3 Classes Realized from Constructing Unicorns in Atlanta


Atlanta has emerged as a rising software program and expertise hub, notably within the B2B area. In 2021, Atlanta minted six new unicorns: Stord, Greenlight, FullStory, Flock Security, Calendly, and Salesloft. On high of that, within the spring, privateness, cybersecurity, and information governance startup OneTrust raised a Collection 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 traders behind a lot of Atlanta’s current momentum and success.

Meet the panelists:

Lisa Calhoun – a former digital advertising and marketing company govt 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 firms together with Pardot, Salesloft, and Terminus. David can 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 not too long ago 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 lovely 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 firms 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 persistently attain their PEAKs should be aware of non-public progress and develop extra quickly than their firms. I imagine his actual 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 by skilled organizations like YPO and improvement actions like Acutely aware Management. The outcomes have been transformative. 

2. Put range on the high of your funding or entrepreneurial technique

Lisa articulated how range ought to be a high goal for all entrepreneurs and traders. Her personal funding philosophy is to reflect the demographic make-up of the Atlanta metro and broader South that her agency is lively 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 ought to be your #1 precedence

Salesloft is well-known for its wealthy and vibrant firm tradition. Kyle made an awesome 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 govt group. Your organization tradition is your distinctive differentiator and actually the one factor you’ve absolute management over, so deal with getting that proper and all the things else will fall into place. As Andy Pittman, VP of Expertise at ShipBob informed me after the occasion, “You possibly can’t management the market, however you’ll be able to all the time management who you might be and who you develop into.”

A key theme unifies these classes. Folks. Particularly, attracting one of the best expertise attainable after which investing of their progress–in addition to your individual. Doing so is a crucial sustainable benefit as you proceed constructing your small business. 

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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