As a General Partner at Noro-Moseley, to say Alan Taetle is well versed in technology investments is an understatement. With nearly two decades of experience under his belt Taetle shines in early growth stage investments in cloud, B2B software, and consumer internet companies. He’s also an active board member of Clearleap, PureWRX, and Salesfusion – not to mention the incoming board chair for Venture Atlanta.
Taetle first came to Atlanta between his first and second year of business school, and soon became involved in the startup world. From there, he became the 13th employee of MindSpring (now merged with EarthLink), before answering to his ultimate calling as an investment guru at Noro Moseley. We wanted the scoop on everything from the upcoming Venture Atlanta technology conference to the rise of Atlanta’s startup scene, so we sat down and played a friendly game of twenty questions with Taetle.
As the incoming board chair of Venture Atlanta what can we expect at this year’s conference?
“This is the first time we’ve promoted the event this much outside of Atlanta and we’ve seen a great response from companies throughout the Southeast and across a wide variety of industries. While this is still a Georgia-centric conference, we look forward to the the representation coming from throughout the region.”
VA connects great companies to capital and your MO is investing. What signifies a great business worth your time and money?
“The CEO is the single determinant of the success or failure of a business. You need the marriage of a technical founder and a business founder who work well together – or someone who can do both, which you can find from time to time.”
“I look for strong leaders who have an interesting business model, a good customer list, and a product with lots of progress behind it.”
It’s been two decades since you’ve worked directly in startups, is there anything you miss?
“There’s a certain adrenaline that goes with working in startups – I love being the underdog. There is nothing more exciting and stressful than being in that scenario, which I miss sometimes.”
As an advisory board member at GA Tech’s College of Computing, what kind of changes have you seen over the last few years encouraging students to pursue entrepreneurship?
“There have been earnest efforts to expose students to opportunities outside of the classic recruiting base. There will always be a fair number of people who want to go to Google and Silicon Valley, but it’s important to show them what other possibilities are within the local startup community.”
“Many of these folks are incredibly talented coming straight out of Tech. We need to provide a little more balance to students so they can explore what else is out there. This way we can retain and cultivate talent here in Atlanta.”
How do you think Atlanta’s startup scene has grown over the last few years?
“The whole city is exploding and the ecosystem has improved dramatically. There’s capital available up and down the stacks. There’s great incubation opportunities and a lot of talent here – all we need is more tech talent.”
“This market, more than other markets is a true meritocracy – there isn’t some huge well entrenched “good ole boy network” that you have to break yourself into, or be born into.. If you look from David Cummings, to Tripp Rackley, Tom Noonan, Paul Judge, and Chris Klaus – all of these folks are first generation. They weren’t born into success – they built it – and that speaks volumes for this city.”