Atlanta has some serious bragging rights when it comes to business and innovation. The ‘Capital of the South’ boasts one of the world's busiest airports, houses several major universities, and is home to some of the world’s most notable companies. Coca-Cola, anyone?
The presence of established businesses rooted in Atlanta remains strong, however, as of late, resources for entrepreneurs were scarce. Recognizing this lack of support for startup founders and new business, serial entrepreneur, David Cummings (CEO, Pardot) launched Atlanta Tech Village - a massive co-working space that is home to over 300 tech entrepreneurs.
See: Atlanta Chases its Silicon Valley Dreams
In the years since Atlanta Tech Village opened its doors, a number of co-working spaces have sprung up to meet the demand. Even Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed, is getting behind the city’s local tech founders.
"In the next five years, I think Atlanta is going to be the dominant IT city in the Southeast," Reed says. "What you're going to see is a constant stream of investment between Atlanta and Silicon Valley."
This increased connection to Silicon Valley is already happening, and soon, upwards of 25 local entrepreneurs will be on their way to launching meaningful and enduring technology companies right here in Atlanta. With the help of successful CEOs and business experts, entrepreneurs accepted into the Founder Institute’s 4 month program will learn the best practices for getting a company off the ground, scaling it to success, and much more. The Silicon Valley based organization has already helped launch 1,310 companies across 85 cities worldwide, and plans to continue this trend in Atlanta.
A 2012 article from Atlanta Creative Loafing reports “between 2007-2011, on average metro businesses registered more than 1,500 patents a year — 16th highest in the nation. The Kauffman Foundation, a major entrepreneur-focused nonprofit, ranked Atlanta as one of the country's top 10 cities for entrepreneurial activity in 2012. Forbes recently included Atlanta in its list of the country's ‘best cities for female founders’ and PCWorld called it one of ‘America's most tech-friendly cities’.”
This is great news for aspiring startup founders, and fortunately for this new generation of founders, the ecosystem continues to improve.
"Five years ago, it was Silicon Valley or bust," says Sam Zebarjadi, co-founder and CEO of Medicast, however, as the culture shifts, more success stories emerge. And, according to Mayor Reed, more than 50 percent of local startup receive VC funding."
“There’s gold underground here,” says Scott Henderson, executive director of Hypepotamus, a collaboration space and startup community catalyst. “Generations of successful people and companies have grown here and reinvested here.” Read more about Atlanta's Unsung Startup Scene here.
The video below is courtesy of USA Today from the story, Atlanta is 'Hotlanta' for tech start-ups.
The Atlanta Founder Institute is currently accepting applications for the upcoming Winter Semester. If you could benefit from expert feedback and advice to launch a company in Atlanta, click here to learn more and apply today. Final applications are due Sunday, (2015-04-12).