of caliber and diversity. We have truly built the most impressive, most comprehensive group to be an advocate for every single type of Venture Atlanta attendee and create an event that will provide value to all.
Meet the 2021 Venture Atlanta Board of Directors
Venture Atlanta 2021 Chairman
Fulcrum Equity Partners
Jim is a Partner of Fulcrum Equity Partners and brings more than 30 years of operations, strategic development and financial experience with high-growth public and private software and healthcare companies. Read Full Bio >>
Newly-Added Board Members
Bull City Venture Partners
Jason is a General Partner and Co-Founder of Bull City Venture Partners. Prior to co-founding BCVP, Jason co-founded Southern Capitol Ventures. Previously, he was at Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) in their finance group through the successful IPO in 1999. Before joining Red Hat, Jason was at Harrison Hurley and Company, an investment banking and business-consulting firm headquartered in Providence, RI. Read Full Bio >>
Noro-Moseley Partners (NMP)
Elizabeth Feidler joined NMP as a Vice President in January 2020. She supports the firm’s investments in information technology and healthcare companies. Elizabeth currently serves as a board observer for Ekos and Whitebox. Read Full Bio >>
Mark is the Chief Operating Officer at BIP Capital while overseeing fundraising, investor relations, marketing/branding, talent acquisition, and portfolio acceleration. Before joining BIP Capital in 2015, Mark worked for 4th Strand, a product performance consulting firm that was acquired by Intertek in 2012. Read Full Bio >>
Techstars, Collab Capital
Barry Givens is a techie, an entrepreneur, and a lover of all things helping to bring racial parity to the economics, education, and workforce of the tech industry. Based in Atlanta, he currently serves as Managing Director for the Cox Social Impact Accelerator powered by Techstars and also as Managing Partner of Collab Capital where he supports and funds promising Black founded startups. Read Full Bio >>
Storm Ventures, BLCK VC
Frederik is a Principal at Storm Ventures and a co-founder at BLCK VC, the nation’s largest Black venture community. As an investor at Storm, Frederik is focused on early stage investing in AI enabled B2B SaaS, GovTech, Supply Chain, and InsurTech. He also leads the firm’s efforts in investing outside of the Bay Area. Storm has invested in Atlanta based companies like Gather and SalesLoft. Read Full Bio >>
Tech Square Ventures
Scott Lopano is a Principal at Tech Square Ventures where he is responsible for sourcing new companies, deal execution, and supporting the portfolio’s growth. Since joining TSV in 2017, Scott has led the execution of 50+ new investments across both funds focused on early-stage enterprise (B2B) and marketplace technology companies. Read Full Bio >>
Suneera Madhani is a payments and technology innovator who has catapulted her business idea from startup to $8B — disrupting the payments ecosystem as we know it. Before founding Fattmerchant in 2014, Madhani held a variety of successful positions, one being with a larger merchant services provider. After seeing the need for transparency and a better payment experience for merchants, her entrepreneurial spirit took hold and she decided to solve the problem herself. She built a company from the ground up that provided a sophisticated and merchant-friendly platform, coupled with the best experience to customers through transparency and award-winning customer service. Fattmerchant has revolutionized the payments landscape — challenging the status quo with its transparent, subscription-based model and unifying the payments experience through the development of an integrated payments platform. Read Full Bio >>
Jon (also known by friends and co-workers as “Rosie”) is a Principal at Insight Partners. He focuses on vertical and horizontal application software at the venture and growth stage, and is responsible for executing transactions and assisting in portfolio management post-close. He has also specialized in helping portfolio companies source and execute M&A. Read Full Bio >>
Ryan Whittemore is the Chief Investment Officer for Florida Funders, a hybrid Venture Capital Fund and 1400 member accredited investor syndicate focused on early stage seed to Series A stage tech. Ryan’s team reviews 1,000+ deals per year across 3 managed funds which has resulted in 36 portfolio companies in the primary fund. Ryan leverages a diverse background including venture, private equity, legal, corporate operations, capital market portfolio management and research analysis to identify the best tech investment opportunities for Florida Funders. Read Full Bio >>
Joey Womack’s goal is to positively impact 1 billion people by the year 2039. Part super-connector, part startup coach, he is the Founder/CEO of Goodie Nation, a national support nonprofit that is closing the relationship gap for for tech-focused social entrepreneurs and diverse founders, and the Founder/CEO of Amplify 4 Good, a mission-driven agency that uses rapid problem-solving to help large companies, nonprofits, and government agencies create social impact. Since starting this journey in 2014, he’s on pace to reach this goal by working with the likes of CARE USA, Google, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, Google For Startups, United Negro College Fund, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Village Capital, and the White House HBCU Initiative. Joey is also the Co-Founder of the Atlanta Black Tech initiative where he serves as the Lead for the Startups and K-12 divisions. Read Full Bio >>
Legacy Board Members
Venture Atlanta CEO
Allyson Eman has more than 29 years of marketing, communications, sales leadership and business development skills. In 2007, Allyson took on the role of Executive Director for the newly created Venture Atlanta annual conference. Allyson has worked with key business leaders from Metro Atlanta Chamber, Atlanta CEO Council and Technology Association of Georgia to build the premier venture capital conference in the South. Read Full Bio >>
Venture Atlanta 2020 Chairwoman
Kelly Gay is the chairwoman and CEO of OnBoard, vice chair of the Technology Association of Georgia, and past chair of Venture Atlanta. She also serves on the boards of 1105 Media, the Atlanta CEO Council, ATDC, and Acivilate. Read Full Bio >>
Venture Atlanta 2019 Chairman
Mr. Estevez is a Venture Partner with Accel Partners, a global leader in venture capital with past investments in top companies such as Atlassian, Dropbox, Facebook, Jet.com, Lynda.com, Qualtrics, Slack, Squarespace, and Spotify. As Venture Partner, Mr. Estevez helps existing portfolio companies based outside of Silicon Valley with their growth opportunities and scale challenges. Read Full Bio >>
Venture Atlanta 2018 Chairman
Mike loves the entrepreneurial process and has over 20 years of investing, technology and operations experience, much of it working with growth stage companies. Prior to joining Vocap, Mike served as the COO of Triton Digital’s Applications & Services Division. Read Full Bio >>
Rich is a General Partner of Knoll Ventures, an Atlanta, GA based early-stage venture capital fund that invests in technology businesses focused on B2B markets. Knoll primarily invests in pre-Series A companies that have demonstrated customer traction and identified actionable near-term growth initiatives. Read Full Bio >>
Metro Atlanta Chamber
As chief economic development officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, David leads the team focused on the retention, recruitment, and expansion of existing and start-up companies within key clusters, e.g., Mobility, IoT, Cybersecurity, FinTech, Digital Media, Supply Chain, Bioscience, and Health IT. Read Full Bio >>
New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
Vanessa Larco joined NEA as a Partner in 2016 and focuses on enterprise and consumer investing. Prior to joining NEA, she was the Director of Product Management for web and mobile apps at Box (NYSE: BOX) where she worked on building the next generation of productivity apps. Read Full Bio >>
Xtreme Solutions Inc.
Phyllis W. Newhouse is the Chief Executive Officer of Xtreme Solutions, Inc., an end-to-end IT services and solutions provider, with offerings that range from IT business consulting to state-of-the-art cyber security consulting and forensic analysis. Phyllis co-founded Xtreme Solutions in 2002 upon retiring from the United States Army as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. Read Full Bio >>
Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan
Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan is currently the Managing Partner of CTW Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital fund which invests in and assists seed and early-stage entrepreneurs in all industries in Atlanta and the South Eastern United States who are engaged in disruptive innovations and technologies. Read Full Bio >>
Accel-KKR Consulting Group
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. Read Full Bio >>
Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
Larry K. Williams, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Williams, A recognized leader in economic development, brings more than 20 years of experience in global branding, international trade and finance, public and industrial policy, and administration and management to one of the largest state technology trade associations in North America. Read Full Bio >>