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3 Classes Discovered from Constructing Unicorns in Atlanta

Atlanta has emerged as a rising software program and expertise hub, significantly within the B2B house. In 2021, Atlanta minted six new unicorns: Stord, Greenlight, FullStory, Flock Security, Calendly, and Salesloft. On prime of that, within the spring, privateness, cybersecurity, and knowledge governance startup OneTrust raised a Sequence C spherical at a $5.3 billion valuation, and in November Mailchimp introduced its sale to Intuit for $12 billion, by far the biggest exit for an Atlanta tech firm.

In mid-December, I had the privilege of moderating a panel dialogue in Atlanta with three of the entrepreneurs and buyers behind a lot of Atlanta’s current momentum and success.

Meet the panelists:

Lisa Calhoun – a former digital advertising and marketing company government and founder, Lisa additionally based Valor Ventures, the primary woman-led institutional enterprise capital agency within the South.

David Cummings – entrepreneur and investor who has based ten corporations together with Pardot, Salesloft, and Terminus. David can also be the founding father of the Atlanta Tech Village and lead investor in Calendly.

Kyle Porter – CEO and Co-founder of Atlanta-based gross sales engagement platform, Salesloft, which lately introduced a majority funding by Vista Fairness Companions, valuing the corporate at $2.3 billion.


Dozens of expertise and software program leaders from in and round Atlanta gathered collectively, sharing insights and learnings at Daring Monk Brewing’s stunning Abbey Area. Along with some a lot overdue in-person dialog and fellowship, Lisa, David, and Kyle participated in a panel dialogue highlighting some key takeaways on constructing expertise corporations in Atlanta. 

Right here’s what I realized from our dialog:

1. Develop your self quicker than your organization

Kyle made some extent unattainable to overlook. Entrepreneurs who constantly attain their PEAKs have to be conscious of non-public progress and develop extra quickly than their corporations. I imagine his precise phrases had been, “scale quicker than the speed of your expertise.” David did a beautiful job capturing this explicit lesson in his weblog publish, “Private Progress > Startup Progress.” As a multiple-time founder myself, I realized this firsthand, placing it into apply via skilled organizations like YPO and improvement actions like Acutely aware Management. The outcomes have been transformative. 

2. Put variety on the prime of your funding or entrepreneurial technique

Lisa articulated how variety needs to be a prime goal for all entrepreneurs and buyers. Her personal funding philosophy is to reflect the demographic make-up of the Atlanta metro and broader South that her agency is energetic in. She tied that again to how what makes us totally different is oftentimes our greatest aggressive benefit. In a area as numerous at Metro Atlanta, use that to your benefit and to your neighborhood’s profit (in spite of everything, startups are the #1 supply of wealth creation within the US.) 

3. As a founder, tradition needs to be your #1 precedence

Salesloft is well-known for its wealthy and vibrant firm tradition. Kyle made an amazing level about how an organization’s focus shouldn’t simply be about income or valuation. Organizational well being must be the highest precedence of each founder and each government group. Your organization tradition is your distinctive differentiator and actually the one factor you might have absolute management over, so give attention to getting that proper and all the things else will fall into place. As Andy Pittman, VP of Expertise at ShipBob advised me after the occasion, “You may’t management the market, however you may all the time management who you might be and who you change into.”

A key theme unifies these classes. Folks. Particularly, attracting the perfect expertise potential after which investing of their development–in addition to your individual. Doing so is an important sustainable benefit as you proceed constructing your enterprise. 

Because of Lisa, David, and Kyle for his or her time and sharing their insights. Right here’s to extra tech and software program success in Atlanta in 2022!



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