By Larry K. Williams, TAG president and CEO
To build and grow a robust startup ecosystem, a region needs four key elements: a strong educational landscape, a rich pool of talent, a supportive business community and an inflow of available funds. For a long time, Georgia ticked the first three boxes but lacked in funding. Gratefully, in the last few years, things have changed for the better.
Last year, Georgia startups raised more than $4 billion, setting a fundraising record for our state. And, despite talks of an economic downturn, Georgia startups have already raised $922 million across 80 deals in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, Metro Atlanta is now home to more than 80 VC firms ready to invest in tech-focused startups, whether they are seed-, early- or growth-stage companies.
However, this wasn’t always the case for Georgia’s startup scene. Even as little as five years ago, our region had yet to truly establish itself as the next engine of economic return for the investment and venture capital communities.
Although Georgia’s startup ecosystem has indeed come a long way, some work remains to create equal opportunity for all. Despite our state’s growth and progress, the funding gap for BIPOC-founded startups remains significant. As a result, only 5% of startups are black-owned, and only 1% of startups are black-funded. While Georgia is increasingly known as a tech hub for entrepreneurs of color, our responsibility to help minority groups participate fully in our state’s booming startup economy remains.
One initiative that is helping all of Georgia’s tech startups find success is Venture Atlanta. As one of the nation’s largest venture capital conferences and communities, Venture Atlanta is scheduled for October 19th – 20th of this year. Also, learn more about how you can participate in or support TAG’s Social Justice & Equity efforts with the Bridge Builders initiative.