Five Predictions for 2015 / Tech Investing in Atlanta: Southern Style

January 9th, 2015
MMM Tech Perspectives

by John Yates, Partner & Chair of Corporate Technology, Morris, Manning & Martin

Santa brought my mother a pillow with this embroidered truism: “Say what you want about the South – but nobody retires & lives up North!” For me, it foretells the optimistic growth of Atlanta technology investing in 2015. Venture capitalists and private equity firms will target the South in the new year, and here are five predictions for tech growth – Southern Style!

  1. VC Partners Will Recognize the South’s Special Appeal – Atlanta will be a key beneficiary as general partners of venture and private equity funds spend more time in the South. In 2014, several funds became more interested in the region, where warmer weather and a growing tech community are among the key attractions.  Where would you like to have your Q1 Board meeting – snowy Boston or sunny Atlanta?
  1. Fast Growing Southern Companies will Attract Big Dollars – The South’s secret attraction will be widely recognized by VC and PE funds in 2015 — our strong middle market companies with excellent growth potential just waiting for growth dollars.  Many of these high flyers haven’t raised outside capital and will be looking for financial partners to fuel their growth. Where else in the U.S. can you find dozens of tech companies with double-digit annual growth that haven’t ever met a PE or VC investor?
  1. VC/PE Firms Will Open Offices in Atlanta – Atlanta is the Tech Capital of the South, with the greatest concentration of tech entrepreneurs in the region.  Expect several more VC/PE funds to establish a beachhead in the city, hiring associates to scour the South looking for growth companies. There are plenty of UGA, Ga. Tech, Duke, UNC and Southern college grads currently with Northeast investment firms who are tired of shoveling snow!
  1. Senior Investors Will Migrate South – As general partners for VC and PE funds get older, many are moving South as they approach semi-retirement.  Our region should tap these experienced and influential GPs and engage them in the South’s tech community.  Many will be looking for companies to invest in – justifying their presence in the region. There’s only so much time for golf and gardening!
  1. Georgia’s Uncharted Tech Communities Will Attract Investment – In addition to Atlanta, entrepreneurs have concentrated in other cities in the state, including Columbus, Macon, Warner Robbins and Valdosta.  The result will be targeted visits by VCs and PE funds heading to Atlanta and then to other parts of Georgia – and each trip to the state should increase the attraction of investing in the our community.

With the collective leadership of the Technology Association of Georgia, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and our academic institutions, Atlanta has the winning combination in 2015 to expand on our tech leadership position in the South.

John Yates chairs the technology practice at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.

This article is reprinted with the permission of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.