After years of building and advising startups in Atlanta, Tim Dorr was ready to move to the other side of the investing table.
The opportunity to do just that came this month with his new role in the Managing Director seat at Techstars Atlanta. He’s following in the footsteps of other founders-turned-investors (and in some cases turned-founders again) Michael Cohn, Tyler Scriven, and Dave Payne.
“My goal is to pay back into the ecosystem that has gotten me this far. I didn’t get here on my own,” Dorr said when he sat down with Hypepotamus.
Dorr first jumped into the Atlanta tech ecosystem while still a student at Georgia Tech. Since then he’s built up several tech companies, served as co-founder of Salesloft, and was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at ATDC and an Advisor at Atlanta Tech Village.
He told Hypepotamus that he sees Techstars as a way to invest in the potential talent pipeline coming up in the Atlanta ecosystem.
“I’m looking for the less-than-perfect founder, that 95% founder…because those are the ones I can help and that is where I can have the most impact and change the course [of a career] for somebody,” he added.
Building The “Flywheel”
61 companies have gone through Techstars Atlanta to date. Dorr is already searching for this summer’s upcoming cohort members, which will bring that number to up to 70. But Atlanta startups have played a role in expanding Techstars’ wider portfolio of over 2,600 startups. Atlanta’s own Salesloft itself is one of 10 “unicorn” companies to come out of the accelerator program.
Even before his time as co-founder at Salesloft, Dorr had a first-row seat to the evolving tech ecosystem.
“When I think back to 15 years ago when I started in this ecosystem and really got aware that startups even existed in Atlanta, it was a really chaotic and unfocused time. A lot of meetups, going to bars to talk startups…but there were a lot of “wantrapreneurs” and not entrepreneurs. But with new resources, new startup hubs, and new funds in town, there has been a strong focus on refinement. And now we’re getting into the cycle of paying back the investment into the ecosystem. We’re starting to see that flywheel.”
Salesloft’s early employees and co-founders have certainly been part of making that flywheel turn. That includes ecosystem builders and those in the investing space like Kyle Porter, Aly Merritt, Erica Stanley, Jon Birdsong, and Tami McQueen.
Other former Salesloft employees have gone on to start software startups like OrderNerd (a Techstars company), Clove, Flowerwork, ARR Experts, Rising Tide, Gauge Insights, and AbstractCRE.