Atlanta’s tech scene has attracted top talent from across the world in the last few years.
One of the most recent transplants is Melissa Pegus, the new Senior Associate at Tech Square Ventures.
Pegus spoke with Hypepotamus about what pulled her south from New York City and what she is most looking forward to with this new endeavor.
Bringing a global perspective to Atlanta
“I think there were a lot of harbingers that I would eventually end up here,” Pegus told Hypepotamus. Not only is her husband a Morehouse graduate, but one of the earlier startups she was with, Spree Commerce, was acquired by Atlanta-based First Data.
She joined the Spree Commerce team as one of the first non-technical members and helped bring small businesses into the e-commerce age. Other acquired startups she’s been with include Curalate, mBolden, Frontier Strategy Group, and software vendor Active Risk.
Having “worked at every component of an ecomm retailers’ tech stack,” she told Hypepotamus that she is particularly focused on “empowering merchants from all over the world.”
Her career took her from D.C. to New York — and around the world — before landing in Atlanta.
Previously, she worked in emerging markets in Central and South America, helping local entrepreneurs launch export businesses. Pegus sees a lot of similarities between working with emerging markets and startups. Both can be “very volatile, very high risk, very high reward.”
For Pegus, Atlanta is a “more manageable New York. It definitely has all the spunk and excitement of a big city, but it gives you a good balance. And from a startup perspective, the ecosystem is in a very exciting space….there’s a lot of great activity. But it’s still in a place where there is a lot of opportunities to contribute.”
Working with up-and-coming-founders
TSV already has an impressive portfolio, which includes Atlanta-based companies like Goodr, Cypress.io, Stord, and many others.
And Pegus’ background in enterprise technologies and e-commerce will certainly bring a unique perspective to the team.
“Compared to what other funds are doing, there’s really something special that’s happening here at Tech Square Ventures,” said Pegus. “We have the focus on early-stage companies and a focus on enterprise technology — and occasionally dabbling in marketplaces — but I think where it all really comes together is the coupling of the fund with the program, Engage.”
Pegus says she is excited about working with founders who can “marry a product mind with a commercial mind.”
“Very often when we think about being a founder, we associate that with ‘I have a great idea.’ But being a successful founder is about taking that a step further and really validating that, accounting for multiple perspectives, because the value for your product or your platform is always in the minds of your buyer.”
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