Tech Square Labs: Billion Dollar Startups

David Cummings on Startups

Paul Judge  set the stage earlier this week with  Unicorns in Atlanta: A Look at Atlanta’s Billion Dollar Exits and Current Promising Startups . Atlanta has had a number of billion dollar exits over the years but there’s a desire to have more. Many more. Today, Urvaksh announced that Paul Judge and Allen Nance are launching Tech Square Labs in his article Atlanta techpreneurs launch “studio” to turn ideas into billion-dollar exits .

Tech Square Labs, no relation to Tech Square Ventures, is a hybrid incubator and private coworking space. It’s an Incubator in the true sense of the word where Paul and Allen role up their sleeves and help other entrepreneurs commercialize and launch their ideas. As compared to the dot com days, this model is different in that it’s only capital from Paul and Allen, combined with serious sweat equity. With up to six companies at a time, it’ll be an exclusive group.

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Let’s be real. A good copywriter creates sweet myths because of and despite the bitterness of reality.

Gods of Advertising

If the story is good does the truth even matter?

Watch the above clip from Mad Men, where the inimitable Don Draper delivers a moving story to a group of silver-haired Hershey clients in a pitch for their business. Then pause the clip. Think about what he said. It’s a gorgeously romantic picture, linking the venerable chocolate bar with all that is great about childhood, parenting, and indeed life in these United States.

And then he tells the truth.

With a roomful of happy clients, and as the media guy is going in for the close, Don does an about-face, a shocking one: admitting that, in fact, he was an orphan, raised in a Pennsylvania whorehouse. The story only gets sadder… and weirder. He ends it by recalling one of the prostitutes buying him a Hershey bar if he’d stolen enough cash from her john’s pockets while the pair…

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Power of Scale: Internship Fair at Atlanta Tech Village

David Cummings on Startups

Tonight we had our largest college internship fair yet called Startup + Student Connection: Spring 2014. Over 300 students signed up to attend from all over Atlanta, including a number from Georgia State and Georgia Tech.

Internship Fair at Atlanta Tech Village

When thinking about the program, it occurred to me that this exemplifies one of the major benefits of having a large tech entrepreneurship center: event scale. Putting on a standard internship fair is a ton of work, let alone one that has 300 students and dozens of startups. Our awesome staff and facilities make it possible.

Having 150+ startups in the same building makes it so that we can reach a large audience through email, Twitter, and word of mouth. More students and more startups means that there’s a wider variety of internships and an improved likelihood that a connection will be made. Finally, more students seeing the Atlanta Tech Village will result in…

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The Peep Show of Death: Televising Human Remains

Archaeology and Material Culture

In the waning moments of World War II the Soviet Army launched a massive Baltic offensive, and the German Army Group Courland was among the Nazi units that became isolated along the eastern front until the surrender in May 1945.  Between its formation in October 1944 and the surrender in May 1945, six major engagements were fought by the Army Group, with about 189,000 Germans surrendering to the Soviets.  Like every wartime landscape, the region was littered with material culture, ranging from arms and vehicles to human remains, and like many World War II landscapes this relatively recent material heritage has long been pilfered by collectors.  The excavators who seek out the material remains of the war for pillage and profit are often referred to as “black diggers,” in contrast to “white diggers” who are working to recover wartime dead in places like the Eastern Front, where perhaps…

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One Way Government Can Help the Startup Community

David Cummings on Startups

One of the regularly debated topics is government’s role in the startup community. According to the Bolder Thesis, successful startup communities have to be entrepreneur-led, and not government- or nonprofit-led. A common government initiative is to try and help with capital (see the Invest Georgia Fund). Except more capital doesn’t create more investable opportunities. More successful startups creates more investable opportunities.

There’s one immediate way government can help the startup community: connecting local businesses with entrepreneurs. Customer acquisition is the number one challenge for startups. Local businesses, especially larger employers, actively work to maintain strong ties with the government to help keep the region moving forward. These relationships between government and influential employers are perfect to parlay into a “Buy Local” campaign.

Imagine events similar to the ATDC Industry Connect whereby select businesses are assembled to hear pitches from a curated group of startups. Much like Y Combinator’s Demo Day

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