What the headline says is true as Venture Atlanta continues to thrive in what has been its twelfth year. I’m pleased to be a part of what’s become a regional event as startups and high-growth companies from throughout the Southeast flock here annually to meet with investors from around the country. To this end, 35 percent of presenting companies this year came from areas outside of metro Atlanta—our most ever.
This year’s conference was a sold-out event with attendance capped at 1,200. One VC in attendance dubbed it the “Super Bowl” of venture conferences and our city is a big part of the reason. Atlanta has built a vibrant startup and venture ecosystem that continues to produce fantastic companies. That reputation has exceeded our city’s borders so that companies across the region now recognize us as the venture hub of the Southeast and Venture Atlanta as the place to make connections and deals.
Case in point: The CEO of one of BIP Capital’s portfolio companies was among this year’s presenters. He had 22 meetings set following his presentation on stage. Twenty-two! You can talk to other Venture Atlanta presenting companies and you’ll likely hear something similar.
There were a couple of things about this year’s event that were also remarkable to me. First, the diversity on stage went beyond the geographic location of the presenting companies. As a board member and liaison to the Venture Atlanta selection committee, I was especially proud of the gender, race, and age diversity of the presenters. Second, even as Venture Atlanta grows, we remembered our roots by memorializing two long-time contributors to our Atlanta venture ecosystem, Reggie Bradford and Greg Foster. Reggie advised me on several investments, including my first one in media, and Greg was a CEO I had invested in at BrightWhistle who also became a good friend. You’re both sorely missed but the impact you made will not be forgotten.
It was a pleasure participating in the twelfth annual Venture Atlanta conference. I know it’s seems as though it’s said every year, but this year’s event was, in my opinion, the best to date. The quality of presenting companies was outstanding, as was the energy and excitement of the crowd.
Judging by this year’s event, 2019 will be remembered as a very good year.