The innovation economy is often measured in hard numbers: amount of funding raised, employee headcount, revenue or square feet of office space. But there are intangible metrics that are often critical to a thriving startup ecosystem. As Atlanta has grown as a tech hub, so has the community support infrastructure for local entrepreneurs.
Below you will find some of Atlanta’s organizations, events and groups dedicated to supporting and growing the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. From meetups to pitch events to interest groups, there is a wide array of resources for those looking to strengthen their relationships in Atlanta’s tech scene.
ATDC Startup Showcase – The Advanced Technology Development Center’s annual event is a chance for over 60 early stage startups to showcase their products and ideas. According to ATDC, the event draws over 800 attendees in the entrepreneurship and investment space. The event is relatively low cost and free to GA Tech faculty and students.
Atlanta Startup Battle – Atlanta Startup Battle is a quarterly pitch competition run by TechSquare Capital. After an open application period, ten startups are selected to undergo a full day mentorship and screening program, from which five are selected for the final event. At the final, five companies pitch for the chance to win $100,000 in investment from TechSquare Capital (in exchange for 10 percent equity), plus office space in TechSquare Labs’ space in Midtown.
Atlanta Startup Week – Hosted by Techstars, the inaugural five-day celebration will take place in October. It’s a “celebration of our community” that will look to spur momentum and create opportunity for area entrepreneurs.
Atlanta Tech Summit – The Atlanta Tech Summit is a day-long conference on trends, challenges and solutions in IT. Topics for the 2018 summit include backup and disaster recovery, mobile app development and network security.
The Consumer Show – Hosted by the Switchyards Downtown Club, The Consumer Show is a monthly pitch event where five startups present their work for five minutes, discuss a particular topic and engage in a Q&A.
FinTech South – Spearheaded by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), FinTech South is a two day event focused on all things financial technology. In addition to speakers, keynotes and breakout sessions, the event will feature an Innovation Pitch Contest and Award. The winner of the contest will receive a $50,000 non-equity cash award and a spot in ATDC’s Accelerate program.
The Georgia Technology Summit – Drawing more than 1,400 C-level leaders, the Georgia Technology Summit gives attendees an opportunity to discuss the global trends impacting the community, using speakers, interactive sessions and more.
RAISE Forum – Working in tandem with Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the RAISE Forum is establishing local funding for those companies in-revenue that need an investment round between $1 million and $5 million. The Fund has a “health care bias,” but is ultimately industry agnostic.
SHIFT – SHIFT bill itself as an “ Innovation & Inclusion Pitch Competition” and held its first event in 2017. With the goal of bridging the gap in tech entrepreneurship for women and minority founders, the competition awards a winner a six-month free membership at Atlanta Tech Village. The competition is organized by Surthrive, whose founder Justin McLeod won a Women & Minority Entrepreneur Pitch Contest in 2016 and decided to pay the dividends forward.
Startup Runway – Startup Runway is a non-profit that aims to connect women- and minority-led startups in the Southeast to investors. The group runs a biannual, multi-stage pitch competition for roughly thirty founders, ten of whom get the chance to pitch at the Startup Runway Showcase. In addition to exposure before an audience and investor judges, startups will compete for a $10,000, no- strings-attached prize.
Venture Atlanta – Venture Atlanta is an annual two-day venture conference designed to introduce both local and national investors to Atlanta-area companies. The conference is a joint effort produced by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Technology Association of Georgia and the Atlanta CEO Council. Now in its eleventh year, Venture Atlanta brings together more than 900 entrepreneurs, investors, leaders and students.
1 Million Cups – This weekly event brings area entrepreneurs together over coffee to present their enterprises to a network of peer founders.
The Atlanta Blockchain Meetup – Crypto is a hot topic, and The Atlanta Blockchain Meetup hopes to educate and decypher the different aspects of blockchain technology and decentralized crypto currencies. The group meets once a month (Fun bonus from their meetup page: if you’re near the Perimeter Mall any time soon, you can get 10 percent off at Gino’s Classic Barbershop if you pay with bitcoin.).
Atlanta Startup Drinks – “A drinking group with a startup problem,” Atlanta Startup Drinks brings together local entrepreneurs once a month over food and, well, drinks at area eateries.
Atlanta Startup Village – ATL Startup Village is a monthly meetup hosted at Atlanta Tech Village that gives local startups a chance to present their concepts to attendees. The meetup bills itself as “the largest monthly gathering of entrepreneurs in the southeast,” and has over 11,000 members in its online meetup group.
Atlanta Startup Founder 101 – Startup Founder 101 is a meetup group that hosts free events for entrepreneurs to share and learn best practices of starting a business. Attendees have the chance at events throughout the year to “meet local founders and investors, exchange ideas with experts, get feedback on your idea, participate in startup workshops.”
ATL Tech Tastings Meetup – If you prefer some social lubrication with your tech networking, check out ATL Tech Tastings, which runs periodic tech meetups at different local breweries and distilleries. Meetups typically feature a tour and tasting of the host venue and a 20-30 minute presentation by a local tech figure.
Atlanta Ruby Meetup Group – The Atlanta Ruby Meetup Group looks to foster a local community of Ruby on Rails developers. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month, typically at Taproom Coffee or Pivotal Labs.
Code for Atlanta – An offshoot of the national group Code for America, Code for Atlanta focuses on civic applications of technology. The group welcomes collaboration opportunities with Atlanta non-profits or government agencies and hosts bimonthly civic hack nights, usually at Tech Square or Atlanta Tech Village.
Data Science ATL – Data Science ATL is a meetup group that focuses on practical applications of data science to solve diverse challenges.
PyAtl: Atlanta Python Programmers – Another dev-focused meetup, PyAtl brings together novice and expert Python language programmers alike. The group meets once a month for presentations and discussions about Python.
Startup Chowdown – Hosted every Friday by Atlanta Tech Village, the Startup Chowdown is a chance for entrepreneurs, innovators and “other cool people” to connect over lunch. The event is open to all ($10 for non-ATV members) and regularly has an out-the-door line, so get there early.
Technologists of Color – ToC’s goal is to create a community of black technology professionals. The group hosts regular meetups, showcases and happy hours for black innovators, entrepreneurs, business owners and tech professionals.
Women Who Code ATL – The Atlanta chapter of global group Women Who Code, WWCode ATL is “dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.” Catering to both current and aspiring coders, the group hosts regular meetups featuring free technical workshops, speakers and panels.
Ascend 2020 Atlanta – JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center and TechSquare Labs have partnered for Ascend 2020 Atlanta, a “support ecosystem” for minority-led technology startups and small businesses.
Digitalundivided – Digitalundivided is an Atlanta organization dedicated to supporting black and Latino women founders throughout the entrepreneurial process. In addition to running an accelerator program, the organization also conducts research around women of color and tech entrepreneurship and runs a networking organization.
ChickTech Atlanta – The group works to retain women within the technology workforce, as well as encourage women to purse careers in the technology field through “hands-on, technology-centric events.”
Endeavor Atlanta – Endeavor Atlanta is a chapter of the 30-year-old, New York-based nonprofit Endeavor. The organization’s goal is to support high-impact entrepreneurs whose companies will have a transformative effect on local economies. After an intensive, multi-stage selection process, startups are afforded a comprehensive business development program including access to mentors, capital, talent and new markets.
FinTech Atlanta – FinTech Atlanta is an interest group dedicated to supporting and growing the local market for financial tech. A coalition of companies that range from Fortune 500s to startups, the group focuses on initiatives around retaining and recruiting talent, investment and advancing legislative priorities for the fintech industry.
Metro Atlanta Chamber – The Chamber facilitates a host of economic development programs, like “Chose ATL,” to encourage millennial talent to work in the region, and the Open Innovation Forum, an event created to help collaboration between major operations, startups and everything in between.
Startup Atlanta – Startup Atlanta is a neutral nonprofit whose mission is “to introduce, connect, support and expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem within the greater Atlanta region to bolster the creation of jobs, companies and wealth.” The organization publishes various startup-focused guides on its site, and recruits local CEOs to pledge support to the larger innovation ecosystem in Atlanta.
Women in Technology – This group aims to advocate for all women in the state’s STEAM programs, from “the classroom to the boardroom.” Women in Technology does this by educating students, hosting networking and events for professionals and equipping volunteers. It’s the biggest and most active organization of its kind in the area.