Atlanta doesn’t call themselves Silicon anything, I just did. They don’t have to and I don’t have to but the truth is, in the south east if one city is getting close to being the “Silicon Valley Of the South” it’s Atlanta.
This isn’t new. It’s been years in the making. ATDC, Tech Village, Hypepotamus aren’t newbies by any sense of the word. Georgia Tech is a storied institution that according to TechCrunch, serves as the “Stanford” for the region.
So what Atalanta is doing is unique. They’re producing huge startup wins in a city filled with corporations. Turner (CNN), Coca Cola, Equifax, SunTrust, and Delta just to name a few, have their headquarters or a rather large presence in Atlanta. This makes it a safe haven for entrepreneurs and startups to launch because they’re surrounded by companies that have been successful. Big successful corporations across the region also provide a mentorship network that can’t be beat.
Many of Atlanta’s celebrities also participate in some way with the entrepreneurial ecosystem. T. I and other well known Atlanta rappers have backed different startups. SoSoDef founder Jermaine Dupri has spoken at startup events in Atlanta telling his story of starting up in the ATL.
But even with all that in mind, the venture capital spread through the city from institutional investors from both coasts, proves to be real validation for the startup ecosystem. The dollar amount now tops $1 billion dollars according to TechCrunch.
Venture investors have committed over $1.2 billion dollars to startups in Atlanta over the last five years, according to CrunchBase. The annual deal count grew by 25% in 2014 and capital committed more than tripled from 2010.
Silicon Valley VCs have taken an interest in Atlanta’s cyber security startups leading Pindrop’s $35 million Series B and Ionic Security’s $40 million dollar series C according to TechCrunch.
Atlanta has also had some consumer facing wins like Yik Yak who recently raised a $62 million dollar series B round.
Atlanta also has some very notable startups that went straight for revenue like MailChimp. The company has grown so big without taking outside funding that they’ve acquired other companies and even invested in local early stage venture funds.
Things look good for Atlanta and now there are even more feeder ecosystems like those in Opelika Alabama and Montgomery Alabama as well.
The “Hcon” conference, featuring John McAfee, Nolan Bushnell, Jason Lucash and more is happening right down the road from Atlanta in April.