Atlanta Startup Village will have two new faces holding the mic when the bi-monthly pitch competition returns in late February.
Christian Ross is a startup founder herself and staple within the Atlanta Tech Village community. She’ll be joined by Paraj Mathur, an investor who has a passion for esports and building community both on and offline.
We had a chance to catch up with both of them to learn more about what they are working on in the Atlanta startup scene and what advice they have for up-and-coming founders ready to pitch.
Meet Christian Ross
A veteran in the real estate space, Ross first joined Atlanta Tech Village in 2014 as an employee of Village Realty, a startup by ATV co-founder David Lightburn.
Ross is now back at the Village as a founder. She recently started Happy Talks, which she described to Hypepotamus as a platform to “make grandmothers across the world happy.”
Happy Talks is designed to be a “life buffer” for families by providing needed support for aging relatives. “If they feel lonely, that they have someone that can call on-demand and have a quality conversation.”
But it is also looking to tackle the much larger problem of senior scams, which was estimated to cause over $36 billion in damages in 2015 alone.
The idea grew out of Ross’s own experience in real estate, where she often saw children navigating the decision-making process around care for an elderly parent.
Meet Paraj Mathur
Before getting into the venture capital space, Mathur dabbled in entrepreneurship while in college up in Pennsylvania and was a competitive esports athlete, streamer, and Twitch Livestream host.
Those hosting skills will now be on full display at Atlanta Startup Village, which Mathur views as more than a 5-minute pitch competition for up-and-coming founders. “It’s more of a long-term relationship with the community,” he said.
Mathur is currently an investor at Panoramic Ventures.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, he worked a Candela Partners in the Bay and the investor-operator fund Ulysses in Boston.
It was Atlanta’s creative and tech scenes that drew him to the city. “Atlanta is this perfect confluence of culture, commerce, tech, and youthful exuberance. That manifests itself in the type of products that are being built [here]. The products look different, the UX is different. You can see that Atlanta cultural flows through into product.”
His advice: If you are looking to validate your idea, start talking to as many people as possible to “manufacture serendipity.”
If you are looking to raise funds for your idea, it’s important to know your story. “What really is the problem? How big is the problem? Why [are you] the right person to solve this problem? Once those pieces start coming together, then it’s the right time to start pitching,” he added.
You can catch both of them on February 22 when Atlanta Startup Village returns for its 83rd edition. Learn more about the hybrid event here.