Over the past month, Team Voxa has been working to apply, pitch, and be reviewed for admission into the ATDC Select program. Yesterday, we received news that we have been accepted and we are now members of ATDC Select. Score!
As I’ve told folks about our desire to be in ATDC Select, I’m not surprised but a little disappointed that this is the common response:
“Why would you join ATDC? Aren’t you in the Village?”
This tells me that there are lot of things about startup ecosystems that aren’t clicking for folks in Atlanta. Hopefully the story of Voxa and the other Village startups that are ATDC Select members will influence a refactoring of our paradigm around startup incubators. (Damn that sounded fancy… I’ve been hanging around Dr. Halaschek too much!)
First, here are the reasons specially Voxa is joining ATDC Select.
- Reason #1: Connectivity to university research. As we build out the Voxa product to connect Email to Salesforce.com, we will be incorporating a ton of cool technologies related to Natural Language Processing. This is a really cool field, and a good bit of research is happening at Georgia Tech.
- Reason #2: Connectivity to the student body for special recruiting opportunities. While the Village has great Startup Student Connections, nothing can beat having on-campus events specifically for CS and CompE students at Georgia Tech. Craig Hyde at Rigor was the first to tell me that these events are tremendously valuable for recruiting smart engineers who can talk and are excited about joining a startup.
- Reason #3: Having a rockstar Entrepreneur in Residence on our team. I know a lot of the EIR’s at ATDC and they are all fantastic, but when you meet Tim Sheehan, you will agree that he is an amazing asset for any company. His resume is pack full of big names, west coast startups (both B2B and B2C), and all the right connections. Having Tim on our team is worth 20x the price of admission to ATDC Select program. (KP, don’t get any ideas on us!)
Some more thoughts about ecosystem and hubs like the Village and ATDC.
- Success is often about surface area for a startup. Connections make things happen faster. Connections to investors, customers, talent. Connected entrepreneurs have easier times building companies than entrepreneurs who live on islands. Joining multiple organizations, each with their own networks, increases a startups connections and increases the chance of serendipitous interactions that change your trajectory.
- The two hardest parts for us are product and sales. It just so happens that we get a ton of great sales ideas, strategies, tips, and tools from our fellow Villagers. ATDC on the other hand will likely be more valuable to our CTO and team of engineers as we grow.
- It’s NOT about coworking / office space! KP Reddy used this quote when we first started talking about collaboration between the Village at ATDC: “The only metric that I’m not measured on for success is: Amount of office space rented.”
Exactly right! Despite our local business media’s obsession with commercial real-estate, (especially related to tech incubators for some strange reason)… none of the folks doing coworking and incubators with the right intentions give a rip about the square feet as a measure of ultimate success. The square feet need to be paid for to be sustainable, and it’s great to have folks close to each other doing similar things, but that’s as far as it goes.
I’m looking forward to Team Voxa participating in the ATDC Select community.