Venture Atlanta, the Southeast’s pre-eminent and largest venture investor conference, certainly won’t disappoint for its 10-year anniversary conference. Over the last decade, Venture Atlanta has helped over 380 companies raise over $2 billion in funding — with investors from 150 funds from all over the country in attendance, it’s no wonder the competition to present on stage at the College Football Hall of Fame was fierce.
“We’re eager to work with these companies to connect them with the capital, people and resources they need to accelerate their innovation and growth,” says Venture Atlanta 2017 company selection chair Christopher Maxwell, partner at Morris, Manning & Martin.
This year Venture Atlanta will showcase more startups than ever before — 35 companies from across the Southeast, along with Washington D.C., Florida, and Virginia, will pitch on the main stage. A good portion of these are based in Atlanta, including cybersecurity startup Trust Stamp. Trust Stamp provides an identity verification token on an individual’s digital identity to make online deals and transactions safer.
“In light of recent headlines, consumers assume that every existing knowledge-based authentication methodology is now compromised. As we unveil the future of consumer empowered identity authentication, we are proud to reinforce Atlanta’s leadership as a global innovator in cybersecurity,” says co-founder and CEO Andrew Gowasack.
“Venture Atlanta is the most exciting and impactful venture conference in the southeast. We’re excited to be a part of it and helping grow Atlanta’s top-notch startup ecosystem,” says marketing platform Sideqik‘s founder and CEO Jeremy Haile.
In addition to the pitching companies, for the first time, Venture Atlanta is holding a Startup Showcase to allow 16 early-stage startups to talk to and meet with investors and other attendees.
“We’re hitting a momentous inflection point within the company, expanding our team and filling our corporate sales pipeline,” says Jonathan Allen, founder of Startup Showcase company Gauge. “So having an opportunity to share that progress on the grand scale of Venture Atlanta is really exciting for us.”
Each of these companies will have a table exhibition to showcase their products and business plans.
See the full list of companies presenting here.
Who will you hear from?
What comes to mind when you think of the ultimate pitch event? ABC’s Shark Tank, of course, so it’s fitting that veteran entrepreneur and shark Mark Cuban will deliver the closing keynote. Cuban has found and sold billion-dollar companies and is a prolific investor in companies across a variety of industries, including a few Atlanta-based startups.
“Mark Cuban is a remarkable symbol of entrepreneurship and what you can accomplish if you have a great idea, a solid business plan, the right people on board and the perseverance to execute,” says Venture Atlanta’s chairman Philip Lewis, principal at Fulcrum Equity Partners.
Of course, any good conference must deliver more than a killer closer. To kick off the event, investor and startup advisor Scott Dorsey, co-founder of venture studio High Alpha, will speak about lessons learned from selling his company to Salesforce for $2.5 billion.
And the second day will open with Carvana co-founder and CEO Ernia Garcia, who took his car vending machine concept from an idea, to launch (with Atlanta as his first market), to an IPO with $240M in stock offerings, in about 4 years.
“Less than five years ago we were preparing for our launch here in Atlanta, and in that time, we’ve grown to 37 markets and opened six Car Vending Machines. Venture Atlanta gives us the opportunity to share our story with the Southeast startup community, and to speak directly to hundreds of ambitious entrepreneurs that are in our shoes from just a few years ago,” says Garcia.
“We’re proud of our growth, and thank Atlanta’s tech community and early adopters who gave us a chance back when buying cars online was a foreign concept. I’m looking forward participating in this great event, back in the city where our journey started,” he shares.
Another can’t miss event? Techstars co-founder Brad Feld, whom for over two decades has served as an investor to early-stage technology startups, in a fireside chat with Techstars Atlanta Managing Director Michael Cohn. Feld pens the Startup Revolution article and book series.
An entrepreneur panel on “Lessons Learned” will highlight failures and pivots that successful founders such as SalesLoft’s Kyle Porter made on their journey.
All-in-all, for any would-be entrepreneur or startup enthusiast, it’s a hard lineup to pass up.
Venture Atlanta will take place October 11-12 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Get your tickets here and follow along on social media with #VA2017.
Featured image by Jason Seagle.