Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to Silicon Valley with a delegation that represented City government and leadership in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Atlanta. The purpose of the trip was to clearly place Atlanta on the radar screen for Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley. Secondarily, Mayor Reed was personally floating concepts for creating capital to channel to the promising tech startups in Atlanta. (More on that at another time.)
Anxious to report back on the interest of the likes of Kleiner Perkins, US Venture Partners and other legendary VCs in the Valley, I took note of their response to our soft sell of Atlanta as the tech center of the Southeast. To my surprise, I found my real amazement lies in watching Mayor Reed.
How often does anyone outside of City government have the opportunity to spend hours on end with The Honorable Kasim Reed. How often do private citizens see the work he performs once he leaves the boundaries of the city that he manages? Afterall, it is a challenge answering to the demands of running an enterprise with an almost $300 Billion GDP that is larger than dozens of states. How does this highly popular Mayor who won his reelection with 84% of the vote manage outside of the City? How does someone with the smarts and passion to clean up the City economic woes with a gaping pension system fare with the titans of Silicon Valley?
They were impressed, and many were awed.
With the humbleness of a monk, Mayor Reed discussed the merits of deploying capital, the need to retain our scientists, technologists,engineers and mathematicians and the necessity to support Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, not just because Atlanta is a great city but because of the significant economic benefit to all. He explained Atlanta as the emerging technology hub in Souteast with the skill of an economist.
No doubt that Atlanta is on the verge of a momentous move into the national limelight with an entrpreneurial ecosystem that can rival the best cities in the world. As Atlanta leans forward, my confidence is in the Mayor to lead Atlanta to be all it can be. Capital will follow.
Chairmen and President
Atlanta /technology Angels