If there was ever an indicator of how things are improving here in Georgia for early-stage entrepreneurs, you need to look no further than the amazing slate of grass-roots and established events going on this month (shown below in chronological order):
- AngelLounge – May 1st – May we just held this yesterday, and again, we had a nice crowd of Atlanta-area angel investors in attendance. AngelLounge is a monthly peer group comprised solely of angel investors. The goal is networking, education/mentoring, and deal flow. This was our 4th meeting, and things seem to be rolling along with it. During yesterday’s gathering, the focus was on “deal flow” – we also talked a bit about BoostPhase – Stephen Fleming’s new grassroots funding/acceleration vehicle for early-stage (idea stage) technology ventures. Good stuff … more soon.
- PitchCamp – May 7th – PitchCamp is our free afternoon workshop for entrepreneurs. The goal is to work on pitches, one pagers, and investor networking basics. Good stuff. We (StartupLounge) do this monthly, and the results have been fantastic. The session next week is nearly full (we have one company slot still open if anyone wants to come). We’ll have some great mentors in the room as well, including Sanjay Parekh (co-founder of Digital Envoy and creator of Startup Riot), Steve Walden (angel investor, and one of the key early guys at Prodigy – also the guy who helped launched Bellsouth.net), and Clark Gilder of the Atlanta Technology Angels.
- Cleantech Georgia 2008 – May 14th – The clean energy technology sector is real. In fact, last year, the total dollars invested in cleantech eclipsed the investments made in information technology – wow. This is the second annual Cleantech event here in Georgia. Aside from the great slate of speakers (Coca-Cola Company, Southern Company, Valhalla Partners, Hardin Construction), we have another fantastic line-up of early-stage cleantech companies that will be delivering fast-pitches to the crowd. Brought to you by TAG’s Business and Technology Alliance (B&TA).
- ATDC’s Annual Entrepreneur Showcase – May 15th – held once a year, this is a great event that celebrates the graduating class of the ATDC incubator down at Georgia Tech. A great batch of companies this year, including Emcien and Vendormate. There will be a huge crowd, and StartupLounge will be doing a podcast remote again this year – good stuff!
- Startup Riot – May 19th – Sanjay Parekh is a one-man wrecking crew, in the positive sense. This should be a cool event – 75-80 companies delivering 3 minute pitches throughout the day. Drew Curtis (Fark.com) will be delivering a keynote as well. I spoke with Sanjay yesterday at AngelLounge, and it looks like around 200 folks will be there. Booyah!
- CapitalLounge – May 21st – the month concludes with StartupLounge’s flagship event. Formerly called “Capital Connections”, this quarterly event brings together 250-300 fast-growth entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors for a great night of cocktails, gourmet food, and open networking. And, in true StartupLounge fashion, no job-seekers or service providers allowed (save for our handful of stalwart sponsors).
This is perhaps the busiest I’ve seen this community since the late 90s. Life is good, and getting better.